Two teams eager to escape the bottom of the Pac-12 North standings meet Saturday as Washington State visits California, which opened the season with a 4-0 record but has lost four in a row. Cal managed just 83 yards of total offense in a 38-0 loss to Utah before last week's bye and could struggle to keep pace with the high-powered Cougars.
Washington State is eighth nationally in scoring offense (41.8) but faces a tough matchup against Cal's physical defense, which has held seven of its first eight opponents to 24 points or less. Linebacker Evan Weaver leads the nation at 15.9 tackles per game and will need another strong outing against the Cougars and quarterback Anthony Gordon, who has passed for an FBS-leading 3,387 yards and 32 touchdowns. Gordon threw for 406 yards and three touchdowns in the Cougars' 37-35 loss to Oregon before last week's bye while finding wide receiver Brandon Arconado nine times for 130 yards and two scores. Gordon will be tested by Cal's defense which has allowed seven passing touchdowns and boasts a stellar secondary led by safety Ashtyn Davis (43 tackles and six interceptions).
TV: 7 p.m. ET, Pac-12 Network. LINE: Washington State -7.5
ABOUT WASHINGTON STATE (4-4, 1-4 Pac-12): Linebacker Jahad Woods averages 9.9 tackles, but the Cougars are allowing 29.8 points per contest and rank last in the Pac-12 in rushing defense. The Cougars feature a balanced offensive attack with running back Max Borghi tied for third in the Pac-12 with 10 total touchdowns and fourth with 120 all-purpose yards per game. If the game comes down to the final minutes, the Cougars could have the edge with kicker Blake Mazza, who is 13-of-13 on his field goal attempts and 41-of-41 on his point-after attempts this season.
ABOUT CAL (4-4, 1-4): Junior Devon Modster is expected to start at quarterback after missing the loss to Utah due to injury, but freshman Spencer Brash could get the call for the second straight game if Modster isn't cleared to play. Regular starter Chase Garbers has been sidelined since suffering a right shoulder injury on Sept. 27 against Arizona State but hopes to return before the end of the season. The Bears are averaging just 3.1 yards per rushing attempt and could use a spark from junior DeShawn Collins, who has made a case for more playing time next to Christopher Brown Jr. and Marcel Dancy.
1. Cal holds a 47-28-5 lead in the all-time series, but Washington State recorded a 19-13 victory in Pullman last season.
2. Gordon played the 2015 season near Berkeley at City College of San Francisco, where he passed for 3,864 yards with 37 touchdown passes.
3. Cal has held Washington State to an average of 11 points over their last two meetings.
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