Oregon looks to grab an early foothold atop the North Division of the Pac-12 Conference on Saturday night when it hosts Cal.
How to watch:
When: Saturday, Oct. 5
Time: 8:00 p.m. ET
TV Channel: FOX
Live Stream: fuboTV (try for free)
The No. 13 Ducks are the only team in the North Division without a conference loss and have been idle since opening league play with a 21-6 victory at Stanford on Sept. 21. Justin Herbert threw for 259 yards and three touchdowns, furthering his underground Heisman Trophy candidacy with three wins since starting the season with a tough 27-21 loss to then-No. 16 Auburn on Aug. 31.
Herbert has already shown plenty of justification in bypassing the NFL draft last year to return to Oregon (3-1, 1-0 Pac-12 North), completing 74.4% of his passes for 1,127 yards and 14 touchdowns without an interception. He has been sacked only six times, while directing an offense that has averaged 38.5 points and 458.8 yards.
Oregon’s defense has also been top-notch since the loss to Auburn, conceding just five field goals over its three wins, while yielding 222.7 yards per game. It marked the first time since 1935 that the Ducks have not allowed a touchdown over three straight games and also have not conceded a first half touchdown in their last six dating back to last season.
Cal (4-1, 1-1 North) was knocked from the ranks of the unbeatens and out of the national rankings following a 24-17 home loss to Arizona State on Sept. 27. The Bears were stymied offensively in the second half without Chase Garbers, who has been ruled out indefinitely after suffering a shoulder injury in the first half.
Bears coach Justin Wilcox divulged few details about the injury as well as a potential timeline for his return. Garbers was a key component for Cal’s fast start, completing 59.1% of his passes for 952 yards and eight touchdowns with only two interceptions. Cal’s lone touchdown drive in the second half was a 12-play drive exclusively on the ground.
Garbers’ absence puts a heavier burden on Cal’s standout defense, which has limited opponents to 18.6 points per game. Linebacker Evan Weaver leads the nation with 43 solo tackles and 78 overall.
The Bears have lost 15 of their last 20 games to the Ducks, including five straight at Autzen Stadium in which they have been gashed for 45.8 points per game. A win, though, would give Cal victories over both Oregon and Washington–considered the frontrunners of the North Division.