California Golden Bears Head to Texas Looking for 3-0 Record


After two impressive wins to open the 2015 campaign against Grambling State and San Diego State, the California Golden Bears head to Austin, Texas, where they’ll finish up their non-conference schedule with the Texas Longhorns (1-1). The Bears will be looking to improve to 3-0, and complete their first undefeated start through three games since 2011, which is also the last year they finished with a winning record.

For the first time this year, the Bears will travel away from California Memorial Stadium, and play on the road at the Longhorn’s home, Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium. The Bears will be led by their junior quarterback, Jared Goff.

After getting a lot of media attention in the week leading up to this game, Goff enters the third game of the year with a couple of strong performances to start the season under his belt, and will look to further his Heisman case early in the year. He’s gone over 300 yards passing and thrown three scores each week, and that comes while sitting for long chunks in each game (including the entire second half in week one) while his team held sizable leads .

Goff enters the third week of this season within striking distance of some school passing records. He fell just short of breaking the passing yards record against SDSU last week, and will likely break it on his first or second pass this week. His 8,111 passing yards is second to Troy Taylor, and only 16 yards separate him from  first. Goff is also second to Taylor in completions, and will break his mark with seven completions, a total he should easily attain this week. With a huge game, he can also surpass Kyle Boller’s touchdown record, but needs six scoring throws to do so.

The Bears’ offense could be missing their top running back against Texas. Daniel Lasco had a great game against SDSU, as he piled up 123 yards and a score on 19 carries against the Aztecs, but left the game in the fourth quarter because of a hip muscle strain. The senior is listed as questionable versus Texas, and if he is unable to go, sophomore running back Vic Enwere has stated he is “ready to run“.

Texas’ defense hasn’t gotten off to a great start, as they have allowed just under 500 total yards, 30 first downs, and 33 points per game. The Bears’ offense, if they can continue their string of strong performances, can have another big game against the Longhorns.

The Longhorns’ offense will give the Bears’ revamped defense their biggest test thus far. After being one of the worst defenses in the country last year, the Bears’ defensive unit has been a pleasant surprise so far this year. They have allowed 21 combined points while holding opposing runners to under 140 yards per game on less than four yards per carry, all without scoring a touchdown.

Like their defense, the Longhorns’ offense has gotten off to a shaky start, compiling about 220 yards per game. They will be working with a new quarterback, Jerrod Heard, a redshirt freshman who made his first career start in week two against the Rice Owls. Heard replaced junior Tyrone Swoopes, who had suffered through the straight losses, dating back to last season. Heard led the Longhorns to a victory to even their record.

Heard, who has great speed and can make plays with his feet, attempted just seven passes against Rice, completing four for two touchdowns. On the ground, Heard rushed 10 times for 96 yards. The Bears’ defense will have to figure out a way to contain Heard in order to keep him out of the endzone. With not a lot of tape on him to study, that’s not as easy as it sounds.

This is a winnable game for the Bears, but they can’t get complacent. They have to build on what they’ve done over the past two weeks, and play with the same intensity. A slow start, like the one they experienced against SDSU, could be damning. The defense especially has to come out with the same confidence.

Next: Cal and the Disgrace of the 2004 Snub