Golden Bears Look to Avenge Last Year’s Loss to Washington


2014 started out so well for the California Golden Bears. One year after finishing with one win in 12 games in their first season under new head coach Sonny Dykes, the Bears started last year with wins in four of their first five games, including two of three to begin Pac-12 play. After such a miserable 2013 season, Cal looked primed for a Cinderella run in 2014. But when the Washington Huskies came to town in week six, the glass slipper shattered all over their foot.

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The Huskies proceeded to dismantle the Bears, knocking them off 31-7 in a game that wasn’t necessarily as competitive as the score would suggest. The promising start to the year was washed away, as Cal went on to lose five of their last six after the Washington debacle.

This year, the Bears will try to avoid a similar fate. Cal has opened up their year with three straight wins for the first time since 2011. After three out-of-conference games, the Bears head to Husky Stadium in Seattle, Washington to kick off their Pac-12 schedule.

After breaking three school records (passing yards, completions, and total offense) last week against the Texas Longhorns, junior quarterback Jared Goff enters the fourth contest within striking distance of another. His 62 touchdowns through the air are two shy of Troy Taylor‘s mark, and if Goff can throw three touchdowns for the fourth straight week, he’ll have another record to add to his already lengthy resumé, further cementing his status as one of the best Cal has ever had.

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However, Goff will be dealing with an ankle injury he suffered against Texas. In the fourth quarter, Goff could be seen on the field attempting to stretch out his leg, trying to work the kinks out. While he is listed as probable, Goff’s mobility and comfortability will be something to keep an eye on.

If Goff is at all limited, the Bears could use another outstanding performance from their run game. Starter Daniel Lasco missed last week because of a hip strain, and is listed as questionable for the second straight week. If Lasco, who scored the lone touchdown for Cal in last year’s matchup, is unable to go again, the Bears should feel comfortable with his replacements.

Khalfani Muhammad and Vic Enwere were the stars in last week’s win. Muhammad, a junior, piled up 164 yards on the ground on just 10 carries, including a 75-yard scoring run that capped off a stretch of 31 unanswered points. Enwere, a sophomore, didn’t have the kind of per carry success that Muhammad did, but still had a solid game in his own right. On 16 carries, Enwere ran for 73 yards and scored a pair of touchdowns.

The offensive line was the big catalyst for the fantastic ground game, and they’ll have to be equally as stout this week. Washington’s defense has been very good through three weeks, giving up just 11 points per game, the seventh-best total in the nation. After an opening week loss to 23rd-ranked Boise State, the Huskies have outscored their opponents 80-17 over the past two games.

Facing the seventh-ranked scoring defense will be the Bears’ seventh-ranked scoring offense. At over 50 points per game, the Bears can put up scores with the best of them. They’ll need to be able to do so against the strong Washington defense.

Last year’s loss to the Huskies was a backbreaker, and the team never really recovered and got back on the right path. A win this year would be nice revenge, but will be no easy task. If Cal wants to prove they are true contenders in the Pac-12 this season, a win against Washington would be a good start.

Next: Dykes Heaps Praise for Goff