Cal Bears Take on the Arizona State Sun Devils in Regular Season Finale


With one game left before Bowl season begins, the Cal Bears and Arizona State Sun Devils match up to end their respective regular seasons.

A season that started with so much promise is nearly at its end, and the California Golden Bears are one win away from their first seven-win season in five years. To end the regular season before Bowl season begins, the Bears welcome the Arizona State Sun Devils to Kabam Field at Memorial Stadium. The Sun Devils are also 6-5, and are looking for their fourth straight season of at least eight wins, if they can win this weekend and in their Bowl game. The Bears are on the prowl for their first eight-win season since 2009, and their first Bowl win since 2008.

Could this be junior quarterback Jared Goff‘s last home game as a Bear? There is real hype around him as a quarterback prospect in the draft, with him being labeled as a legitimate candidate to be the first quarterback taken in the upcoming draft. He’s had a great college career, and it would be understandable were Goff to make the decision to forego his senior season and head to the pros. But first, he has the Sun Devils in his path.

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Goff enters this game with 3,705 yards and 32 touchdowns on the season, 269 yards and four touchdowns shy of breaking his own school records in each category. Against Arizona State, he has a great chance to pass those marks.

The Sun Devils own the worst pass defense in the Pac-12, allowing 301.6 passing yards per game on the season. The success of their defense is predicated on stopping the run and getting after the quarterback, both of which they do very well. On the ground, ASU allows 123.2 yards per game, the second-lowest total in the Pac-12. They average four sacks a game on opposing quarterbacks, the highest total in the nation.

Cal’s offensive line has had a tough time holding their water this season, and will have a very tall task on their hands against the Sun Devils. Over the past eight games, Cal has allowed three sacks per game, and has forced Goff to work very hard to evade pressure and release the ball quickly. The Bears’ front line will need to figure out a way to give Goff a pocket to work with, and stopping senior linebacker Antonio Longino will be of top priority. Longino leads Arizona State with 7.5 sacks and 17.5 tackles for loss.

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Both teams could potentially be without their starting running backs in this contest. Cal’s senior Daniel Lasco has been ruled out because of an ankle injury, while Arizona State’s sophomore running back Demario Richard is questionable because of his own ankle injury. Lasco had previously been held out of games because of a hip strain, and Richard missed a game earlier this year with a knee injury.

Junior Khalfani Muhammad, one of Lasco’s backups who had picked up the slack in his stead, is also hobbled by a foot injury, but is listed as probable. Sophomores Tre Watson and Vic Enwere will figure to get the most work against the Sun Devils. In place of Richard, sophomore Kalen Ballage will get a lot of work. He’s run for 596 yards on the season, including a pair of 100-yard games. Against a weak Cal run defense, which has allowed over 260 rush yards per game over the past eight games, Ballage could ball out and have a huge day.

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Like the Bears, Arizona State started the season with fairly high hopes. In the preseason polls, the Sun Devils were ranked 15th, but dropped out completely after the first week, when the unranked Texas A&M Aggies blew them out, 38-17. Since then, the Sun Devils have been unable to crack the top-25 again.

This will be the first matchup between these two contestants since 2012, when Arizona State won 27-17. Prior to that, the Bears had won eight out of the nine previous meetings.