2011 Predictions & Game Story
Week 8 - Utah at California
Pac-12 Fearless Predictions &
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Oct. 22 at California 34 … Utah 10
CFN Analysis: That’s the Zach Maynard the Bears have been waiting for. He ran well, threw better, and he kept the offense moving with third down conversions helping Cal hang on to the ball for over 35 minutes, and he spread the ball around using Marvin Jones, Michael Calvin, and Keenan Allen to keep the Ute defense guessing. The defense did a tremendous job of getting behind the line and generating pressure all game long, keeping the Utah running game to just 13 yards net. After the nightmares against USC and Oregon, this was the win the team needed, and now it’s time to go on a run with UCLA, Washington State, and Oregon State up next.
There’s no consistency whatsoever. After playing well against Pitt, the defense went bye-bye against Cal, while the offense didn’t work at all with four turnovers, 13 yards rushing, and little production to keep up with the Bear offense. Jon Hays struggled, completing 11-of-22 passes with three picks, and John White was held to 39 yards on 15 carries. Trevor Reilly came up with two sacks and seven tackles, but that’s about all the defense did right. After losing three of their last four games and with an 0-4 Pac-12 start, there can’t be any misses against an easy stretch against Oregon State, Arizona, UCLA, Washington State and Colorado to close. There’s time to make a run, but the worst offense in the league has to work.
(AP) SAN FRANCISCO -- Zach Maynard threw for one touchdown and ran for another and California's defense completely shut down Utah's offense to help the Golden Bears get their first Pac-12 win of the season, 34-10 over the Utes on Saturday.
Isi Sofele ran for 84 yards and a score, Keenan Allen caught a TD pass and Josh Hill returned an interception 32 yards for a score as the Bears (4-3, 1-3) controlled the entire game.
Jon Hays threw three interceptions and lost a fumble, and Utah (3-4, 0-4) had just 57 yards of offense in the first three quarters as the rough introduction to the new conference continues.
The Utes and fellow Pac-12 newcomer Colorado are the only teams in the conference without a Pac-12 win as Utah has lost its first four conference games for the first time since 2002, when it resided in the Mountain West.
With starting quarterback Jordan Wynn and tight end Dallin Rogers out with season-ending injuries and leading receiver DeVonte Christopher sidelined by an ankle injury, the Utes offense generated nothing against Cal's defense.
Hays was 11 for 22 for 148 yards with the four turnovers, running back John White was held to 39 yards on 15 carries a week after gaining 171 yards at Pittsburgh and Utah managed a paltry 177 yards for the entire game.
That made the job easy for a Cal offense that had been held to 24 points in back-to-back lopsided losses to Oregon and Southern California. Maynard bounced back from a four-turnover performance last week against the Trojans to complete 19 of 29 for 255 yards. Allen had eight catches for 78 yards.
Cal scored 20 points in the second quarter to seize control of the game and proceeded to put it away quickly in the second half. After the defense came up with another three-and-out to start the third quarter, Maynard capped an 87-yard drive with a 4-yard keeper that made it 27-0.
Hays was drilled by David Wilkerson and threw his second interception in Cal territory later in the quarter. After being briefly replaced by Griff Robles, Hays was intercepted again on the opening play of the fourth quarter with Hill returning it for the score to make it 34-0.
The Utes finally managed to get on the scoreboard early in the fourth quarter on a 36-yard field goal by Coleman Petersen. White added a 14-yard TD run in the closing minutes.
Cal held Utah to two first downs, 27 total yards and negative 6 yards rushing on the way to taking a 20-0 halftime lead. Sofele's 5-yard run early in the second quarter got the Bears on the scoreboard. Aaron Tipoti then forced a fumble with a hard hit on Hays on the next play from scrimmage, setting up the first of Giorgio Tavecchio's two first-half field goals.
Utah finally got into Cal territory for the first time late in the second quarter with help from two personal fouls against the Bears. But on first down from the 30, Mychal Kendricks intercepted Hays and returned the ball 32 yards to the Utah 42. Maynard threw a 30-yard pass to Marvin Jones and then Allen took a short pass and ran in for a 12-yard touchdown with 27 seconds left in the half.
Utah (3-3) at California (3-3) Oct. 22, 7:00
Here’s The Deal … Utah and Cal are both 0-3 in Pac-12 play, setting up a crossroads game in Berkeley this Saturday. While the winner gets off the conference schneid, and draws a step closer to postseason eligibility, the loser digs a deeper hole for itself. The Utes are actually coming off their second impressive non-conference victory of 2011, upending Pitt at Heinz Field, 26-14. The hope around Salt Lake City is that the mild upset in Pennsylvania could provide a bit of a jolt that’ll carry the team over the course of the second half.
The Bears are in a dark place these days, losers of three consecutive games. The last two defeats were lopsided, blowouts at the hands of USC and Oregon that reminded the program of just how far it is from being a league contender. After missing out on the postseason in 2010, it’s important for Cal, and especially head coach Jeff Tedford, to regroup over the final six games, and earn an opportunity to play another game in December.
Why Utah Might Win: The Utes defense put it all together last weekend, holding Pitt to 120 total yards. The Panthers were unable to spring star back Ray Graham or score an offensive touchdown. Utah has the personnel to be a similar nuisance this week against a struggling Cal offense. It’s especially tough against the run, pressing up to limit opponents to just 2.8 yards a carry. There’s a blue-collar mindset at every level, from DE Derrick Shelby and NT Star Lotulelei, to linebackers Trevor Reilly, Chaz Walker and Matt Martinez. The Bears, which have scored just four offensive touchdowns in the last three games, will once again labor to keep drives alive long enough to reach the end zone.
Why Cal Might Win: The Bears understand the Utes because the two programs are virtually twins at the midpoint of the season. Utah, too, is executing poorly on offense, and could hit a wall this weekend. Cal has a knack for focusing its 3-4 system on stopping the run, which will neutralize the Utes’ best weapon, RB John White. The junior-college transfer has provided the spark in both of his team’s big wins, but will have to work extra hard to navigate Bears linebackers Mychal Kendricks and D.J. Holt. Utah QB Jon Hays has not played well since replacing the injured Jordan Wynn, a situation complicated by another injury, the high ankle sprain of top receiver DeVonte Christopher.
What To Watch Out For: The offensive line is doing no favors for Hays, who was sacked seven times in Pittsburgh last week. If the Utes can’t do a better job of protecting the pocket, the Butte (Calif.) College transfer will have no chance of elevating the level of his play. The blockers will need to pay particular attention to No. 95, senior DE Ernest Owusu. Although he only has 4.5 tackles for loss and 2.5 sacks, he has a bunch of pressures to go along with the ability to disrupt the rhythm of opposing quarterbacks with his pass rush.
What Will Happen: Since Utah and Cal are so similar, it goes to figure that their meeting this weekend will be a toss-up. Whichever team does a better job of converting on offense will likely exit the weekend a game over .500. Although Bears QB Zach Maynard has had his share of missteps in his debut, he still gives the offense a nice array of options, inside and outside the confines of the pocket. His elusiveness and comfort level with WR Keenan Allen will help guide Cal to a hard-fought—and much-needed—win over the visiting Utes.
CFN Prediction: Cal 26 … Utah 20
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California -3 O/U: 46.5
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