Getting into a road funk is a very, very bad thing for a team. Getting the losses themselves is bad, but once you get the feeling of "I just want to get back to the home stadium," and then get back there ... and win, you keep that mentality that you need it to win. That's just one of the things Cal will need to overcome on Saturday when they face off against the Oregon State Beavers at Reser Stadium in Pac-10 action.
They're 0-3 as the visitors this year, while going a perfect 4-0 at home. My initial theory may in fact be true, that remains to be seen at this point. It should help that they're coming off a 50-17 domination of Arizona State last weekend. That would certainly put a little bounce into my step, regardless of venue.
Kevin Riley tossed for 240 yards and a pair of scores and was right in line with his 194.9 passing yards-per-game. Marvin Jones is his primary target and he's got 508 yards on thirty-three catches this year, 110 of those yards coming in the drubbing of Arizona State. Shane Vereen continues to be a man-on-fire, rushing for 91 and a pair of scores on 19 carries, putting him at an astounding 721 yards with ten scores on the ground for the season.
With fifteen takeaways and nineteen sacks, to go along with an allowed 114 rushing yards-per game and allowed 187.4 passing yards-per-game, the Bears defense is good-to-above-average. D.J. Holt picked up his first interception of the season last week, and leads the team with 38 tackles thus far.
OSU's defense was taken for 189 yards on the ground and 286 through the air last week against Washington, while forcing three turnovers. It would turn out to be an overtime loss. Dwight Roberson picked up eight tackles and a sack in the loss, but despite his play the Beavers still are giving up 459.2 yards per game. Last week, they started out very slow and gave up consecutive points before picking up the slack and playing well, which of course was followed by another collapse in overtime. They'll need to be a consistent, cohesive unit .
Jacquizz Rodgers is the offensive star for OSU, last week picking up three touchdowns on the ground with 140 yards to support them, and also snagging four reception, one of them a touchdown, for a total of 49 yards. He's gone for 621 yards on the season with 12 scores. His quarterback, Ryan Katz has tossed for a 219.8 yards-per-game average with ten touchdowns against, what appears to be the magic number of four interceptions. The killer part of the four picks? Three of them occurred last week.
Can Cal overcome their road woes and get a win against OSU? It's a winnable game, to be sure, but it will probably require some inconsistencies and mishaps for the OSU defense, which of course, is a distinct possibility.