BERKELEY -- Washington comes in to Berkeley on Saturday with a rushing attack that’s central to its 4-1 record. The Huskies have run the ball 242 times this season, and thrown the ball 129 times. Over the past three games, California has given up 1,709 passing yards.
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While the Bears are stout in run defense – third in the conference, in fact -- and will be tested by the duo of Lavon Coleman and Dwayne Washington, it’s hard not to think that quarterback Cyler Miles won’t test a very, very young and inexperienced secondary.
“Rush defense is great, but, then again, if I’m Washington, and I’m looking at our film, they’re going to want to throw the ball, because that’s where the money’s going to come from,” said linebacker Michael Barton. “We’re going to prepare for everything. Stopping the run, I don’t think, will be an issue. The biggest issue will be defending the pass, as it’s been the past few weeks, and we’re going to address that. We’re going to come out as a brand new defense, a lot stronger.”
How will Cal counter? Offense, offense and more offense. The Bears can very easily drop 50, and much of that is due to quarterback Jared Goff.
His 22 touchdown passes to just three interceptions is among the nation’s best ratios (he had 18 and 10 last season). He’s thrown for 1,875 yards – seventh in the nation. His passer efficiency rating is third in the country (188.5). Most importantly for Goff, his team is 4-1.
“I could throw for zero yards, but as long as we win,” Goff says, “I’m happy.”
On the other side of the coin, Miles can be a very effective offensive weapon. The former U.S. Army All-American stands 6-foot-4, 225 pounds, with over 100 total rushing yards in his first two games after being suspended against Hawaii, but only two net rushing yards since. He bottomed out against Stanford two weeks ago, with a raw quarterback rating of 91.5, going 15-for-29 passing for just 98 yards and one touchdown. He has thrown at least one touchdown in each of his past four games, including three against Georgia State, when he went 19-for-27 for 154 yards. He has yet to eclipse 200 passing yards this season.
Thus far, the Huskies have piled up their 4-1 record against teams with a combined record of 13-14, narrowly beating FCS opponent Eastern Washington (5-1), 59-52.
Find out more about the Huskies in our weekly video feature, Three and Out, above.