California (1-1) vs. No. 11 Texas (2-0)
When: Sat., Sept. 17, 7:30 p.m.
Where: California Memorial Stadium
TV: ESPN -- Mark Jones (play by play), Rod Gilmore (analyst), Quint Kessenich (sideline)
Radio: KGO 810 AM - Joe Starkey (Play-by-Play), former Cal QB Mike Pawlawski (Analyst), Todd McKim (Sideline)
Sirius/XM Satellite Radio: Sirius Channel 83, XM 202, Internet 962
Cal Student Radio: KALX 90.7 FM - David Straub (play by play), Eamonn Shannon (analyst), Manna Yohannes (analyst)
Series History: Texas leads, 5-1
Last Meeting: Cal 45 at Texas 44 (Sept. 19, 2015)
Last Meeting at Cal: Texas 17, Cal 0 (Sept. 20, 1969)
First Meeting: at Texas 33, Cal 0 (Oct. 3, 1959)
Current Win Streak: Cal, 1
Injuries: Cal -- Matthew Rockett (doubtful; lower leg), Patrick Mekari (questionable; ankle) ... Texas: RB D'Onta Foreman (probable; groin), S Dylan Haines (probable; head injury), CB Holton Hill (probable; wrist) and TE Caleb Bluiett (probable; shoulder)
What to Watch When Cal is on Offense:
- What To Watch: 3 Things on Offense
- Texas will at times go with a 3-3-5 look against the Bears, but for the most part, will operate out of a base 4-3. While the scheme and the personnel are the same as last season, the Longhorns are going to be much more of a challenge. “They were young last year, and I think this is year two in that scheme for them, and I think that you can tell on film that they’ve jumped to a whole ‘nother level on defense," said quarterback Davis Webb. “Their defensive players are so athletic. They do a great job rallying to the football and playing hard for each other. I have nothing but respect for their defense, and what they’ve shown the first two games. They’ve done a great job obviously against Notre Dame, containing DeShone Kizer and limiting them from throwing the ball for a lot of yards. They’ve done a great job the first two games of the year, and we have our hands full, because they do a great job on film and they proved it the first two games of the season.”
- Cal has run the ball just 53 times and dropped back to pass the ball 130 times, including 76 dropbacks against the Aztecs last week. Last year against Texas, the Bears took advantage of what would wind up as the 111th (out of 127) rushing defense in the Football Bowl Subdivision, running 41 times for 280 yards and three touchdowns, led by Khalfani Muhammad's 10 carries for 164 yards.
- After running 16 times for 73 yards against the Longhorns last season, Texas-born running back Vic Enwere is averaging over 7.0 yards per carry in two games thus far, and is looking to have a big game.
- Texas did not allow a single play by UTEP last week in the red zone.
- As much as Cal has thrown the ball, the defensive backs are very much the strength of the defense. While defensive tackle Paul Boyette Jr. is on the Senior Bowl preseason watch list, cornerback Davante Davis was named Preseason All-Big-12, and safety Dylan Haines is on the Lott IMPACT Trophy and Senior Bowl preseason watch lists.
- Linebacker Malik Jefferson is the captain of the defense, with a team-high 13 tackles in two games, and is a Preseason All-American (1st team, Sporting News; 2nd team, Sports Illustrated), the Preseason Big-12 Defensive Player of the Year, a preseason All-Big-12 election, and is on the watch lists for the Bednarik Award, Nagursky Trophy, Butkus Award and Walter Camp Award. "He's a really athletic guy who can run sideline to sideline," said head coach Sonny Dykes. "I was watching a play the other day where he's covering the drag on a bootleg, then decides to play the quarterback and is athletic enough to knock the ball down when the quarterback decides to throw it. He's a big guy who plays physical. He brings it when he tackles you, and he'll hit you. He's a good open-field tackler for a guy his size. He's a sideline-to-sideline linebacker, is a good blitzer when they use him in that capacity. He can cover, he can blitz. He's just a good football player."
- Texas has allowed 170.5 rushing yards per game this season, so perhaps that run defense isn't quite as strong as all those awards make it seem. That said, the Longhorns gave up 206 rushing yards to then-No. 10 Notre Dame, and 135 against UTEP.
- Who starts at left tackle? My money is on Aaron Cochran, as Patrick Mekari was limited for much of the week after rolling his ankle against San Diego State.
What to Watch When Cal is on Defense
- What to Watch: 3 Things on Defense
- Texas's offense -- from the Art Briles coaching tree, by way of offensive coordinator Sterlin Gilbert -- shares much in common with the Tony Franklin system, although the Longhorns are much more robust in the run game, averaging 53 rushing attempts per game (though only averaging 3.85 yards per rush). Texas ranks ninth in the nation in running frequency, and with 12.5 rushing first downs per game, the Longhorns rank eighth in that category. Their six rushing touchdowns are 23rd in the nation.
- Erstwhile quarterback Jerrod Heard, who put up 527 yards of total offense in last year's game, injured his throwing shoulder this spring, and is now a wide receiver, with two of the Longhorns' longest receptions this season. So far, he's hauled in eight passes for 119 yards, with a long of 68, and two touchdowns. He's also rushed once for five yards. There's a strong possibility that Heard makes a cameo or two at wildcat quarterback on Saturday.
- The 18-wheeler package that Texas runs is designed to do exactly what it sounds like: Truck opponents. With Tyrone Swoopes (jersey No. 18) in the backfield, the Longhorns bring a 6-foot-4, 249-pound ball carrier into the mix, and based on the fact that Cal has allowed 248 rushing yards against Hawaii, and 334 rushing yards against San Diego State, with a bevy of second-level fit and tackling issues, that doesn't bode well for the Bears.
- "It adds an extra runner," said linebacker Ray Davison of Swoopes, who has rushed 15 times for 56 yards and three touchdowns. "When you stop the run, you generally don't account for the quarterback. he's a bigger guy, so we're going to start with wrapping him up and just go from there."
- The Longhorns, aside from Swoopes and Heard, bring two big backs into the fray, with now-healthy D'Onta Foreman (6-foot-1, 249 pounds) and Chris Warren (6-foot-2, 252 pounds). Foreman sat out against UTEP last week, but rushed nine times for 47 yards against the Bears last season, averaging 5.2 yards per carry. Warren rushed five times for 24 yards against the Bears in 2015, and has rushed 34 times for 141 yards so far this season.
- "I would say the biggest thing is execution," Davison said. "We have a good game plan for every team we face. It's about our guys executing those plays. Most of the plays we give up aren't really them being better than us, or making a big play. It's our lack of execution. You'll have 10 guys doing the right thing, and one guy is out of his fit, and that creates the big play. Things like that are really correctable."
- Texas rushed 52 times for 286 yards against last year's defense, a defense which has since lost seven defensive linemen, cornreback Darius White, run-stopping safety Damariay Drew, starting safeties Griffin Piatt and Stefan McClure and linebackers Nathan Broussard, Hardy Nickerson, Jake Kearney and Michael Barton.
- The Longhorns are far from one-dimensional. Freshman quarterback Shane Buechele has completed 38-of-53 passes (71.7%) for 524 yards, with six touchdowns to one interception. He's already matched Texas's true freshman record with his six TD passes in a season. Buechele is the only true freshman Longhorns quarterback to pass for over 200 yards in his first two games. Rick McIvor did it once, against Baylor in 1979.
- Buechele is more than an arm. He's rushed 16 times for 67 yards so far this season. That said, the main attraction has been the fact that he has remarkable touch down field and elite arm talent, which will test cornerbacks Marloshawn Franklin and Darius Allensworth.
- Cal's head coach, Sonny Dykes, is Texas-born (Big Springs, Tex.), and his father, Spike Dykes, is a Texas coaching legend, who coached the Longhorns under Darrell K. Royal, and then moved on to coach Texas Tech. Asked who his father will be rooting for, Dykes said, "It better be us."
- Offensive coordinator Jake Spavital did not coach against Texas once in his three-year tenure at Texas A&M Aggies.
- A 3-0 start would mark Texas's first 3-0 start since the Longhorns went 4-0 in 2012.
- Both Cal and Texas have scored a total of 91 points in their first two games.
- Cal has seven Texas natives on the roster: Davis Webb (Prosper, Tex.), linebacker Cameron Goode (Spring, Tex.), cornerback Josh Drayden (DeSoto, Tex.), Enwere (Missouri City, Tex.), running back Billy McCrary III (Austin, Tex.), defensive end Noah Westerfield (Frisco, Tex.) and defensive tackle Tevin Paul (Autin, Tx.).
- Buechele's first road test shouldn't be incredibly stressful. His father, Steve Buechele, was roommates with John Elway at Stanford. Steve Buechele is from Lancaster, Calif., and the Buechele family has a vacation house in La Quinta, Calif. Shane said he was excited to go to California, where "we have a lot of family."
- Texas has not been ranked as high as No. 11 since weeks three and four of the 2010 season. Prior to entering the polls a week ago, the Longhorns had not been ranked in the AP Top 25 since December of 2013.
- Texas Defensive Coordinator Talks Cal
- Pac-12 Round-Up: Top Stories in Week Three
- Call Your Shot: Texas at Cal
- RECRUITING: Cal Lands Georgia DB
- Scout's Take: Cal Lands DB with Awareness (members)
- BTTV: LEFT TACKLE UP IN THE AIR
- IN-DEPTH PREVIEW: JAKE SPAVITAL PREVIEWS TEXAS (members)
- WHAT TO WATCH: 3 THINGS ON OFFENSE
- THREE THINGS TO WATCH WITH CAL ON DEFENSE
- SCOUTING THE OPPONENT: Q&A WITH HORNS DIGEST (members)
- BTTV: ART KAUFMAN TALKS TEXAS
- ONE ON RUN: FRED TATE TALKS RUN GAME (members)
- CAL PARTNERS WITH BEASTMODE
- INSIDE THE MATCHUP: TEXAS VS CAL
- CAL VISIT LIST FOR TEXAS (members)
- BTTV: SONNY DYKES PREVIEWS TEXAS
- DYKES NOT KEEN ON CALIFORNIA MATCH-UPS
- TEXAS'S STRENGTH IS CAL'S WEAKNESS (members)
- CHARLIE STRONG PREVIEWS CAL (members)
- FIFTH QUARTER: CAL VS. SAN DIEGO STATE (members)