"We expect a fight this week," said Cal defensive end Cameron Jordan. "Oregon has a good running game, but we plan on playing very physical on defense."
If Cal is able to contain the Duck's ground game, they will force Oregon into a lot of passing situations. It will allow the Bears' front seven to pressure the quarterback into making bad decisions with the football. California's secondary has proven that they are able to cause a lot of deflections and come up with key interceptions.
In the first game of the year, Cal was able to make life hard for Javon Ringer one of the best backs in the country. Against Maryland and Arizona, the Bears' defense allowed those backs to have success on the ground. The inconsistent play in those two games is something Jordan and the Bears do not want to repeat.
"Oregon's offense is based on their running game," said Jordan. "We have shown that we can stop the run and we plan on playing tough against the run this week."
In Cal's five victories, opposing teams have not been able to run the ball, and if the Bears can stop an Oregon team that has accounted for 21 rushing touchdowns that could be a recipe for a victory.
Besides the Ducks running backs, sophomore quarterback Jeremiah Masoli is a threat to throw and run the ball. Last week, Masoli was 17-of-26 passing with one touchdown and ran for 85 yards and one touchdown. The Ducks will attempt to keep the Bear defense off balance with their running game and also a lot of read-option plays that the Ducks could pass or run.
"We need to contain him from running to the outside," Jordan said of Masoli. "If he passes, we need to stay in our rush lanes."
It will be difficult for the Bears to stop the Ducks offense, but Cal does have enough play makers on defense that have the ability to come up with turnovers in key points of the game. This is a game that Cal should try to control the clock with their running game and keep the potent Oregon offense on the sideline as much as possible.
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