In fact, Webb looks more potent than Goff, the No. 1 pick in the draft, so far, which isn’t comforting news for Beavers squad coming off a blowout loss to Colorado last week, even if they will be in the friendly confines of Reser Stadium.
Stopping Cal’s offense will be tough, and honestly, the Beavers’ best bet to stop it will be with offense of their own — long, sustainable drives. Here are other keys for the Beavers to stage the upset.
Establish the Run. Art Pierce’s performance against Colorado (61 yards on eight carries for an average of 7.6 yards per carry) was one of the few positives for OSU. And they need to let the freshman build on that strong performance by giving him more carries against California. First off, Cal is improving on defense but it’s not their strength, still, and the Beavers need to find a way to stop Davis Webb, and their best shot might be keeping him off the field, with their own long drives.
Pressure Webb: Speaking of Webb, have you seen his numbers so far? They are video game-like. In five games, he’s completed 62 percent of his passes for 2,143 yards, 22 touchdowns, and six interceptions. It’s easy to see why some NFL pundits consider him the top QB in the 2017 draft. Needless to say, the OSU front 7 has to find a way to generate some pressure and rattle Webb. It’s a tall order for a group that has struggled in this area, but if there was a time to break through, it’s now!
Create Turnovers. The Beavers will need to force some turnovers this weekend, and their best bet, because Cal throws the ball a lot, is intercepting Webb a few times. The OSU secondary will be looking to rebound from a rough showing against Colorado, and should be determined to make big plays. Maybe an unsung player such as Xavier Crawford will step up. Or perhaps the safeties can deliver hard hits and force the ball loose. Either way, the Beavers need takeaways.
Garretson Must Shine. The coaches are giving Garretson every chance to--he needs to take full advantage.
Don’t Forget About Other WRs. A lot of attention (and rightfully so) will be paid attention to Chad Hansen who has emerged as one of the top wide receivers in the nation (55 catches, 754 yards, 8 TDs). But guess what? The Beavers can’t sleep on Cal’s other receivers, namely Demetris Robertson and Melquise Stovall. The Golden Bears might not have the trio of Kenny Lawler, Bryce Trigg, and Darius Powe anymore, but they are still strong at receiver.
It’s hard to imagine a worse score than last weekend, but it could happen. Cal’s offense is more potent than Colorado’s, and its defense has made strides. Stopping Utah on 4-and-1 last Saturday to seal the win was impressive. That said, don’t be surprised to see a game similar to the Colorado game. But for the Beavers’ sake, let’s hope for a much-improved effort on both sides of the ball.