BERKELEY, Calif. – One week after ending Washington's 15-game home winning streak, California looks to avoid a letdown Saturday when the Bears face visiting North Texas. Cal recorded its first road victory over a ranked opponent in 10 years when Greg Thomas booted a 17-yard field goal with eight seconds remaining to seal last Saturday's 20-19 win over the Huskies.
TV: 4:15 p.m. ET, Pac-12 Network. LINE: Cal -14
Linebacker Evan Weaver was named Pac-12 defensive player of the week after recording 18 tackles with two tackles for loss to lead the Bears, who endured a lightning delay of nearly three hours at the start of the game. The Cal defense has held nine consecutive opponents under 25 points and boasts a stellar secondary led by Traveon Beck, Ashtyn Davis, Elijah Hicks, Jaylinn Hawkins and Camryn Bynum, who recorded his fifth career interception last week. Cal's offense generated five 20-plus yard plays in the win over Washington and received a steady performance from quarterback Chase Garbers, who was 11-of-18 for 111 yards passing. The Bears are looking to start 3-0 for the third straight season but need to be careful not to overlook North Texas, which was picked to finish first in the West Division of the Conference USA preseason media poll.
ABOUT NORTH TEXAS (1-1)
The Mean Green opened with a 51-31 win over Abilene Christian but allowed five sacks in last Saturday's 49-27 loss to rival SMU. North Texas is averaging 485.5 yards per game of total offense and could have a breakout star in sophomore running back Tre Siggers, who switched from safety following last season and carried 18 times for 164 yards and a touchdown against the Mustangs. Senior quarterback Mason Fine was named the C-USA offensive player of the year in each of the past two seasons but faced constant pressure against SMU and finished 17-of-32 passing for 152 yards with a touchdown and interception.
ABOUT CAL (2-0)
The Bears have averaged 212.5 yards rushing through two games and feature a dynamic tandem at running back in Christopher Brown Jr. and Marcel Dancy, who had seven carries for 72 yards and two touchdowns against Washington. The offensive line lost starting left tackle Will Craig to a season-ending injury in the season-opening 27-13 win over UC Davis but responded with a strong effort against the Huskies. Linebacker Kuony Deng has provided the defense with an immediate spark with 10.5 tackles and a sack in his first two games.
1. Cal is 7-0 in non-conference games under Justin Wilcox, including wins over North Carolina (twice), Ole Miss and BYU.
2. North Texas is 2-6 all-time against Pac-12 teams, with the last meeting coming in 2002 in a 14-9 loss at Arizona.
3. Cal is 5-for-5 in the red zone with three touchdowns and two field goals.
PREDICTION: Cal 35, North Texas 21