BERKELEY, Calif. – California isn't leading the nation in style points, but the 16th-ranked Bears aren't about to apologize for their impressive start. Cal has opened the season with four straight wins and looks to maintain that momentum Friday night against visiting Arizona State.
TV: 10:30 p.m. ET, ESPN. LINE: Cal -4.5
Cal's defense secured last Saturday's 28-20 road victory over Ole Miss with a stop at the goal line and shared the spotlight with quarterback Chase Garbers, who threw for four touchdowns and finished 23-of-35 for 357 yards in a breakout performance. "Chase was awesome. That's the best game he has played; it's not even close," Cal coach Justin Wilcox told reporters. "I was impressed how Chase looked so comfortable. He was really confident out there." Garbers could post similar numbers against a young Arizona State defense that allowed 21 combined points in its first three games but lacked a pass rush in last Saturday's 34-31 loss to Colorado. Defensive tackle Evan Fields has a team-high 32 tackles, but the Sun Devils need to generate more pressure Friday after recording a total of seven sacks and one interception over the first four games.
ABOUT ARIZONA STATE (3-1, 0-1 Pac-12)
Freshman quarterback Jayden Daniels threw for 345 yards and two touchdowns against Colorado and relied heavily on senior wideout Brandon Aiyuk, who had nine receptions for 122 yards and a score. Eno Benjamin had 83 yards and two TDs running behind an improving offensive line that boasts two freshmen. Walk-on kicker Cristian Zendejas has made nine of his 10 field-goal attempts but lacks the range of starter Brandon Ruiz, who has yet to play this season because of an undisclosed injury and is unlikely to return Friday.
ABOUT CAL (4-0, 1-0)
The Bears are the lone unbeaten team in the Pac-12 and their offense is showing signs of catching up to their stellar defense, which is allowing 17.3 points per game. Senior inside linebacker Evan Weaver, who recorded a career-high 22 tackles against the Rebels and was named the conference's defensive player of the week for the second time in the last three weeks, leads the nation in total tackles (63) and solo tackles (40). Running back Christopher Brown, Jr. had 36 carries for 197 yards in the opener versus UC Davis but has rushed a total of 37 times in the last three games.
1. Cal holds an 18-16 edge in the series, including 10-5 in Berkeley.
2. The Sun Devils have scored in double figures in 123 straight games, which is the longest active streak in the nation.
3. The Bears have held 11 straight opponents to fewer than 24 points.
PREDICTION: Cal 24, Arizona State 17