BERKELEY, Calif. – Oregon State began the month with an impressive 17-point road win over UCLA, but that momentum quickly dissipated in last week's 52-7 home loss to Utah. The Beavers' rebuilding process continues Saturday at California, which opened the season with four straight wins before losing back-to-back games to Arizona State and Oregon.
TV: 2:30 p.m. ET, Pac-12 Network. LINE: Cal -11
The Beavers were averaging 37 points before going dormant against Utah, which held the Beavers to 13 net rushing yards and didn't allow a score until the final minute. "We're working to build something here," Oregon State second-year coach Jonathan Smith told reporters. "We put a ton of work into it, and I think we've made some progress. But it's not always going to continue on a steady line. It's going to have some ups and downs." The Beavers could struggle to score again Saturday against a Cal defense that has held 13 straight opponents under 25 points and boasts one of the nation's top defensive players in linebacker Evan Weaver. The dynamic senior leads the nation in total tackles (84) and ranks second in solo tackles (48) and total tackles per game (14.0).
ABOUT OREGON STATE (2-4, 1-2 Pac-12)
The Beavers are ranked 11th in the conference in scoring defense at 34 points per game but have several players to watch on offense – including wideout Isaiah Hodgins, who leads the conference in receptions (51), receiving yards (709), receiving yards per game (118.2) and touchdown receptions (9). Senior quarterback Jake Luton has 14 touchdowns against one interception but was held to 131 passing yards without a touchdown and threw his first interception of the season in last week's loss to Utah. Artavis Pierce has rushed for 503 yards with five touchdowns in place of Jermar Jefferson, who has been sidelined with an ankle injury.
ABOUT CAL (4-2, 1-2)
Junior Devon Modster is expected to make his second start in place of injured quarterback Chase Garbers after throwing for 190 yards and a touchdown in last week's 17-7 loss to Oregon. The Bears are last in the conference in scoring and total offense and could use a strong performance from running back Christopher Brown Jr., who rushed for 197 yards in the opener against UC Davis but has averaged 2.9 yards per carry over the past two games. Defensive lineman Luc Bequette has been a force up front with 31 tackles and 2.5 sacks while the secondary ranks 13th nationally in team passing efficiency defense (109.86).
1. Cal leads the all-time series 37-33 and has won the past two matchups - including 49-7 last season in Berkeley.
2. Oregon State LB Avery Roberts missed last week's game due to a concussion but could return Saturday.
3. Cal has allowed only three passing touchdowns in six games.
PREDICTION: Cal 27, Oregon State 17