Cal Football: Bear Defense Set To Take On Oregon State’s Mighty Running Game

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Cal’s defense will find out against Oregon State on Saturday if what it achieved last week against Colorado was real.

A week after the Bears quelled one of the nation’s worst offenses – holding the Buffaloes 35 yards rushing in a 26-3 win – they find themselves facing one of FBS’s most surprisingly dominant offenses.

Yes, Oregon State leads the Pac-12 in scoring (35.1 points per game), not its neighbor Oregon (33.9).

“It’s a different challenge. Our guys get it, ”Cal coach Justin Wilcox said. “It’s going to take a very good week of preparation because they are a talented team.”

The strength of the Beavers’ offense lies in their running game, which ranks seventh in the country with 245 yards per game. In fact, they are better than that. The top two teams on the list – Air Force and Army – almost don’t count because running the ball is all they do.

The three service academies, also including the Navy, average less than 10 attempted passes per game.

Subtract them from the equation, and the Beavers are No.5 in rushed attack against teams that run and throw the ball.

When asked to explain Oregon State’s success in running the ball, Wilcox said it was a complete set. “The offensive online game. To recover. They do a great job schematically. Different groups of staff. They use tight ends. They are good at entertaining – they will fly you away. The quarterback gets involved with some of the RPOs, ”he said.

“It all starts from the start with the O line. It’s a talented group, all the starters are back, they are big and physical. The line of scrimmage usually goes forward for them. It will be a very, very big challenge for us defensively.

Aside from their opener, as they rushed for just 78 yards in a loss to Purdue, the Beavers’ rushing game got the better of opposing defenses.

In five other games, the OSU running game produced at least 109 more yards than its opponent yielded, on average, over the rest of its schedule.

Against USC, for example, the Beavers ran for 322 yards. It’s 199 Following than the average allowed by the Trojans in their six other games.

Cal linebacker Trey Paster, in the video above, offers his assessment of the Oregon State’s running offense.

BJ Baylor, a 5-foot-11, 205-pound junior from Wharton, Texas, runs behind a line of OSU veterans. Baylor is 10th nationally with 830 rushing yards and has exceeded 100 yards on five occasions this season, including in each of the Beavers’ last four games.

Wilcox seems impressed with Baylor, who just won a 152-yard performance against Utah.

“He’s a very talented guy. Downhill races, a cut. He can do arm tackles and if he goes out into the field, he can go.

Three O-line members from Oregon State secured spots on the 2020 All-Pac-12 squads, led by senior center Nathan Eldridge, who was a first-team selection.

Here’s the game-by-game breakdown of the Beavers, starting with their rushed performance against each of their opponents, and then how these teams have defended the race well in their other games:

at PURDUE: 25 rushes, 78 yards, 3.1 yards per attempt, 3 TDs

(Purdue allowing 151.7 yards, 4.0 per attempt in other games)

vs. HAWAII: 42 rush, 256 yards, 6.1 yards per attempt, 4 touchdowns

(Hawaii allowing 136.3 yards, 4.0 per attempt in other games)

against IDAHO: 39 rush, 248 yards, 6.4 yards per attempt, 3 TDs

(Idaho allowing 139.2 yards, 3.3 per attempt in other games)

at USC: 51 rush, 322 yards, 6.3 yards per attempt, 2 TDs

(USC allowing 123.0 yards, 3.8 yards per attempt in other games)

vs. WASHINGTON: 50 rush, 242 yards, 4.8 yards per attempt, 3 touchdowns

(Washington allowing 186.5 yards, 4.9 yards per attempt in other games)

at WASHINGTON ST: 45 rush, 309 yards, 6.9 yards per attempt, 3 TDs

(WSU allowing 144.9 yards, 4.1 yards per attempt in other games)

against UTAH: 41 rush, 260 yards, 6.3 yards per attempt, 3 TDs

(Utah allowing 128.3 yards, 3.5 yards per attempt in other games)

Cover photo of Oregon State running back BJ Baylor by Soobum, Im, USA Today

FFollow Cal Sports Report’s Jeff Faraudo on Twitter: @jefffaraudo


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