Cal will open the conference schedule on the road for the third straight season, this time heading to Seattle to face Washington on Saturday.
The Bears have started 3-0 for the sixth time under coach Jeff Tedford, and the first time since 2006.
Washington (2-1) has won the last two meetings between the teams, including last year’s finale at Memorial Stadium, which cost Cal a bowl berth for the first time under Tedford.
In last year’s matchup, Cal quarterback Brock Mansion threw for 94 yards as the Bears lost 16-13 when Washington scored a touchdown as time expired.
Tedford said not getting a bowl berth was the motivation for his team in the offseason.
“It was somewhere we hadn’t been before,” Tedford said. “The motivation for this team is to play their best.”
The Huskies will provide a tough test, despite the loss of QB Jake Locker, as they will rely on quarterback Keith Price.
Price, who Tedford described as very athletic and multidimensional, has thrown for 11 touchdowns in three games.
“They do a lot of the same things [as last year],” Tedford said.
Washington opened the season with wins against Hawaii and Eastern Washington, before losing last week to then-No. 10 Nebraska.
Quarterback Zach Maynard has started to grasp the offense faster than expected.
“The learning curve has definitely picked up for him,” Tedford said.
Maynard has thrown for more than 200 yards in each of his first three games and nine touchdowns.
“Zach’s on track to be a very good quarterback,” Tedford said.
The wide receiver tandem of Keenan Allen and Marvin Jones has continued to be impressive, each posting near 300 yards receiving through the first three games.
Sophomore defensive lineman Deandre Coleman will be making his return to his hometown of Seattle and has made vast improvements in picking up the speed of the game, Tedford said. He has been sharing time with senior Ernest Owusu.
Freshman Brendan Bigelow burst onto the scene last week against Presbyterian by returning two kicks for 111 yards, including an 88-yard touchdown return.
That return was the 10th longest kick return in school history.
Bigelow earned Pac-12 Special Teams Player of the Week honors.
Cal is 6-3 against Washington under Tedford, but has lost three of the past four.