Oregon State a nightmare matchup for struggling Cal secondary 

click to enlarge Cal defense
  • Gary A. Vasquez/USA TODAY Sports file photo
  • The Cal defense ranks 122nd out of 123 FBS teams in pass defense, which could be an issue against pass-happy Oregon State.
Cal is feeling a little better about its injury-plagued defense, but the numbers suggest major problems could lie ahead for the Bears in their home game against Oregon State on Saturday.

Oregon State, which has won five in a row since its season-opening loss to FCS team Eastern Washington, ranks first in the country in passing yards per game. Meanwhile, the Bears rank 122nd of 123 FBS teams in passing yards allowed per game.

That is a bad combination from the Bears’ standpoint, even though Cal’s defense showed signs of progress in its 37-10 loss to UCLA.

“They started a little slow, but have been getting better and better every week,” Cal coach Sonny Dykes said of the Beavers. “That’s typical Oregon State — they always seem to improve at a fast rate.”

Cal (1-5) is searching for any reason for optimism in a season that is spiraling out of control.

The Bears’ defense, which has been decimated by injuries, particularly in the secondary, played its best game of the season against UCLA and kept Cal in the game through the first half.

Whether Cal’s defense can duplicate that effort against Oregon State (5-1) remains to be seen, though.

Oregon State quarterback Sean Mannion is first in the country in passing yards per game, and his 25 touchdown passes are six more than anyone else in the nation.

Cal’s best chance to stay in the game is to match scores with the Beavers, who have their own issues defensively against the pass.

Cal quarterback Jared Goff and receivers Bryce Treggs and Chris Harper should be able to put up some big numbers against the Beavers. Whether it will be enough to allow the Bears to stay in the game is another issue.

NEXT GAME

Cal vs. Oregon State

WHEN: Saturday, 7:30 p.m.

WHERE: Memorial Stadium, Berkeley

TV: ESPN2

RADIO: KGO (810 AM)

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