The California Golden Bears will head on the road to battle the #12 Utah Utes in PAC-12 action Saturday night from Rice-Eccles Stadium. The California Golden Bears are in must-win mode. They have dropped three consecutive games to fall to 1-3 in PAC-12 play after opening the season with four straight wins. The Golden Bears' struggles can be attributed to the absence of #1 QB Chase Garbers who is out indefinitely with a shoulder injury. His replacement Devin Modster has not fared well. California is 2-1 in their three road games.
The Utah Utes enter this one riding a three-game winning streak. They stand in first place in the PAC-12 South with a 3-1 conference record. The Utes earned a decisive 21-3 home win against a strong Arizona State team last week. The Utes lone conference loss occurred against USC which is also their only defeat all season. Utah’s defense continues to excel and they climbed one position to #12 in this week’s AP Top 25 rankings. The Utes are a perfect 3-0 on their home field. This marks the first meeting between these two sides since 2016 in a game California won by a 28-23 score.
Golden Bears Offense Stumbles in Third Straight Loss
The California Golden Bears are in need of a win. The Golden Bears have dropped each of their last three games despite playing outstanding defense. They lost to Arizona State, Oregon, followed by a 21-17 upset home loss to Oregon State last week in a game that had California favored by 11 points. Devon Modster who is replacing injured #1 QB Chase Garbers has struggled, recording only 380 passing yards with a 2:3 TD to INT ratio in about 2.5 games of action. The junior QB exited last week’s loss with an injury and is expected to be a game-time decision. If he is unable to play the inexperienced freshman Spencer Brasch will start.
The Golden Bears’ running game is having trouble as well. Their leading rusher Christopher Brown Jr. has only tallied a combined 96 yards on 33 rush attempts in his last two games, and he has collected 480 rushing yards on the season. This Utah rush defense will be the best they have seen this season.
Nikko Remigio and Jordan Duncan are the only two players with over 200 receiving yards. Remigio has 251 receiving yards and Duncan has 219 yards. The Golden Bears offense has looked terrible without their #1 QB, and Utah is another stellar defense that will pose a challenge.
The California defense is a strength. They are effective against both the run and pass, and they have not allowed more than 24 points this season. The Golden Bears are second-last in the PAC-12 North, and they are scoring an average of only 19.9 points, ranking them 116th overall. California is conceding an average of 18.7 points, pegging them 20th in the FBS.
#12 Utah's Elite Defense Prevails in Third Straight Victory
The Utah Utes moved into first place in the PAC-12 South with a 3-1 record thanks to their dominating 21-3 home win against Arizona State last week. The Utes have also defeated Washington State and Oregon State in their current three-game streak. Tyler Huntley left the game against Arizona State last week early with a leg injury, but he will play in this one. Overall he is having a terrific season. The senior QB has accumulated 1564 passing yards with a dazzling 9:1 TD to INT ratio, and he has added 229 rushing yards.
The Utes running game continues to be a big threat led by rushing leader Zack Moss who is locked in, rushing for at least 90 yards in three out of his last four games. The senior RB has increased his season total to 613 rushing yards on a sizzling average of 6.6 yards per attempt.
Bryan Thompson leads all Utes’ with 324 receiving yards. The sophomore WR has only made five receptions over his last two games. The Utah offense was kept in check last week, but they scored 38 and 52 points respectively in their first two games of this winning streak.
Outstanding performance: the ENTIRE Utah defense 🙌 pic.twitter.com/v0Sw5OfrGf— Utah Football (@Utah_Football) October 21, 2019
The Utes’ defense can be considered one of the best in the entire FBS. They have the #2 ranked rush defense in the country as they are holding opponents to 61 rushing yards per game, while their pass defense is 30th overall. Utah is scoring an average of 32.9 points, ranking them 42nd in the country. They are conceding an average of 11.7 points, good for sixth in the FBS.
The California Golden Bears are:
- 16-33 ATS in their last 49 games following an ATS loss.
- 2-5 ATS in their last 7 games on field turf.
The Utah Utes are:
- 6-0 ATS in their last 6 October games.
- 9-3 ATS in their last 12 conference games.