Texas Wins If:
Last season the Longhorns were torched by current Los Angeles Rams quarterback Jared Goff and the California offense. This year, when Texas travels to Berkeley to take on the Golden Bears, they will be met by another talented passer. Through two games, California’s senior quarterback Davis Webb ranks second in the nation with 963 passing yards and nine passing touchdowns.Texas wins if it’s able to slow down the Golden Bears vaunted passing attack.
California relies heavily on Webb to lead their offense, and in only two games the quarterback has already attempted a staggering 126 passes.
The Longhorns locked down UTEP last week, limiting the Miners to only 73 passing yards and recording five sacks. While Texas cannot realistically expect to shut down the California passing game to the same extent, it would go a long way if Texas were able to contain Webb and his talented corps of receivers. The Golden Bears thrive through the air, and throwing Cal off its game plan would be huge for the Longhorns.
Additionally, Texas wins if they take advantage of California’s porous run defense. The Golden Bears are coming off a performance against San Diego State in which they gave up more than 300 yards on the ground. Through two weeks, California has given up 582 rushing yards, a number that ranks near the bottom in the nation.
Texas has the weapons to exploit this glaring hole in the California defense. Junior running back D’Onta Foreman should be returning from an injury, and sophomore back Chris Warren is coming off a solid performance against UTEP.
Texas Loses If:
The Longhorns lose if they lose the turnover battle. While the California defense has been far from dominant, they have thrived on forcing turnovers. Through two games, the Golden Bears have already taken the ball five times from opposing offenses. Texas must protect the ball if they want to leave the Golden State with a victory.
Over their first two games, the Longhorns have only turned the ball over twice.Freshman quarterback Shane Buechele was mistake-free against UTEP, and hasn’t thrown an interception since the third quarter of the opening week contest against Notre Dame.
The Longhorns are more talented than the Golden Bears on both sides of the ball. However, they cannot afford to give Webb and the California offense any extra possessions. The Golden Bears come into the matchup averaging more than 45 points a game, and are always potent with the ball.
In last season’s matchup, the Longhorns turned the ball over twice. Both turnovers led to California scores, and proved to be the difference in a one point loss. If Texas coughs the ball up this year, they will again find themselves on the losing end.