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Thursday, October 19, 2006
Daily Herald: High octane offense - Can UW defenders handle potent Cal?
By Mike Allende
SEATTLE - Call it USC light. Like the Trojans of a year ago, California's offense features a couple of star running backs, some fast, talented receivers and a quarterback able to take advantage of all the weapons. Add in a Washington defense coming off of one of its worst games of the season, and it could equal a long day for the Huskies (2-2 Pacific-10, 4-3 overall) when they play at No. 11 Cal (4-0, 6-1) at 12:30 p.m. Saturday. The good news for Washington is that Cal is coming off of its worst offensive game since a season-opening loss to Tennessee. The Golden Bears put up just 21 points in a win over WashingtonState last week, primarily relying on running back Marshawn Lynch as the Cougars slowed the Cal passing game. But that also may be the bad news, as the Bears are pushing to reach a Bowl Championship Series game and need all the impressive wins they can get.
A week ago, Washington was unable to stop a struggling OregonState offense, getting beat up front by the Beavers offensive line and running back Yvenson Bernard, and picked apart by quarterback Matt Moore and receiver Sammie Stroughter. And realistically, that offense doesn't approach what the Huskies will see this weekend. Until last week, Cal had scored at least 40 points in five-straight games. It is 10th in the nation in scoring offense (36.7), 14th in passing offense (265.3) and ninth in total offense (434.0). Running back Marshawn Lynch leads the Pac-10 in rushing at 108.1 yards a game, and is backed up by Justin Forsett, who would start for most other teams in the conference. Quarterback Nate Longshore averages 226.6 yards passing, completing 63.3 perecent with 17 touchdowns. Receiver DeSean Jackson averages 83 yards a game, 17.6 yards a catch and leads the league with eight touchdown catches. Receiver Lavelle Hawkins averages 16 yards a catch. In other words, California can move the ball, and move it fast.