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Washington vs. Cal Prediction, Game Preview

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Washington vs. Cal prediction and game preview. Projecting who wins Saturday night’s matchup between the Huskies and Golden Bears.


When: Saturday, Nov. 5 – 10:30 p.m. ET
Where: Memorial Stadium, Berkeley, California
TV Broadcast: ESPN

Yikes, Washington (8-0) nearly lost that perfect record last weekend when it visited Utah. The Huskies still managed to find a 31-24 win despite the Utes’ best efforts. Chris Petersen’s team took the lead with 1:05 left in the first quarter and led for most of the game. Washington’s only other win decided by single digits came on Sept. 24 when it beat Arizona in overtime, 35-28.

There is at least a pattern when it comes to this season for Cal (4-4). It started with a 51-31 win in Australia over Hawaii, and since then it’s been up and down, week in and week out. The Golden Bears have neither won nor lost back-to-back games all season. Last week, they fell on the road to USC, 45-24. Cal surrendered the lead with 9:34 left in the first quarter and never made it remotely close.

The all-time series between these two Pac-12 powers favors the Huskies, 52-39-4. Cal won last year’s meeting in Seattle, 30-24. Washington had won the six games before that, though. The longest winning streak in the series was the 19 consecutive games the Huskies won from 1977 to 2001.

What To Know About Washington

For only the second time this season, Jake Browning wasn’t a superstar. In the win over Utah, the sophomore quarterback completed 12-of-20 passes for 186 yards, two touchdowns and an interception. The only other game in which Browning threw fewer than three touchdowns was on Sept. 24 against Arizona when he went 14-of-21 for 160 yards with two touchdowns and a pick. He’s still sporting a 28:3 touchdown-to-interception ratio.

John Ross had four catches for 48 yards in last week’s game, but two of those grabs were for scores. Darrell Daniels led the team with 57 receiving yards on only two receptions, but the running game helped the Huskies space the field. Myles Gaskin was given 19 carries, and he took off for 151 yards and a touchdown. Lavon Coleman added 60 yards on eight carries.

What to Know About Cal

Davis Webb matched Browning with his last performance in terms of touchdowns and interceptions. He threw two scoring strikes and was picked off once, but he did complete 34-of-53 passes for 333 yards. True freshman Demetris Robertson wound up with nine receptions for 92 yards to help make up for the absence of Chan Hansen, who missed the game with an ankle injury and is uncertain for this game. Webb’s touchdowns went to Melquise Stovall and Tre Watson, who combined for 10 receptions and 109 yards.

There was balance in the running game, too. Khalfani Muhammad rushed 15 times for 89 yards, and Watson was given 11 carries for 33 yards. The only rushing touchdown, though, was notched by Webb from one yard out.

Advantages

Offense: Washington – Browning has two quality receivers in Ross and Dante Pettis, and Gaskin has been playing great football this season. Plus, Hansen is Webb’s go-to target.8

Defense: Washington – This isn’t even close. Cal has been gashed all season long while the Huskies have one of the better defenses in the game.

Special Teams: Washington – Pettis came up with a huge, 58-yard punt return for a touchdown last game to help the Huskies win.

Coaching: Washington – Petersen is a tremendous coach with an undefeated squad.

Matchup To Watch

Jake Browning vs. Davis Webb

This could be a shootout between a veteran quarterback in Webb and the rising, young superstar in Browning. The latter has completed 67.7 percent of his passes this season, which ranks him No. 11 in the nation. The former, however, has connected on 62.4 percent of his throws, good enough for No. 40 in the FBS. If Hansen can’t go, it’ll be interesting to see how often Webb goes to Robertson. And Browning might look to get Gaskin involved in the passing game sooner rather than later.

Betting Odds

Spread: Washington -16.5
Over/Under: 78

Washington vs. Cal Prediction

This one is pretty simple. The Golden Bears can chuck the ball around on most teams, but Washington isn’t one of them. Webb will have a solid game with at least 200 passing yards and a couple of touchdowns, but he’ll turn the ball over and let the Huskies flip the field. Browning will be much sharper than he was last week against a lackluster Cal defense. Browning might throw for more than 400 yards in this game if Petersen lets him. Washington wins this one easily, and both teams combine for just less than the over/under of 78.

Washington vs. Cal Score Prediction: Washington 45, Cal 28

MORE: CFP Top 25: Takeaways From Initial Poll

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