BERKELEY, CA - OCTOBER 09: Shane Vereen #34 of the California Golden Bears signals for a touchdown against the UCLA Bruins in the first half at California Memorial Stadium on October 9, 2010 in Berkeley, California. Vereen scored on the next play. (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)
Dear Sun Devil fans,
This Saturday matchup against the California Golden Bears is deceptive. Not because Cal is a good team, because they are in rebuilding mode, but because they are a trap. That's right, a TRAP!
See, Cal is a classic home team. They dominate in Memorial Stadium. In their three home games against Cal-Davis, Colorado and UCLA, the Bears scored 139 points while only giving up 17.
On the road, Cal is a completely different team, scoring 57 while giving up a whopping 110 points. Sure, their competition may have been stiffer on the road, but it goes without saying: beating Cal in Berkeley is no small feat.
Our Sun Devils are statistically a good road team, with a ten-point victory over Washington in Seattle in our back pocket and close losses to Wisconsin and Oregon State. This game between .500 schools will determine which is stronger: the home crowd or the pride of a Devil.
Lets take a quick look at the Cal offense; what makes it tick? Junior RB Shane Vereen has already picked up 650 yards on the ground this season, averaging 5.7 yards per carry and taking some pressure off of senior QB Kevin Riley, who has thrown for over 1100 yards.
On offense, they are dynamic and can rack up the points. It's on defense where they are lacking, especially against the good offenses. While recovering seven fumbles already, they have only intercepted five passes and have given up an average of 21 points a game.
The Sun Devils must hold onto the ball with both hands, as this team is taught to strip the ball. Threet must make sure he finds the open man before he is sacked, as the Bears have racked up 17 on the season.
It's simple, really. Execute the offense and avoid dumb penalties on defense. Take the crowd out of the game and keep it that way. Deliver on the promise of quality football and the Bears can be beat, even in Berkeley.