The California Golden Bears are flying high into Tempe with all the momentum and confidence on their side after a 50-43 upset victory over No. 11 Texas last Saturday.
The Arizona State Sun Devils are 15-17 all time against California and have lost five of their last six meetings to the Golden Bears, including a 48-46 loss last season on a game-winning field goal as time expired.
California looks like one of the most sound teams in the nation offensively.
The team already posses 1,359 yards in the air and have scored 18 touchdowns and 141 points in just three games. They will stick to their “throw first” approach this week against a bewildered Arizona State pass defense that ranks last in the nation at 128th.
The Golden Bears have scored 40 plus points in every game this season but have had major issues defensively.
Their total defense is ranked No. 109 in the country and their rush defense is slotted at No. 125 after already allowing 889 yards. The Sun Devils, who are equipped with dual-threat quarterback Manny Wilkins, will look to take advantage of a defense that is giving up 6.5 yards per carry.
Players to Watch
QB Davis Webb (6-foot-5, 230 pounds)
After losing the starting quarterback job to junior Patrick Mahomes at Texas Tech last season, Webb, a senior, transferred to California. The departure of current Los Angeles Rams QB Jared Goff was perfect timing for Webb to take his place. He’s thrown for 299 more yards than Goff did at this point last season and is on pace to beat his PAC-12 single-season records for passing yards (4,714) and touchdowns (43).
Webb currently stands at second best in the nation with 1,359 passing yards, which is just 134 behind his former teammate Mahomes.
WR Chad Hansen (6-foot-2, 205 pounds)
Prior to this season, the junior had just one touchdown with 249 yards receiving. This year, Hansen has burst into the team’s top wide receiver, if not the best receiver in the entire nation. Hansen holds the most receiving yards of any FBS college football player this year with 546 in 40 targets and has tallied for five touchdowns.
Webb has made it clear that Hansen is his favorite target. The Sun Devil secondary will make it a priority to cover Hansen, which could lead to other open wide receivers and allow for Webb to make some impactful plays.
S Luke Rebenzer (6-foot-0, 195 pounds)
The junior safety Rebenzer has gotten a hold of the ball more than any Golden Bear defensive player this season. With two fumbles recoveries this season and an interception returned for 45 yards last game, Rebenzer will cause havoc to the Sun Devil pass game. Rebenzer quarterbacked at local high school football powerhouse Saguaro in Scottsdale and led the Sabercats to a state championship.
In his freshman year at California, he played some quarterback and returned kicks and punts. Now, as a junior, rather than being a quarterback, he specializes in creating nightmares for quarterbacks and receivers of the opposing team.
OL Aaron Cochran (6-foot-8, 350 pounds)
This junior left tackle giant will be the biggest and tallest man on the field on Saturday night in Tempe. Cochran has served as a shield blocking the blind-side of QB Webb and is part of an offensive line that has returned four of its five starters from last season. The Golden Bears’ offensive-line has done an excellent job keeping Webb comfortable in pocket as he’s thrown just three interceptions in 166 pass attempts this season.