Oregon State hopes to continue its surprising run toward a potential Pacific-12 Conference football championship when the Beavers oppose Cal on Saturday afternoon in Berkeley, Calif.
Winners of five of six since an opening loss at Purdue, Oregon State (5-2, 3-1 Pac-12) got the conference’s attention last Saturday with its second shocker in the past four weeks, stunning Utah 42-34.
The Beavers won 45-27 at Southern California on Sept. 25.
Oregon State enters play this week tied with No. 7 Oregon atop the Pac-12 North. The rivals are scheduled to meet Nov. 27, but the Beavers must deal with Cal (2-5, 1-3), Colorado, Stanford and Arizona State in between.
Oregon State is catching Cal as it rides the momentum of its most impressive effort of the season, a 26-3 home shellacking of Colorado. The Golden Bears had fallen inches short a week earlier in a 24-17 loss at then-No. 9 Oregon.
The game matches Cal quarterback Chase Garbers against Oregon State defensive standout Avery Roberts.
Garbers completed 22 of 29 passes for 225 yards and two touchdowns in the win over Colorado. The senior did serious damage on the ground as well, rushing 10 times for 96 yards.
Along the way, Garber broke Joe Kapp’s Cal career rushing record for quarterbacks.
“All of the credit goes to the other 10 guys on offense,” Garbers said. “They’re the reason why I can run, why I can throw, the reason why I’m successful at this school and in this offense.”
When Garbers runs Saturday, he’d be wise to run away from Roberts, who had 16 tackles in the Beavers’ win over Utah, an effort for which he earned Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Week honors.
The junior linebacker ranks third in the nation with 11.1 tackles per game.
Oregon State coach Jonathan Smith credits the guys in front of Roberts.
“The (defensive) line of scrimmage has been better this year,” Smith said, “and that’s allowed the linebackers like Avery Roberts to have the production he is. We’re doing some things at the line of scrimmage keeping him free.”
Oregon State has beaten Cal in the past two meetings, including 21-17 in 2019 when the schools last tangled in Berkeley.
–Field Level Media