Quarterback Jared Goff #16 of the California Golden Bears looks to pass the ball during a game between against the Northwestern Wildcats at Memorial Stadium on August 31, 2013 in Berkeley, California. Stephen Lam/Getty Images
Hide Caption

Cal QB Jared Goff to get toughest test vs. No. 4 OSU

a a a a
Share this story

BERKELEY, Calif. (AP) — Jared Goff's college career has gotten off to quite the prolific start.

Goff became the first true freshman quarterback ever to start the season opener at California and responded by becoming the second player in Golden Bears history with back-to-back 400-yard passing games.

Goff will get his toughest test yet on Saturday when Cal (1-1) hosts a fourth-ranked Ohio State (2-0) team that has won 14 straight games.

Goff leads the nation in passing with 935 yards and has the most yards passing in his first two games since the start of the BCS era in 1998. Goff is more than 100 yards ahead of the next player on the list, North Carolina State's Philip Rivers with 798 yards in 2000, according to STATS LLC.

"It's cool, but I can't think about stats," Goff said. "I'm really not concerned about that. All we're worried about is Ohio State."

The Buckeyes are plenty concerned about Goff, who followed up his 450-yard passing debut in a loss against Northwestern with 485 yards last week in a win over Portland State.

Ohio State hasn't faced anything like first-year coach Sonny Dykes' Bear Raid offense that has thrown 115 passes the first two weeks. The Buckeyes have allowed 401 yards passing on 73 attempts in wins this season over Buffalo and San Diego State. Only Texas' Colt McCoy and Purdue's Drew Brees have thrown for more than 400 yards in a game against Ohio State in the BCS era.

"It's impressive to come in and step into this kind of offense," Ohio State coach Urban Meyer said. "He's a very impressive guy."

Here are five things to watch when the Buckeyes visit the Bears:

MILLER'S KNEE: Quarterback Braxton Miller sprained his left knee on the seventh play of Ohio State's first series last week and did not return. Miller has been limited in practice all week but is expected to play Saturday. Miller led the way last year against the Bears when he threw for 249 yards and four TDs and added a 55-yard touchdown run in a 35-28 victory. "There are not a lot of guys in college football that possess the skill set he possesses and have the strength, size and speed that he has," Dykes said.

DEPLETED DEFENSE: When the Bears opened camp this summer, they were counting on defensive linemen Chris McCain, Brennan Scarlett and Mustafa Jalil, linebacker Nick Forbes and safety Avery Sebastian to spearhead the unit. Injuries have sidelined those leaders for much, if not all, of the season so far and only Forbes is a possibility to play this week. Those absences are a big reason why Cal has allowed more than 500 yards in each of the first two games. "When you look out there and you haven't played with really any of those guys, it's a little scary," Dykes said. "Those are guys who are battle-tested."

BIG-PLAY BIGELOW: Brendan Bigelow provided the highlights for Cal in last year's meeting with touchdown runs of 81 and 59 yards among his four carries on the day. Bigelow hasn't had any other performances close to that, with just 392 yards rushing and one touchdown on the ground in 10 games since that highlight-reel performance. Bigelow is averaging 2.7 yards per carry on his last 30 runs this season. "Based on the way we've run the ball, I wouldn't think they'd be too concerned," Dykes said.

RARE ROAD TRIP: The Buckeyes will play just their eighth nonconference road game in the past 14 seasons when they visit Memorial Stadium. They lost three of those previous seven trips to UCLA in 2001, Southern California in 2008 and Miami two years ago. The Buckeyes are just 9-6 in their last 15 road openers.

HIGH PROFILE GAME: This is the highest-profile game yet for Dykes, who is trying to get Cal back to the upper echelon of the Pac-12 after a 3-9 season in 2012 under fired coach Jeff Tedford. A strong performance on Saturday could help the cause because about 150 recruits are expected to be on campus for the game, including five on their official visits. Cal had just seven recruits at last week's win over Portland State.

___

AP Sports Writer Rusty Miller in Columbus, Ohio, contributed to this report.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Print this article

Comments

Hmm... It looks like you’re not a WCPO Insider. or Subscribe now to contribute!

More OSU Sports
Dayton beats OSU for first upset of NCAA Tourney
Dayton beats OSU for first upset of NCAA Tourney

Vee Sanford scored on a layup with 3.8 seconds left to lift 11th-seeded Dayton to a 60-59 victory over sixth-seeded Ohio State in…

Ohio State meets Dayton in NCAA South Region
Ohio State meets Dayton in NCAA South Region

Sixth-seeded Ohio State meets 11th-seeded Dayton in the second round of the NCAA tournament's South Region.

OSU comes up short against Michigan, 72-69
OSU comes up short against Michigan, 72-69

No. 8 Michigan blew a 12-point second-half lead, then finished the game on a 7-1 run to beat archrival Ohio State 72-69 in…

OSU comes back from 18 down to beat Huskers
OSU comes back from 18 down to beat Huskers

Fourth-seeded Nebraska blew an 18-point second-half lead in a 71-67 loss to fifth-seeded Ohio State on Friday in the quarterfinals.  

OSU holds off Purdue 63-61 in Big Ten tourney
OSU holds off Purdue 63-61 in Big Ten tourney

LaQuinton Ross scored 19 points and Aaron Craft finished with 16 on Thursday, helping No. 24 Ohio State hang on for a 63-61 victory over…

OSU scores last 4 in 69-67 win over No. 22 MSU
OSU scores last 4 in 69-67 win over No. 22 MSU

LaQuinton Ross scored 22 points and Aaron Craft added 12, including a late free throw, to lead Ohio State past No. 22 Michigan State 69-67 on…

Short-handed Indiana beats No. 22 OSU 72-64
Short-handed Indiana beats No. 22 OSU 72-64

Kevin "Yogi" Ferrell scored 20 points and Will Sheehey added 19 on Sunday, leading Indiana past No. 22 Ohio State 72-64.

OSU comes from behind to beat Minnesota, 64-46
OSU comes from behind to beat Minnesota, 64-46

Sam Thompson scored 16 of his 19 points in the second half, leading No. 24 Ohio State back from a 12-point deficit to a 64-46 victory over…

No. 22 Ohio State shuts down Illinois, 48-39
No. 22 Ohio State shuts down Illinois, 48-39

Aaron Craft scored 14 points and No. 22 Ohio State held Illinois to 28.3 percent shooting on the way to a scrappy 48-39 win on Saturday.

Ross' 17, Smith's 16 lead OSU past Purdue, 67-49
Ross' 17, Smith's 16 lead OSU past Purdue, 67-49

Lenzelle Smith Jr., starting his 100th game, hit 4 of 7 3-pointers and scored 16 points to lead Ohio State past Purdue 67-49…