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Ohio State vs. Cal: Jared Goff Has Much to Learn, but He Will Be Special

BERKELEY, CA - SEPTEMBER 14:  Jared Goff #16 of the California Golden Bears drops back to pass during the first quarter against the Ohio State Buckeyes at California Memorial Stadium on September 14, 2013 in Berkeley, California.  (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images
Kyle KensingContributor IDecember 19, 2016

Week 3 is much too early to have a realistic conversation about the 2013 Heisman Trophy race. That said, let's have a frank discussion about the 2015 Heisman, shall we? 

If we were to embark on the quixotic endeavor of compiling a list of early front-runners for college football's most prestigious individual honor two years from now, Cal quarterback Jared Goff would have to be near the top. 

The true freshman exceeded 300 yards passing for the third time in as many career collegiate appearances Saturday, throwing for 371 yards and three touchdowns.

And while the Golden Bears defense continued to experience sharp growing pains, surrendering 52 points to the No. 4 Ohio State Buckeyes, Goff more than held his own against BCS championship-caliber competition. 

Cal's defensive deficiencies will likely keep the Golden Bears from contending in the Pac-12 during Sonny Dykes' first season as head coach, but Goff's impressive arm and understanding of the Bear Raid offense should keep his team in plenty of contests. 

Goff told Jeff Faraudo of the San Jose Mercury News he is "really not concerned about [stats]." The quarterback may not be, but the rest of the nation can discuss how impressive the numbers Goff is registering in his debut campaign are.

His three touchdowns against Ohio State give him seven for the season. He's over 1,300 yards, which puts him on a pace for roughly 5,200. That's 1,000 more than the nation's leader, Rakeem Cato, passed for in 2012. 

Goff is doing some impressive things, but what makes his future even more intriguing is how much room he still has for improvement. 

He threw one interception Saturday, putting him at four on the season. The same gunslinging style that makes Goff such a perfect fit for Dykes' version of the air-raid spread also leaves him susceptible to turnovers. It's the high risk that goes with the high reward he's capable of providing. 

Dykes summed it up best in his press conference following the Bears' Week 2 defeat of Portland State. 

"He is going to continue to get better," the coach said of Goff. 

With as strong as the freshman has started, his progression and maturation will push him closer to the Heisman Trophy. Bears fans may want to keep their calendars open for December 2015. 

 

Kyle Kensing is the Pac-12 lead writer for Bleacher Report. All quotes were obtained firsthand unless otherwise noted. Follow Kyle on Twitter: @kensing45.

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