California vs. BYU: Complete Game Preview

Samuel Benson@@sambbensonContributor IIINovember 27, 2014

California vs. BYU: Complete Game Preview

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    USA TODAY Sports

    For the second consecutive year, BYU will end its regular season with a late-November road trip. This time, though, the Cougars are riding a three-game winning streak and are hoping for a huge win.

    The Cougs beat FCS foe Savannah State by 64 last week but have not faced a team of Cal's caliber since October. The Bears have won only one of their previous six games and are playing for bowl eligibility on Saturday.

    Cal's offensive firepower could be tough for the Cougs to handle, but what does BYU need to do to win? Here is a complete game preview.

    Date: Saturday, November 29

    Time: 1:30 p.m. PT (4:30 p.m. ET)

    Place: Memorial Stadium, Berkeley, CA

    TV: PAC 12 Network

    Radio: KSL NewsRadio (102.7 FM, 1160 AM)

    Spread: Cal, -4.5 (per Odds Shark)

BYU's Keys to Victory

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    Rick Bowmer/Associated Press

    Get Pressure on Goff

    As one of the nation's elite passers, Cal quarterback Jared Goff has destroyed secondary after secondary this season. BYU should do whatever it can to not be next.

    If the Cougars can get in Cal's backfield and force Goff out of the pocket, they will have a much better game. But no matter how much pressure they can get on Goff, the BYU secondary will need to lock down Cal's receivers and limit its passing game.

    Put Quick Points on the Board

    If one thing is certain, it's that Cal likes to score. The Bears have put up 35 points or more in nine of their games this season, and BYU should try to limit them as much as possible.

    But with a below-average defense, the Cougs will surely need to put offensive points on the board. If BYU can start fast and get to a quick lead, it will give it a better chance at winning the game. 

Players to Watch

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    Rick Bowmer/Associated Press

    Jordan Leslie (WR, BYU)

    Since transferring from UTEP, Leslie has made his time at BYU worthwhile. The receiver has caught 49 passes for 600 yards on the season and is the Cougs' top big-play receiver.

    Jared Goff (QB, Cal)

    Goff may be the best passer in the country, and his stats don't lie. He ranks third in the country in passing yards—with 3,580—and could absolutely destroy BYU's defense.

    Bronson Kaufusi (LB, BYU)

    Arguably the best pro prospect in Saturday's game, Kaufusi is a big, physical and athletic linebacker. He has tallied four sacks in the past four games and could be a problem for Goff and the Cal offense.


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    Ben Margot/Associated Press

    This will likely turn into an offensive shootout, but Cal's firepower will be too much for the Cougs. BYU will hang around, but the Bears will sneak away in the end.

    Prediction: Cal wins, 49-45