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Black Friday Pac-12 Football: Cal at Arizona State Game Day Open Thread

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It has been more than two months since Cal has done this -- celebrate a road win.
It has been more than two months since Cal has done this -- celebrate a road win.

FINAL SCORE: CAL 47, ASU 38

CLICK HERE TO JOIN THE POSTGAME VICTORY THREAD

Click here to look back at the 4th quarter thread

Click here to look back at the 3rd quarter thread

Click here to look back at the 2nd quarter thread

Click here to look back at the 1st quarter thread

Happy Black Friday, CGB. Here's hoping you successfully recovered from your Thanksgiving food coma and/or extended hours with family. And if you were out there doing your best to help America's economy by taking advantage of Black Friday doorbuster sales, here's hoping you found what you want and have sufficiently iced down any shopping injuries. It can be rough out there.

This year, Black Friday also brings us Cal football. The California Golden Bears travel to Tempe, AZ, to play their regular season finale against the Arizona State Sun Devils. The Bears (6-5 overall, 3-5 Pac-12) are coming off a hard-fought, but still disappointing 31-28 loss in the Big Game to arch rival Stanford last week. They face the tough task of traveling on a short week to take on the Sun Devils (6-5 overall, 4-4 Pac-12) on ASU football's senior night.

Both the Bears and Sun Devils are bowl-eligible, but recent performance suggests they are headed in opposite directions. Cal has won two of its last three since a horrific performance at UCLA in late October: the Bears looked good in "home" wins over Washington State and Oregon State and gave Stanford (currently 6th in the BCS standings) all it could handle before falling in a close game. On the other hand, ASU, once in the driver's seat for the Pac-12 South Division title, has lost three in a row to UCLA, Washington State, and last week to Arizona in the Territorial Cup game. The Sun Devils are reeling and might be looking at the final regular season game of Coach Dennis Erickson's tenure at Arizona State. Of course, recent history is no guarantee of tonight's outcome. ASU still has plenty to play for tonight and a complacent or unready-to-play Cal team could be the elixir for what ails the Devils. Cal will have to play as well or better as it has in the last three weeks to come away with its first Pac-12 road win of the season. (Colorado doesn't count as a "Pac-12" road win, remember?)

Check out more game information after the jump. Use this post as your pregame thread to discuss the game. Just before kickoff, we will post a link in the comments and at the top of this page to the first quarter thread and every subsequent quarter thread. Use those to go to the current discussion thread.

Enjoy the game. GO BEARS!

BASIC GAME BROADCAST INFORMATION

2011 CALIFORNIA FOOTBALL
Friday, Nov. 25, 7:15 p.m. (PT)
Cal (6-5, 3-5 Pac-12) vs. Arizona State (6-5, 4-4 Pac-12)
Sun Devil Stadium, Tempe, AZ

Live Coverage
TV: ESPN - Mike Patrick (Play-by-Play), Craig James (Analyst), Samantha Steele (Sideline Reporter)
Cal Commercial Radio: KGO 810 AM (San Francisco) - Joe Starkey (Play-by-Play), Troy Taylor (Analyst, *Pregame Show), Todd McKim (Sideline Reporter, *Pregame Show), Lee Grosscup (^Postgame Show), Kate Scott (^Postgame Show) ^Postgame Show: Claremont Hotel Club & Spa, 41 Tunnel Road, Berkeley, CA
IMG College/Cal Radio Network Affiliates: KFPT 790 AM (Fresno), KESP 970 AM (Modesto), KPRZ 1210 AM (San Diego), KMZT 1260 AM (Los Angeles), KTKZ 1380 AM (Sacramento), KFIG 1430 AM (Fresno).
All-Access Radio: The Cal commercial radio broadcast feed of the Cal-Arizona State game can be heard on the Internet through the All-Access channel on CalBears.com. All-Access can be found under the Multimedia tab at the top of the page.
Cal Student Radio: KALX 90.7 FM, kalx.com (Berkeley) - Danny Freisinger (Play-by-Play), Evan Kahn (Analyst)
Sirius XM Satellite Radio: The commercial radio broadcast feeds from the radio network of both teams of the Cal-Arizona State game can be heard on Sirius XM satellite radio. The visiting Cal feed can be heard on Sirius Channel 93 and XML channel 191. The home Arizona State feed of the contest is available on Sirius and XM channel 91.

Cal needs a win tonight to assure itself of a winning season, which would be Jeff Tedford's ninth in ten seasons as Cal coach. The Bears will try to get that win against a program they have had considerable success against during Coach Tedford's first nine seasons. Cal is 7-1 against ASU under Coach Tedford, including three wins (in four tries) in Tempe. And during that eight-game run, the Bears have scored 50+ points against the Sun Devils three times, including last year's 50-17 win in Berkeley.

ManBearCal previewed the ASU offense. The key matchup may very well be ASU's offensive line against the Cal defensive front.

OL

STARTERS-

LT: Evan Finkenberg, Sophomore - 6'6, 292 lbs

LG: Adam Tello, Senior - 6'3, 292 lbs

C: Garth Gerhart, Senior - 6'2, 302 lbs

RG: Andrew Sampson, Junior - 6'3, 296 lbs

RT: Dan Knapp, Senior - 6'5, 277 lbs

...

What to expect:

This is where we have to dominate if we want to slow down this offense. The ASU spread passing game is all about timing and execution. A strong opposing pass rush can disrupt that timing and execution. Osweiler is pretty mobile, or else those sack numbers could look a lot worse. Just hurrying him and getting him out of a rhythm should help immensely. This is an undersized group, and they've struggled with bigger defensive lines. We have the personnel to clog running lanes and get these guys on their heels. Again, pay attention to the status of Mccain and Wilkerson this week. Looks bleak for McCain as of now, but Wilkerson will at least travel to Tempe. We'll see how much that factors in and how much we miss them if they are unable to go. Still, Cecil Whitesideshould be a demon on the edge, and I expect Ernest Owusu and Trevor Guyton to be their usual disruptive selves on the line. They'll need to be, because if the ASU line has success creating holes for Marshall and giving Osweiler time to set up in the pocket, we're screwed. It will take a commitment to control the line of scrimmage and get to Osweiler for us to make this offense sputter, and possibly provide the killing stroke on Erickson's ASU tenure.

As for the ASU defense, the obvious headliner is linebacker Vontaze Burfict, who has five sacks this season. But as a unit, ASU's defense has not lived up to expectations this season. norcalnick examined why in his preview of the matchup between ASU's defense and Cal's offense:

So far in 11 games Arizona State has allowed 106 plays of 20 yards or more. That's nearly 10 big plays a game. It's a defense prone to overpursuit, missed assignments, and questionable secondary play. And that's exciting, because I think we have the coaching staff and skill position players to take advantage of those types of weaknesses.

Frankly, other than a great game bothering Matt Barkley this defense hasn't done much to impress. Keenan Allen and company should really be able to get some big plays off against an iffy secondary. The question is what to expect from the running game. Isi wasn't shut down against Stanford, but it wasn't nearly the performance he had against Washington State and Oregon State either. ASU is a good test for the running game since they fall somewhere in between those extremes.

It's going to be another test for Maynard. In the aftermath of the Big Game Cal fans wanted to say that Zach 'turned a corner.' But many pointed out how they thought Kevin Riley had similarly turned a corner against Stanford in 2009. If Zach has turned a corner he should put together an even better game against a weak secondary in better weather conditions.

Speaking of Kevin Riley, it wouldn't a bad thing if Maynard channeled a little bit of Riley from the last time Cal visited Tempe. I leave you with this nice memory: this is video of Cal's game-winning drive against ASU in 2009.

GO BEARS!

Poll

Under Coach Jeff Tedford, Cal has won seven of eight meetings with Arizona State. Which is your favorite of those victories over ASU?

This poll is closed

  • 13%
    2002: Cal 55, ASU 38 (Cal stuns No. 25 ASU in Tempe)
    (20 votes)
  • 3%
    2003: Cal 51, ASU 23 (Cal travels to Tempe for a second straight year -- and scores 50 again!)
    (5 votes)
  • 12%
    2004: Cal 27, ASU 0 (night shutout at Memorial)
    (19 votes)
  • 22%
    2006: Cal 49, ASU 21 (Longshore, Jackson, Lynch, and Hughes shine in Bear blowout in Berkeley)
    (33 votes)
  • 12%
    2008: Cal 24, ASU 14 (Cal defense frustrates and Pain Trains the Devils at Memorial)
    (18 votes)
  • 23%
    2009: Cal 23, ASU 21 (Riley leads Cal on game-winning drive; Tavecchio nails 23-yd FG to win it)
    (35 votes)
  • 12%
    2010: Cal 50, ASU 17 (Cal dominates on a rainy day in Berkeley)
    (19 votes)
149 votes total Vote Now