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Q&A with Coug Center

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A day early

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California v Washington State Photo by William Mancebo/Getty Images

Change in the schedule a bit. We got our general Q&A today and our defensive preview going up tomorrow. Michael Preston from CougCenter helped us out by answering the questions we had on the Cougars!

Which player on offense should Cal fans know about?

Max Borghi. I’d probably argue the sophomore is the best running back Washington State has had since Jerome Harrison was on campus a decade and a half ago. Borghi is agile, fast, and the dude finishes runs. Like, he Mortal Kombat finishes runs. He’s not afraid of any contact at the end of plays, usually picked up that badly needed extra yard or two during crucial parts of the game. Like every other Mike Leach running back, he’ll catch plenty of balls out of the backfield as well. Do not be surprised to see him get 15-20 touches in this game on the ground or through the air.

Which player on defense should Cal fans know about?

The defense hasn’t exactly been stellar this year so it’s kind of hard to pick here but I’ll say Jahad Woods. The junior WILL linebacker is struggling a bit without Peyton Pelluer next to him and a stout defensive line to help keep blockers close to the line of scrimmage but he’s still WSU’s most athletic player on defense. When he’s playing well, he’s flowing to the ball, not missing tackles, or spying opposing quarterbacks and keeping them in the pocket. He hasn’t been quite the player we knew in 2017 or 2018 but, then again, this entire defense has been reeling for much of the year.

Who’s one under-the-radar or X-factor player who could swing this game for you?

Dezmon Patmon. He’ll rotate at the Z receiver position with Easop Winston Jr. but this offense is humming along when they are going over the top to Patmon. He’s 6’3”, 210 pounds and I swear it’s all muscle. If Gordon is getting the ball to Patmon over the top for chunk plait helps open up the underneath routes for Brandon Arconado, Travell Harris and Max Borghi out of the backfield.

What does Washington State needto do to win the game?

Their offense needs to play better than they’ve played against Cal the last couple of years. WSU can’t depend on defensive stops like they could in the last few years (though you wouldn’t know it given the score line from 2017 though I blame myself for attending) so they need to score 30+ to have a chance to win. Cal is probably the worst offense the Cougs will have seen since they played New Mexico State to open the season but the defense regressed a lot in late September and early October. They’ve gotten better but I don’t think the fans will be too confident if the offense struggles to move the football.

What does Cal need to do to win the game?

Turn the ball over and get defensive stops. Forcing turnovers early in WSU drives will help keep the ball in plus territory for the Bears or even just forcing them to punt. WSU’s special teams has been pretty good this season (UCLA excepting) but it’s the same formula they used last year. They’ll just need to make sure if the game is close they don’t give Gordon time to drive the field to win the game. Gordon is arguably the most confident at operating the Air Raid since Connor Halliday so if he has a chance to score, he’s going to take it.

How do you see the game going?

I was surprised to see the spread open as the Cougs being a touchdown favorite given all the Berkeley voodoo the Cougs have succumbed to in recent years. The teams have the same record but I do think WSU is much closer to a 6-2 team than their present 4-4 and their SP+ numbers certainly bare that out. WSU’s defense has gotten better about limiting big plays and Cal’s offense doesn’t strike me as one that’s going to hit you with chunk yardage on a regular basis but Evan Weaver still scares the bejesus out of me. I’ll say 27-21 Washington State, Cal scores late to make it interesting.

Whom do you most want to punch in the face?

Bill Moos. Thanks for giving Ernie Kent a golden parachute then bolting for Nebraska, bro.

How does Anthony Gordon compare to previous Air Raid quarterbacks?

His arm is certainly the best we’ve seen since Connor Halliday, same goes for his confidence with the throws. He should be there given he has spent 4 years in the Air Raid system and it’s clear he has a very good understanding of the route concepts. He can be a little indecisive at times and it’s clear from in-game situations that his is first season playing on a regular basis since he was 19. He’s not on Minshew’s level in terms of overall talent (and just the emotional lift the Mustache gave the team and fanbase), but I think it’s fair to say he’s performing above expectations.

One last thing. If you’re looking for tickets. Look no further. Click Here.