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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883


Cal at WSU: Pregame No. 2


It seemed like good news. Cal running back Marshawn Lynch has an ankle injury and may not be at full strength (he's on the field and running well, maybe slightly favoring his left ankle).

But then you look at what happened last week against Oregon when he was hurt.

Justin Forsett, a junior, came off the bench to rush for 163 yards. Which tells you one of two things: either Forsett is as talented as any running back in the Pac-10 (maybe) or Cal's offensive line is that good (probably).

Sure, they didn't look that tough against Tennessee (of the best conference in the nation, the SEC), but one game doesn't make a season – though it killed Cal's chances of competing for the national title.

The Bears Pac-10 hopes are still very much alive, with an offense that's averaged almost 44 points a game ST (since Tennessee). Quarterback Nate Longshore has a 169.77 quarterback efficiency rating (for comparison, Alex Brink's is a very good 133.20), receiver DeSean Jackson, who also returns punts at almost 16-yards an attempt, is averaging 18 yards a reception and 87 yards a game (again, for comparison, the Cougs' leading receiver, Michael Bumpus, averages 9.6 yards a catch and 64 yards a game).

So the Bears defense is weak, right? Well ST, the Bears have yielded less than 20 points a game. And Cal, though not in WSU's country in sacks – who is? – still has 16, including six by tackle Brandon Mebane and three from end Nu'u Tafisi.

But if the Cougs' front can give Brink time, the Bears secondary, other than Daymeion Hughes, is vulnerable. They've yielded almost 240 yards a game, including 10 touchdown passes.

We'll keep an eye on it.

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