Odds Favor Bears
Berkeley, CA - Oregon has had to deal its share of quarterback issues this season. Despite that, the Ducks still find themselves tied atop the Pac-10.
Led by transfer Jeremiah Masoli, the No. 23 Ducks look to win their third straight and maintain their hold on first place in the conference Saturday when they visit California, a team dealing with its own issues at quarterback.
Oddsmakers from Sportsbook.com have made California -3 point spread favorites (View College Football odds) for Saturday’s game (Game Matchup). Current public betting information shows that 58% of bets for this game have been placed on Oregon +3 (View College Football bet percentages).
Masoli, who led City College of San Francisco to the junior college national championship last year, began the season as the No. 3 quarterback for Oregon (6-2, 4-1). However, presumptive starter Nate Costa underwent knee surgery after getting injured during fall camp and backup Justin Roper also hurt his knee in September, leading to Masoli taking over.
Masoli has started the last four games, throwing for 506 yards, four touchdowns and two interceptions. He got the start last week against Arizona State even though Roper was available, and made the most of the opportunity in a 54-20 win. Masoli was 17-of-26 for 147 yards, one touchdown and one interception, while running eight times for 85 yards and a TD.
"He's very explosive and a lot of people underestimate his speed, especially in taking poor angles in pursuit, and he showed that tonight," coach Mike Bellotti said.
Oregon led 23-6 after the first half, then scored 21 points in the third quarter to put the game out of reach.
The win kept the Ducks tied with Southern California for the top spot in the Pac-10 and moved them back into the rankings for the first time in nearly a month.
"The biggest thing for tonight was we wanted to get a message across to the young players about finishing the second half of the season," Bellotti said. "Tonight was the first step toward getting to that conference championship, and we started tonight by winning on the road."
Like Oregon, California (5-2, 3-1) has been dealing with uncertainty under center, but has also been able to overcome it and contend for the conference title. Cal is tied for third place in the Pac-10, a half-game behind USC and Oregon, both of whom the Bears still have to play.
Cal is coming off a 41-20 win over UCLA last Saturday, bouncing back from a loss to Arizona the previous week that dropped it out of the Top 25. Kevin Riley, told he would start at quarterback the day before last week's game, was 11-of-22 for 153 yards and two touchdowns.
"He had a good week at practice," coach Jeff Tedford said. "We felt we had some things, like a quarterback draw, that he would do well for us. That's why he got the start."
Riley reclaimed his starting job - at least for one week - after losing it for two games to Nate Longshore, who started for the Bears in 2006 and '07 but was beaten out by Riley during training camp. Riley got lots of help last week from the Bears defense, which held the Bruins to 253 yards of offense and returned two interceptions for scores.
Whoever starts at quarterback Saturday for Cal hopes the defense can turn in another dominating performance, this time against one of the nation's most prolific ground games. Jeremiah Johnson and LeGarrette Blount each rushed for 58 yards and two touchdowns last Saturday for Oregon, which ran for 304 yards overall - the third time in four games the Ducks have reached the 300-yard mark.
Oregon ranks fifth in the nation in rushing at 278.8 yards per game. The Ducks, though, will be facing a California defense that's holding opponents to 95.7 yards on the ground.
California has won three of the last four meetings and two straight, with Oregon being ranked in both of the last two games. The Bears took last season's matchup 31-24 on the road, with Longshore throwing for 285 yards and two touchdowns as then-No. 6 Cal knocked off then-No. 11 Oregon 31-24 last Sept. 29.
Top Betting Trends:
All games in this series since 1992
OREGON is 9-4 against the spread versus CALIFORNIA since 1992
OREGON is 9-4 straight up against CALIFORNIA since 1992
5 of 7 games in this series have gone UNDER THE TOTAL since 1992
Games over the last 3 seasons
CALIFORNIA is 2-0 against the spread versus OREGON over the last 3 seasons
CALIFORNIA is 2-0 straight up against OREGON over the last 3 seasons
1 of 2 games in this series have gone OVER THE TOTAL over the last 3 seasons
All games played at CALIFORNIA since 1992
OREGON is 4-2 against the spread versus CALIFORNIA since 1992
CALIFORNIA is 3-3 straight up against OREGON since 1992
2 of 3 games in this series have gone OVER THE TOTAL since 1992
Games played at CALIFORNIA over the last 3 seasons.
CALIFORNIA is 1-0 against the spread versus OREGON over the last 3 seasons
CALIFORNIA is 1-0 straight up against OREGON over the last 3 seasons
1 of 1 games in this series have gone OVER THE TOTAL over the last 3 seasons
Key Player Injuries
[LB] Terrell Turner is expected to miss 2-6 weeks. - Knee - 10/01/08
(!) [QB] Nathan Costa expected to miss the season - ACL - 08/24/08
[OL] C.E. Kaiser upgraded to probable. - Undisclosed - 10/23/08
[DL] Fenuki Tupou missed lst game, probable - Knee - 10/19/08
[LB] Kevin Garrett has been dismissed from the team. - Suspension - 08/26/
[DB] Walter Thurmond III injured last game, upgraded to probable. - Pelvis
[RB] Remene Alston is expected to miss the rest of the season - Foot - 10/
[LB] Terrance Pritchett is expected to miss. - Suspension - 10/22/08
[WR] Michael Calvin is expected to miss the rest of the season. - Knee - 1
[OL] Chris Guarnero out for the rest of season - Toe - 09/28/08
[WR] Marvin Jones is out indefinitely - Knee - 09/23/08
[OL] Mike Tepper missed last game, ~?~ - Pectoral - 10/19/08
[DE] Rulon Davis is downgraded to miss 6 weeks - Leg - 09/29/08
[DB] Bernard Hicks missed last game, ~?~ - Thigh - 10/19/08
[DL] Kendrick Payne downgraded to out for season - Knee - 09/29/08
(!) [RB] Jahvid Best is upgraded to probable - Elbow - 10/23/08
[K] David Seawright missed last game, ~?~ - Groin - 10/19/08
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Posted: 10/28/08 3:34 PM