California (1-0) at San Diego State (1-0)
When: Saturday, September 10th 2016
Where: Qualcomm Stadium, San Diego, CA
Time: 10:30 ET | TV: CBS Sports Network
The California Golden Bears come back to their home country and state to take on San Diego State after they handled the Hawaii Warriors in Australia 51-31. The offense didn’t skip a beat with new quarterback Davis Webb replacing first round NFL draft pick Jared Goff. Cal racked up 630 yards of total offense led by Webb’s 441 yards passing and four touchdowns. The defense is another issue. They caused turnovers like they usually do, but they also let up a lot of yards to a below-average Hawaii team. The Warriors gained 248 yards on the ground and the Cal Bears failed to register a sack in the game. That will need to change quickly as San Diego State brings in a terrific run game. Safety Khari Vanderbilt had a team-high seven tackles against Hawaii. Running back Khalfani Muhammad ran for 96 yards on 10 carries in the opener but could have trouble finding holes against an Aztecs defense that ranks sixth nationally in rushing yards allowed per game (106.2) since the start of last season.
San Diego State recorded their 11th straight victory last week when they easily took care of FCS member New Hampshire 31-0. The Aztecs rushed for a school-record 3,266 yards last season but hope to be more balanced with the emergence of sophomore quarterback Christian Chapman, who threw for 288 yards and two touchdowns in the opener. The rushing attack is led by D.J. Pumphrey who is the nation’s active leader in rushing yards (4,370), all-purpose yards (5,284) and 100-yard rushing games (22). He was held to 85 rushing yards in last season’s 35-7 loss at Cal but has been especially tough to stop at home. San Diego State returns seven starters from last season’s stellar defense, including linebacker Calvin Munson (team-high nine tackles in the opener) and cornerback Damontae Kazee, who was named the preseason Mountain West defensive player of the year. San Diego State has gone a school-record 13 games without throwing an interception.
California can’t stop anyone on defense and I think the Aztecs defense will slow down Webb and company. Cal will get their points, but San Diego State will create turnovers and Pumphrey will run all over them.
Pick: San Diego State -7