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Arizona vs. Cal notes and stats

Some interesting tidbits about each team leading up to Saturday’s matchup

California v Arizona Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

The Arizona Wildcats (4-2, 2-1 Pac-12) will go for their third win in a row Saturday in Berkeley against the California Golden Bears (4-3, 1-3 Pac-12 ) at 5 p.m. on the Pac-12 Networks.

Due to the Pac-12’s asymmetrical conference schedule, it’s the first time Arizona and Cal have played each other since 2014 when Arizona beat Cal on the famous “Hill Mary.”

The last time Arizona played in Berkeley was 2013. In all, the Wildcats have won three straight against the Golden Bears.

I scoured through the game notes that each program released and compiled the most interesting tidbits about each team here.

You can find Arizona’s entire game notes here, and Cal’s game notes here.

Arizona notes and stats

  • Arizona leads the Pac-12 in scoring (42.8), rushing (342.2) and fewest sacks allowed (0.83 per game).
  • Arizona ranks fourth nationally with 342.2 rushing yards per game.
  • The Cats lead the Pac-12 with 25 offensive plays of at least 30 yards this season.
  • The Cats’ defense has 25 three-and-outs over six games. They had 30 total over 12 games a season ago.
  • UA’s defense has forced 13 turnovers this season, one fewer than the 12-game total of 14 a season ago.
  • Arizona has forced multiple turnovers in five of the six games this season, including four last week vs. UCLA.
  • Of the 32 games in the Cal-Arizona series, 22 have been decided by one possession (eight points), including each of the last four contests.
  • Arizona is fifth in the Pac-12 in third down conversion percentage (45.0) but 10th in opponent third down conversion percentage (43.7).
  • Arizona has played 27 freshmen, including 17 true freshmen, through six games. That tally of 17 true freshman ranks tied for fourth-most among FBS programs.
  • In Arizona’s six games this season, the team that scores first has won the game. Not only that, but the first team to strike first has not trailed in a contest this season.
  • Khalil Tate was named Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Week for the second straight week, tallying 852 yards of offense the last two games.
  • Tate is only the second Arizona quarterback to be named the Pac-10/12 Offensive Player of the Week twice in the same season. The first to do so was quarterback Tom Tunnicliffe (1982).

Cal notes and stats

  • Cal leads the nation in turnovers gained with 20 with its 12 interceptions tied for second and eight fumbles recovered tied for fifth. The Bears also rank tied for fourth in the country while co-leading the Pac-12 with three defensive touchdowns.
  • Cal recorded 9.0 sacks (tied for the second-most by an FBS squad in 2017) and caused seven turnovers including five interceptions in its 37-3 win over then-No. 8 Washington State.
  • Cal has 21 seniors on its roster, eight true seniors and 13 fifth-year seniors, with 17 of those 21 logging significant playing time.
  • Ross Bowers has a current string of 104 consecutive passes thrown without an interception spanning back to the fourth quarter against USC. Bowers scored against Washington State on a seven-yard TD run that ended with a highlight reel full flip over a defender into the end zone.
  • Bowers has completed 145-260 passes (56%) for 1,696 yards this season, along with 10 touchdowns and eight interceptions.
  • Cal has three second-half shutouts this season (Weber State, Ole Miss, Washington State).
  • Cal has won the turnover margin in each of its four wins this season.
  • Justin Wilcox announced Monday that Devante Downs, the team’s leading tackler and a two-time Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Week selection this season, will miss the remainder of the season due to a lower body injury. Downs’ season ends ranking second in the conference in tackles (65, 9.3 tpg) and 28th in the nation. Downs totaled a career-high tying 14 tackles twice this season (vs. Ole Miss, USC).
  • Patrick Laird is Cal’s leading rusher this season with 65 carries for 400 yards and four rushing touchdowns. He boasts 21 catches (third best on the team) for 149 yards and one score.
  • Vic Wharton III is Cal’s leading receiver with 31 catches for 546 yards and three touchdowns. He hauled in a season-best six receptions against USC.
  • Kanawai Noa is right behind Wharton in receiving totals with 30 receptions for 468 yards and a touchdown. At Oregon, he was on the receiving end of the Pac- 12’s longest play from scrimmage this year, a 75-yard touchdown pass, part of his career highs of seven receptions for 126 yards.
  • Cal has produced 33 plays of 20 or more yards from scrimmage through seven games, while holding its opponents to 23.
  • Noa and Wharton are tied for the team lead with eight explosive plays each.
  • Cal is 11th in the Pac-12 in third down conversion percentage (34.2) and eighth in opponent third down conversion percentage (42.6).
  • Ashtyn Davis ranks fourth in the Pac-12 in kick return yards (21.0 ypr). On the season, he has recorded 26 returns with a long of 40 yards that he earned against USC. Davis posted career highs at Oregon in kick returns (7) and kick return yards (168)
  • Cal kicker Matt Anderson has made 50-of-62 (80.6%) career field goal attempts, as well as 122-of- 125 (97.6%) extra-point tries.
via UA’s game notes