UA is riding high on the wings of Khalil Tate and the offense, coming off two strong wins against Colorado and UCLA.
The Bears will look to slow down the Wildcats’ destructive running attack, while trying to find a rhythm offensively.
Here is a look at five Cal players looking to lead their team to a victory on homecoming.
Ross Bowers, QB
Bowers has not been very consistent throughout this season, but he is the quarterback that he Cal staff thinks they can win with.
He had a disastrous game against USC, throwing four interceptions and only completing 44 percent of his passes, but did bounce back a little against Washington State but still only completed 55% of his attempts.
It won’t be an easy game for the Cal offense against UA’s fast, aggressive, and young defense. Protection will help Bowers but I still don’t expect him to have that great of a game.
Vic Enwere, RB
The Bears’ go-to running back this year has been Patrick Laird. But Laird was injured during the shellacking that Cal suffered at the hands of Washington.
Last week, however, I think Cal found their starter for running back. Vic Enwere has played in every game this year, but really had a solid game in Cal’s crazy upset of Washington State last week.
Enwere tallied 102 yards and a score on 22 carries. Not mind-blowing, but he is 6-foot and 245 pounds with a low center of gravity. And there were multiple instances where the Cougar defense had issues taking him down.
I believe the UA defense will have some struggles but will be able to stop him enough to where he doesn’t gash them.
Kanawai Noa, WR
Noa has to be Cal’s most dynamic receiver. He is quick, twitchy, and has good hands.
He is the Bears’ leading receiver, with 468 yards on 30 catches. He will most likely be the biggest pass catching threat the ‘Cats will face Saturday.
Noa is predominately used out of the slot and with his twitchy nature, it makes sense. He’ll most likely run post routes most of the night but has the speed to run flies.
James Looney, DE
Cal’s defense will be tested relentlessly Saturday and it’ll be up to the defensive line to try and get the momentum rolling.
Looney can be one of the most disruptive players off of the edge in the Pac-12. His high energy and motor can be a problem for offensive lines, so UA’s tackles will have to be on their A game to slow him down.
Looney has 25 tackles, 5.5 tackles for loss, and 2.0 sacks on the year. Even if he is able to pressure Khalil Tate, he’ll have to take him down or Cal’s defense will have to make sure to set the edge.
Alex Funches, LB
And that’s where Funches comes him. As a linebacker, he’ll have to be sure to help set the edge or spy Tate.
Funches doesn’t have the tackles you would normally see from the linebacker position but he is disruptive. He has 6.0 TFL and 2.0 sacks but only 24 tackles.
Funches’ job will not only be to stop Tate but the dynamic duo of Nick Wilson and J.J. Taylor. That isn’t an easy task for any defense, much less Cal’s banged up defense, as it lost leading-tackler Devante Downs for the season.