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Kerry says: Cal game no breather for OSU, but Beavers should prevail

Will Oregon State's Saturday night game at California be a breather for the Men in Orange?

Don't think so. It's hard to envision OSU having an easy time of it against any opponent the rest of the way.

The Beavers are a much better team than California, though. In their first season under Sonny Dykes, the Bears are 1-5, with only a 37-30 victory over Portland State on the plus side of the ledger. They have been bounced in their last three outings by Oregon (55-16), Washington State (44-22) and UCLA (37-10).

Cal ranks last in the Pac-12 in scoring offense, scoring defense and total defense, yielding an average of 43.7 points and 518 yards a game. The Bears can fill it up in the air behind quarterback Jared Goff, though. The redshirt freshman ranks second in the Pac-12 behind OSU's Sean Mannion with 339.3 yards passing per contest, and has two prime targets in receivers Bryce Treggs and Chris Harper, both among the league's top five in receptions.

Dykes is a disciple of Washington State coach Mike Leach, having served as an assistant on Leach's Texas Tech staff for seven years. Oregon State's defense should be well-prepared for what it will see from the Bears' offense on Saturday.

Cal has been beat up by injuries. Eight starters from the Bears' preseason depth chart are missing or have played sparingly this season. They're also one of the youngest teams in the country, with 12 freshmen or sophomores listed as starters for the Oregon State game.

The Beavers could be without their top two tight ends, too, with Connor Hamlett (knee) sidelined for sure and Caleb Smith (ankle) questionable. If they're both missing, it might mean they'll go less with an H-back and more with fullback Tyler Anderson or four-wideout sets.

The Bears have been Oregon State's punching bag during the Mike Riley/Dennis Erickson era. OSU has won five of six and 11 of 14 in the series, including five in a row at Berkeley dating to 1997.

If the Beavers play a complete game, the trend should continue. A win would make them bowl-eligible for the eight time in 11 seasons and would improve Riley's record at OSU to 87-68 -- 79-54 since he returned for his second tour of duty in 2003. Not bad for a school that went 28 years without a winning season not so long ago.

THE PICK: Oregon State 41, California 21