Players to Watch: California

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Photo Credit: Courtesy of Kare Chan | The Daily Californian

Quarterback Jared Goff

Predicted to be one of the top quarterbacks in the 2016 NFL draft, Jared Goff could break this game wide open for California. The junior quarterback boasts more than 8,000 passing yards and 59 touchdowns in his three seasons with the Bears. Goff ranked fifth in the nation in 2014 with 3,973 yards through the air, and he put up a career­-high 527 yards in a 60­-59 win over Washington State. He’s already thrown for 630 yards in two games this year, with 321 yards and three touchdowns in last weekend’s 35­-7 win over San Diego State. Goff and California’s air raid attack could put up big numbers against a Texas defense that’s given up 547 pass yards and 989 yards of total offense in two games this season.

Wide receiver Kenny Lawler

California’s core group of receivers is led by junior Kenny Lawler, who accumulated 701 yards on 54 receptions in 2014, putting up a career­-high 138 yards in a California loss to BYU last season. Lawler is poised to have another strong season, as he had 69 yards on six receptions with three touchdowns in a Week 1 route of Grambling State. With Goff behind center and a stable of talented receivers such as Lawler at their disposal, the pass-­happy Bears offense will look to take advantage of a weak
Longhorn secondary.

Running back Daniel Lasco

California also poses a threat on the ground with its leading rusher, senior running back Daniel Lasco. He rushed for 1,115 yards in a breakout 2014 season with a career-high 188 yards in a 45-­31 win over Oregon State. Lasco is off to a hot start in 2015, running for 123 yards on nine carries last weekend as California cruised to a 35­-7 victory over San Diego State. However, he left the game in the fourth quarter with a hip strain after colliding with an Aztecs defender. Bears head coach Sonny Dykes said in a conference call Sunday night that Lasco is expected to play Saturday, which could spell bad news for a Texas defense who’s struggled to contain the run game.

Wide receiver Trevor Davis

Senior Trevor Davis is making an impact for the Bears at receiver and on special teams as kick returner. One of the top kick returners in the country in 2014, he racked up 424 kickoff return yards and two kick return touchdowns, both coming back­-to-­back in the third quarter of a 60-­59 California win over Washington State. Davis is already adding to his 1,170 career receiving yards, bringing in a 75-­yard touchdown reception from Goff for a career­-high 138­-yard game en route to a win over San Diego State last Saturday. The Longhorns will need to stay on their toes to keep Davis from breaking through for explosive returns.