*Before I start, I have to give a tip of my cap to Remy, who wrote up an excellent preview for this game here: http://www.elevenwarriors.com/blogs/remy/rundown-no-3-ohio-state-at-cal
These are merely a few predictions for the game and this forum thread is in no way an attempt to undermine Remy's excellent work.
I'm gonna say that Guiton gets 90% or more of the snaps this game, because Cal's defense is horrendous and I would rather have a completely healthy Braxton than a 70-point win against Cal. Also, the Bears' defense is ranked 116th(!) after playing Northwestern and Portland State (wow). So:
Guiton: 15/23, 218 yards, 3 TD, 1 INT + 60 rushing yards and 1 TD rushing
*(or Braxton): 20/28, 290 yards, 3 TD, 1 INT + 50 rushing yards and 2 TD rushing
Hall: 22 carries, 110 yards, TD
Rod Smith: 8 Carries, 70 yards, TD
Wilson: 4 Carries, 48 yards
Philly Brown: 5 Rec, 80 yards, 2 TD
Devin Smith: 4 Rec, 60 yards, TD
Other WRs: 6 Rec, 100 yards
*If Hyde were eligible: 25 carries, 175 yards, 3 TD* It's a shame he isn't, because he would SHRED this joke of a Cal defense.
Spence: 9 Tackles, 5 TFL, 3 sacks
Shazier: 11 tackles, 3 TFL, 1 sacks
Roby: 5 tackles, 2 deflections, 1 interception
Grant: 6 tackles, but a missed tackle leading to a 25 yard Cal gain
Rest of Defense: 2 interceptions, 2 sacks, 1 FF
Basil: 1/1, 45 yards
Goff: 21/45, 250 yards, 1 TD, 3 INT, fumble
Bigelow/ RBs: 30 rush, 120 yards, TD, 4 ypc (we will be ready this year, but Bigelow will have one big 25 yard+ run)
FG: 1/2, 35 yards
500 yards allowed
6 TDs allowed
6 sacks allowed
Ohio State 45, Cal 17
Obviously, these are just my (admittedly optimistic) predictions. Anything can happen once the game starts, but I don't see Cal's defense slowing our attack down at all. I'm looking for 300 rush yards and 200 pass yards for the Buckeyes. Meanwhile, Goff has played great as a freshman, but he hasn't seen a defense this fast or talented. If we jam the receivers and play our corners close to the line, we take away quick passes and screens, forcing Goff to air it deep. I watched the second half against Northwestern, and when Goff throws the ball 15 yards+ against an adequate defense it is somewhat of a crapshoot. Two pick 6s and 4 interceptions against the Wildcats, and they are NO Ohio State. It will be a game in the first quarter, but by the second period our offense will really begin to expose the holes in their run defense, gaining big chunks of yards. This will open up the pass game for whomever is at QB, with single coverage on our very talented receivers deep downfield.
Don't forget we have weapons like Hall and Wilson coming out of the backfield on pass plays. Our O is simply too spread out for this progressing, but still unproven, Cal team to stop. If this game was in 2014 or 15, I would be much more concerned. Our defense will eventually get tired like against SDSU, and I see us giving up 17 points, maybe more, maybe slightly less. However, with our weapons on offense, 45 points is practically guaranteed against the 116th ranked defense.
Cal's field is no Happy Valley. The crowd split might be close to 50/50. This is a great warmup road game for The Game or even playing NU in Evanston.
Goff will finally see what playing an elite defense is truly like. I was pleasantly surprised with our team speed on defense last week. We have a bunch of 240 pound CBs on the field!
Again, these are just my predictions. I would love to hear your thoughts.