The Cal Golden Bears are not a sure win for USC unlike years past. This year Cal sits at the No. 19 spot for total defense and has the talent to shut down a Trojan offense that has struggled more games than not.
Linebacker Jordan Kunaszyk
Senior Jordan Kunaszyk is having himself an All-American final year with the Cal Golden Bears as he leads the team in solo tackles with 68 and sits at the No. 10 spot nationally for total tackles with one hundred and three.
The Sacramento native also has four sacks on the season and will be a force for a hit or miss USC offensive line to block. Kunaszyk’s best game of the season came against the UCLA Bruins, where he had 22 total tackles, 14 solo, eight assists and one forced fumble. The Trojans can not allow Kunaszyk to pressure JT Daniels and expect a great game out of their young freshman quarterback.
With running back Aca’Cedric Ware coming off the best game of his career, USC’s offensive line has to be able to block the senior’s biggest threat to another 100 plus yard game.
Corner back Camryn Bynum
Camryn Bynum is only a redshirt sophomore but he is already a leader in the Golden Bears’ backfield. A Southern California native out of high school powerhouse Centennial, he had a stellar freshman campaign last year and is following up suit in 2018.
Through nine games he has recorded 21 solo tackles, six assists, and two interceptions. He also leads his team in pass break ups with seven. While USC’s Daniels hasn’t played horrible for a true freshman starter, he has been rocky at times and with a guy like Bynum in the backfield, Daniels needs to be careful with his passes.
Bynum and the Cal secondary were able to hold air raid quarterback Gardner Minshew and the Washington State Cougars to only one touchdown last week, a pretty impressive feat considering Minshew usually throws for 400 yards and three touchdowns a game.
Daniels and USC’s talented wide receiver corps must be on the same page this week if they want to out dual Bynum and his fellow defensive backs.
Linebacker Evan Weaver
What can’t the junior linebacker Evan Weaver do? The answer is hard to find. With 59 solo tackles and 36 assists, he sits right behind Kunaszyk with 95 total tackles. Though where Weaver bests his fellow linebacker is in interceptions and passes broken up. Through nine games Weaver has two interceptions, a touchdown, and six break ups.
Nationally, Weaver is tied at No. 17 in total tackles and averages 10.7 tackles per game. If blocking the 6-foot-3, 245 pound linebacker wasn’t enough of a challenge for USC’s offensive line, they also have to account for Kunaszyk as well.
Are Weaver and Kunaszyk the Golden Bears’ version of the Mighty Ducks’ Bash Brothers? They sure have the stat sheets to back up the famous name. It seems like Tim Drevno taking over USC’s offensive line duties improved the trench warriors against Oregon State, though whether or not that was due to facing a dismal Beavers defensive line, fans will have to wait to see.