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Northwestern-California Preview Capsule
By: Staff  Writer - AP
Published: 8/29/2013  at  3:25:50 PM
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No. 22 Northwestern at California, 10:30 p.m. (ESPN2)

Line: Northwestern by 6.

Series record: Northwestern leads 1-0.


Northwestern hopes to live up to its first preseason ranking since 2001. The Wildcats are coming off a 10-win season that included their first bowl win since beating California in the 1949 Rose Bowl. The Golden Bears open the Sonny Dykes era looking to put last year's 3-9 record under fired coach Jeff Tedford in the past.


Northwestern QBs Kain Colter and Trevor Siemian vs. Cal defense. The Bears must prepare for two distinct QBs in the multidimensional Colter, who has a combined 35 touchdowns rushing and passing in his last 26 games, and Siemian, who led fourth-quarter scoring drives in wins over Syracuse, Michigan State and Mississippi State last season. They need to do that while adjusting to a new 4-3 defense and perhaps without injured MLB Nick Forbes (back).


Northwestern: RB Venric Mark. Mark posted Northwestern's first 1,000-yard rushing season in six years in 2012 when he ran for 1,336 yards and scored 14 TDs. He had eight 100-yard games and 12 runs of at least 20 yards.

California: QB Jared Goff. Goff is the first true freshman quarterback ever to start his debut at Cal. He won the job in fall practice over Zach Kline and Austin Hinder because of his poise and accuracy. Goff gave himself a chance to earn the starting role by playing spring ball after graduating early from Marin Catholic High School where he threw for 7,687 yards and 93 touchdowns.


Northwestern has won all seven season openers under coach Pat Fitzgerald, including four vs. BCS opponents. ... The Wildcats are playing their first game in California since losing the 1996 Rose Bowl to USC. ... The last six Bears coaches have won their debut games since Roger Theder lost to Arizona State in 1978. ... Cal faces seven teams ranked in the preseason top 25, including three in the first four weeks.

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