Zach Maynard and Cal put together their “best performance” of the year against Utah last week and hope to carry that over to this week’s matchup against UCLA.
“We managed the game well,” Cal coach Jeff Tedford said of the 34-10 win. “It’s the closest we’ve come to putting all three phases together.”
Cal (4-3, 1-3 Pac-12) had not fared well in conference play, but now faces the lighter portion of its schedule with three straight weeks against teams with a losing record.
“No one who has coached hasn’t been in a position where they haven’t faced adversity,” UCLA coach Rick Neuheisel said.
Maynard bounced back after struggling through the first three games of conference play by throwing for 255 yards, rushing for 36 more and collecting two touchdowns.
“I thought the game slowed down for him,” Tedford said. “It’s a natural progression of him improving.”
But it is Maynard’s use of his wide receivers that has caught Neuheisel’s attention.
“They want to use those great receivers and find ways to get those guys the ball,” Neuheisel said.
Keenan Allen and Marvin Jones have combined to total more than 1,500 yards receiving on the season.
Allen’s progression has been due in part to Jones’ mentorship.
“Marv has been a great mentor to Keenan, not just on the field, but off,” Tedford said. “Keenan has looked up to Marvin and respects him quite a bit.”
Cal is two wins away from qualifying for a bowl game after falling short of that mark last season.
UCLA (3-4, 2-2 Pac-12) has not lost or won consecutive games all season and is coming off a 48-12 loss at Arizona, highlighted by an on-field brawl.
“There was a lack of execution,” Neuheisel said. “We’ve got to figure out why we can’t reach that level of consistency.”
UCLA has allowed at least 38 points in each of its four losses, but has allowed fewer than 30 in each of its wins.
Cal vs. UCLA
WHEN: Saturday, 4 p.m.
WHERE: Rose Bowl, Pasadena
RADIO: KGO (810 AM)
TV: Comcast SportsNet Bay Area