Cal will need turnaround to compete with Ohio State

Getty Images File PhotoPlay-maker: Wide receiver Keenan Allen is Cal’s biggest threat

Getty Images File PhotoPlay-maker: Wide receiver Keenan Allen is Cal’s biggest threat

Cal’s performance in its first two games suggests the Golden Bears (1-1) have little chance to win their game against Ohio State (2-0) on Saturday — which is the Bears’ first road game and first game against a ranked opponent.

Quite simply, the Golden Bears have played poorly in both games, losing to a Nevada team that subsequently lost at home to South Florida and leading FCS team Southern Utah by just three points entering the fourth quarter before walking away with an unsatisfying 50-31 victory.

It’s safe to say the Golden Bears did not get the confidence boost they needed from that game.

Now, they’ll have 100,000 screaming fans at “The Horseshoe” to deal with.

The Urban Meyer era has gotten off to a fast start at Ohio State, thanks in part to the superb play of sophomore quarterback Braxton Miller.

Miller set a school record with 27 carries last week and matched the record with three rushing scores, but Meyer would like to limit his carries going forward to curb the injury risk and fatigue.

The dual-threat quarterback could be in for a big game throwing the ball this week against Cal, which surrendered four passing touchdowns against Southern Utah last week.

Ohio State is producing nearly 475 yards of total offense in Meyer’s no-huddle spread and will present a challenge to a Cal defense that led the Pac-12 in each of the past two seasons, but has gotten off to a slow start in 2012.

Cal’s biggest weapon in two phases is Keenan Allen, who caught a touchdown pass and returned a punt 69 yards for a score last week. The half-brother of quarterback Zach Maynard, Allen also has a rushing score this season and is the Golden Bears’ best candidate for a slew of postseason awards.

He will be matched up against a Buckeyes secondary that has already recorded five interceptions.

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