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WSU vs. Cal football: Jared Goff and the Golden Bears offense

A steady run game, explosive pass game and a hunt for a handheld vacuum.

This man can no longer deal with the dust in his room.
This man can no longer deal with the dust in his room.
Ezra Shaw

The Cal offense, particularly the passing game, has been among the most explosive in the country through the first month and change of the college football season. That explosive offense is led by this man:

Honestly, I don't think I've ever purchased a handheld vacuum, nor have I ever considered where one is purchased. My first inclination was "Target" or WalMart" or maybe more accurately "Do they still make those?" A quick internet search says "they" absolutely still do make handheld vacuums, and they are available at many different places, including Amazon.

If I was Goff, I would have used that Amazon Student membership and ordered my new handheld vacuum without ever leaving my couch.

Whether or not Goff was able to track down a hand-held vacuum, his play has been stellar this season. He has thrown for 1,339 yards on just 127 pass attempt, or 10.5 yards per attempt. With Goff leading the charge, the Golden Bears rank fifth nationally in passing S&P (a Football Outsiders measurement of success rate and explosiveness) and fifth in performance on passing downs.

That means a lot of big plays for Cal, something that has happened often against WSU's defense this season. The Cougars defensive passing S&P has been average (64th nationally) through five games, and it was burned a number of times against the other highly explosive passing attack it faced (Oregon-3rd nationally in Passing S&P).

In true "Air Raid" fashion, the love has been spread amongst Goff's receivers. But even with all Goff's success, his top pass-catcher is still not impressed:

Kenny Lawler leads Cal in receptions with 13, and touchdowns with five. That's a lot of touchdowns for just 13 receptions. WSU should probably be looking out for Lawler in the redzone. Maybe he tries extra hard down there because he thinks that his quarterback is weak?

As Brian Anderson detailed, Cal's "Bear Raid" attack has actually featured more running than passing this season. The feature back:

It's nice to appreciate the simple things in life. But I still have to think that this process would be entirely too time consuming in a busy period.

Have you ever held the door for someone, only to have 10 more people come by? At some point, you start regretting what you have done, and hating all the people taking advantage of your kindness. Now, imagine if all those people were turning and bowing. That's at least double the hold-the-door-open time. I might never hold the door open for anyone ever again.

Even amongst all this time-consuming door holding, Daniel Lasco has become a dang good running back. Lasco tops the Golden Bears with 347 yards and two touchdowns on 55 carries. But Lasco doesn't get all the glory at running back, his touchdown-vulturing teammate Khalfani Muhammad has scored four times on just 36 carries.

Overall, the Golden Bears running game has been just effective enough, and is used often enough, to keep defenses from cheating on the pass. In terms of explosiveness and success, Cal's running game is actually ranked just 65th in rushing S&P.

That means there's some hope for a WSU run defense that has been largely good save for giving up back-breaking long runs.

It will also be interesting to see if Cal is as run-happy as the numbers suggest (55 percent of plays have been runs). The Golden Bears have had huge early leads in four of five games. They trailed early against Colorado and dropped back to pass 43 times against 28 runs.

Here's guessing that if the game is close, Cal won't be running the ball 55 percent of the time. That's actually bad news for WSU, because Cal has been stellar in the passing game.

Or is it good news because if Cal is passing that means it probably doesn't have a lead?

Overall, Cal should score plenty of points against the Cougar defense, and probably with big passing plays. WSU's young secondary will be tested, because even if WSU steps up and stops the run, Cal has been excellent on passing downs anyway.