Cal Golden Bears Vs. Utah Utes Score Prediction, Game Day Storylines
Oct 13, 2023, 1:56 PM
SALT LAKE CITY – We are around 24 hours away from the No. 16 Utah Utes kicking off against the Cal Golden Bears which means it’s time for storylines and a game prediction.
Expectations have been hampered for the Utes after a brutal loss on the road to Oregon State that also added to the already long injury list. However, things are only going to continue to get harder for Utah which means there is no time to cry over spilled milk. Utah has to figure out how to win with what they have.
The Pac-12 in its final season currently has seven total teams ranked in the AP Top 25 and the Utes still have to try to get past three of them in order to potentially three-peat as Pac-12 Champions. Thankfully, the Utes get a bit of a warmup this week with Cal at home before turning their attention to much tougher opponents on the horizon.
No. 16 @Utah_Football returns home after a bye week and welcomes Cal to Rice-Eccles Stadium 🙌
— Utah Athletics (@utahathletics) October 11, 2023
Before game day, make sure you are in the know about important storylines, and questions surrounding the game as well as a score prediction for Cal versus Utah.
Three Storylines For Cal Vs. Utah Football
- Cam Rising. This storyline took an interesting turn over the BYE week with Cam and his doctor opening up more about what has been going on with his injury and recovery. Earlier in the week we ran an interesting article on the topic penned by former Ute and sports personality Sean O’Connell that is worth the read if you haven’t already. Needless to say, despite best efforts to get back out onto the field of play, patience will be needed for Rising’s return moving forward.
- Injuries. At this point, do you laugh or cry about this as a Ute fan? It feels like the number of guys going down versus the amount coming back has reached comical proportions for this team despite on paper looking like a solid crew. Head coach Kyle Whittingham announced earlier in the week that running back Chris Curry suffered a second season-ending injury. Who comes back from the BYE week break? Will they be impactful returns that help (particularly) the offense find a groove? Can Utah get through this game without adding to the injury list?
- Utah’s Defense Faces Another Freshman QB. Cal will be rolling with freshman quarterback Fernando Mendoza on Saturday at Rice-Eccles Stadium. Utah’s defense has a long history of feasting on up-and-coming freshmen quarterbacks when they come to SLC- just ask UCLA’s signal caller Dante Moore. Still, Mendoza has already put up a pretty good fight against a good Oregon State defense last weekend going 21-32 for 207 yards two touchdowns and one interception.
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Two Questions Heading Into Utah Vs. UCLA
- Who Will Be Available? Utah needs some bodies back ASAP without reinjuring or injuring a new player that has been fine up to this point. Can the Utes get a Mycah Pittman back this week? Cole Becker? Ja’Quinden Jackson? Munir McClain? Etc. Etc. Etc. Any or all of those guys plus the others not listed could really help bolster what the Utes are trying to do here. They sit at 4-1. All is not lost, but they desperately need to get some of their talent back to keep pushing forward.
- Did Utah Have Enough Time To Get Their Offense On Track? The answer to this question is very reliant on the first question. I do not believe Utah’s offense needs to put up 35-40 points to win this game as long as the defense and special teams keep doing what they are doing. They just need to be more efficient, run the clock/play keep away, and collect points when they run out of real estate. I don’t need to tell you any of this, but Utah did none of those things against Oregon State in their first loss of the season. They barely did it in their win against UCLA the week before that. Quarterback Nate Johnson knows he has work he needs to continue to do to get better, but the coaching staff and the players around him need to take some things off his plate as well.
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Cal Vs. Utah Score Prediction
I’m an optimist. While I don’t believe Utah will be putting up massive points or numbers again this week, I think we’ll see some much-needed offensive improvement. It obviously means something to the players to be better and I think the change-up in approach to whether or not Cam Rising starts from the coaches will go a long way to accomplishing that.
- Utah 27, Cal 13
Michelle Bodkin is the Utah Utes Insider for KSLsports.com and host of both the Crimson Corner Podcast (SUBSCRIBE) and The Saturday Show (Saturday from 10 a.m.–12 p.m.) on The KSL Sports Zone. Follow her on X, Instagram, and Threads: @BodkinKSLsports
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