BERKELEY, Calif. (AP) — It took transferring to California for quarterback Davis Webb finally to get the chance to play against the Texas team he grew up backing.
Webb served as a backup twice and was injured once when his old team at Texas Tech took on the Longhorns. But he will get that opportunity to play Saturday night when the Golden Bears (1-1) host No. 11 Texas (2-0) in the nonconference finale for both teams.
“It’s a little unique,” Webb said. “I probably pictured this coming as a freshman at Texas Tech. At the same time, that’s the opportunity I got.”
Playing the Longhorns holds special meaning for the handful of Lone Star state Cal players, many of whom grew up surrounded by Texas burnt orange. Running back Vic Enwere, who grew up outside of Houston, said he’s had this game circled on his calendar for a while now.
“You grow up with a lot of those guys and you grow up with that Longhorn mentality around the state,” he said. “It’s definitely something personal for me. I’m very excited to play this game.”
The Longhorns are familiar with Webb even if he didn’t play against them during his time at Texas Tech. They scouted him in case he played and have plenty of film on him already after just two games at Cal.
Webb has seamlessly taken over for No. 1 overall draft pick Jared Goff, throwing for 963 yards and nine TDs in just two games at Cal.
“He’s a tall guy. He is a pocket passer,” defensive tackle Paul Boyette said. “We just got to make him feel uncomfortable in the pocket.”
Here are some other things to watch:
RUN GAME: The Texas offense will load up with their twin 250-pound tailbacks against a Cal defense that looks soft against the run. Foreman ran for 131 yards against Notre Dame but sat out last week with an undisclosed injury. Coach Charlie Strong says Foreman will play against Cal. Warren has 142 yards this season and had a 276-yard game last season against Texas Tech.
“Where we’re good is that we are able to run the ball. We have a physical nature about us, then we can throw,” Strong said. “If you want to load the box, we’re going to throw it over your head. If you’re going to back off, we’re going to run it.”
BUSY HANSEN: Webb has quickly zeroed in on a favorite target, completing 14 passes in each game to receiver Chad Hansen. Hansen has 350 yards receiving and three TDs so far. Webb has options if defenses focus too much on Hansen, including five-star recruit Demetris Robertson, who had four catches for 81 yards and a score last week against San Diego State.
REMATCH: Last year’s meeting between the teams was an epic one with Cal surviving for a 45-44 win after almost blowing a 21-point lead. The Longhorns were in position to tie the game with 1:11 left but Nick Rose missed an extra point. That loss ultimately cost Texas a bowl bid as the team finished 5-7 in coach Charlie Strong’s second season.
“I wouldn’t say `revenge,”‘ star linebacker Malik Jefferson said. “It’s more an opportunity to get out there and make plays. It’s a new team for them, a new team for us. I think this year is going to be a different outcome.”
HERE’S HEARD: WR Jerrod Heard torched Cal last season with a Texas school record 527 total yards — as a quarterback. Heard has since moved to receiver and caught his first two touchdown passes last week against UTEP and had eight catches for 119 yards.
“It’s a good thing to have,” Heard said of the record that bumped Vince Young down a notch. “I guess when I’m 35 or older, I can tell my kids. Other than that, it’s one of those deals where you got to move on, try to do something great.”
HOME OPENER: Cal is one of the only Power Five teams yet to play a home game. The Bears opened the season in Australia against Hawaii, had a week off to recuperate and then traveled to San Diego State last week. Now they finally get a chance at a home opener.
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