DEFENSIVE MATCHUP: Beavs vs. Bears

STEPHEN PAEA had three sacks last week

DEFENSIVE TACKLE Steven Paea led the Beaver defense last week with three sacks and two forced fumbles. Hopefully for Beaver fans, those are signs of what's to come defensively the remainder of the year and especially this week in a huge tilt with Cal. Here's a look at the defensive match ups for Saturday's showdown in Strawberry Canyon.

Defensive Line: Steven Paea broke out against UCLA. A good sign as the D-line combined for 12 tackles, three sacks, and two forced fumbles.

The Beavs are ranked 114th in total sacks (8) but gave up just 51 rushing yards to the Bruins.

California, meanwhile, sits 100 spots higher with 23 sacks on the season. Defensive ends Tyson Alualu and Cameron Jordan rank sixth and eighth in the Pac-10 with five and 4.5 sacks respectively. The Bears sit one spot below OSU in rush defense, giving up just 3.3 yards a carry and 109.2 yards a game.

Pick: Cal. Jordan and Alualu are beasts off the edge and are the difference with OSU and Cal both equally stout against the run.

Linebackers: Cal is in their second year of the 3-4 and has the horses at linebacker to run it.

After losing Zach Folett, Anthony Felder, and Worrell Williams to graduation Cal has replaced them with equally as athletic and productive bodies.

Junior ‘backer Mike Mohamed leads the Pac-10 in tackles with 74, compared to OSU's leading tackler Keaton Kristick who has 63. Mychal Kendricks is second for Cal with 49 tackles, an interception, and two fumble recoveries.

The Cal group is every bit as athletic and capable of impact as the OSU group.

Pick: Cal. Both teams play the run well and both have two stars—Mohamed/Kristick. The deciding factor -- the four picks that Cal linebackers have compared to just one for OSU.

Secondary: Syd'Quan Thompson is the producer for the Bears secondary. Thompson has 31 tackles from his corner position, one interception and six pass break ups.

Still, teams don't challenge Thompson as much after his team leading four interceptions and 18 passes defended last season. And the group has had their troubles, giving up 268 pass yards per game and has just three takeaways.

Oregon State looked good versus UCLA -- until the fourth quarter. But Lance Mitchell has played very well this season. The sophomore safety leads the OSU secondary with 42 tackles and two picks while corner James Dockery leads with his eight pass break ups.

Pick: Push. Both teams can give up big yards through the air. OSU has given up 15 scores to Cal's 11. The Beavs have one more turnover than the Bears.

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