Cal Bears seeking 3-0 start, face Ole Miss on Saturday


RECORDS: Cal 2-0. Mississippi 2-0.

KICKOFF: 7:30 p.m. Saturday at Memorial Stadium, Berkeley.



SERIES HISTORY: First meeting.

STORYLINES: The Bears try to improve to 3-0 for the second time since 2011, but will have to do it against one of the nation’s most prolific passing teams. Rebels sophomore quarterback Shea Patterson broke a school record with 489 passing yards and threw for five touchdowns in a 45-23 win over Tennessee-Martin last week. … The Bears will play without senior running back Tre Watson, whose knee injury last week against Weber State will sidelined him for the season. The Bears hope to get another lift from former walk-on Patrick Laird, whose 191 rushing yards last week were the most by a Cal back since Shane Vereen ran for 198 against Nevada in 2010. Laird entered the Weber State game with 74 career rushing yards in 18 games. … Ole Miss interim coach Matt Luke spent Monday and Tuesday attending a committee on infractions hearing on 21 alleged NCAA rules violations by the Rebels. Luke, who replaced coach Hugh Freeze in late July, is not named in any of the infractions. The Rebels self-imposed a bowl ban this season in hopes of mitigating whatever sanctions the NCAA levels.

STATS THAT MATTER: Ole Miss leads the FBS in passing (459.0 yards per game) and Cal’s pass defense ranks 120th nationally (326.0). … Patterson is the first SEC quarterback with back-to-back 400-yard passing games since Johnny Manziel in 2013. … Patterson’s favorite target, sophomore wideout A.J. Brown (also a minor leaguer in the San Diego Padres’ system), has 16 catches for 389 yards and four touchdowns. … Cal is tied for third in the nation with six turnovers created. Ole Miss has only one takeaway. … Cal is 4-10 against teams from the SEC, with one victory (45-31 over Tennessee in 2007) since 1978.

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