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After a devastating loss to UCLA, Cal needed a bounce-back game against Oregon State. The Bears went up to Corvallis and unloaded some frustration on the Beavers to the tune of a 49-7 final. Here’s how the Bears players fared in Hero or Zero.

Patrick Laird, Running Back

Hero

Patrick Laird has to be successful for Cal to succeed. He had 193 yards rushing and two TDs, to go along with a touchdown catch. This may have been his best career game to date. Considering coming off the loss to the Bruins, this performance was well overdue as a confidence booster.

But don’t be surprised if Laird is capable of more games like this. This week’s matchup against 15th-ranked Washington will be a tough one. The outcome will all depend on how consistent Laird and the rest of this offense can be. Against this inconsistent Huskies defense, Laird could have another big performance (100+ yards and a TD).

Performance Grade: A+

Draft Projection: 7th Round

Jake Curhan, Offensive Line

Hero

This offensive line held up beautifully against Oregon State. Jake Curhan helped contribute to 300 yards on the ground and another 234 through the air. This was by far the best game of the season for this offense (albeit against a horrible Oregon State team).

However, this shows what Curhan and this offensive line is capable of when they play consistently. Next week’s game against an inconsistent Huskies defense should be a good test for Curhan. If the line can simply hold down the fort we could see a huge upset win for the Bears.

Performance Grade: A+

Draft Projection: Late 3rd – Early 4th Round

Vic Wharton III, Wide Receiver

Hero

This is a deceiving assessment for Vic Wharton III. While he did not reach the end zone, he led the team in receiving yards and put his teammates in position to score. That is a great effort and solid team contribution. This was a game that showed Wharton’s value to this team and this offense.

Next week will be the real test. If Wharton can poke a hole in the second of their tough division rival, NFL scouts may see the value in him that we all do. The only condition is that he NEEDS to find the end zone for this team to have a chance at a W.

Performance Grade: B+

Draft Projection: Mid 7th- Undrafted

Jordan Kunaszyk, Linebacker

Hero

Another week, another solid outing for Jordan Kunaszyk and this Bears defense. With six total tackles and a sack, Kunaszyk showed why he is the glue that holds this defense together.

Cal had a chance to be one of the best defenses in the PAC-12, and that was on display against the Beavers. They pressured the QB and forced Oregon State into a panic.

Next week might not be a pretty one for this defense though. Washington has a high powered offense and will give Kunaszyk all he can handle. Don’t be surprised if next week is this defense’s worst of the season (not counting UCLA).

Performance Grade: A-

Draft Projection: 5th – 6th Round

Camryn Bynum, Cornerback

Hero

Camryn Bynum is a hero not for what he did, but for what he didn’t do. He and the rest of this secondary allowed no touchdowns through the air. While only needing to make four tackles, they suffocated the air attack of this Oregon State offense. They were disciplined and showed why they are an elite defense.

Next week’s game against the Huskies will be a tough test for the defensive backfield. Washington quarterback Jake Browning and the passing attack will push Bynum to his limits and will prove whether or not he is NFL-ready.

Prediction: Upset city, Cal wins by a field goal.

Performance Grade: B+

Draft Projection: 4th Round

Sports Al Dente 2018