While not playing in a major bowl game matchup, Cal’s appearance in the Cheez-It Bowl is an accomplishment nonetheless. They’ve had an all-around solid season and look to continue it with a big win against TCU. Let’s look at how our prospects should fare against their Big 12 foe.
Patrick Laird, RB
This should be a great matchup for Laird in the post-season. Despite going up against defensive stalwart Ben Banogu, Laird has the opportunity to have a monster game. TCU gives up a little over 140 yards rushing per game and Laird has been on a hot streak lately. Against Stanford, he had gained over 100 yards and has the opportunity to continue that streak against TCU. The key to this will be consistent blocking and continuous touches (at least 16 touches). Look for Laird to be key as a receiver as well, as that has been common for him lately.
Jake Curhan, OL
This will be a tough matchup for Curhan and the offensive line. They should have a solid day in the run game but passing will be another story. TCU’s defense allows only 200 yards passing per game. They also have a tendency to get at the quarterback with regularity. Curhan will need to be on his A-game all day in order to hold off Banogu and this solid TCU defense. Don’t be surprised to see a rough outing, but one that should hold off enough for a win.
Vic Wharton III, WR
For Wharton, this could be a make-or-break matchup. TCU’s secondary is dangerous (7 interceptions and 200yds passing per game), and won’t leave him wide-open too often. Wharton has the opportunity to get a large number of catches. A large portion of this will depend on if the o-line can protect the pocket long enough. Wharton has had his ups and downs all year, and it makes his outlook for this game even more uncertain.
Jordan Kunaszyk, LB
This will be a dream matchup for Jordan Kunaszyk. TCU’s QB situation is shaky and their offense is in complete disarray. They have struggled to find consistency all season long due to various internal issues. If Kunaszyk can focus, he can take advantage and completely shut down this Horned Frogs offense. Do not be surprised if this is his best and most productive game all season.
Camryn Bynum, CB
Despite his inconsistency, look for a fun matchup against this weak TCU offense. The major bonus for Bynum is the QB issues for TCU. They haven’t found consistency all season long despite having a lot of talent. Yes, they have several playmakers on offense, but Bynum has shown the ability to hold down the fort. His draft stock has certainly slipped, but this game could be what boosts him back to early-mid round status.
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