Auburn heads West for a game at Cal with both teams coming off season-opening wins

Auburn (1-0) at California (1-0), Saturday, 10:30 p.m. ET (ESPN)

Line: Auburn by 6 1/2, according to FanDuel Sportsbook.

Series record: First meeting.

WHAT’S AT STAKE?

The Tigers and Bears both had relatively easy openers but should get tougher tests this week in a matchup of power conference teams. Auburn has won its last five meetings against Pac-12 schools since losing the season opener 23-0 to USC in 2003. The Golden Bears are looking to start 2-0 in back-to-back seasons for the first time since 2018-19.

KEY MATCHUP

Auburn run D vs Cal running backs. The Bears had a good one-two punch at running back in the opener against North Texas with Jaydn Ott rushing for 188 yards and Montana State transfer Isaiah Ifanse adding three TD runs in his Cal debut. The Tigers allowed UMass’ Kay’ron Adams to rush for 110 yards on 14 carries last week.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Auburn: QB Payton Thorne. The Michigan State transfer wasn’t asked to do a whole lot in his debut with the Tigers, but that could change. He passed for 141 yards and a touchdown while former starter Robby Ashford was employed mostly as a runner and had three rushing scores.

California: QBs Sam Jackson V and Ben Finley. Jackson made his first career start and threw a 23-yard TD pass before leaving with a injury. Finley came in and went 24 for 34 for 279 yards and a TD in his Cal debut after beginning his career at North Carolina State. Jackson’s status is unknown for Saturday but both QBs could play even if he is healthy.

FACTS & FIGURES

This will Auburn’s latest kickoff time, equaling a 1976 game against Arizona that also was scheduled for 9:30 p.m. CT. … The Tigers are seeking their first win in four tries in California. The latest was a loss to Florida State in the 2014 BCS championship game played in the Rose Bowl. … Ashford’s three rushing touchdowns against UMass was the most by an Auburn quarterback since Cam Newton produced at least that many multiple times in 2010. … Cal has won its last three games against SEC opponents, beating Mississippi in 2019 and ’17 and Tennessee in 2007. … The 58 points scored by the Bears last week at North Texas were their most in a game since a 73-14 victory over Grambling State in the 2015 opener. … Cal had 357 yards rushing and 312 yards passing last week, marking the first time the Bears topped 300 yards on the ground and through the air since 2016 in a double-overime win against Oregon.

___

AP college football: https://apnews.com/hub/college-football and https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-college-football-poll

Copyright © 2023 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, written or redistributed.

Federal News Network Logo

More from WTOP

Log in to your WTOP account for notifications and alerts customized for you.

Sign up