The UCLA Bruins will take on the UC Berkeley Golden Bears in the final game of the 2019 football season. It will be senior night and, after last week’s loss to Southern Cal, the Bruins will be licking their wounds and looking to close out the season on a high note. The Bears are coming off a close 24-20 win over a battered Stanford team, so this is definitely a winnable game for the Bruins.
Let’s take a close look at the UC Berkeley offense.
The Bears have had ups and downs this season at this position, with redshirt sophomore Chase Garbers and redshirt junior and former Bruin Devon Modster splitting most of the season. Garbers sustained an upper body injury at the end of September and missed four games, returning two weeks ago and sustaining yet another injury against Southern Cal. Modster played the second half of the game, but Garbers was healthy enough to play last week against Stanford. He wound up going 20-30 for 285 yards and a touchdown, good enough to lift the Bears over Stanford and claim bowl eligibility for the second year in a row. Overall, Garbers has 1,270 yards and nine touchdowns for the season.
Modster has probably not seen the success he was hoping for after transferring to UC Berkeley, throwing just as many touchdowns as interceptions this year at five each. In six games he has put together 705 total yards with a pass completion percentage at just over 50%. Either way, Garbers is banged up and Modster has been struggling. So, the Bears’ offense will more than likely be easy to stop.
The Golden Bears lost more than half of their offensive line after the 2018 season and have had to do some reshuffling due to injuries, which could explain some of their struggles. They run the gamut of experience, with junior Michael Saffell anchoring the line at center and freshman Matthew Cindric at left guard, filling in for injured Gentle Williams who suffered a season ending injury before the Bears even played their first game. Redshirt junior Valentino Daltoso is now starting at left tackle. Daltoso has had his own struggles, missing last spring due to injury and moving from right guard to left tackle after starting left tackle Will Craig suffered a season-ending lower body injury in September.
On the right, freshman McKade Mettauer will be start at guard after Daltoso moved to left tackle and redshirt junior Jake Curhan will be at right tackle. This line has been playing musical chairs all season, but has made progress despite all the changes.
Sophomore Nikko Remigio is still topping the team in receptions, despite missing a game this season. He had a monster game last weekend, notching nine receptions for 157 yards and one touchdown. This is one receiver to watch for on Saturday.
Senior Jordan Duncan and juniors Trevon Clark and Jeremiah Hawkins will also be snagging passes in the absence of redshirt junior Kekoa Crawford. Crawford was on track to have video game numbers and is actually still in third for receptions on the team even though he only played in five games this year. Crawford, Remigio, and Hawkins have all had injuries that have sidelined them this season. So, between these receivers and the offensive line and the quarterback carousels, the UC Berkeley offense has been battered.
Sophomore Christopher Brown Jr. is probably the most consistent individual for the Bears on the offensive side of the ball. Brown has played in all 11 games, putting together 731 yards and eight touchdowns, and he has added 19 receptions for 130 yards. Two of his touchdowns were actually in the air.
Junior transfers DeShawn Collins and Marcel Dancy both hail from junior colleges in the northern California area and will be moving the rock alongside Brown. Garbers and Modster also rank high on the list of rushing yards for the Bears, but this may be a consequence of a struggling offensive line that cannot hold the pocket long enough for the quarterback to throw.
This offensive has had some bad luck this season, getting bit several times by the injury bug. UCLA can take on the Bears and easily win if the team that had a three-game win streak a few weeks ago actually shows up.