Cal's opportunity to assert itself on the national stage comes against Texas

Jared Goff has an opportunity to make a statement against a Texas defense that has struggled so far. Kirby Lee/USA TODAY Sports

California Golden Bears visits Texas Longhorns on Saturday at 4:30 p.m. PT. Here are five things to watch:

1. Jared Goff: Put simply, he's been a joy to watch so far this season. The chemistry Goff shares with the Golden Bears' receivers has strengthened even since last year, and it's made Cal's passing attack lethal. Games against Grambling State and San Diego State to open the season didn't give the Bears a very big stage, but this opportunity in Austin addresses that problem: Plenty of fans will be watching Goff take on a Texas defense that has given up nearly 1,000 yards through its first two games.

2. Jerrod Heard: Goff's counterpart in this one is a redshirt freshman who took over in the Longhorns' 42-28 win over Rice last week. Heard's style of play couldn't be any more different than Goff's: He only attempted seven passes all game last week, but he did run 10 times for 96 yards to become Texas' leading rusher on the young season. Heard also delivered a perfect deep strike, so he has shown the ability to keep defenses honest.

3. Cal defense and continued solid play: The Bears' secondary was terrible last season -- the fact they allowed the most passing yards in the nation by a wide margin speaks to that. So far in 2015, they've played two games against admittedly weaker competition, but looked fundamentally strong in both of them. Cornerbacks Darius White and Darius Allensworth have played particularly physical football. A continuation of that will be key Saturday, as the Longhorns' propensity to run will call on Cal's defensive backs to defeat blocks.

4. Texas' ability to generate a pass rush: The Longhorns' secondary has given up 15 passes of 15 yards or longer already this season, a particularly troubling stat considering the quarterback they're facing this week. Texas must find a way to pressure Goff, and that's something they've struggled with throughout the early portions of this season: The Longhorns have only three sacks.

5. Daniel Lasco: If the Longhorns do manage to finally bring a consistently decent pass rush, Cal can still counter with a dangerous rushing attack. That effort begins with Lasco, a senior who racked up 123 yards on 19 carries against the Aztecs last week. He brings that necessary, underrated balance to the Bears' offense. Texas has also struggled against the run to start the season (yes, the Longhorns are just sputtering in general), so Lasco may be primed for a big game.