Bears Roam in Buffaloes' Backfield During 52-7 Romp

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Throughout the off-season, the Cal football team hyped up a new "aggressive" defensive scheme that was supposed to get after opposing signal callers and create more plays.

Saturday at Memorial Stadium, it finally yielded on-field dividends.

For much of Cal's 52-7 rout of Colorado (1-1) -- a rude welcome to its future conference partner -- Buffaloes' quarterback Tyler Hansen was under siege against a relentless Bears pass-rush.

Cal (2-0) held Hansen to 166 yards passing, hounding him into six sacks and three interceptions.

"We don't want to hold sandbags," Bears defensive coordinator Clancy Pendergast said. "We want to be active and we want to be destructive."

Indeed, it didn't take long for Cal to find Hansen.

Late in the first quarter with the Bears up a touchdown, Mychal Kendricks charged into the Buffs' backfield for a nine-yard sack -- one of his 11 tackles on the day.

On the very next play, the junior linebacker recovered a fumble at the Colorado 31 yard line after Jarred Price drilled Hansen and stripped the ball.

From there, Cal needed just six plays to find the endzone, as Kevin Riley connected with Marvin Jones from four yards out to extent the lead to 14-0.

Riley finished with 197 passing yards and tossed four touchdowns on the day, but the team's defense helped Cal start four of its first half drives in opposing territory.

"The defense, they're just exciting," Jones said.

"They helped us with good field position the whole game. Usually we sit on the bench after we score, but today we were just up lifting the defense on the sideline."

The defense didn't always need to set up offense in order for Cal to score points.

With under a minute left in the second quarter, the Bears' pass-rush had Hansen on the run again, forcing a desperation shovel pass that Mike Mohamed picked off.

Mohamed returned the ball 41 yards to give Cal commanding 31-0 halftime lead.

And when the Bears weren't pushing Colorado backwards, their Big 12 visitors had their own self-inflicting wounds.

The Buffs started out completely out of synch, racking up eight of their nine penalties in the first 30 minutes alone.

On one telling sequence, Colorado was flagged for a substitution infraction -- and had to call a time out before the very next snap.

"That is the most embarrassing game of my life," said Colorado receiver Scotty McKnight, who was held to two catches for 14 yards.

"We didn't show up to play. We have the talented guys, but we just executed terribly in all phases of the game."

Colorado got its lone score -- a four yard scramble by Hansen -- midway through the third quarter using a heavy dose of running back Rodney Stewart to tire Cal's defense.

But even Stewart, who gained 83 yards on the day, needed 29 carries to get them.

Fittingly, the Bears ended the day by turning another Buffs miscue into a defensive score, as senior cornerback Darian Hagan returned a Colorado fumble 82 yards to the endzone.

The play was extra special for Hagan, whose father, Darian Sr., was on the opposite sideline as an assistant coach.

"That was just a blessing," Hagan said. "That was a fairytale ending to this day."

For Hagan, certainly. For Colorado, not so much.

Tags: MIKE MOHAMED, MYCHAL KENDRICKS, JEFF TEDFORD, CAL FOOTBALL






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