BOULDER - The Colorado Buffaloes defense took a huge step forward on Saturday in their victory over the California Golden Bears. They were finally able to generate the type of pass rush they’ve been looking for all season.
“Obviously, we have ability in terms of pass rush on our team and it hasn’t shown up as much as we would have liked so far this season,” linebacker Derek McCartney said after the game. “But it really did show today. I think we’re just going to keep getting better.”
They certainly showed out against Cal. They were making quarterback Ross Bowers’ job incredibly difficult for almost the entirety of the game. The defense racked up four sacks, five quarterback hurries, and nine pass breakups.
"They're getting better and better at it," head coach Mike MacIntyre said about his pass rushers. "Jacob [Callier] has a knack for being able to rush the passer. He has a quick first step, he has the ability to bend, that's what we loved about him when we watched him in high school at Bosco. We thought he could be an excellent pass rusher, and I just think he's going to get better and better."
Evan Worthington, Drew Lewis, Jase Franke and George Frazier each had a sack. McCartney was consistently getting pressure, finishing with two pass breakups (one of them was batted down at the line) and two quarterback hurries.
"Jase Franke had some good pass rushes inside, so did Leo [Jackson]," MacIntyre said. "And of course number 20 [Drew Lewis], he flashes in there every once in awhile for sure."
Bowers had an abysmal day going 29-52 through the air, with most of the completions coming on big chunk plays or slant routes where Bowers threw it where only his receiver could go up and get it.
“I think that we definitely had a toll on [Bowers]," MacIntyre explained. "We definitely rattled him a little bit. We started to watch as the game progressed that he was wearing down a little bit. His passes weren’t on point, and he wasn’t trying to scramble as much. I think that all of the pressure we brought had a huge role.”
It’s a really good sign for the Buffaloes that they were able to get a pass rush going. With quarterbacks such as Manny Wilkins and Sam Darnold ahead on the slate, they will really have to keep that going if they want any chance at making a bowl game.