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Instant Analysis/Reaction: Cal falters in disastrous overtime loss to Colorado

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OCTOBER 15, 2022

Key takeaways

Strong defense

Cal’s defense has been solid all season long — and once again it came to play. The Bears snagged an interception, recovered two fumbles and surrendered just 13 points in regulation. The Bears’ linebackers and defensive backs in particular kept the Buffs mostly in check and forced crucial turnovers to keep the blue and gold in the game.

Ugly Offense

Unfortunately for Cal, any defensive success was undermined by a sluggish offensive performance. An opening drive interception was a bad omen for the blue and gold, and things only got worse from there. The Bears missed two field goals and couldn’t find a rhythm amid countless overthrows and drops.

A disappointing game

Every season, the Bears seem to have at least one letdown performance that lowers expectations for the year. Today felt like a new low in the Justin Wilcox era.

It can’t be overstated how poor this Buffs team is. They entered the game as the last winless team in the country at 0-5, boasting the staggering 130th-ranked defense out of 131 college football programs. Colorado just fired its head coach after its last game. The Buffs surrendered 38 points or more every game this season and hadn’t even held a lead in conference play entering this game. Today they earned their first and likely only win this season.

It’s the worst Cal performance in recent history and something needs to change.

Cal’s game MVP

Cal didn’t have much to take pride in this game, but the defense was the stronger unit today.

The — relative — star of the show here was LB Jackson Sirmon. Veteran Sirmon has been a leader of Cal’s defense thus far and today saw one of his strongest performances yet. He led the team with 8 tackles and snagged a big interception. Unfortunately for Cal, and Sirmon himself, the rest of the team just couldn’t keep pace.

Eye-opening stats

13 points, 35 rushing yards and 29-52 passing. These were Cal’s offensive stats for the day — and they were dreadful. When you consider the defense the Bears were facing, the story looks even worse. It’s a dark day for Cal football, raising plenty of questions and not providing many answers. Where on earth does Cal go from here?

Looking forward

The Colorado matchup was Cal’s last supposedly easy game on the schedule for the foreseeable future. Cal’s next month is a gauntlet against many of the Pac-12’s best, starting with a showdown  against Washington. The 5-2 Huskies boast a high-powered offense led by Indiana transfer QB Michael Penix Jr.

Cal’s defense will need to lock down Washington’s explosive passing game and the Bears’ offense may need to keep pace in a shootout. While anything can happen, a performance like this against Colorado could spell trouble against a team as strong as the Huskies.

But almost anything would be better than this Colorado loss.

Contact Benjamin Coleman at 


OCTOBER 15, 2022