Buffs Vs. Cal: Quick Facts & Figures
COLORADO BUFFALOES (0-5, 0-2 Pac-12)
vs. CAL GOLDEN BEARS (3-2, 1-1 Pac-12)
BOULDER — Last weekend, four Division I interim head coaches led their programs to a win.
Saturday, Colorado's Mike Sanford hopes to become the fifth to accomplish the feat when the Buffaloes play host to Cal at noon at Folsom Field.
Sanford, hired just last winter as CU's offensive coordinator before being named the interim head coach two weeks ago, has done his best to rejuvenate the Buffs. In his two weeks at the helm he has made some coaching changes, tried to simplify the defense to a degree and re-emphasized fundamentals on both sides of the ball.
The Bears, also coming off a bye week, thought they had discovered the key to a successful offense three weeks ago when they ran for 354 yards and threw for 245 in a 49-31 win over Arizona. But in their last outing, Justin Wilcox's team managed just 31 yards rushing in a 28-9 loss to Washington State.
Still, the Bears have a big threat in running back Jaydn Ott, who ran for 274 yards and three touchdowns against Arizona. They also have a very capable quarterback in Jack Plummer and a pair of solid receivers in Jeremiah Hunter and J. Michael Sturdivant.
But Cal hangs its hat on defense. The Bears are yielding just 118 yards per game on the ground, have recorded 10 quarterback sacks and are giving up just 22 points per game.
The nuts and bolts for Saturday's game:
KICKOFF: 12:01 p.m., Folsom Field (50,183)
TV, RADIO: The radio broadcast will be carried by KOA (850 AM, 94.1 FM) with Voice of the Buffs Mark Johnson and Gary Barnett in the booth and Andy Lindahl on the sidelines. KOA's coverage begins at 10 a.m. with the pregame show. The Pac-12 Network will carry the telecast with J.B. Long and Max Browne in the booth.
THE COACHES: Mike Sanford will be making his CU head coaching debut as the Buffaloes' interim coach. He also served as Western Kentucky's head coach in 2017-18, where he compiled a 9-16 record.
Justin Wilcox is in his sixth season at Cal, where he has recorded a 29-30 record.
Sanford is 0-0 against Cal while Wilcox is 2-1 against the Buffs.
THE SERIES: Cal leads the all-time series 7-4, but the Buffs have a 4-2 edge in Boulder. The Bears have won the last two games in the series, including a 26-3 win last season in Berkeley.
WHAT'S AT STAKE: The Buffs haven't started a season 0-6 since 2006, when CU lost its first six games en route to a 2-10 finish.
LAST OUTING: Colorado dropped a 43-20 decision at Arizona while Cal fell to Washington State, 28-9. Both teams had byes last weekend.
TEAM LEADERS: In two starts, freshman quarterback Owen McCown has thrown for 496 yards and two touchdowns. Deion Smith leads the Buffs in rushing with 195 yards and one touchdown on 34 carries and is a dangerous receiver as well while freshman Anthony Hankerson had 58 yards rushing against Arizona. Daniel Arias is the only Buff with double-digit receptions (16 for 237 yards, one touchdown).
Defensively, the Buffs are led by linebackers Quinn Perry (41 tackles) and Josh Chandler-Semedo (35) and safety Trevor Woods (40). Cornerback Nikko Reed leads in pass breakups with three.
For Cal, running back Jaydn Ott has 533 yards rushing with five touchdowns. Quarterback Jack Plummer has thrown for 1,247 yards and eight touchdowns and wide receiver Jeremiah Hunter has 27 catches for 414 yards and two scores.
Defensively, linebacker Jackson Sirmon has 44 tackles, including 1.5 sacks. Linebacker Xavier Carlton has four sacks and three different Bears have two interceptions.
KEY MATCHUP: Colorado's McCown vs. Cal secondary. The Bears have picked off seven passes this year, and their solid coverage is one reason Cal has managed 10 sacks. The Buffs have to give McCown a chance to succeed and build some early momentum.
UP NEXT: The Buffs hit the road next Saturday for a 6 p.m. game against Oregon State in Corvallis (Pac-12 Network).