In Colorado State’s 2016 Green and Gold game that pitted offense versus defense, the defense kept the score closer than expected in what ended up being a 64-47 victory for the offensive led Gold team. Under modified scoring rules, the scoring edge certainly appeared to go to the offense, but a fast start by the defense saw them leading many times throughout the day.
“It was a good day, honestly the defense was kind of mad, we thought we got cheated out of a couple plays,” cornerback Tyree Simmons said. “It was good to go out and compete and try and bring out a W versus the offense. You know Bobo is gonna stack it for the offense, so the fact that we kept it close, I was proud of our performance.”
The scoreboard was in favor of the defense early as they began the game by dominating the offense. On the first drive of the day, Simmons picked off Nick Stevens and the defense kept the momentum rolling, forcing a turnover on downs and four three-and-outs in a row after the interception.
The defense completely controlled the beginning of the game and had all of the quarterbacks looking off balance early. All told, the quarterbacks completed just 36 of 70 passing attempts.
“The one defense did a nice job early on, they did a nice job creating some turnovers,” coach Mike Bobo said. “I thought they got tired a little bit as the day wore on, it was the hottest day we had, and we are pretty thin defensively.”
The early domination by the defense could not be sustained as the game dragged on and the heat and reps both climbed higher. By the end of the day, the Gold team put up 694 total yards, including 239 on the ground, and scored five passing touchdowns. Though the offense did look sharper as they went deeper into the game, the defense still has plenty to take away from the performance.
(Photos by Ryan Arb and Luke Walker/Collegian)
The emphasis for the defense heading into spring was to cut down on the big play and force more turnovers. The big play was a problem for the defense at points throughout the day, but they had no problem forcing turnovers.
“I do like the aggressiveness of our defense,” Bobo said. They have done a nice job all spring of making a concerted effort to attack the football and try and take the ball away.”
The Green team forced four turnovers on the day — one fumble recovery and three interceptions. Kevin Davis picked off Faton Bauta, while Simmons and Demontrie Taylor both hauled in interceptions off of Nick Stevens.
“We had a lot of turnovers today and had more opportunities to even get more turnovers,” safety Jake Schlager said. “We did a really good job throughout the spring of forcing turnovers. Overall, we really did good in that.”
The final four plays of the first half yielded the most excitement of the day. As Faton Bauta took over the first team offense with 42 seconds left in the first half he was immediately intercepted by Davis on a pass over the middle. The very next play Taylor picked of Nick Stevens as he rolled out to his left side.
Bauta took over the offense on the next drive and just missed a wide open Xavier Williams deep over the middle for a would be touchdown. He did not miss on his next pass though, as he hit John Freismuth in stride down the sideline for a 75-yard touchdown. Freismuth’s reception was the biggest play given up by the defense on the day.
Schlager and linebacker Patrick Elsenblast led the team with ten tackles, while Simmons had nine to go a along with his interception.
Bobo singled out his secondary of Schlager, Simmons, safety Braylin Scott, and cornerback Jordon Vaden for their performance on the day. Vaden, a former wide receiver who changed positions when spring began, looked comfortable in his first true game experience.
“It was different, it was kind of weird not coming out and doing receiver drills and getting hyped up for receiving and stuff,” Vaden said, “but I love it. It wasn’t too fast for me or anything.”
Vaden played with the first team defense for the entirety of the game, and it looks like he will be sticking in that position as fall comes around.
“I think he is gonna stay there at corner,” Bobo said. “He could be a guy that could play both ways for us. If he did both his primary would be corner.”
It was not a perfect performance for the defense, but they were able to come out and capitalize on what they have been working on all spring. Now the wait begins to see if they can do the same thing come fall.
Collegian Sports Reporter Eric Wolf can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org and on twitter @Eric_wolf5.