Cal Defensive End Kyle Kragen Leads Bears Defense With 2.5 Sacks Against Washington

SEATTLE -- Kyle Kragen missed all of last season with mononucleosis, but he's far from that husk of a man, now, as he leads the Cal defense to an at-times dominating performance against Washington ...

SEATTLE -- Last fall, Kyle Kragen contracted mononucleosis, and dropped a total of 20 pounds. He came back this spring five pounds heavier, and, on Saturday, without the services of JuCo defensive end transfer DeVante Wilson, it was Kragen who led the Cal defensive line against a Washington offensive front that had, at times, three freshmen playing. Kragen was active and disruptive from the get-go. On Washington quarterback Jake Browning's first drive of the day, Kragen dropped the Folsom (Calif.) native for a sack for a loss of 11. Kragen then provided pressure as Jonathan Johnson pinched from the other side, forcing Browning into an incomplete pass. 

On the very next drive, Kragen was at it again, dropping Browning for a sack for a loss of 10 off a play action left, where Browning rolled right. The very next play, on third-and-20 at the Huskies' 15, defensive tackle James Looney rushed hard, then retreated as he saw Browning find a target over the middle. Kragen, though, was able to bat the pass down, and force a punt.

After Cal pulled ahead 10-3, Kragen teed off on Browning on third-and-13, delivering a sack and a forced fumble, which Darius White recovered.

In the span of 20 minutes, Kragen had 2.5 sacks and a pass deflection, nearly equalling Devante Downs -- last year's sack leader, with three -- and the sacks leaders from 2013 (Jalen JeffersonTodd BarrPuka Lopa and Kragen himself, all with 3.0).

Kragen also led off the second half with strong pressure, twisting on the outside along with Lopa, making room for a sack by Jake Kearney. On Saturday, Jefferson, for his part, nearly came up with an interception at the five-yard line on third-and-10 from the Cal 19 with just over four minutes left in the fourth quarter, but his deflection foced a field goal to bring Washington to within six with 3:57 to go. Jefferson, Hardy Nickerson and Kragen led the team with six tackles. Kragen had 2.5 sacks and 1.5 tackles for loss.

Cal tallied 6.0 total tackles for loss and 5.0 sacks, with two forced fumbles and three fumble recoveries, with five breakups and two interceptions, easily the strongest defensive performance (considering the opponent) of the season.

The Bears now have 13 sacks on the year, after tallying only 16 total in all of 2014.

Cal held Washington to under 300 yards of total offense, limiting the Huskies to just 259, the lowest they've produced since a 179-yard effort in the opener against Boise State. Top Stories