PULLMAN – Prior to Saturday night’s game, the majority of junior linebacker Nate DeRider’s career had been spent making an impact during Thursday Night Football scrimmages and on special teams.
But DeRider played a key role in the Cougars defense’s impressive effort against the California offense, which ranked No. 3 in the Pac-12 in scoring entering the game at Washington State.
In the second quarter, the Golden Bears were on the brink of cutting into WSU’s 21-7 lead. Cal had third-and-3 at the WSU 5-yard line. But DeRider stepped in from of Davis Webb’s pass, making an interception in the end zone and returning the ball out to the WSU 21-yard line.
On Cal’s first drive of the second half, he leveled Webb on a sack with such force that both players struggled to get up. The play came on second-and-4, and his sack made it third-and-13 for the Golden Bears, who were unable to convert and forced to punt.
“It was really fun. That’s what I kept telling guys when I came off the field, once I started getting reps,” DeRider said. “I just kept telling the guys, ‘I’m having a blast out there.’ I wasn’t nervous, wasn’t scared, it was just routine. We do it during practice during the week and it was just putting it on the game field.”
DeRider was a four-year letterman and four-time state champion at Bellevue High.
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