Chants of “Sko Buffs” reverberated throughout Folsom Field as Colorado Buffaloes fans stormed the field after a 20-14 upset victory over the Washington Huskies. Going along with the win over Stanford, this win may shock some nationally. However, it shows the progress the team has made under Mel Tucker. Colorado Buffaloes Week 13 was the best of the season.
Honoring Seniors and Alums
The 2019 Colorado Buffaloes honored their seniors before their Week 13 game against the Washington Huskies. Among the seniors honored were quarterback Steven Montez (fifth-year), wide receiver Tony Brown, cornerback Delrick Abrams Jr., linebacker Davian Taylor, and safety Mikial Onu (graduate transfer). These seniors leave a complicated legacy at CU Boulder. They were undefeated against rivals CSU and Nebraska but were unable to make bowl games in 2017 and 2018.
The 1994 team that pulled off the “Miracle at Michigan” was also honored. Quarterback Kordell Stewart and the coach of that team, Bill McCartney, were among those honored.
Saying Farewell to Ralphie V
Also, the Buffaloes had to conduct a farewell of sorts to Ralphie V, who has been forced to retire because her speed has increased, causing safety concerns. Ralphie V was honored at halftime. Fans had the opportunity to visit with Ralphie V before the game, even though she did not run. The Buffaloes also had the “V” roman numeral on the left side of their helmet to honor Ralphie. On the positive side, the Buffaloes are looking to identify the next Ralphie (which will be Ralphie VI). Ralphie V has run for the Buffaloes since 2008 and is 13 years old. She will be cared for by the football program in retirement.
Fans should attend games at Folsom Field just to see Ralphie run. It is a sight to behold and a unique experience for fans of college football.
Buffaloes Stifle Huskies Offense
The team was ready to honor Ralphie V and the ’94 team. Offensively, the Buffaloes were stifled on their opening possession, but Alex Kinney had a 62-yard punt that was a thing of beauty. The football landed at the 1-yard line and bounced its way to the sideline. Somehow, it stayed out of the endzone, and the defense would not let this opportunity go to waste.
The Buffaloes stifled the Huskies on their first possession, and it would start a first half trend. Washington quarterback Jacob Eason was harassed by the Buffaloes’ pass rush for four sacks in the first half, but the Huskies had a chance to score in the second quarter. Being in the right place at the right time, linebacker Nate Landman picked off Eason to stop the drive. In what would be a six-point outcome, getting this interception was huge for the Buffaloes. Their backs were against the wall, and they did not break.
The next three Huskies possessions would all be three-and-outs to end the half, giving the Buffaloes their first shutout in a half this season. Washington has not had good offensive play as of late, and the Buffaloes capitalized on it.
Buffaloes Open Game Up On Shenault’s Highlight Play
The offense would get off to a good start thanks to the legs of Steven Montez, evading defenders on multiple occasions. These plays could have been sacks, but Montez was determined to get positive plays all night. However, the Buffaloes struggled in the red zone, as their two first half opportunities resulted in two field goals. Colorado had chances to open this game up, and Laviska Shenault took advantage of a prime opportunity to do just that.
With 1:37 remaining in the second quarter, Montez would throw to Shenault, who got over his defender who looked to have a better position on the ball. He caught it for a touchdown, and it was the perfect moment for the tandem that has been so prevalent in Colorado Buffaloes football for the past two years. Montez, on senior night, was able to give his top receiver a chance. Shenault, in what may be his last game at Folsom Field, was able to haul in one more highlight-reel catch in front of the Folsom Faithful. Montez broke the passing touchdown record with his 61st career touchdown pass. The Buffaloes went into the locker room as raucous cheers saturated Folsom Field.
Washington Does Not Go Quietly
Washington would not go quietly, and was helped by CU’s mishaps on defense though. On a 3rd-and-7 during the Huskies’ opening possession, Derrion Rakestraw was flagged for unnecessary roughness on what would have been a fourth down for the Huskies. Washington was also able to convert a 2nd-and-17, 3rd-and-11, and 3rd-and-6 on the opening drive also. The Huskies would eventually score to make the game 13-7.
The Buffaloes’ offense would respond, as they drove 82 yards in 11 plays. On a 2nd-and-goal from the Washington two-yard line, Montez appeared to trip but was able to pitch the ball back to Alex Fontenot. He would leap into the end zone to give the Buffaloes a 20-7 lead. It was very encouraging to see the offense pick the defense up. At times this season, the offensive and defensive units have had trouble complementing each other. However, the Buffaloes have improved in playing complementary football.
Washington was determined to stay in the game despite improvements in the Buffaloes’ game. The Huskies would convert two fourth downs in the next drive. There was a feeling of nervousness as the Buffaloes had to stay on the field defensively. Once again, the Huskies were within six points with 12:35 left to go.
Defense Does Enough, Buffaloes Close Game Out Again
Once again, the Buffaloes were in another one-possession game in the fourth quarter at Folsom Field. The offense was unable to move the ball, but they did not make the big mistake. However, the Buffaloes had a huge scare on special teams.
With about seven minutes remaining in the fourth quarter, the Buffaloes were forced to punt. Washington senior Aaron Fuller returned a punt 52 yards to the Colorado 37-yard line. It looked like he was about to run it all the way back, but the last line of defense prevailed for the Buffaloes. The defense would force Washington into a third-and-five. Jacob Eason would scramble back and lose his footing, resulting in a 13-yard team sack for the Buffaloes. However, the Huskies would be able to pin the Buffaloes at their own 1-yard line.
The Buffaloes looked to run out the clock, just as they did in College Football Week 11 against Stanford. Being backed up against the wall, Montez looked to have been sacked in the end zone. However, Washington was lined up offsides, so there was not that much suspense at the moment. On the next play, Montez muscled his way for a first down, but went out of the game. The Buffaloes almost gave the ball away on the next play as Alex Fontenot fumbled a read-option play. Backup quarterback Blake Stenstrom fell on top, and Montez would return to the game.
Because of the fumble, the Buffaloes were forced into a 3rd-and-16. Montez would find a freshman to help him make what would be the defining plays of his last drive at Folsom Field. Dimitri Stanley would make receptions of 27 and 18 yards on the next two plays to put the Buffaloes in position to close out the games. The offensive line and Alex Fontenot took it from there, running methodically and making Washington use all of their remaining timeouts. The Buffaloes were 0-7 in seven Pac-12 meetings against the Huskies. However, streaks are meant to be broken, and 1-7 sounds a lot better than 0-7. The Buffaloes got their third conference win of the season over Washington, 20-14.
A Senior Night to Remember, But Bowl Hopes On the Line Versus Utah
Mel Tucker now has another win against a stalwart of the Pac-12 in Washington. However, the job is not done. The Colorado Buffaloes have a chance at getting a miracle birth into a bowl game if they can shock the world in Salt Lake City next Saturday. Utah is the sixth-best team in the country in the College Football Top 10 Power Rankings Week 14 As it Should Be. The Buffaloes has not proved that they can play in a close road game since September, but this team has broken their own trends all season.
Getting to 6-6 would be huge for Mel Tucker. He is already being praised by fans and media for the job he has done recruiting. Making a bowl game would only bolster the future hype around Tucker and the team. The 2019 Colorado Buffaloes have used the hashtag “#savagesea20n” throughout the season, and it would be truly savage if they kept Utah, and thus, the Pac-12, from College Football Playoff consideration and get a bowl birth of their own next week.