Pac-12 Football Seasons: 2020 Colorado Buffaloes Game 5 VS Utah

Sam Noyer Colorado Buffaloes 2020

The Colorado Buffaloes came into their matchup with the Utah Utes with Pac-12 Championship aspirations. Injuries and poor scheming would contribute to the Buffs falling short to Utah 38-21 in the cold at Folsom Field.

Colorado Buffaloes Come Out Flat Against Utah With Chance at Pac-12 South Title

As an undefeated team, the Buffaloes were looking to get more national exposure. They got this by having a 10 a.m. game on national television. However, Utah looked like the team that was ready for the big stage.

Utah came into a game with a 1-2 record. They looked eager to get to .500 on their first series after they returned the opening kickoff to the 40-yard line. They went right down the field, and the Buffs found themselves in a quick 7-0 hole right away.

On offense, the Buffaloes came out throwing for some reason. It was an interesting decision to come out throwing in the cold. Jarek Broussard, who had 301 rushing yards last week against Arizona, has been the team MVP so far this season. He did not touch the football on the Buffs’ first two series.

Broussard finally got his first touch of the game on the third possession, a run that went for no gain. Sam Noyer fumbled two plays later. After last week, it was head-scratching why the Buffaloes were not taking a run-first approach. It has worked for them all season.

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Noyer, Offense Get Going, Look Like They Will Have Halftime Momentum

Because the offense stagnated, the defense had to hold serve. They did just that, and the Buffaloes’ offense came to life. Sam Noyer found La’Vontae Shenault for 41 yards. The Buffs finally made it into Utah territory. Six plays later, Sam Noyer threw an absolute dime of a touchdown pass to wide receiver Maurice Bell. The Buffs were in a fight of a 7-7 ballgame.

The defense was still playing well, but linebacker Nate Landman was injured late in the second quarter. Landman has been the best linebacker in the nation this season. His leadership was sorely missed by the Buffs the rest of this game. Landman should still be considered for the Butkus award.

Colorado needed something to lift their spirits entering the locker room. It looked like they got that, as freshman Brenden Rice returned a punt 81 yards for a touchdown with 1:30 remaining in the second quarter.

However, after Utah went three-and-out, the Buffaloes could have kneeled the football. They ran the football instead, which never turns out well. Jarek Broussard fumbled and the Utes recovered in Buffs territory. They were able to get enough yards to set up their kicker, Jadon Redding, for a field goal as time expired. Colorado still had a 14-10 lead, but it was a precarious lead at best.

Brenden Rice Gives Colorado Boost to Start Second Half, But Utah Takes Control

Brenden Rice was the MVP for the Buffs in this game. He took a screen pass for a 61-yard touchdown in the first offensive play of the second half. The Buffs led 21-10 and looked in control. However, the defense missed Nate Landman greatly in the second half. They could not stop Utah running back Ty Jordan and were having trouble defending Utah receivers in space. These trends were a recipe for disaster on defense, as Utah scored two straight touchdowns.

Up 24-21 against Colorado, Utah could have scored again. Despite not having Nate Landman, the Buffs defense was still playing with pride. They were able to get a fourth-and-goal stop. The offense punted on the next possession. However, the defense held Utah, and they could only muster a field goal. Colorado was roundly outplayed to this point in the second half, but they were only down 27-21.

Sam Noyer got injured on the next possession, but he was only out a few plays. It looked like he could be having his signature drive of the season. However, once the Buffs got into Utah territory, the Utes’ defense tightened. The Buffs were forced into a 4th-and-5 at the Utah 34. They called timeout to make sure they had their best play call. It did not look that way though, as Sam Noyer’s pass was batted down.

Utah’s Ty Jordan would get a 66-yard touchdown run on the next play, and the game was all but over. The Buffs would turn the ball over on downs a few more times as Utah would eventually widen their lead to 38-21. As the clock hit zero, the Buffs had to look at a result they were not expecting against the Utes: a 17-point loss.

Colorado Could Not Get Out of Their Way Against Utah

The Buffaloes could not get out of their own way in this game. They cannot do anything about injuries, but their scheming was bad in this game. In their wins this season, the Buffs have established the run early. It made zero sense that they went away from it. Because of this, Sam Noyer was put in tough positions throughout the game.

On defense, we could not defend against Utah’s skill players in space for the second consecutive season. Tyson Summer’s defensive game plan looked a lot like the same one employed in the Buffs’ 45-15 loss to Utah last year. People that do not know Colorado football will say it is because we do not have as good of athletes. Athletically, the Buffs have proven that they can play with anyone in the Pac-12. However, they did not show that ability on Saturday against the Utes.

Looking Ahead: Buffs Unsure of Opponent This Upcoming Week

The Buffaloes sit at 4-1. They are basically the alternate for the Pac-12 Championship next week if either Oregon or USC cannot field enough players to play. It makes no sense why the Pac-12 used divisions this season. However, the Buffs have been dealt a hand where they have to hope at this point. If they had beat Utah, the Pac-12 would have been put in a spot where they had to put the Buffs in the conference championship. Colorado simply did not hold their end of the bargain.

https://twitter.com/BrendenRice/status/1338605470387343361?s=20

Despite losing to Utah, this season for the Buffaloes has been a resounding success. They have succeeded basically every outside expectation this season. The Buffs will play in a bowl game for the first time in four years. More recruits are starting to realize that Boulder is a pretty nice place to play college football and to get their education. No matter who the Buffs play next week, there is no question that Karl Dorrell will have his players ready to play.

Pac-12 Football Seasons: 2020 Colorado Buffaloes Game 4 VS Arizona

Colorado Buffaloes fans’ excitement for the season should be turned up after their game VS Arizona. The Buffs improved to 4-0 after last Saturday’s win against the Arizona Wildcats. The 24-13 saw the Buffaloes obtain spot number 21 in both the AP Poll and the College Football Playoff Rankings. The Karl Dorrell era has started off better than anyone could have predicted.

Colorado Did Not Look Like 21st-Ranked Team At First VS Arizona

However, the game on Saturday did not start off great for the Buffaloes. The past three seasons, the Buffaloes lost to Arizona due in large part to the Wildcats running all over the Buffaloes’ defense. Arizona’s speed has been a killer for the Buffaloes’ chances in games against them in years past.

Arizona running back Gary Brightwell, a senior, scored to give the Wildcats a 7-0 lead. The Wildcats were able to capitalize on the Buffaloes playing undisciplined football. Buffs quarterback Sam Noyer had a huge run in the first half that would have given the Buffs a first down after a third-and-13. Down 10-0 after a Wildcats field goal, the Buffaloes also were not taking care of the football. Freshman wide receiver La’Vontae Shenault also fumbled later on in the first. Undisciplined football and this turnover contributed to the Buffaloes staring at their first multi-score deficit of the 2020 season. Early in the second quarter, Arizona capitalized on Shenault’s fumble and got another field goal. 13-0, Wildcats.

The game did not start out the way Karl Dorrell would have hoped. In his postgame comments, he said there was no panic on the sideline. He saw being down 13-0 as an opportunity to problem solve and find adjustments.

The offensive play-calling early on in the game for the Buffaloes was also questionable. La’Vontae Shenault’s fumble was the same exact play call as the first play of the game. The Buffaloes were predictable, as they were running screens that were simply not working. They needed to switch to more of a ball-control or run-based attack to slow the game down.

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Jarek Broussard Starts March Towards 300-Yard Rushing Performance

The Buffaloes switched to a run-based attack, but it wasn’t a ball-control running attack. It was better. Jarek Broussard started his journey towards a 300-yard rushing performance. His two big runs in the second quarter set up two touchdown drives. True freshman Ashaad Clayton would wind up having two rushing touchdowns in the second quarter. All of a sudden, the Buffaloes had found a winning formula against the Wildcats. Colorado took a 14-13 lead into the halftime locker room.

Jarek Broussard has had to wear a knee brace the entire season. In Dorrell’s opinion, that is why Broussard did not score three touchdowns on three big runs he had in the game. Despite that, Dorrell stated that no one on the team is surprised by Broussard’s production.

Despite Broussard’s great running, the Buffaloes were still in a dogfight against the Wildcats due in part to the play of Sam Noyer. He would have two second half interceptions that kept the game close. Noyer’s legs were helping out the Buffaloes, however. A 55-yard run by Noyer set up his only touchdown of the game, giving the Buffaloes a 21-13 lead.

Chance Lytle Suffers Gruesome Leg Injury

Noyer may have scored on this play, but it came with a cost. Junior left guard Chance Lytle was lost for the season, as he injured his left leg on the play. It will be interesting to see how the offensive line situation develops, as Dorrell mentioned senior guard Kary Kutsch was not able to play due to COVID-19 protocol.

Despite Mistakes, Colorado Showed Mental Fortitude VS Arizona

The downfield passing game did not work at all for the Buffaloes in this game. Sam Noyer threw another interception with 9:19 left in regulation, and it was not his best throw to say the least. Noyer and Dorrell got into a sideline yelling match after the play. However, Dorrell stated in his postgame comments he will not let mistakes slide.

“If I see something wrong, I’m going to address it right away,” Dorrell said.

Having this mindset is great for a young team. Dorrell has told them that none of these altercations are personal. This mindset can help contribute to the team figuring out how to problem solve, as they did during this game.

Up 21-13, the Buffaloes’ defense was bending considerably. However, they did not break. Even when Arizona’s run game was still giving the Buffs’ defense problems, they got an interception. When the secondary was playing undisciplined, they forced Arizona into fourth down situations they could not convert. Mekhi Blackmon forced a huge pass breakup on a fourth and goal late in the game. Arizona could have tied the game there, but the fifth-ranked Pac-12 cornerback, according to Pro Football Focus, was able to break the pass up.

Jarek Broussard, Nate Landman Stars of Game In Victory

Once the offense got the football back, Jarek Broussard had one last long run in him. An 85-yard run got him to 301 rushing yards total for the game. He had this performance on the 4th anniversary of Buffs’ Heisman Trophy running back Rashaan Salaam’s passing. Broussard actually has more rushing yards through the first four games this season than Salaam had in that season, per CU Sports Information.

Despite Broussard’s huge run, the Buffaloes could only muster a field goal. That would be enough for this game, however. Nate Landman got a sack on the last drive to go along with 10 tackles. Landman is a frontrunner for the Butkus Award as the best linebacker in college football. Landman has simply been a game-wrecker for the Buffs’ opponents this season.

Colorado 4-0 And Ranked 21st After Win VS Arizona

4-0 is a huge accomplishment for Karl Dorrell and the Buffaloes. They are 21st in the newest AP Poll, and they are being considered in the College Football Playoff rankings.

The Buffaloes have a chance to play for the Pac-12 title, but they do not control their own destiny despite being undefeated. They need USC, who has played one more conference game than the Buffs, to lose to UCLA this weekend along with a Buffs win against Utah on Friday. Colorado has not beat Utah since 2016, and the past three games with the Utes have not been competitive. Despite that, there is a new mindset with this Buffs team under Dorrell. They have stayed composed throughout the season. They needed a more composed mindset after their wildly inconsistent play last year under Mel Tucker.

Colorado should be able to continue their composed and consistent play this Friday against Utah. However, the Buffs will need help from UCLA to make the Pac-12 Championship. Expect Buffs fans to wear black and gold on Friday, then wear blue and gold on Saturday. Nonetheless, excitement for the 2020 Colorado Buffaloes has been turned up.

Pac-12 Football Seasons: 2020 Colorado Buffaloes Game 3

Sam Noyer Colorado Buffaloes 2020

Through their first two games of the 2020 college football season, the Colorado Buffaloes offense carried them. The Buffs bucked that trend, however, as they relied on a strong defensive performance. Because of this performance, they were able to win 20-10 victory against San Diego State on Saturday at Folsom Field.

Colorado Buffaloes Use Ball Control Offense to Take Lead

A few days ago, the Buffaloes were prepping for a huge Pac-12 South matchup against the USC Trojans at the Los Angeles Coliseum. USC could not play this week, as they are dealing with COVID-19 cases within their program. Despite the Buffaloes not being able to play Pac-12 competition for the second straight week, they were ready to play the Aztecs.

After SDSU went three-and-out on their first possession, the Buffaloes were able to use an effective run game on a 16-play march. Sophomore running back Jarek Broussard had two big runs of 19 and 16 yards to set the Buffs up for success on the drive. Colorado was able to use a good mix of running and passing to get into the red zone. Despite that, the Aztecs were able to force the Buffs into a 4th-and-goal at the one-yard line. On 4th-and goal, Sam Noyer was able to run the football in for a touchdown on a quarterback sweep. CU got the extra point and went up 7-0.

That first touchdown drive took the Buffaloes 6:05. Their second touchdown drive in the second quarter took 7:09. They showed that they can play a ball-control style of game and capitalize on opportunities. Shortening the game comes with its risks, but the Buffs were able to take advantage of their opportunities.

Bad Play Helped San Diego State Stay in the Game

However, one bad play can change the trajectory of the game when a team plays a ball-control style game. This bad play happened for the Buffaloes, as Sam Noyer threw his second interception of the season. San Diego State junior cornerback Darren Hall returned the interception 57 yards for a touchdown. The Buffs had dominated play, but only had a 14-7 lead.

The Buffaloes had to punt on their subsequent possession, giving the ball back to San Diego State. SDSU was able to drive down the field and kick a 48-yard field goal before halftime. The Buffaloes were the better team in the first half by far. Yet, they only had a four-point lead to show for it.

The defense came to play against the Aztecs. San Diego State had seven three-and-outs and turned the ball over on downs once. In total, the Buffaloes defense held SDSU to 155 total yards on offense.

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Buffaloes Able To Make Field Goals In Second Half, Aztecs Do Not

After the teams traded three-and-outs to start the second half, the Buffs had their third 10+-play drive of the game. This time, they would only manage a field goal, however. With not having many days to prepare for the Aztecs, being able to control time of possession was huge for the Buffaloes. They let the game be in their hands. The Buffaloes played like the favorites, even though San Diego State was able to stay in it.

The only real chance the Aztecs had in the second half was due to an error by the Buffsf. Senior linebacker Akil Jones was flagged for roughing the passer, and San Diego State was in field goal range early in the fourth quarter. However, sophomore Mark Perry came up with a huge block of a 50-yard field goal by Aztec kicker Matt Araiza.

Following the field goal miss, the Buffaloes took the ball 44 yards in nine plays. Jarek Broussard’s 26-yard run on this drive was a huge step towards winning the game. Evan Price’s 41-yard field goal gave the Buffaloes the two-possession lead at 20-10.

This lead was plenty for a defense who did not allow SDSU to score a touchdown all game. Colorado’s defense did not break as they forced SDSU into another field goal attempt. This time, Matt Araiza’s 44-yard kick went wide right.

The offense struggled to keep the football the rest of the game, but the defense stepped up. They forced SDSU to turn the football over on downs. On the last Aztec drive, the defense finally forced a turnover as junior safety Curtis Appleton II picked off SDSU quarterback Jordan Brookshire. The Buffaloes added another game into the win column as they have started out 3-0.

2020 Colorado Buffaloes Attain Bowl Eligibility

Michigan State head coach Mel Tucker beat a top-10 team on Saturday in the Spartans’ victory against Northwestern. He did not accomplish that feat in Boulder. Additionally, Colorado head coach Karl Dorrell has officially led the Buffs to bowl eligibility in his first year on the job. Tucker was unable to accomplish that feat during his time in Boulder in 2019.

Colorado Buffaloes fans should be ecstatic that despite the challenges that Dorrell has faced in 2020, he was able to lead this team to bowl eligibility. The Buffaloes still have plenty of work to do, and Dorrell talked about that in his postgame comments. In his introductory press conference in March, Dorrell talked about how he was going to be in Boulder “for the long haul”. He is taking that approach to the season also. There is still work to be done.

A Word on Targeting in College Football

Early in the game, there was a targeting call on Buffaloes cornerback Mekhi Blackmon that could have resulted in him being ejected from the game. Luckily, the referees overturned the call. However, the fact that a player can be ejected after their first unnecessary roughness hit is ridiculous. These plays are usually “bang-bang” or accidental. College players have limited opportunities to play in a college football game. It is ridiculous to punish them after they commit one accidental hit. The fact that Blackmon could have been ejected for a play where he was not leading with his head deliberately is very frustrating. It takes away from the game. The NCAA needs to do something about this rule because it is unfair to the players. It makes sense to eject players for repeated offenses, but they only get so many opportunities to put on a college uniform.

At 3-0, the Colorado Buffaloes take on the 0-3 Arizona Wildcats next week in Tucson in their fourth game of 2020. Colorado should be favored in this game. It is important for the Buffaloes to play a sound game and take care of business in a game they should win. They have a legitimate shot at making the Pac-12 championship game if they beat Arizona and Utah. Nonetheless, Buffaloes fans should be in a celebratory mood that the team has achieved bowl eligibility,

Pac-12 Football Seasons: 2020 Colorado Buffaloes Game 2 – Stanford

Whenever your quarterback is starting to get nicknames like “Noyer the Destroyer”, you know your team is in a good spot.

The Colorado Buffaloes have already exceeded outside expectations, as they improved to 2-0 on the season with a 35-32 victory over the Stanford Cardinal on Saturday. Even though the final score was closer than the game was for the majority of it, the Buffaloes were able to leave Stanford Stadium with the victory.

Optimism for Colorado Offense Is Great After 35-32 Win Over Stanford

Sam Noyer played well after throwing an interception in the first quarter. He had two touchdown passes to wide receivers Dimitri Stanley and Brenden Rice, and added two scores on the ground. With his receivers, Noyer has showed consistent timing and the ability to involve multiple players in the passing game.

Additionally, the Buffaloes were able to get a lot of their young talent involved on Saturday. The previously mentioned Brenden Rice, a true freshman who is the son of Jerry Rice, caught his first career touchdown in the third quarter. Redshirt freshman La’Vontae Shenault, related to NFL rookie receiver and former Buffs star Laviska Shenault Jr., also caught his first pass of his Buffs career. Freshman running back Ashaad Clayton also saw his first carries in a Buffaloes uniform.

Getting everyone involved on offense was great to see. Even though they were not able to get into rhythm right away, Dimitri Stanley’s 55-yard touchdown reception later in the first quarter jumpstarted the offense. After taking that 7-3 lead, Noyer would add a rush touchdown in the second quarter to extend it to 14-3.

Despite Absences From Top Offensive Weapons, Dimitri Stanley and Jarek Broussard Have Stepped Up

Dimitri Stanley had six receptions for 126 yards and a touchdown. He stepped up big time with the absence of wide receiver K.D. Nixon for the second consecutive week. Karl Dorrell called him a dynamic player. It is vitally important for Stanley to continue his good play if Nixon continues to be out. Sam Noyer called Stanley “fearless” and lauded him for being able to make plays of all sorts.

Another player that has come up huge with the absence of expected starter Alex Fontenot has been redshirt sophomore running back Jarek Broussard. He had 121 rushing yards and became the first CU Buffs running back since 2005 to have 100 or more rushing yards in the first two games of the season (per CU Sports Information).

Colorado Defense Lets Stanford Back Into Game Late

The defense was effective, forcing four Stanford 3-and-outs during the game. They were holding them to field goals until late in the third quarter. Stanford’s passing game led by senior quarterback Davis Mills started to gash the Buffaloes secondary.

The Buffaloes were able to take a 35-16 lead on the first play of the fourth quarter after a Jaren Mangham touchdown run. However, the Cardinal were able to score two touchdowns late. It is frustrating that the defense let the lead get down to three points near the end. They also let UCLA back in the game last week after leading by 28 points in the second quarter.

The run defense was great, holding the Cardinal offense to 70 yards on 21 carries. However, the secondary struggled late, and the Cardinal took advantage of it. Fourth quarter defensive strategy may have had something to do with the comeback, but the Buffaloes simply have not finished effectively despite their 2-0 start.  

A 2-0 Start Is Great For A Buffaloes Team That Had No Outside Expectations

Karl Dorrell stated in his postgame comments that he wished the game finished more so on the Buffaloes’ terms. Despite the team not finishing the game on their terms necessarily, fans should be encouraged by what the Buffs have put on the field this season. “Noyer the Destroyer” has shown doubters that he can play well against Pac-12 competition. He has proven to be a threat as a running quarterback also. The Buffaloes have a ton of talent at the skill positions. Players have been able to show up when they are called upon on offense.

On defense, the Buffaloes have looked good in the early parts of games. If they are able to consistently play good defense, they can play with anyone in the Pac-12. Prognosticators projected the Buffaloes to not be anywhere close to 2-0 after the first two weeks. For Buffs fans, it feels great knowing that they have a good football team to watch in Boulder this season.

Pac-12 Football Seasons: 2020 Colorado Buffaloes Game 1

The usual “Sko Buffs” chants from Colorado Buffaloes fans did not reverberate across Folsom Field Saturday. Although 2020 will not allow Colorado Buffaloes fans to scream it together, they were chanting it from home. Despite playing in front of a very limited number of spectators due to COVID-19 protocols, Colorado held on for a 48-42 victory over the UCLA Bruins on Saturday.

Defense’s Opportunistic Turnovers Became Storyline for Buffaloes

Colorado quarterback Sam Noyer was the story leading into this game. The fifth-year senior had not started a game at quarterback since his senior year of high school. Buffaloes fans were wondering about how the quarterback would fill the void left by Steven Montez.

While Noyer was the story before the game, turnovers became the story once the game started. The Buffaloes capitalized off two UCLA turnovers to take an early 14-0 lead. Noyer did not have to carry the team, as the offensive line came ready to play. They created holes for running back Jarek Broussard. The sophomore got the first two rushing touchdowns of his career. It was exactly the start Karl Dorrell and the entire Colorado Buffaloes team needed in 2020.

More Opportunistic Turnovers Help Buffaloes Get 28-Point Lead

Once the Buffaloes built their lead, the UCLA offense started to figure out the Buffs’ defense. They allowed UCLA to score a touchdown on a screen pass to cut CU’s lead in half. This 28-yard touchdown for UCLA was a screen play on a 2nd-and-16. Defending the screen was a problem for the Buffaloes’ defense all night. Too many of these plays happened. If the Buffaloes want to win consistently this season, they must clean this aspect of their game up.

Despite the defense playing very opportunistic, the offense showed great consistency throughout the entire game. The timing between Sam Noyer and a receiving corps that was missing senior K.D. Nixon looked great. This recipe led the Buffaloes to dominate most of the second quarter.

Credit: University of Colorado Athletics

After Noyer found Brady Russell for a touchdown, Derrion Rakestraw recovered a Dorian Thompson-Robinson fumble. Even though the Buffaloes could not capitalize on that drive, they recovered another fumble deep in UCLA territory on the Bruins’ next possession. Another Jarek Broussard score gave the Buffs a 28-7 lead. Broussard would have 100 rushing yards before halftime. If the Buffaloes can consistently produce on the ground, they will be able to compete against anyone in the Pac-12 this season.

UCLA would go three-and-out on the next possession. That led to the Buffs getting another rushing touchdown, this time from sophomore Jaren Mangham. The Buffaloes were 6.5-point underdogs, but they were winning 35-7 with 5:46 remaining in the second quarter.

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Despite Opportunistic Turnovers, Defense Got Exposed On Multiple Occasions

However, the defense would be exposed on the next possession. They gave up a 52-yard touchdown on a blown coverage. Momentum was creeping towards UCLA, as James Stefanou missed a 51-yard field goal attempt before halftime.

To start the second half, the Buffs’ defense would give up a 65-yard touchdown run to Dorian Thompson-Robinson. On the ensuing Buffs possession, UCLA blocked a field goal. The first bad break for the Buffs all game would turn even worse. UCLA would score a touchdown on another screen pass to make the game 35-28 with 10:10 left in the third quarter. In what was a bit less than 10 minutes of gameplay, UCLA was able to make a game out of what was looking like a CU rout.

The most encouraging thing about this game for Buffs fans was that the offense was putting up consistent production all game. They responded to the flurry of UCLA points by methodically marching down the field on the next drive. Noyer would get a 1-yard rush touchdown, and the Buffaloes led 42-28.

However, another possible deficiency on defense for the Buffs was exposed. They were getting numerous pass interference calls all night, and the majority of them were on freshman cornerback Christian Gonzalez. UCLA was targeting in the pass game all night. It was frustrating to see pass interference calls go against the Buffs, but they did not give up touchdowns because of them. Once again, the Bruins would score on a screen play to cut the lead to 42-35. These types of plays should not be able to work against a defense as often as they did for UCLA.

Special Teams Also Showed Deficiencies for Colorado Buffaloes In First Game of 2020

Nonetheless, one area that started to look better for the Buffaloes was their kicking game after missing two field goals in the first half. Evan Price replaced an injured James Stefanou for a 45-yard field goal at the end of the third quarter. After having low-scoring games at home in the second half of the 2019 season, the opening game of the 2020 season looked nothing like those games. Despite that, the Buffaloes were winning the game 45-35.

The game tightened up in the fourth quarter, as the Buffaloes’ defense stepped up and stopped UCLA on a 4th-and-1 from the CU 30-yard line. The Buffs’ offense was able to drive down the field, but UCLA’s defense was able to hold them to a field goal. With a 48-35 lead, the Buffaloes’ defense put UCLA into a 4th-and-11 situation from the CU 40. Once again, UCLA was not able to convert.

The Buffaloes had a chance to put the game away for good. However, UCLA would get their second blocked kick of the night, this time on a 44-yard attempt from Evan Price.

UCLA was able to drive down the field and score a touchdown with 1:45 left. Consequently, the Bruins had burned through all their timeouts already. Thus, CU was able to recover the onside kick and run out the clock. It wasn’t perfect, but being able to beat UCLA was a great way for Karl Dorrell to start his CU coaching tenure.

James Stefanou retired from football on Monday. He finished eighth on CU’s all-time scoring list with 199 points.

Colorado Buffaloes Defeat UCLA Bruins 48-42 In First Game of 2020 Season

Dorrell said that there was no added emotion going up against UCLA, which is his alma mater. He also coached there from 2003-07. It’s all business for Dorrell. This mindset is a great mindset for a team who is trying to go on an ascending path. He also said the team won without playing their best football. Despite the defensive inefficiencies, Dorrell stated the need to outscore opponents in the Pac-12.

The opponent CU will try to outscore next week will be the Stanford Cardinal. Stanford’s quarterback situation looks murky, as Davis Mills is currently in COVID-19 protocol. On defense, if the Buffaloes are able to limit penalties and big plays off of screens, they should have a good chance to win this game.

Last year, they beat Stanford 16-13. That win and the confidence the Buffs gained from it should carry over into the matchup this year. Do not expect the Buffaloes to put up 48 points against the Cardinal, but they should not give up 42 points to them either.

The Buffaloes are not far off from the majority of Pac-12 teams as far as their talent. Thus, the expectation should be for them to compete against whoever they play this season. They should be able to get the job done too, and they demonstrated that in their Week 1 win against UCLA.

James Stefanou Retires After Game

2020 Colorado Buffaloes Football Season Preview

It has been a long 2020 for fans of the Colorado Buffaloes. On November 30, 2019, Mel Tucker coached what would be his last game for the Buffs. 343 days later, Karl Dorrell will take the reins for the Buffaloes as head coach against the UCLA Bruins.

The Buffaloes may not be major competitors in the Pac-12 this season. Thus, there is not major pressure for Dorrell to produce results in his first year at the helm. However, the Buffaloes should be able to compete in a lot of their games this season. Fans want to see a competitive product. The past few seasons, the Buffaloes have not been consistently competitive nearly enough. That is what has led to three consecutive 5-7 seasons.

2020 Colorado Buffaloes Offense Has Talent, But Will Be Led By Former Safety

Colorado will start redshirt senior Sam Noyer at quarterback against UCLA. He won a tight contest against redshirt junior Tyler Lytle. Many will count the Buffs out when they realize Noyer played safety last season. Nonetheless, he beat out Lytle in what Dorrell called a very close competition. Dorrell also stated that the team wants to give Tyler Lytle playing time in some capacity throughout the season. It will be interesting to see if freshman Brendon Lewis will get any playing time at quarterback. He is the best dual-threat option the Buffaloes have. Having Lewis play in some capacity this season would add another aspect to a Buffaloes offense that has its share of weapons.

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Darrin Chiaverini is returning to offensive coordinator after being the wide receivers coach last season. He was the offensive coordinator for the Buffs from 2016-18. He has plenty of weapons at his disposal.

The running back group was led by Alex Fontenot, but he may miss a large portion of the season with an undisclosed injury. That means that sophomores Jarek Broussard and Jaren Mangham will share the load at running back. Broussard is listed first on the depth chart, but Mangham caught the eyes of Buffs fans last season. It will be interesting to see if Broussard has the majority of the carries or if there may be a timeshare-type system at running back.

At wide receiver, the Buffaloes have plenty of talent. K.D. Nixon decided to return for his senior season, which is a huge plus for Sam Noyer. He also will have Dimitri Stanley, Daniel Arias, and true freshman Brendan Rice to throw the football to. If Noyer can maintain consistent accuracy, he has the talent around him to be successful.

Defense For Buffaloes Must Build On Consistency

On defense, the Buffaloes will look similar. They have Mustafa Johnson anchoring the defensive line. Nate Landman will be the main part of the linebacking corps in Tyson Summer’s 3-4 scheme.

In the secondary, the Buffaloes return Mekhi Blackmon, Derrion Rakestraw, and Chris Miller. The defense improved in home games near the end of last season, but that success did not translate on the road. It will be good that a similar group of players will be playing in the same defensive scheme they did last season. They must translate their success wherever they play to be competitive in the Pac-12 this season.

Colorado Buffaloes VS UCLA Bruins Prediction

The Buffaloes have seven scheduled games this season, but only six opponents have been determined. The Buffaloes will most likely finish 2-4 before they play their final game of the season. They are underdogs against UCLA this week, but there should be optimism that they might be able to pull off a victory in the first week of Pac-12 play. For Karl Dorrell, this game comes against the team that he was a head coach for from 2003-2007. However, the Bruins beat the Buffs 31-14 last year at Rose Bowl Stadium. The Buffaloes will be the underdogs, but the nation and Buffs fans alike should not be surprised if Colorado gets off to a winning start in 2020.

Prediction: CU 31, UCLA 28

Cancellation of College Sports: Conference Executives’ Hasty Decision

Justin Fields Ohio State

Last week, the Big Ten and Pac-12 Conferences decided to postpone their next football season until the spring of 2021. This decision was made in concert with conference executives, medical advisors, and the universities themselves.

Regardless of one’s opinion on these decisions, it has become abundantly clear there needs to be an overhaul of how conferences and the NCAA as an entity make decisions when it comes to the welfare of their players.

Should there be more centralized leadership in the NCAA? Sure. However, players’ demands will probably not be granted by a corporation who upholds the archaic ideal of amateurism.

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Schools Will Be at Loss with Cancellation of College Sports

Patrick Rishe, the Sports Business Director at Washington University in St. Louis spoke on CNBC’s Power Lunch show on August 11. He stated that the cancellation of football would result in a four billion-dollar loss, which would amount to about 62 million dollars for each Power 5 school. The Big Ten and Pac-12 have already made the decision to take this loss.

Colorado athletic director Rick George said despite the losses the school will endure because of the cancellation of fall sports and was adamant that CU is “not cutting sports.” He said that the budget for a potential 2020 season was already being allocated to account for little fans and a 10-game, conference-only, schedule. He said it will become necessary for furloughs and layoffs of employees, however.

On the bright side, George said that all CU sports could and would be able to take place in the Spring of 2021 if conditions allow. He also said that athletes should still be around their teams despite not playing in the fall, citing the need for coaches to connect and work with student-athletes.

League Executives Had Tough Decision, But Did Not Consider All Outside Factors With Cancellation of College Sports

As far as league executives go, making decisions to cancel seasons are hard. However, it seemed like players and coaches were not heard from by the executives making these decisions. Medical experts should be the number one source that executives listen to, but the medical experts were also the people telling players they had to follow protocol. The fact of the matter is that many teams followed the model they created to minimize spread of the virus.

Coaches from the Big Ten Conference expressed their dismay with the process. Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh wrote a letter to the conference stating that the season could be played not because they wanted to, but because of the facts in how teams have minimized the spread of the virus. Of course, there are going to be cases that pop up throughout the season. That arguably makes a fall college sports season too risky in the eyes of some. However, when players and coaches are given strict protocols and they try to adhere for guidelines, there is going to be pushback from players when conference executives make final decisions without inquiring with the people taking part in the season.

Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields has started a petition to advocate for the reinstatement of the conference-only Big Ten season this fall. Fields is looked at as one of the top prospects for the 2021 draft and may not be able to suit up for the Buckeyes if a Spring 2021 football season takes place. The players want to play and have been using social media as an avenue to express this desire.

This Whole Episode Shows NCAA May Not Be Able to Uphold Ideal of Amateurism

The NCAA prides itself on helping student-athletes achieve their goals on the field and in the classroom. However, the NCAA is a multi-billion-dollar industry. The players are the ones who contribute the most to the NCAA being able to make all this money. Some could argue that the point of going to college is to get an education or develop skills to help with a profession, but athletes are still being exploited.

The decisions made by the Pac-12 and Big Ten were made in part because the players wanted medical benefits and what could be considered salary this season, in the case of the Pac-12. As an institution, the NCAA should be scared about the power that players have had. They want these leagues to take care of players better and show a commitment to causes that the players champion, such as the #WeAreUnited initiative. NCAA executives cannot stand idly by and must acknowledge that the ideal of amateurism has become archaic in a sense.

Players will get more avenues by which they can make money off their name, image, and likeness. No one league has picked up enough steam yet, but the XFL was even experimenting with letting players play before they were drafted into the NFL. In the future, it is inevitable that more opportunities like this will arise, and football players between the ages of 18-22 will be able to provide for themselves through playing the game of football. It will be up to the NCAA if they want to stand by and defend an archaic ideal, or if they will adjust to the times and be able to keep a monopoly on watching 18-22-year-old players play football.

2020 Colorado Buffaloes Season: Tough Start to a Conference-Only Schedule

colorado buffaloes recruiting

The expectations for the 2020 CU Buffs football season are not very high from the outside looking in. Now that the Pac-12 has decided to play a conference-only schedule, the Buffaloes may not be talked about as a legitimate contender. However, there are reasons to think that the Buffaloes may be able to be competitive in a Pac-12 only schedule.

First Four Games of 2020 Season a Tough Outlook In Dorrell’s First Year As CU Buffs Coach

Karl Dorrell Colorado Head Football Coach

There are teams within the Pac-12 that the Buffaloes simply do not have as much talent as. The Colorado Buffaloes have to open up the season on the road against Oregon on September 26. It is not a stretch to say the Ducks are the best team in the conference. The Buffaloes had arguably their most impressive win of the past decade at Autzen Stadium in 2016 but have generally struggled against the Ducks.

This game was originally scheduled in Boulder for the 2020 season, but the conference decided to switch the venue. As a fan, this is frustrating from the standpoint that the Buffaloes had to play in Eugene last year also. The Buffaloes lost that game, 45-3. If there are no future schedule changes due to the schedule changes this season, the Buffaloes will be in year two of a three-year stretch where they have to play AT Oregon every season.

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After playing Oregon, the Buffs will have their home opener against their natural conference rival, the Utah Utes. Utah also made the Pac-12 championship. After playing the Utes, CU will have to travel on the road against Arizona and USC. An optimistic Buffaloes fan may have the team at 2-2 after these games, but CU was not given any favors for their first four games. The Buffaloes most assuredly will not be favored in any of these games. It is very frustrating that the team has to start the season playing against the best teams in the conference. They could possibly be starting a freshman quarterback in Brendon Lewis. Colorado will be forced to find their best football very early in the season if they want to win any games.

CU Buffs’ 2020 Season Becomes Somewhat Easier After Bye Week

The Buffaloes will face Arizona State at home after their bye week on October 31. Recently, the Buffaloes have had their best games against the Sun Devils. In 2018, CU beat ASU 28-21 to improve to 5-0. Last season, the Buffaloes had possibly their best win of Mel Tucker’s one-year tenure in Boulder as they won on the road against the Sun Devils 34-31. Having more time to prepare for this game, along with the confidence of playing a team they know they can beat, should help the Buffs in this game.

The second half of the season for the Buffaloes also includes road trips against Washington and Stanford, and home tilts against UCLA, Oregon State, and Washington State to close out the season. The Buffaloes went 2-2 against these teams last season, as they had home wins against the Huskies and Cardinal in November. The Buffaloes should be able to compete in their home games even though they may not be favored in them. It may not be a stretch to say that the Buffaloes will be able to win the majority of the last six games on their schedule. Having road games against Washington and Stanford is tough, but the team will also have the confidence boost of having beat both those teams in 2019.

Getting to .500 May Be a Stretch for the 2020 Colorado Buffaloes Season, But It Could Be Done

From the outsider’s perspective, Colorado is not on any national radar this season. However, the confidence gained from how the team played down the stretch last season may help them in being able to be competitive early in the season. The Buffaloes will probably have to win one of their first four games to have a realistic shot at getting to .500 this season. Out of all the early games, the most winnable game for them in the early going is probably the road game against Arizona, even though Khalil Tate has posed major problems for the Buffaloes the past few seasons. It will be interesting to see how Karl Dorrell’s footprint on the team affects how they compete against the top teams in the conference early in the season. Even though having a winning record may not be in the cards for the Buffaloes this season, they should be able to build a strong foundation for Dorrell to help this team possibly achieve winning seasons in 2021 and beyond.

Pac-12 Decides To Slash Non-Conference Games In 2020

Pac-12 Coaches Chip Kelly David Shaw Clay Helton

This past week, the Pac-12 decided against non-conference games for the 2020 College Football season, following the Big Ten’s lead. It seemed like there would have to be some sort of decision about the season being conference-only soon, and that decision got made in a timely manner.

Does Keeping Pac-12 Games In-Conference Help Slow the Spread of COVID-19?

It was interesting to see conferences make this decision when some of the out-of-conference opponents were closer in location for some teams during the 2020 season. For example, Colorado’s game against Colorado State will not be taking place because of the Pac-12’s decision. While a 64-mile distance between stadiums means that the teams cannot play, CU will still have to play against Washington in Seattle. However, it is understandable why the conference would not want to risk its players playing against others outside of their jurisdiction.

With student athletes and college students in general being on campus this fall, the likelihood of players within the conference getting the virus is very high. It will be interesting to hear if schools set specific rules for student athletes. Can a school take away from a student athlete’s college experience? There are so many unknowns with the process still. The best thing that players and fans can do is be patient with the process. This upcoming college football season is going to be imperfect, but players and fans both want to see it happen.

Pac-12 Schools Have Started Campaigns Because #TheyWantASeason In 2020

College football teams have started to encourage fans on social media to wear masks to help slow the spread of COVID-19. There have been many hashtags used, which include #wearamask, #facemasksforfallsports, and #IWantASeason. These hashtags could help some fans be convinced that wearing a mask is the way to go. It seems that the players want to play, and the coaches want to coach.

The fans also want to be in the stands. Unfortunately, this seems like fantasy at this point. The stadiums will most likely be empty or filled at a limited capacity. Other countries, such as England and Germany, have proceeded with soccer matches is empty stadiums despite lower numbers of COVID-19 cases in their countries. It will be interesting to see what individual leagues decide in the United States. There are places that are not considered hotspots, while there are some areas of the country where it may seem like a stretch to condone any sort of congregation of people at a sporting event.

Lack of National Exposure Against Other Conferences In 2020 Will Hurt Pac-12

If the season goes on in a somewhat normal fashion, the preconceived notions of each conference will most assuredly be present in the College Football Playoff meeting rooms. The Pac-12 Conference does not cut it against the other Power 5 conferences as far as football is concerned. Their conference’s network is only available to stream through the fuboTV and Sling platforms. They will probably have to play a good chunk of their games “after dark”, when a lot of people on the East Coast have gone to bed already.

The Pac-12, at the minimum, will need one of their top teams to go undefeated in 2020 to even be considered for the College Football Playoff. With how the past few seasons have played out in conference play, this will probably not happen. Oregon, who many consider to be the frontrunners in the conference, has the benefit of playing USC and Arizona State at home in the current schedule.

There is not a true second threat beyond Oregon in the Pac-12 as of right now. Utah got smoked by them in the Pac-12 championship. Although Arizona State beat Oregon, they have not shown the consistency to be taken seriously as a CFP contender. Jayden Daniels is one of the bright young stars in the conference, however. A game-changing quarterback helps a team’s chances for success out so much, especially in the college game. USC also has a talented quarterback in Kedon Slovis, but their own fans do not have faith in their head coach.

Pac-12 Fans Should Be Excited About the Prospect of a 2020 College Football Season

Having a college football season would be a welcome distraction for fans from hearing about the virus. Also, it may also be a necessary escape during election season. Fans can play their part in ensuring that there will be college football this season by being vigilant and evaluating risks when they decide to venture outside. If the college football community can rally around their want for a college football season by wearing a mask, it will undoubtedly benefit society.

Pac-12 All-Decade Team 2010-19

Pac-12 All-Decade Team 2010-19

Who deserves to be on the Pac-12 All-Decade Team 2010-19? George and Ralph draft their best offense, defense, special teams, and coach to play a game. Starts at 43:00

Officiating calls continue to cause debate and controversy in college football and NFL games. We have a solution for the targeting call and catch/no-catch rules.

Did we leave anyone off the Pac-12 All-Decade Team 2010-19 or were we perfect? Leave a comment or send us an email to immad@unafraidshow.com to tell us who built the best team.

Listen to the Pac-12 All-Decade Team 2010-19 on Pac-12 Apostles Podcast

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Make sure you like and subscribe to the Pac-12 Apostles Podcast with George Wrighster and Ralph Amsden on iTunes by clicking here or any other podcasting app. Visit our iTunes page for this podcast and other previous episodes by clicking here.

Who are the Pac-12 Apostles?

The Pac-12 Apostles is a podcast for fans who love the Pac-12 conference. George Wrighster and Ralph Amsden are committed to the honest and fair conversation about the conference. Join us by becoming a Pac-12 Apostle. Subscribe and share the podcast.

Please leave a review of our podcast on iTunes if you can! We record a podcast once a week during the off-season for football and then from the months of August to January we record two podcasts per week. Our podcasts are always heavy on Pac-12 football but we make it a point to also try and cover the other notable Men’s and Women’s Pac-12 sports. We cover recruiting and any other major storyline in the Pac-12 universe.

George Wrighster is a former Pac-12 and long-time NFL tight end. As a television/radio host, opinionist, and analyst, who is UNAFRAID to speak the truth. Contrary to industry norms he uses, facts, stats, and common sense to win an argument. He has covered college football, basketball, NFL, NBA, MLB since 2014. Through years of playing college football, covering bowl games, coaching changes, and scandals, he has a great pulse for the conference and national perspective.

Ralph Amsden is a Wyoming-born sportswriter and podcaster who spends his days tweeting through the misadventures that come with shuttling four kids around the Arizona desert. Ralph is the publisher of Rivals’ ArizonaVarsity.com, the founder of ArizonaSportsCast.com, and was previously the managing editor of the Arizona State Rivals affiliate, DevilsDigest.com. He is also a professional hater of all things pineapple. Whether you’re talking food, movies, music, parenting, politics, sports, television, religion, or zoological factoids, Ralph has questions for you. He might be sub-.500 in spousal disputes and schoolyard fights, but he’s always UNAFRAID to square up.

Hope you enjoyed the Pac-12 All-Decade Team Draft