Covering University of Colorado sports, mostly basketball, since 2010

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Tuesday Grab Bag: "You ARE the University of Colorado... Let's start the run tonight."

... and now, a sigh of relief...

How else is there to put it - the Buffs looked good Sunday.  Not everyone-gets-a-trophy good, like they have been for so long, but genuinely good.  The kind of good that you expect to see from a BCS school.

I actually can't wait for this Saturday to see them play again.  I want to get back into Folsom Field and watch this team continue to grow.  If that doesn't say everything you need to know about the current state of the rebuilding process, I don't know what will.


Today in the bag, I'm recapping the win over CSU, touching on the strong weekend from the entirety of the athletic department, and take a spin around the world of college football.

Click below for the bag...

A perfect day of Colorado football - 

After a 2012 campaign spent plumbing the depths of collegiate football, the Buffs needed a ray of sunshine, an opportunity to smile and enjoy the game of football for the first time in years.  Mike MacIntyre promised as much throughout the spring and summer.  Sunday marked the first chance to pay off those promises, and the team delivered, looking crisp and explosive throughout their 41-27 win over CSU at Sports Authority Field in Denver.

From many standpoints, it was a perfect performance.  The offense, powered by the explosive passing combination of Connor Wood to Paul Richardson, racked up 513 yards. (Richardson was also named Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Week for his efforts) The defense, which had spent the previous season licking their wounds, held the Rams to less than 300 yards of offense for the fourth consecutive season, and returned a fumble for a momentum-turning 53-yard touchdown.  The team played to their ability with confidence, and owned the stat sheet.
Paul Richardson was the star in his first game back from injury, hauling in 10 catches for 208 yards and two scores.  From: the BDC
But it almost was for naught.

Towards the end of the third quarter, the Rams did what they had been threatening since the second-half kickoff - take the lead.  A pair of special teams letdowns from CU had coughed up 14 points, leaving the Buffs, who had dominated up to that point, suddenly down 24-23.  Worried that I had seen this movie before, I tweeted out an exasperated "Well, let's see how (CU) respond(s)."  To their enduring credit, for the first time since last season's miracle at Washington St the Buffs responded with aplomb, scoring 18 of the game's final 21 points en route to a resounding season-opening victory.

For MacIntyre, it marked only the second time since the 1930s that a CU head coach won his debut.  If there was any hope that Mac could come in and make an immediate difference, it was on display Sunday. The team that took the field in the 85th Rocky mountain Showdown was simply not the team that I watched last season.  They looked well coached and composed (zero turnovers).  Outside of that pair of errors on kick coverage, it was the perfect day of Colorado football that I called for last week.
It was good to see the smiles back on the Colorado sideline.  From: the BDC
Look, there is no magic wand.  The program is, by no means, fixed after one win.  But these kids needed a day of sunshine and roses, and they got it this weekend.  Hell, there weren't even any injuries to report after Sunday.  Could it get any better?

The word out of camp was proven correct, this team is not a repeat of 2012. Congratulations all around.

Good week all around for CU sports - 

Beyond the football win over CSU, it was a strong week all around for CU athletics.

The soccer team continued to build on it's strong performance in the Colorado Cup, sweeping weekend play over Air Force and St Mary's.  On the season they are now a perfect 4-0, and have yet to concede a goal.  They've now set a program record for consecutive shutouts to start a season, a record they will look to extend when they next hit the pitch, this Friday against Alabama down in Denver.
Hooks has proven to be a goal scoring machine.  From:
Freshman Brie Hooks continued to scorch the back of the net, scoring another two goals against St Mary's.  All told, she has scored five of CU's eight on the young season, and is setting plenty of freshman records in the process.

Elsewhere, the Volleyball team bounced back from a Friday night loss to claim a split-saving victory over St Mary's Saturday.  After dropping the four set loss the night before, it was nice to see the ladies bounce back to earn their first win of the season.  Sophomore star Alexis Austin lead the way, notching 13 kills to pace the squad in victory.

Finally, while the cross country season hasn't yet began in earnest, the men's and women's squads were honored by appearances in the top-15 of the USTFCCCA's preseason poll.  The men, a strong claimant to national title contention, start the season third in the nation, while the women are slotted 14th.  Should be another strong season from the Banana Stand.  I would expect nothing less.

Around the world of college football - 

North Dakota St 24 - Kansas St 21

In a shock, the defending Big XII champs were downed at home by the reigning FCS champions.  It marks the fourth straight year that the NDSU Bison have claimed a FBS pelt, having beaten Kansas, Minnesota, and CSU in previous years.
WOOOOO, go FCS Buffs!  From: ESPN
North Carolina 10 - South Carolina 27

The football season got off to a rousing start Thursday night, with #6 South Carolina riding an early 17-0 lead to a lightning-scarred victory.  Heisman hopeful Jadeveon Clowney, however, looked lethargic on many plays, leading many to question his conditioning, and to write off his candidacy after only one week.  While I understand that a defensive player needs to have a perfect season to even be considered for the award, I don't think a week one letdown is necessarily disqualifying.

Northwestern 44 - Cal 30

A pair of pick-six returns from Wildcat linebacker Collin Ellis turned the tables on the Golden Bears, spoiling the debut of new coach Sonny Dykes.  For Cal, highly touted freshman QB Jared Goff looked shaky late, and finished with three momentum killing interceptions.
There he goes... again! From:
Wyoming 34 - Nebraska 37

Oh so close.  The Cowboys put up over 600 yards of offense, including 383 through the air, on the once-mighty Blackshirts, but couldn't complete the comeback.  I'm sure the UCLA Bruins, who rolled up 647 on Nevada this week, are licking their chops ahead of their Sept 14th meeting with the Corn.

Happy Tuesday!

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