Today in the bag, I'm talking the historic win over Oregon, a look ahead into the near future of the football schedule, and the start of basketball season.
Click below for the bag...
#TheRise takes a page from 1986 -
We've seen verifiable evidence in recent weeks that Colorado is on the right track. Sterling exhibitions of skill over lesser opponents and a quality, if still losing, performance on the road against a top-5 team have proven the case of #TheRise in a way that all the bluster over the summer never could. What still remained to be seen, however, was a statement win over a conference opponent to erase any lingering doubt. The Buffs got their chance on the opening week of conference play, on the road, against the Oregon Ducks.
|CU started fast in Eugene. From: Ooyuz.com|
The prospects didn't look promising headed into the game, though. QB Sefo Liufau was still hobbled in his recovery from an ankle sprain in last week's Michigan game, and his backup, freshman Steve Montez, looked disastrous in that affair, going 0-7 on his passing attempts. Before the game, I stated in my teaser that I figured the difference between the two quarterbacks would cost the team dearly, equating it to about 30 percentage points in win probability. Vegas was decidedly down on the Montez-lead Buffs, as well, with the line moving as much as five points in the direction of Oregon in the minutes after it was determined that he would be making his first collegiate start in Eugene.
|Montez was not messing around on Saturday. From: NewsReportCenter.com|
It was then that what seemed like inevitable cracks began to show. An interception on the fifth play of the eighth drive gave the Ducks a foothold, and they pounced. Working off the good field position from the pick, the potent Oregon offense quickly found the endzone. Now in high gear, they duplicated the feat on their next drive, after a 3-and-out from CU, and yet again after another Montez interception just two plays later. Within a span of eight minutes, the Colorado lead had been completely erased under an avalanche of 21 unanswered Duck points; Oregon was suddenly up 38-33 entering the fourth quarter. No one in BuffNation would've been blamed for running for their comfort booze at this point. The series of scores to flip the board echoed a number of near misses over the last two seasons, and seemed destined to end in another classic football *sigh*.
|Just incredible stuff from Bobo. From: @SodaPopinskiCU|
From there, it was all just a matter of holding on against the angered Oregon offense. After another exchange of possessions, and yet another quality punt when the backed-up Buffaloes needed it most, the Ducks took over on their own 42-yard line with just under three minutes to play. They immediately started moving down the field, penetrating deep into the CU red zone as the game entered its final minute. Down just three, Oregon could've played it safe, and pushed for overtime on their home field, but this is Oregon, and head coach Mark Helfrich decided to go for the win. From the CU seven-yard line, they called the fade route at CU's Ahkello Witherspoon; a play that I have long derided as overly high-risk/low chance of success for goal-line work. The senior corner was up to the task and jumped in front of the would-be Oregon receiver, hauling in the game-sealing interception. With just 48 seconds left on the clock, it was over. Colorado had come into Eugene, and beaten the vaunted Oregon Ducks. They'd taken on the king, and walked away with the king's Nike-branded lunch money.
|Winner-winner, chicken dinner. From: Heraldnet.com|
The Bulle(i)t points:
- The game turned twice on semi-miraculous catches by Colorado receivers in the endzone that were originally ruled incompletions. In addition to the Bobo catch, Devin Ross also hauled in a beauty, snow-cone-ing the ball out in front of himself before tucking and extending across the goal line. In previous years, even though the catches were definitive, I have the feeling that the zebras would've found a reason to stick with their original calls on each. Instead, the incredible skill shown by each wideout was rewarded, and lead directly to CU earning the win.
- A huge round of applause for Steven Montez. With doubts dogging him all week, he stepped into the maelstrom, and calmed everything down with a record-setting 468 total yard, 4 total score day. While, let me be clear, there is no QB controversy, and Sefo's status as the #1 is safe until he heals completely, Montez's efforts in Eugene were the stuff of legend, and portend well for the future.
- Punting: three boots, an average over 40 yards per (with the shortest landing inside the 10, and no returns. More importantly, no disasters, and nothing to apologize for. A week after costing the team the game in Ann Arbor, the unit rebounded to have a solid day, when called upon.
- The defense allowed 508 yards; their most, by far, surrendered in a game this season. That is not to say they had a bad effort, however. Outside of the three consecutive scoring drives against, spurred by two interceptions and a three-and-out surrendered by the offense, they were very solid against an elite offense on foreign soil.
- I'm starting to worry that I may actually have to sit in the shitty season ticket seat I originally bought simply to get me through the door this fall. Woe is me for doubting the infectious nature of #TheRise.
A look ahead in the football schedule -
- Boise State 38 - Oregon State 24 -
OSU will head to Boulder losers of 14 of their last 15 against FBS competition, thanks to this effort in Corvallis against the Broncos. The Beavers were down 31-7 at halftime, as Boise rolled on both sides of the ball, but showed better after the break to make the score respectable.
|Boise St just ran all over OSU in the first half. From KTVB.com|
- Utah 31 - USC 27 -
The Trojans lost in SLC thanks to a 15-play, 93-yard drive that culminated in a dramatic 18-yard touchdown pass. The hero of the night for the Utes was QB Troy Williams, who produced three total scored and 287 combined yards. For USC, newly installed starter Sam Darnold was functional, if not transformational.
|A big win for Utah. From: Oregon Live|
- Arizona State 51 - Cal 41 -
If there's one thing I know, it's that Arizona State can move the football. They can't defend it, *laughs*, but they can sure move it. Tally up 51 more points and 454 more yards against the Golden Bears in a winning effort. For those who still care, Davis Webb threw for 478 and five touchdowns against the porous Sun Devils, but two late-game mistakes killed him and his team. Personally, I couldn't care less: the Buffs are better off without.
Basketball season starts Friday -
Lest you think I've forgotten, let me remind y'all that basketball still exists. In fact, practices will start up this Friday, so expect a rise in hoops-related content across the twittersphere, including this space. I know some of you will roll your eyes, but, yes, I still go to bed every night asking a simple question: #IsItNovemberYet?
The Buffs will come into the season with a veteran, well-traveled roster, one loaded with talent, versatility, and explosive capability. Interestingly, however, this team flush with returners will likely hinge on the performance of two players who didn't see the court at all last fall: Xavier Johnson and Derrick White. Johnson, the flashy jack-of-all-trades forward from Los Angeles, missed all of 2015-16 with a torn Achilles, but is 100% recovered and itching to get back out on to the CEC floor. White is a different story entirely. The transfer from D-II UCCS has a track record of ripping up whatever competition is put in front of him, and all reports say this will translate well even up a division, but is still a relative unknown.
|Heeeeeee's baaaaaaaack! From: the Post|
And, if that excitement wasn't enough, Coach Boyle threw us the mid-week bone of another four-star recruit. Beefy SoCal center Evan Battey, who visited campus two weeks ago, announced his commitment to CU this afternoon. The football-sized 6-7, 280 lbs prospect, seemingly destined more for Coach MacIntyre's o-line than Tad's front line, is alternatively considered a top-150 overall or top-20 center talent by the various services, and stands as a very interesting capstone to the already loaded 2017 recruiting class (including previous commitments D'Shawn Schwartz and Tyler Bey). I can't help but compare Battey to another oddly-shaped Pac-12 center of recent vintage, Oregon State's Joe Burton, and can only hope for similar things from Tyler's forthcoming career.
|Big man Evan Battey announced his collegiate decision Tuesday. From: his twitter account|
Ohhhhhhh, it's a good time to be a Buffalo.