Boulder, CO– On Saturday, the Buffs dropped another heartbreaker versus the No. 22 ranked Arizona Wildcats. They now stand with a record of four wins and six losses, and find themselves clawing up a steep hill towards bowl game contention. However, this team is leaps and bounds better than last year’s Buffs. The progress throughout this season has been significant. Here is what I thought about CU’s latest outing.
The Bandwagon Fans Have Officially Left the Station
CU students, faculty, and the players are certainly disheartened by the Buffs’ losing four weeks in a row. They wonder what has happened to the team that started out their season 3-0 and peaked at the 19th nationally ranked team. The “arrogance” of Coach Prime (who is really just being himself), the doubt placed on the fully recalibrated roster, and the early run of success definitely put CU under swelled expectations.
But the truth is Colorado’s second-half schedule has been one of inflated difficulty. Over half of the opponents the Buffs have faced are ranked. There is the portion of fans who are ecstatic over this season, as CU’s performance is miles better than what was displayed last season before the arrival of Prime. However, on the other side of the coin are the fans who say: “This team sucks.” “This team is so overrated.” “We’ve come so close for no reason.”
Despite the teams’ recent struggles, and the speculation from the naysayers, Coach Prime and his staff have kept the standard and expectations simple throughout this entire season: Win. And battle until the final horn sounds.
CU Still Needs to Stay Composed for 60 Football Minutes, But Looked Great
A major story from throughout this season is the Buffs’ lack of complete games played. The team would perform like a structured unit for the first half, but collapse in the second — or vice versa. However, on Saturday each unit was outstanding for the majority of the game.
The special teams was incredible. Punter Mark Vasset had the game of his life, with 3 punts landing inside the Arizona 10-yard line. Xavier Weaver broke out as a returner, averaging 13.2 yards per return. And although there was a missed field goal, the kicking game was still on point.
The offensive line played their best game of the season by far. Shedeur Sanders was finally able to relax in the pocket. It helped him through for 262 yards and to score a rushing touchdown. They also allowed the fewest sacks allowed on the season. However, the Buffs only managed to put up 7 points and 102 total yards in the second half after putting up 250 and 24 points in the first.
The defense also took a tiny step back. They allowed over 200 rushing yards — most importantly back to back 20+ yard rushes that allowed Arizona to milk the clock and kick the game winning field goal in their final drive.
Although this was one of the Buffs’ best performances of the year, there were still hiccups. And while no team can be completely perfect, if CU mends just a couple wounds, they will play unstoppable football.
Officiating Might’ve Cost the Buffs
Complaining about post-game officiating in football is always a touchy subject. No matter what, the supporters of the team that fell on the day will always have something to say about the reffing. However, the officials being in favor of the Arizona Wildcats was pretty blatant.
The Wildcats were able to extend some drives due to flags on Colorado, and it cut back some drives for the offense as a result. There were times where it looked like the refs would let the boys play. There were others where fans were left wondering: “How does that call make sense?”
One play where there was obvious interference from a referee was when Sanders was able to find a wide open hole on 3rd down for a first. As he ran, an official stood right in Sanders’ way and didn’t move. This caused the QB to shift to his right and get caught off-guard by a defender.
However, there were definitely costly errors that CU inflicted amongst themselves. There were two roughing the passer calls, and little calls like ineligible receivers downfield, too many people in the backfield, and taunting.
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