September 8th – Boulder           Sacramento State 30, Colorado 28

Walk-on Sacramento State kicker Edgar Castenda was awarded a scholarship in the post-game locker room after his third field goal of the day, a 30-yarder as time expired, gave the Hornets a 30-28 victory over Colorado. With the loss, the Buffs, who had never played an FCS team (formerly 1-AA) in school history prior to 2006, fell to 1-2 against Big Sky Conference teams.

Sacramento State posted 466 yards of total offense against a Buff defense which had played well in the season opening loss to Colorado State. The Buff offense, led by Christian Powell’s 147 yards rushing and three touchdowns, had four scoring drives of 65 yards or longer, but was otherwise unproductive against a Hornet defense which surrendered 49 points to New Mexico State a week earlier.

The game started as well as any Buff fan, hoping to erase the memory of the 22-17 loss to Colorado State, could have expected. On the third play from scrimmage, freshman running back Christian Powell raced up the middle for a 64-yard touchdown. Only 1:12 into the game, the Buffs already had more rushing yards, 75, than they did in the entire game against the Rams (58).

Sacramento State then played the obliging patsy on its first drive, gaining only 14 yards before punting the ball back to Colorado. The Buffs’ second drive was almost picture perfect … and almost all driven by freshmen. A ten-yard pass from quarterback Jordan Webb to true freshman running back Donta Abron was followed by a 16-yard pass from Webb to red-shirt freshman wide receiver Nelson Spruce. True freshman Christian Powell added nine yards to his total before Webb hit true freshman tight end Vincent Hobbs for a 14-yard gain to the Sacramento State 21-yard line. An old guy, junior Josh Ford, then gained seven yards before Powell took over, gaining 13 yards on a pass before taking the ball over from the one yard line.

14-0, Colorado, with 7:28 to play in the first quarter. The rout was on.

Unfortunately for the Buffs and their long-suffering fans, the Hornets fought back.

As had been the case in their first game, the Hornets did not succumb after falling behind early. Against the Buffs, Sacramento State responded with an 11-play, 75-yard drive which only required two third down conversions, including an 11-yard touchdown pass from Garrett Safron to DeAndre Carter on third-and-goal.

The Colorado offense then obliged with a three-and-out. Pumped with momentum, the Hornet offense covered 57 yards in nine plays, tying the score early in the second quarter on a two yard run by by A.J. Ellis.

14-14 … a new game with 11:59 to play in the first half.

Colorado could muster only two first downs, including a one-yard run by Christian Powell on fourth down, before punting the ball back to the Hornets. With its next drive, Sacramento State gave notice that the Buffs were in for a dogfight. The Hornets needed only six plays to cover 80 yards. A 35-yard touchdown pass from Safron to Chris Broadmax stunned the 46,843 sun-drenched Folsom Field fans.

21-14, Sacramento State.

The Colorado offense, stymied after its first two drives, finally got untracked. Aided by a pass interference call on a third-and-nine incompletion, the Buffs put together a quick drive. Webb hit senior tight end Nick Kasa for a 40-yard gain to the Sacramento State 14 yard line. Two runs by Christian Powell gave the Buffs a third-and-five at the Sacramento State nine. Webb then hit sophomore tight end Kyle Slavin for nine yards and a score. Slavin’s catch, the first of his career, gave Buff fans new hope.

21-21, with 2:37 left to play before halftime.

Undaunted, Sacramento State took off on a drive which did not even have a third down until the Hornets were in the red zone (the shortest play going for nine yards, creating a second-and-one). Once inside the CU 15, though, the Sacramento State drive stalled, with the Hornets settling for a 28-yard field goal by Edgar Castaneda 23 seconds left before the break.

Halftime score: Sacramento State 24, Colorado 21.

Colorado seemed to come out with a renewed sense of urgency, with a sack by defensive lineman Chidera Uzo-Diribe thwarting the Hornets’ first drive. The Buffs then mounted a 13-play, 65-yard drive to retake the lead. Twice, the Buffs converted third-and-long situations, with Jordan Webb hitting junior fullback Alex Wood for an 18-yard gain on third-and-sixteen and freshman wide receiver Gerald Thomas for a 28-yard gain on third-and-18.

A pass interference call in the end zone against tight end Nick Kasa gave Colorado a first-and-goal at the Sacramento State two yard line. It took three tries, but Christian Powell finally got his third touchdown on third down, restoring the CU lead.

Colorado 28, Sacramento State 24, with 6:18 to play in the third quarter.

The Buffs, appearing to have regained the momentum … would not score again.

A three-and-out gave the Colorado offense the first of several opportunities to take charge of the game. The first drive made it to the Sacramento State 24 before stalling with a sack. Sacramento State then went on an 11-play, 66-yard drive which was capped by a 31-yard field goal.

Colorado 28, Sacramento State 27, with 11:57 to play.

The fourth quarter was a series of missed opportunities by both teams. Colorado took possession with 11:50 to play, then with 8:15 to play, then with 4:42 to play. Each time, a drive could have resulted in a game-clinching score. Each time, the Buff offense could not manage so much as back-to-back first downs.

The Hornets then took over with 2:26 to play, down one point. Four straight plays netted first four first straight first downs. Two pass interference calls helped, but the Colorado defense did nothing to give Buff fans hope. By the time Sacramento State faced even so much as a third down on its final drive, it was because Sacramento State, already inside the CU red zone, was positioning the ball in the middle of the field for the game-winner.

With one second left on the clock, Edgar Castanda earned his scholarship, connecting on his third field goal of the afternoon, with his 30-yarder splitting the uprights.

Final score: Sacramento State 30, Colorado 28.

“You can’t win if you can’t run, and if you can’t stop them from running,” said Jon Embree, who fell to 3-12 in his second season as head coach at Colorado. “We did not do a good job defensively stopping the run … Last week, I thought our defense played really well. I know we gave up 125 yards rushing, or 2.8 yards per carry, and this week, we just couldn’t stop them running the football.”

Colorado gave up 466 yards of offense to the Hornets, with the Buffs’ offense countering with only 341 of its own. The Colorado running game, which was supposed to be the Tony Jones show, was taken over completely by Christian Powell. The true freshman, who had only one carry against Colorado State, had 28 carries for 147 yards and three touchdowns against Sacramento State (the rest of the backfield had four carries for ten yards).

Powell’s efforts opened up the record books. His three touchdowns were the most in a game by a freshman since Herchell Troutman had three scores against Texas in 1994. Powell became the first freshman to post a 100-yard game since Rodney Stewart went for 141 against Kansas State in 2008.

The rest of the team? Not much there. Frustration was the word of the day. “I guess the level of frustration is really high,” said Jordan Webb, who was 12-for-24 for 160 yards, one touchdown and three sacks. “Emotions are that of being pretty pissed off.” Senior linebacker Jon Major, who led the team with nine tackles, agreed. “It is frustrating. It is the beauty of the game. I say it all the time, it is a team game. There is only so much a certain individual can do.”

Injury Update

Linebacker Doug Rippy (knee) and center Gus Handler (ankle) both suffered injuries against Sacramento State. Both were to be re-evaluated Sunday.

Game Notes –

– Colorado scored just 1:12 into the game. It was the quickest score since 2009, when Cody Hawkins hit Riar Geer for a 68-yard touchdown just 54 seconds into that game (Colorado also jumped out to a 14-0 lead in that game, but also lost, 41-38).

– Colorado has 52 yards of punt returns after two games of 2012. Last season, in 13 games, the Buffs had 56 yards in punt returns.

– CU fell to 0-2 for just the 20th time in 123 years of football.

– The last time Colorado lost on a field goal as time expired came in 2000, when Nebraska kicker Josh Brown hit a 29-yard field goal to give Nebraska a 34-32 victory.

– Christian Powell’s 64-yard run in the first quarter was the fourth longest by a freshman in CU history. The longest was 76 yards, by Billy Waddy against Wisconsin in 1973.

– Three players made their first career starts against Sacramento State: fullback Christian Powell, defensive tackle Josh Topou, and cornerback Yuri Wright. With Kenneth Crawley already starting at cornerback, the game against the Hornets represented the first time in school history in which two true freshman started at cornerback in the same game.

– Other players who saw their first career action against the Hornets: freshman center Brad Cotner; freshman defensive back Jeffrey Hall; freshman defensive lineman Samson Kafovalu; freshman defensive lineman Justin Solis; freshman defensive lineman John Stuart; freshman quarterback Connor Wood; and sophomore defensive back Richard Yates (who got to play on special teams on his 20th birthday).



12 Replies to “Sacramento State 30, Colorado 28”

  1. @Cameron. Disagree. Enough talent on the team to beat both CSU and Sac St. The scheming, play calling, adjustments and motivation are not there. That is the coaches job and I think we are in for a long season. The lack of experienced coordinators is showing. How do you go up 14-0 against an inferior opponent by running the ball and then try to get the passing game going. All momentum and last and by halftime it was evident we were going to lose. Go Buffs.

  2. In the first 2 games Embree kept guys in because he thought he could only win with them (not taking Webb out in the first game when his sore hip turned him in to a human statue).

    Now, with no chance to win any future game, he should take chances with his use of personnel. Start Wood. If he falters move on down the line to the other QB’s. Start Nembot in the line along with all the other back-ups. Give all the freshmen, except the new QB, game experience. Go in to next year with a lot of guys who have played before.

    Just scrap the “we can’t do that because it might make us lose” mind-set. They are not going to win. Make the games an adventure. Call rarely used plays and formations. Make the games interesting to watch.

  3. Here are my strengths:

    1. I bleed black and gold
    2. I am a man of integrity
    3. I can recruit
    4. I have a passion for the game of football

    Here are my weaknesses:

    1. The role of a head coach is too much for me, I’m overwhelmed
    2. I am too much of a big picture guy, I don’t like details
    3. The staff I hired is weak and I’m not sure why
    4. I don’t have the answers on how to get out of this thing
    5. I’ll always be a better position coach, then head coach
    6. Truth be told, I was lucky to get this job in the first place – they overvalued loyalty post-Hawkins
    7. I should resign at the end of the season

  4. I think the worst thing about these two losses is that no one, particularly the coaches, knows what the problem is. It’s not just inexperience, other teams are successfully playing a number of true freshmen.

    At least we now understand that RB’s that can be knocked down with an arm tackle usually aren’t the answer. Anyone watch (true freshman) Gurley for Georgia?

    Personally, I think our biggest problem(s) are tackle to tackle on both sides of the line. If they were dominant, we’d be winning.

    I’m afraid it’s a zero win season, and if we knew what to fix, it would still be three years to a bowl game.

    At least Nebraska lost to UCLA!

  5. Out coached and outplayed 2 weeks in a row. sad, sad sad…
    Since the year is basically done and we get to build for next year, I feel we should be playing as many young players as possible. Lets get Connor Wood at QB and see what happens. Webb maybe the best option today but we are now playing for next year.

  6. Has anyone else been as underwhelmed with Webb as I’ve been? And, for that matter, the supposedly “solid” offensive line? This team needs to settle down, I feel like they force it too much.. I love my Buffs, but this is brutal.

    1. @Doug…I don’t disagree that this coaching staff is in over their heads; they are truly average. But they are not the reason we lost. We lost because, as sad as it is to say, Sac State has better players than we do specifically at the skill positions. Their quarterback was light years better than ours (if Webb is truly our best option we are soooo doomed this year). Our only bright side was a breakout performance by a Freshman RB/FB, but they had equally strong big RBs. Their WRs were better athletes by far, although who knows what Spruce can become with a competent QB.

      Simply said, we have inferior players and we don’t have a coaching staff that can compensate. We are young, and have potential, but I don’t know how we bring in a decent recruiting class next year.

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