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Snowed Under

Well, that was a bad idea.

Over the years, I have attended fewer and fewer November home games. First, years ago, when I still drove from Bozeman to Boulder for home games, I decided to cut back on my late season trips to Boulder because driving across Wyoming in November is often a weather gamble not worth taking. Later, when flying replaced driving, there was still the concern that the weather might turn for the worse in Boulder if I made plans to attend a game at Folsom Field in November.

Q.E.D.

While the official stats indicate that the attendance for the 2018 Colorado/Utah game was 39,360, that total was far from the actual number of fannies in the seats. The official figure represents tickets sold, including season tickets purchased months before anyone knew that the Buffs and Utes would play the first Folsom Field game in a snowstorm in 18 seasons.

So, what was the actual number of fans who braved the snow and 28-degree temperature at kickoff?

16,627.

16,627, or roughly 10,000 fewer than watched the 118th “Brawl of the Wild” between Montana and Montana State Saturday (the MSU Bobcats, by the way, overcame a 22-0 first half deficit to defeat the Grizzles, 29-25, the third straight win for MSU in the series … so Saturday wasn’t a complete loss!).

But I digress.

I wanted to be at the Utah game for several reasons. First, it was the 500th game in Folsom Field history, and, if you know anything about this website, you know that I am very much into CU history (and, Hell, I’d been there for No. 300 – a 23-10 win over Colorado State in 1985, and No. 400 – a 34-14 win over San Diego State in 2002, so why not be there for No. 500?). Second, coming down for the Utah game would also allow me to see a CU men’s basketball game (which turned out to be a lackluster 79-75 win over Omaha on Friday night).

And, there was this: I made my flight reservations over a month ago … you know, back when CU still had a good football team.

Those who bundled up for the chance to watch the 2018 seniors take the field for the last time were witness to a second half which clearly demonstrated that Mike MacIntyre has hit his glass ceiling when it comes to the Pac-12. The Buffs were clearly … and painfully … out-coached.

The Buffs, losers of five straight games, were 7.5-point underdogs to No. 21 Utes. Colorado hadn’t played well in over a month, while Utah came into the game with a better-than-even chance at its first Pac-12 South division title (a win over CU, plus a loss by Arizona State on the road against either Oregon or Arizona would give the Utes the championship game invite).

Being Senior Day, the Buffs, as one might expect, came out and played with some fire. The defense forced punts out of the Utah offense on the Utes’ first four possessions. Utah had 20 offensive plays in the first quarter, netting only 63 yards.

The Buff offense, as had been the case against Washington State, did have one good first quarter “drive”. Against Washington State the week before, the Buffs needed only three plays to take the opening 7-0 lead. Against the Cougars, it was a Travon McMillian 64-yard run which set up the game’s first score.

Against Utah, the Buffs used the officials to post the first points of the game. In the game book, it went down as a seven-play, 70-yard touchdown drive. The drive, though, was assisted by a 15-yard roughing the passer call on the first play. Later, on an incomplete pass on third-and-nine at midfield, the Utes were flagged for pass interference, netting the Buffs ten yards and a first down.

Travon McMillian finished off the drive a few plays later with a 13-yard touchdown run. With 2:04 remaining in the first quarter, Colorado was ahead of Utah, 7-0.

Same song, different verse.

Against Washington State, Travon McMillian scored the first points of the game, with the Cougars going on to score the next 31 points in a 31-7 rout.

Against Utah, Travon McMillian scored the first points of the game, with the Utes going on to score the next 30 points in a 30-7 rout.

Guess we should have seen it coming.

It was 7-7 at the half, and still a 10-7 game after a CU punt midway through the third quarter.

Still very much a game. Still a very good chance for the Buffs to rise up, make a play, and turn the momentum around. Still plenty of time for CU’s 19 seniors to step up and make a statement that this was were they were going to draw the line. They were not going to go out as so many senior classes had before them … with a loss and a legacy of failing to live up to expectations.

The game was still there for the taking.

It just didn’t feel that way.

Perhaps it was the fact that I was, midway through the third quarter, losing feeling in my feet. Perhaps it was the fact that many of the fans who had been with us in the first half had already called it a day at halftime … even though it was a 7-7 game when they left.

Perhaps it was the knowledge that, in the second half of the season, the Colorado coaching staff has been consistently out-maneuvered after halftime.

The Buffs came out of the break using the same game plan they used to start the game. The same game plan which had netted a grand total of 14 points over the previous six quarters.

Meanwhile, Utah adjusted. A team which had 59 rushing yards at the half had 93 rushing yards in the third quarter. Utah had 10 first downs in the third quarter; Colorado had one. Utah had 182 total yards in the third quarter; Colorado had 19.

Game. Set. Match.

“I thought we played really hard in the first half. We’re just inept on offense right now, that’s the best way to put it,” said Mike MacIntyre after the Utah game, though he could have given the exact same speech after the Washington State game the week before.

And it doesn’t sound as if coach MacIntyre has any idea as to how to make things better.

“It’s extremely frustrating,” said MacIntyre. “We need to find a way to flip that and find a way to get some points on the board. I know I’ve said that a few times but that’s the truth, we were just inept in the second half the last two weeks. It’s very, very disappointing. We should be scoring more points than we are.

“We’re not executing as well as we’d like either. Some of that’s our fault for sure, some of it is they’re making plays against us. We’ve got to find a way to change it up and hopefully put some points on the board Saturday to get a win.”

Feel better?

Sounds like a coach who doesn’t have any answers … and is done trying to come up with them.

It may be just as well there were so few Buff fans on hand to watch the 2018 season finale. The 500th game in Folsom Field history was a bust for the home team.

The only solace will come if it proves to be the final home game for Mike MacIntyre as head coach at the University of Colorado.

If Rick George gives me that, I’ll consider the trip to have been worthwhile.

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11 Replies to “Snowed Under”

  1. Let’s stop fooling ourselves and thinking that we are still in the 1985-1995 “Decade of Excellence”. That train left long ago. Let’s stop thinking that the Buffs can compete in a major football conference. Changing coaches will not put us in the rarefied level of being a major team in a major conference. The AD should be looking to move us into the Mountain West Conference where the level of competition will allow us some vicarious pleasure, and a measure of pride, in occasionally having a win on a Saturday during the football season. CU should set more realistic sights on the competitive level that can be realistically achieved with our program.

    1. Trolling Trolling Trolling.

      Yur not good at it bobby. Get a haircut.

      trolling trolling………….yur a lousy trailier

      I am sorry you could not get into CU.. So you live vicariously with posts like that. You sound kornholish.

      1. VK, good reply. I just can’t believe guys that are that negative are really true Buff Fans. There is really no reason that CU can’t compete at a high level in the PAC 12 and consistently be a relevant college football program. The Mountain West Conf. my posterior. They have before, and they can do it again as they actually have a lot more of the issues solved that includes facilities, a great conference, and a “world class institution.” I just threw in the “world class institution” because I attended there.

  2. I watched a little of the UCLA/USC game. Are we lucky that CU played UCLA when they did because there is no doubt that UCLA would kill CU if they played next week. And that’s what coaching is all about–making teams better over the course of a season. This team is no longer getting better. MacIntyre sounds like a lost soul. He knows he should be fired, but is reaching for straws. It almost reminds me of Dan Hawkins thinking that he should be given another year but I digress. MacIntyre said that if you win, then everyone asks when you are leaving, when you lose, the school wants to fire you. Well, not in all cases. Just look to the Utah sideline, their coach is doing just fine.

  3. I am actually pissed that I am committed and HAVE to go to the CAL game next weekend….so angry at Mac2.0 that it’s come to this. We were so excited a couple of months ago, now I don’t even want to go. Grew up in Berkeley, was obviously a big CAL fan….may have to bust out some old CAL gear for this one.

  4. After watching the ASU games it appeared that the program had finally turned the corner and was poised with the coaching and player pieces in place to sustain the program moving forward. While we were all frustrated by the USC and UW losses, we rationalized that what fan would not have signed up for 5 – 2 after 7 games. Unfortunately, the past two games have pointed how far away our team is from competing with any decent team. While the team has added some nice players the past few years, the second half yesterday was hard to watch as the team continues to free fall. It is impressive that Utah can rotate in 12 defensive lineman and play a back-up quarterback and running back and not miss a beat. We got a glimpse where we are without Montez and it is not pretty.

    On the other hand, our friends in Red have recovered nicely from their early season player defections and are playing inspired football for Mr. Frost .

    While the firing will impact the recruiting class this year, the current squad seems far away from being able to compete for 4 quarters and a major change is a must. Mac is a good man, just not the right person to lead the program moving forward.

    That said, we will will never abandon our BUFFS.

    Happy Thanksgiving to all.

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