Colorado Daily – UCLA

November 2nd – Game Day !

… CU in a few minutes … 

Pat Rooney: Is CU/UCLA a litmus test for which program will reach contender status first?

From the Daily Camera … UCLA is doing things Colorado football fans hope to see out of Mel Tucker’s bunch before the 2019 season concludes.

How’s that for a sentence pretty much no one expected to read, or certainly write, in mid-September?

Chip Kelly’s UCLA Bruins and Tucker’s CU Buffs are just two of a handful of Pac-12 Conference teams that fit a profile of up-one-week-down-the-next this season, though the Buffs enter Saturday night’s showdown at the Rose Bowl mired in a four-game losing streak that is starting to resemble the seven-game slide that completed the forgettable 2018 season.

While Tucker, in his first season with a woefully inexperienced defense, still has plenty of leeway in his quest to reshape the CU program into a perennial contender, it was less than two months ago there were serious questions whether Kelly, the man who used a revolutionary offense to turn Oregon into a national title contender less than a decade ago, was the right man to get the job done at UCLA.

… It’s probably overstating things to anoint Saturday night’s contest as a litmus test for which struggling program will reach contender status first in the Pac-12, but Kelly at least has done something on the field the past few weeks Buffs fans still are waiting to see out of Tucker’s crew — reason to hope, perhaps even believe, better days are ahead.

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November 1st

… CU in a few minutes … 

Buff bowl chances rest on win in Pasadena – Montez: “It’s extremely motivating”

From the Daily Camera … Time is running out on the Colorado Buffaloes. At least for this year.

Reaching bowl eligibility has been a difficult task for the CU football program for the past 12 years, with the exception of the magical run to the Pac-12 South title in 2016.

CU (3-5, 1-4 Pac-12) enters November needing three wins in its last four games to hit the six-win mark for bowl eligibility, but the Buffaloes take a four-game losing streak into Saturday’s matchup at UCLA (3-5, 3-2).

“It’s extremely motivating,” said senior quarterback Steven Montez, who is on the verge of several CU passing records but has never led the Buffaloes to a bowl game as a starter. “We want to get that postseason and just kind of send the seniors out the way that we want to be sent out.”

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CU rushing attack has been good – just not good enough – the past few games

From the Daily Camera … Throughout Colorado’s current four-game losing streak, head football coach Mel Tucker has often had to focus on the positives in keeping his team going.

One of those positives has been the progress of the Buffaloes’ run game. CU’s total rushing yards have increased each of the last six games. Picking up 196 yards on the ground last week helped to keep the Buffs (3-5, 1-4 Pac-12) in the game before a 35-31 loss to Southern California.

“The past several weeks, we’ve been able to run the ball,” Tucker said. “Offensive line does a great job, our backs run really hard. They’re very well coached and show a level of toughness.”

The tailback tandem of Alex Fontenot and Jaren Mangham has been very good this season for the Buffs, who visit UCLA on Saturday night (7:10 p.m., TV: Pac-12 Networks).

Fontenot ranks eighth in the Pac-12 with 78.1 yards per game and he’s got a chance to give CU its fourth consecutive 1,000-yard rusher. Mangham needs just 81 yards to become only the ninth freshman in CU history with at least 400 yards.

“I’m really pleased with those guys,” running backs coach Darian Hagan said. “Alex had carried the ball 11 times in his career prior to this year and Mangham was coming right from high school where he was the guy; now he’s splitting duties. I’m happy with their progress and their knowledge of the game.”

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October 31st 

… CU in a few minutes … 

Stopping the UCLA rushing attack Job 1 for CU defense

From … Aside from a rough evening at Oregon, the Colorado Buffaloes’ run defense has played well in Pac-12 games.

The Buffs are fifth in the league in rush defense in conference games, yielding just 136.6 yards per game on the ground. Outside of giving up 252 yards to Oregon, CU hasn’t allowed a conference opponent to gain more than 128 yards on the ground in its other four  Pac-12 contests.

That run defense will be tested Saturday when Colorado (3-5 overall, 1-4 Pac-12) faces off with UCLA (3-5, 3-2) in a 7 p.m. game at the Rose Bowl. The Bruins have averaged a league-leading 220.6 yards per game on the ground in Pac-12 play, including four straight games over the 200 mark.

“We didn’t play the way we would have liked to against Oregon and we tried to make that an emphasis point coming back,” Colorado defensive coordinator Tyson Summers said earlier this week. “Unfortunately we gave up an explosive run against Washington State early (a 47-yard touchdown run) and we gave up an explosive run early against USC (a 37-yard scoring run). But after that we were able to hold them when we needed to for the most part and made them one-dimensional to some degree. I do think we’re improving; it’s something we’re certainly working toward to get better each day.”

UCLA is getting most of its run game production from junior running back Josh Kelley, who has 735 yards and eight touchdowns on 153 carries. That includes a 164-yard, four touchdown effort in last weekend’s win over Arizona State. The Buffs are familiar with Kelley, as he ran 12 times for 124 yards in last season’s 38-16 CU win in Boulder.

But coach Chip Kelly’s Bruins have another capable back in junior Demetric Felton (311 yards on 70 carries), and quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson has rushed 72 times for 156 yards and three scores.

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Athletic CU Hall of Fame dinner sells out (Barnett; Cabral; Helton among honorees)

From … The induction dinner and ceremony for the 15th class that will be inducted into the University of Colorado Athletic Hall of Fame on Thursday, Nov. 7, has officially sold out.

The class features 10 Golden Buffalo legends who are representative of five different sports, along with a trailblazer in administration, all of whom have their special place in history created during their careers in a group that collectively covers over a century of CU athletics.  The 10, two of whom will be honored posthumously, cover a period starting in the 1890s through the 2000s.  A pair earned their way into the Hall through coaching, one of whom has the stadium named for him, another through both playing and coaching and a fourth who was the first of just two women’s athletic directors in school annals.  Two cross country and track stars, two skiers and two football players, one of whom also played baseball, round out the class.

Fans can still celebrate this year’s inductees at the Pearl Street Stampede at 7 p.m. on Friday, with the group also to be introduced at halftime of the CU-Stanford game on Saturday, Nov. 10.  The game is a part of CU’s annual Homecoming Weekend festivities and will kick off at 1:00 p.m.

This year’s inductees, which will bring the total in CU’s Hall to 122 members (plus the ’59 ski team, CU’s first national champions) since its inception in 1998.  (15 have been honored previously after their deaths).

  • Gary Barnett, Football Coach (1984-91; 1999-2005)
  • Jenny (Barringer) Simpson, Cross Country & Track (2005-09)
  • Brian Cabral, Football: Player & Assistant Coach (1974-77, 1989-2012)
  • Fred Folsom, Football Coach (1895-99, 1901-02, 1908-15)
  • Bruce Gamble, Skiing (1975-78)
  • Barry Helton, Football (1984-87)
  • Ed Pudlik, Football & Baseball (1946-49)
  • Dan Reese, Cross Country & Track (1982-87)
  • Jana (Rehemaa) Weinberger, Skiing (2003-06)
  • Jane Wahl, Women’s Athletic Director (1975-79)

Fifteen inductees have been honored posthumously, as will Fred Folsom this year; his grandson will be present to represent the family.

For questions about Alumni C Club events or to join the Colorado letter winners association, please call the Alumni C Club office at 303-492-0622.

Moving K.D. Nixon into the slot netted CU two scores against USC

From the Daily Camera … KD Nixon has made a lot of big plays as a wide receiver for the Colorado Buffaloes.

Last week, the Buffs gave him more opportunities to make plays in the slot, and the junior responded with two touchdown catches in a 35-31 loss to Southern California.

“KD’s a talented player and we were just trying to find a combination to get us going a little bit because we were struggling a little bit in the passing game the last couple weeks,” CU receivers coach Darrin Chiaverini said Wednesday as the Buffs (3-5, 1-4 Pac-12) continued preparation for Saturday’s matchup at UCLA (3-5, 3-2). “We wanted to get (quarterback Steven Montez) some confidence and KD’s been practicing at a very high level. And we wanted to get him some touches, too.”

Nixon had caught only four passes in the previous three games combined, with a total of six targets in those games. Against USC, he had modest overall numbers, with three catches for 20 yards, but had seven targets and the two touchdowns.

“He hadn’t gotten as many touches the last couple weeks, so I think (putting him in the slot) was a way for us to kind of game plan for No. 3 and get him the ball in space and let him do some things and he did a good job with it.”

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Mel Tucker on freshmen defensive backs: “Belief precedes success. First you have to believe you can make the plays”

From … Freshman K.J. Trujillo has stepped in at cornerback, where he has made four consecutive starts after injuries hit the Buffs hard there. Mark Perry, meanwhile, is getting more playing time — including one start — as Colorado continues to utilize Davion Taylor in a variety of roles as an outside linebacker and star back.

Both had solid games last Friday in the Buffs’ 35-31 loss to USC. Trujillo had five tackles (including his first career sack), two pass breakups and an interception in 70 snaps. Perry, who started one week prior against Washington State, played 47 snaps against the Trojans and had one tackle for a 6-yard loss along with a quarterback hurry.

Trujillo’s work against USC came against a star-studded group of wide receivers. But  CU head coach Mel Tucker said the freshman corner wasn’t overwhelmed by the challenge.

“You have to use really good technique and have to compete,” Tucker said. “Belief precedes success. First you have to believe you can make the plays and get the job done. He has confidence and we have confidence in him that he can get it done. He pays attention and it is important to him. He works really hard. He understands that technique is important. He is able to take technique in practice and carry it over into the game and he continues to get better.”

Trujillo’s interception and two pass breakups all came on third downs, each time ending a USC possession. While he also gave up some tough catches, his performance showed that he has the potential to be a regular playmaker in the Buffs’ secondary.

“I think I’m just getting acclimated to the college level,” he said. “Getting more reps has built our confidence, which has improved our play.”

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October 30th

… CU in a few minutes … 

Mason Crosby becomes the second Buff to reach the 200-NFL game plateau

From … This week featured a Buffalo milestone for Packers kicker Mason Crosby.

The Packers 31-24 victory over the Chiefs on Sunday night marked the 200th career game of Green Bay’s all-time scoring leader, making him the second player in Colorado football history to have played in 200 NFL games. Crosby joins former CU offensive tackle Stan Brock (’79), who played in 234 games during his 16-year career with the New Orleans Saints (1980-92) and San Diego Chargers (1993-95).

Crosby connected on his only field goal in the contest, a 35-yarder, and was 4-4 on extra point attempts in Sunday’s victory. Additionally, offensive tackle David Bakhtiari had another solid week protecting Aaron Rodgers, who threw for 305 yards and three touchdowns in the contest.

Phillip Lindsay rushed 14 times for 59 yards and added five receptions for 17 yards in a 13-15 loss to the Colts.

Paul Richardson caught three passes for a total of 34 yards in a 9-19 loss to the Vikings.

On the opposite side of the ball, Chidobe Awuzie recorded five tackles, two of which were solo, in a dominant 37-10 victory over the Eagles.

Isaiah Oliver recorded one solo tackle in a 20-27 loss to the Seahawks, but was able to pick up two pass breakups in the contest as well.

Steven Montez – “I have no problem with running the football”

From the Daily Camera … Steven Montez has never been a dual threat quarterback in the traditional sense, but running the football was a big part of his game during his first three years with the Colorado Buffaloes.

Last Friday, Montez dusted off that old weapon and looked a bit like his old self in a 35-31 loss to Southern California.

Montez finished with 45 yards and a touchdown on seven carries against the Trojans. It was the first time all season that his running was a big part of the game plan and if he had his wish, it would be a part of it going forward.

“To be honest, I love that,” said Montez, who had 35 yards on 28 carries the first seven games combined. “I love running the football and I loved it when I first showed up here. Then I kind of got into the mentality that I was trying to turn into like a pocket passing quarterback. I think I’m just a lot more comfortable when I can go and finish a few runs and it kind of just gets me in the flow of the game.”

While Montez is on track to graduate as CU’s all-time leader in passing yards (he needs 681 in the last four games) and passing touchdowns (he needs two more), he has also rushed for 887 yards and nine touchdowns in his career.

Only nine quarterbacks in CU history have rushed for more yards, but most of them played in run-dominated offenses. Montez, Kordell Stewart and Sefo Liufau are the only quarterbacks in CU history with at least 4,000 passing yards and 800 rushing yards.

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October 29th

… CU in a few minutes … 

Transcript: Mel Tucker’s Tuesday Press Conference


Opening Statement
“We are already two practices into our UCLA game plan. It has been a few days since we played. What we are doing right now is really building on some of the positive things from Friday night and working to eliminate the negatives. We had a really physical practice today with the pads on. Guys really got after it and attitudes have been really good. The attention to detail, focus, and preparation is very similar to what is was last week. We have asked our guys to step it up and have reminded them what it takes to be a good football team. We reviewed that this morning and showed them some videos that pointed to that. I am very pleased so far in our preparation and our guys moving forward with this game plan.”

On The Running Game And Stopping The Run Defensively
“The past several weeks we have been able to run the ball. Our run game has improved every week. Offensive line does a great job and our backs work really hard. They’re very well coached and show a level of toughness. Our run defense has improved in certain areas. We still have to do a better job tackling. When we don’t tackle well, we see explosive runs. We are in the right spot and are in a position to make those plays. I believe the name of the game is hitting and being physical. We are moving in the right direction.”

On The Status of QB Tyler Lytle
“I started to smile a bit because I am always teasing Tyler saying, ‘How long are you going to milk this deal?’ He is working to get back. We have confidence in Blake (Stenstrom). We will just have to see as the week goes on with the treatment and rest and recovery. I like our quarterbacks. They are pretty sharp guys and it means a lot to them.”

On UCLA’s Run Game
“Their backs are very talented and they run hard. Their O-line is getting better. They are maturing and growing. They have had some continuity. They have really found their stride and have figured out what they can do well.”

On Execution
“It is a game of inches. You can always point to, in any game, plays here and there that you think would have made a difference. How do you make those plays? How do you make one more play? It really goes back to the little things; the preparation, attention to detail, sense of urgency, how hard you play, and just the overall execution. The better the execution you get on a consistent basis the better the plays you are going to make. That is how you get those inches.”

On If There Is Any Level Of Frustration After The Recent Penalty Troubles
“I try to avoid frustration. It is not productive or helpful. You just have to continue to find ways to get the message across and get those details executed. It can be something as simple as, ‘I am rushing the quarterback and am at the level of the quarterback. I just have to mirror the throwing hand so he has to throw around my hand.’ That makes a big difference. In tackling it could be taking two more steps before I go off the diving board and dive for a guy. It can be hand placement. Having hands inside and at pad level to get a block and sustain a block to not get a holding call. That is a lot of drill work and film study. You show them how they did it wrong and how to do it right. That is what we have to do, continue to find ways to get our guys better. I have seen improvement in a lot of areas. That is encouraging. There is a difference between being disappointed and being discouraged. When I don’t see the execution at the level with which we need to have, I am disappointed but I am not discouraged.”

On DT Jalen Sami
“Sami is first off all a great young man. He works really hard. He is low maintenance, meaning he is always where he is supposed to be and doing what he is supposed to do. He is a big guy. He is hard to move and has some really good initial quickness, balance, and body control. He is a young guy. He is active in the middle. He makes our defense better when he is in there and healthy. He can control the middle and command the double team which is important at his spot. He is a really good, young player that is going to get better. We are a better defense and football team when he is in there and is healthy and going good.”

On QB Steven Montez Taking Hits
“There is a time and a place for everything. When you need to get down it is time to get down and you slide. You don’t take that hit but sometimes you have to take the hit. I have a lot of confidence in Steven. He competes at a high level. He plays really hard. We ask him to run the ball and he runs it. When he needs to extend plays he tries to extend plays. You never want to see any one of the players get hurt. That is a scary moment.”

On Trying To Make A Bowl Game
“Extra practices are huge. That is a huge part of the bowl experience. It is like getting another spring ball. That is really positive. There are a lot of positive things in be able to continue to play. Right now, our focus is on UCLA.”

On TB Alex Fontenot
“He has been consistent throughout the season with the opportunities he has gotten. He runs very hard. He has good vision and gets yards after contact. He can catch the football and does well in pass protection. Going back to training camp, we were talking about the depth at the different positions. I said that I thought we had three or four running backs that can really play and can really get the job done. When he gets opportunities he gets it done. He is a dangerous player and can pretty much do it all. He is getting better. He has really good ball security and is a young player. I like it.”

On CB K.J. Trujillo
“It is important, mentally, to not get overwhelmed by someone’s talent. You have to use really good technique and have to compete. Belief precedes success. First you have to believe you can make the plays and get the job done. He has confidence and we have confidence in him that he can get it done. He pays attention and it is important to him. He works really hard. He understands that technique is important. He is able to take technique in practice and carry it over into the game. He continues to get better. I am happy with his development so far.”

On Helping Players Get Better
“It is difficult to get guys better regardless of the situation. You look on the flip side of it and say you have a lot of success. Everyone is patting you on the back and telling you how good you are and how you have national championship and playoff implications and all of that. Players are on social media and are reading all that stuff. Then you bring them into practice and talk to them about getting better and how it is not good enough and that can be a challenge. The job of a coach is to teach, motivate, and develop players. You have to capture their minds any way you can to get the message across and get them to understand that they have to get better and improve. You are always learning. Look at Tom Brady. I don’t know how long he has been playing but he seems to get better every year. He has had a lot of success. That is really what it is all about. In the game of football, you have to stay on top of it or it can get away from you. If you don’t work to get better you can actually regress quickly and get passed up by other people. Everyone in America is trying got get better. Even when you think you are playing at a high level, at some point you are going to line up against someone who has as good or better talent than you. You better be ready for that. I understand that and our coaches understand that.”

“It is important that we continue to work with our guys to get them better. We come out on “Bloody Tuesday” and put the pads on and get after it. We go hard and are efficient. The drill work is tough and we go at a fast pace and coach them hard. Our meetings are organized. There is no let up on our end. It then rolls straight into the out of season program and the four quarters program. It keeps going. We are here to change the culture and win football games. We have to be going all out every day as a coaching staff to get this program where we want it and to keep it there. There is no end to it. There is never going to be, ‘we are good enough.’ I don’t care who the player is. I don’t care if it is a first round pick or a freshman walk-on. It doesn’t matter. If you aren’t out there getting better then there is a problem. That is what it takes.”

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*Video – Laviska Shenault: “Very close to 100%”*

From YouTube, courtesy of

K.D. Nixon: “We have no choice (but to fight) … we’re ready to accept the challenge”

From the Daily Camera … What the Buffs aren’t struggling with at this point is their will to improve. Good practices last week translated into the Buffs’ best game in a while.

“We strive to be the best every week,” receiver KD Nixon said. “We had our best practices last week out of the whole year, so we’re just going to carry it on this week and just try to keep it going.

“We have no choice (but to fight). Coach Tucker is our head coach and he’s going to bring it out of us, so we’re ready to accept the challenge.”

Tucker accepted a big challenge when he took the job last winter, aiming to turn around a program used to losing, but that challenge is ongoing.

“I was brought here to change the culture and to win games,” Tucker said. “We’re not going to stop until we get that done.”

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USC linebacker apologizes for late hit on Steven Montez (that wasn’t called)

From Sports Illustrated … There was a host of what-ifs that broke USC’s way on offense in Friday’s 35-31 win at Colorado. The single-most affecting play of the game was likely made on defense, by linebacker Hunter Echols.

Late in the third quarter, the Trojans’ outside linebacker pressured and knocked down quarterback Steven Montez as he threw incomplete, forcing a Colorado punt. Montez’s head smacked the surface hard after what appeared to be a late hit, which Echols acknowledged afterward when asked if he got away with one in an off-camera interview.

“I probably did, I probably did,” Echols said.

The USC sophomore guessed that the official might have missed the call because Colorado was called for an illegal block downfield a second prior to his takedown of Montez. He then asked sincerely whether he should have been called for roughing the passer or targeting.

“I’m not a dirty player,” he said. “I don’t intend to do anything dirty so if that was a dirty hit, I apologize. But I’m just out here playing for my team and for my coaches.”

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Mel Tucker: “We have to do ‘simple’ better” 

From … Even with an extra day to study the film from Friday’s narrow 35-31 loss to USC, Colorado head coach Mel Tucker was in no mood Monday to consider what might have been.

“I’m not into any type of moral victories,” Tucker said after the Buffs’ Monday morning workout in CU’s Indoor Practice Facility. “There’s a saying, ‘If you could’ve won, you should’ve won.'”

Not that Tucker is averse to finding positives from Friday’s loss. But Tucker also knows his team has to eliminate the errors and take advantage of the missed opportunities that have led to four straight losses.

Colorado’s next chance to end that skid comes Saturday when the Buffs (3-5 overall, 1-4 Pac-12) head to the Rose Bowl for a 7 p.m. (MT) matchup with UCLA (3-5, 3-2), a team that has suddenly found its way with two straight conference wins.

“We have to do ‘simple’ better,” Tucker said. “I don’t think there was anytime in the game when we looked at the film and said, ‘They’re just better than us. They just made a good play and hats off to them.’ It was not like that.”

Rather, the Buffs continue to victimize themselves with self-inflicted wounds — penalties, missed assignments and missed opportunities. Thus, while Tucker and his staff see promising developments in some areas, the bottom line is still the bottom line — and right now it reads 3-5.

“We’re in these situations and you’re trying to look for positives and you have to do that,” Tucker said. “But getting the job done — this is a results-based business. Always keep that in mind. It’s a balance between not getting the results that you want but on the other hand seeing progress and some positive things. We’re burning the candle at both ends. We’re trying to get better and raising the bar, the standard, and not accepting average or below-average performance.”

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October 28th

… CU in a few minutes … 

Chip Kelly: “I don’t think that you can say, ‘Hey, we won last week so we’re going to win this week’ “

From the Daily Camera … It’s been a quick turnaround for UCLA, which started the season 1-5, its only victory being a miraculous comeback at Washington State rallying from 32 points down to stun the Cougars, 67-63. The Bruins looked inept in many of their first six games.

Now they’ve dominated their last two opponents and look as dangerous as anyone in the Pac-12. Kelly, however, is not a believer in momentum.

“I think that there are positives you can build on from a win,” he said after the victory against ASU. “But I don’t think that you can say, ‘Hey, we won last week so we’re going to win this week.’ We need to look at what we did well and continue to build on that and then understand that we did that well because of how we practiced earlier in the week. There is a correlation from a momentum standpoint that these guys are starting to stack good days upon good days when we’re on the field training, and understanding that that is how we play when we get to Saturday night.”

From that standpoint, CU and UCLA are in a similar situation coming into this week. The Buffs lost to USC, but played significantly better than previous weeks because of how they prepared, Tucker said.

“Our coaches have done a really good job of being very steady and consistent with our players, never making excuses, keep putting pressure on our guys to get better,” Tucker said. “I felt really good going into (the USC) game because our week of preparation might have been the best we’ve had all season and that’s a credit to the character of our coaching staff and to our players.”

While UCLA has been hotter of late, both teams have proven to be just as capable of playing well as they are of playing poorly.

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*Video – Mel Tucker post-practice talk with media* – “Quite frankly, it’s still quite painful”

From YouTube, courtesy of

Kickoff time set for Homecoming game against Stanford

Press Release from …

The Stanford at Colorado football game (CU’s annual Homecoming affair) will kickoff at 1:00 p.m. MST and will be televised nationally on the Pac-12 Network.

Other games that weekend:

Friday, November 8, 2019 – Previously confirmed

8:30 pm MST – Washington at Oregon State, FS1

Saturday, November 9, 2019 

1:30 pm MST –  USC at Arizona State, ABC or ESPN

5:00 pm MST – Washington State at California, Pac-12 Network

Neill Woelk: Ten Takeaways from the USC game

From … Mel Tucker‘s baseline rules for winning a football game are not complicated.

The Colorado Buffaloes head coach has some simple, fundamental truths about the game: run the ball effectively, win the turnover battle, convert third downs, score in the red zone, don’t give up big plays on defense and keep penalties to a minimum.

When the Buffaloes have done those things this year, they have given themselves a chance to win. When they have not, the results have been predictable.

But what is becoming more and more apparent is that in their close games — win or lose — turnover margin and/or penalties have been the difference. Friday night’s 35-31 loss to USC simply emphasized the point.

In the loss to the Trojans, the Buffs had a slight edge in total yardage (520-518, including a 196-112 edge in rushing), were efficient in the red zone (three touchdowns and a field goal in four trips) and won the turnover battle (but just barely).

But, as Tucker pointed out after the game, “When you get 13 penalties for over 100 yards it is really hard to win.”

Indeed, it was another case of self-inflicted wounds coming at critical moments, which has been the case in three of CU’s losses — one in overtime, another by five points and another by four.

Thus, our takeaways from Friday night’s game, with a little more big-picture emphasis:

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October 27th 

… CU in a few minutes … 

Neill Woelk: No one more disappointed in USC loss than Mel Tucker

From … Colorado coach Mel Tucker isn’t one to buy — and definitely not one to sell — moral victories.

You win or lose. It’s that simple. No gray area.

But anyone who watched Tucker’s Buffaloes take Southern California down to the wire Friday night, especially in the wake of two lopsided losses, came away knowing this much:

Tucker’s Buffs don’t quit. And while a 35-31 loss will count the same as any other defeat his Buffs have been dealt this year, they did enough good things Friday night to send the message that Colorado football is still headed in the right direction.

Understand, there was no one in Folsom Field more disappointed with the Colorado loss than the head coach. Tucker believed his Buffs had a great shot at knocking off USC, and he spent the week making sure his players had the same attitude. When the clock hit zeroes and the Buffs were on the short end of the scoreboard after leading for much of the night, Tucker’s clenched jaw spoke volumes.

But the first-year CU head coach is also not a man prone to wild mood swings. Win or lose, Tucker’s demeanor stays the same. Thus, his message in the post-game locker room was simple: build on the positives, learn from the negatives and combine both into an effort good enough to win the next time out.

“I said, ‘You can look at this two different ways. You can sit there and feel sorry for yourself and say woe is me. Or you can look at yourself and say this is the type of team we can have,'” Tucker told the media. “If you take care of the ball, take it away, run the ball, finish in the red zone, stop the run and get off the field on third down, then you have a really good chance to beat anybody.”

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Steven Montez: “If you don’t want to be criticized, then don’t play quarterback”

From the Daily Camera … After taking a 31-21 lead with 24 minutes to play, the Buffs failed to score again, closing the game with four consecutive punts and a fourth-down pass that came up a yard short.

“I’m sure the criticism will come from any drive of the game,” Montez said. “I miss a throw, I’m going to get some criticism for it, which I was fully prepared for when I signed up to play this position.”

Fortunately for the Buffs, they’ve got a guy playing the position that brushes off the criticism and continues competing.

With four games to play, CU’s bowl hopes are quickly fading, but if the Buffs are to stop their losing streak and salvage this season, they will need Montez to be more like he was on Friday and less of what he did the previous two weeks.

Friday’s loss was excruciating because it was in the Buffs’ grasp – they had three separate 10-point leads – and it would have been monumental for a team that is desperate not only for a win against the Trojans (who are now 14-0 all-time against CU), but for a win against anyone.

If nothing else, Tucker can move forward knowing his quarterback is back on track and when Montez is playing well, the Buffs have a shot to win.

“There was never a doubt in our mind going into this game that we could win this game,” Tucker said. “Even all the way to the end, we felt like we could make a play. We’re going to have to build on the positives from this game.”

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8 Replies to “Colorado Daily – UCLA”

  1. Nice that the USC player apologized for the no call late hit on Momtez. Was there one from the PAC 12 or the ref that should have made the call? A nice apology from them would be to do something about the crappy reffing.

  2. Really disappointed (though not shocked) that CU gets stuck with the 1PM PAC12NET time/tv slot for the Stanford game.

    I’m not a morning person, and with the tailgate lots opening 6 hours before kickoff, that means I have to wake up way earlier than I want to!

    But that’s what you get when you lose four straight games: you get shoved into the corner and forgotten.

    1. Not sure what you’re complaining about. A 1 pm kickoff is ideal. That was typically the kickoff for most games we had in the Big8/12. It is far better than a night game this time of year!

      1. 83Buff, agreed. For many many years kickoff was almost always 1:30 PM at Folsom and about the same time at the Central Standard Time schools. If we had the rare night game they had to engage with a Rent-A-Lights firm.

        1. Are you sure yur just not making that up? About the night games?
          Did they even have electricity back when you cheered those boys in leather helmets?
          I am pretty sure ep mentioned that you were a cheerleader though so that’s a plus for you.

          Go Buffs.

          Note: How was it hitting the “Featherie”?

          1. I didn’t realize that was CU’s first night game.

            That was the first college football game that I ever went to.

            I remember we lost that one but I became a Buff fan for life…

          2. Stuart:
            I remember being there for OU vs. CU in ’88. My senior year. My sister Jill, class of ’87, had come back to Boulder for the game. Close but no cigar vs. the Sooners that night but a very cool experience nonetheless.