October 11th – at Oregon           No. 13 Oregon 45, Colorado 3

Oregon quarterback Justin Herbert completed 18-of-32 passes for 261 yards and two touchdowns, while his Colorado counterpart, Steven Montez went 19-for-34 for 131 yards … and a career-high four interceptions, as No. 13 Oregon routed Colorado, 45-3. The Buff offense was held to just under 300 total yards, while the Buff defense surrendered over 500 of total offense as the Ducks were successful both on the ground and through the air.

Alex Fontenot had 70 yards rushing on 15 carries, while Laviska Shenault returned to action for the first time in two games to post 70 yards receiving on only four catches. But it was much too little, much too late, as the Buff offense was its own worst enemy, with two major penalties committed after the Buffs pushed the ball inside the Oregon ten yard line … two of CU’s 14 penalties for 114 yards on the night.

“We feel like we can beat every team on our schedule but any team on our schedule, we can lose to, as well,” Mel Tucker said, “My experience in these type of situations is that it’s a very tough road to go down but we have to go down this road. There is no shortcut to success and where we want to get to. It really tests your character and your mettle, individually and as a team.”

Game Story … Oregon took the opening kickoff, and, after a snap went through the hands of quarterback Justin Herbert, faced a second-and-29 at the Ducks’ 28-yard line. For most teams, that would have been a mistake that was too much to overcome, but the Oregon offense didn’t blink. Three straight completions, going for 22, 17, and 24 yards set the Ducks up at the CU nine-yard line. Two plays later, Herbert hit a wide open Jacob Breeland for a seven-yard touchdown. Less than four minutes in, the Ducks were up 7-0, and making it look easy.

A quick three-and-out from the CU offense set the Oregon offense up at its 46-yard line, and the Autzen crowd was already sensing a rout. The Buff defense did force a fourth-and-five at the CU 35, but a nine-yard completion kept the drive alive. The Ducks went for it again on fourth-and-three at the CU 19, but this time the Buff defense held, keeping Colorado in the game.

On the Buffs’ second possession, the offense found some rhythm. An 11-yard completion from Steven Montez to Dimitri Stanley on third-and-eight gave CU its first first down, followed by a six-yard completion to Alex Fontenot on third-and-five. A pair of 15-yard completions to Laviska Shenault, seeing his first action in two weeks, sandwiched around a ten-yard run by Alex Fontenot, put the Buffs in the Oregon red zone. The Buffs got to the OU nine, but no further, with James Stefanou making it a perfect 10-for-10 to open the 2019 season, hitting a 27-yard field goal to make it a 7-3 game late in the first quarter.

Unfazed by the Buffs’ success, the Oregon offense used a pair of 22-yard completions to quickly get back inside the Buff red zone. The Ducks were looking at a first-and-goal at the Buff four-yard line, but a personal foul set them back. The drive then stalled, with Oregon settling for a 32-yard field goal by Camden Lewis to make it a 10-3 game early in the second quarter.

The teams then traded three-and-outs, with the Buffs gaining a net of zero yards in six plays in two series with the ball. After Alex Kinney’s third punt of the first half, Oregon took over at its 35-yard line. Three runs by CJ Verdell, covering 49 yards, set the Ducks up inside the CU red zone once again. This time, the Ducks finished off the seven-play, 65-yard drive with a one-yard touchdown run by Cyrus Habibi-Likio, upping the lead to 17-3 midway through the second quarter.

The Buff offense opened its next drive with a 16-yard completion from Montez to Shenault, and was then aided by a pass interference call against the Ducks on a third-and-six to keep the drive alive. A 20-yard run by Alex Fontenot, followed by another pass interference call against the Ducks, gave Colorado a first down at the Oregon 15-yard line.

Four straight runs by Fontenot gave the Buffs a first-and-goal at the Oregon three, but from there the Buffs went backwards. On a third-and-goal at the 11, Montez retreated before firing a pass into the same corner in which Ahkello Witherspoon had intercepted a pass in the last minute in the 2016 game. The ball was batted around, with tight end Brady Russell having two chances for a touchdown catch. Instead, the ball was intercepted by Oregon defensive back Verone McKinley III. The Buffs’ 12-play, 69-yard drive, taking 6:12 off of the second quarter clock, netted no points for the Buffs.

The Oregon offense had no such issues in finding the end zone after the turnover. Covering 80 yards in only 1:07 of game clock, the eight-play drive was finished off by a three-yard Jaylon Redd run. What looked to be a 17-10 game just a few minutes earlier was now a 24-3 domination.

Halftime score: No. 13 Oregon 24, Colorado 3

Unfortunately for the Buff Nation, the Colorado offense opened the second half the same way the first half ended, with a Steven Montez pass intended for Brady Russell being tipped … and intercepted. Taking over at the CU 40-yard line, the Ducks quickly took advantage. It took five plays to make the game officially a rout, with Justin Herbert hitting Jaylon Redd for a 13-yard touchdown. Two minutes into the third quarter, it was now a 31-3 game.

A nine-yard completion to Tony Brown and a 24-yard completion to Laviska Shenault seemingly righted the ship for the Buff offense … before Steven Montez threw his third interception in five passes. This pick was by Verone McKinley III – giving him two for the night. The return went 53 yards down inside the CU ten. It took only one play for the Ducks to score again, a three-yard run by Cyrus Habibi-Likio, making it a 38-3 game … just four minutes into the second half.

An 11-yard completion from Montez to Fontenot and another pass interference call got the Buffs to the Oregon 41, where, on fourth-and-eight, Steven Montez threw a bomb intended for Laviska Shenault. The ball bounced off of Shenault’s leg, with the ball intercepted by Nick Pickett in the end zone for a touchback … giving Steven Montez and the Buffs four interceptions in four consecutive possessions.

Aided by a holding penalty against the Ducks, the Buff defense finally forced an Oregon punt. A late hit out-of-bounds, and a 14-yard scramble by Montez on third-and-12 put the ball on Oregon 28-yard line. There, freshman Deion Smith got his opportunity. A nine-yard run was followed by an 18-yard run, taking the ball down to the Oregon six. First-and-goal? Nope. Tight end Jalen Harris, who had been called for his second false start of the game the previous play, was thrown out of the game for throwing a punch.

The penalty against Harris also cost the Buffs 15 yards. Three more carries by Smith left the Buffs with a fourth down, where Steven Montez hit Dimitri Stanley, but three yards short of a first down.

On Oregon’s next play from scrimmage, running back CJ Verdell went for 70 yards to put the Ducks back in familiar territory – the CU red zone. Five plays later, Cyrus Habibi-Likio scored his third touchdown of the night, this time from a yard out, making it a 45-3 game in the first minute of the fourth quarter.

The next CU drive was Jaren Mangham’s opportunity to participate in the offense. The freshman had nine carries for 39 yards on the drive, which again put the Buffs into the Oregon red zone. A false start – CU’s sixth of the night – put the Buff offense behind the chains once again. The 14-play, 59-yard drive was capped the only way it could on the night the Buffs were having, with James Stefanou, who had opened the season 10-for-10 on field goal attempts, clanking a 33-yard field goal attempt off of the right upright.

The Oregon offense and the Colorado defense, apparently confused to have the ball on Oregon’s side of the field, quickly remedied the situation, with running back Travis Dye going for a 47-yard run down to the Colorado 28-yard line. The Buffs were able to turn the Ducks over on downs, preventing further carnage.

Final score: No. 13 Oregon 45, Colorado 3

The stats sheet was almost as lopsided as the score. Oregon finished with 527 yards of total offense, to just 299 for Colorado. The Ducks were balanced on offense, with 275 yards passing to go with 252 yards rushing. On the Colorado side of the ledger, Steven Montez finished with 131 yards passing on 19-of-34 attempts, with a career-worst four interceptions.

Sophomore Alex Fontenot finished with 71 yards rushing, while (even) younger backs were able to demonstrate their talents. Redshirt freshman Deion Smith carried the load on one fourth quarter series, showing some flashes in finishing with 41 yards on seven carries. True freshman Jaren Mangham was featured on another series, posting 42 yards on ten carries for the game.

But in a 42-point loss, it was difficult to find any silver linings.

“We have to take this time on the way back to really look within ourselves individually, and you can’t lie to yourself, and just figure out ‘hey, what do I have to do to get better?’ Don’t try to justify something that’s not real…face it up”, said Mel Tucker, who fell to 3-3, 1-2 in his first season at Colorado.

Game Notes … 

— Oregon raised its lead in the all-time series to 13-9, including a 6-3 record in games played in Eugene;

— The Ducks posted over 500 yards of total offense for the ninth straight time against the Buffs;

— When Tyler Lytle was sacked for a one-yard loss on CU’s last possession, it not only knocked the Buffs down below 300 yards of total offense for the game, it marked the first time an opposing team posted a second half sack against the Buffs all season;

— The last Colorado quarterback to throw four interceptions in a game was Nick Hirschman, who threw four in a game against Utah in 2012;

— James Stefanou tied a school-record (Mason Crosby) when he hit his tenth-consecutive field goal in the first quarter. In the fourth quarter, in an otherwise meaningless 33-yard attempt, Stefanou hit the right crossbar, leaving him tied with Crosby for the all-time record;

— Tight end Beau Bisharat and linebacker Akil Jones made their first career starts;

— Three more true freshmen (No’s 12, 13 and 14 for the 2019 season) saw action, with offensive lineman Austin Johnson, linebacker Marvin Ham and running back Joe Davis seeing their first plays.

Below … The pass from Steven Montez to Brady Russell in the final minutes of the first half. A Russell catch would have made it a 17-10 game. Instead, the ball was intercepted by Oregon defensive back Verone McKinley III (not even yet in the picture). The interception was the first of four straight for Montez, as the game turned from a 17-3 contest to a 38-3 rout in less than six minutes of game clock …

Photo courtesy of CUBuffs.com (click to enlarge):

 

 

 

 

 

Here is a YouTube video with some game highlights from BuffsTV:

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5 Replies to “No. 13 Oregon 45, Colorado 3”

  1. And, although that was this team’s largest margin of losing since 2013, that looked like a pretty good Oregon team last night. Sorta hoping they win out and make the playoff.

    Go Buffs

  2. Wow. That was a lot worse than I thought it would be. Still, one really dumb personal foul and two crazy bounces really opened the flood gates. Will be really interesting to see how they do in Pullman.

    And, I guess tucker is in a long line of coaches who don’t second guess play calls, at least publicly. They all study and learn from them though. The key is, and always will be, getting the players to win their matchups. It is a lot harder when the other players are just better. Sometimes luck matters too. That pick in the end zone was brutal. Great play by that dB, with the help of a little luck.

    Go Buffs

  3. My prediction was 45-21. Obviously wrong on the Buffs O which was a disappointment. To me, the key to a competitive game went out the window after the discombobulation in the last few minutes of the first half when it could have been 17-10. This is disturbing as it feels just like the meltdown moments in the AF and AZ games. Once something bad happens, it’s a series of bad things, not just one or two things. Lack of composure. This tendency is out in the open to see. The question is: do the Buffs now believe in themselves and their new coach to fix it. I hope its a cathartic moment.

  4. Ugly on all fronts. Sure, the Defense had a bad night, but it was the Buffs Offense that failed the team tonight.

    And I have to remind myself that Tucker is learning how to be a head coach. Not even trying to execute a play with 15 seconds on the clock before halftime wasn’t my favorite, but fine. But kicking a field goal in the fourth Q while down 42 points is pointless. Try for the TD or first down! But kicking a field goal is Mickey-Mouse. Plain and simple, and not worthy of any team.

    Wow, that was one of the most painful CU games I’ve watched, and that’s saying something!

    Come on Buffs, shake it off and put some winning games together! We know you have it in you!

    P.S. Congrats to the Ducks, they are sincerely playing at a high level!

  5. Did not think the Buffs would win this game. However I think they had the ability to keep it respectable if not for the 12 (!) penalties, and some very costly ones in the red zone (every red zone opportunity after the first field goal I think). That was a shameful performance. Not sure what to think about it. It doesn’t hurt as much as the Arizona loss.
    The Ducks D lived up to the hype. I feel like the Buffs could have connected on some long pass plays if not for all the Ducks pass interference calls. It’s almost as if it was their strategy. No wonder they haven’t given up long pass plays all season when a interference is only 15 yards.

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