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“Trust the Process”

I had forgotten how much I hate Nebraska.

Now, don’t get me wrong, my hate for Nebraska never actually went away. Every game of every season over the past decade since the Buffs and Cornhuskers went their separate ways, I always knew who the Cornhuskers were playing, and, consequently, which team I would be cheering for … their opponent (I do the same for Colorado State and the University of Montana). But without the Cornhuskers on the CU schedule, the blood-pressure raising hate for Nebraska subsided.

And since CU left for the Pac-12 and Nebraska left for the Big Ten, I haven’t found a new opponent for which the dislike is as visceral. The Utah rivalry is contrived, and my dislike for USC and Oregon, while real, hasn’t reached the gut-churning level of hate I have reserved for Nebraska since Bill McCartney scanned the Big Eight landscape in 1982, pronouncing Nebraska to be CU’s rival.

The game last year in Lincoln helped restore the hatred to a degree, but I wasn’t at the game in Lincoln. It was supposed to be a game which ushered in the next era of greatness for the Cornhuskers. It was the first game for their new savior, Scott Frost, and the Buffs were just window-dressing for the coronation – the designated sacrificial lamb. The outcome was a (very) pleasant surprise, but it was still a Mike MacIntyre team, so even the celebration for the Buff Nation was tempered.

This fall, however, the rivalry was brought back to a full boil. The Husker Nation had a more difficult time looking down their crooked noses at the Buffs, what with CU beating their team in Lincoln and all. That made the vitriol out of Lincoln louder and more emotional.

Head coach Scott Frost, while declaring that Nebraska should have won the 2018 game, called Colorado an “ex-rival”. JoJo Domann, a Nebraska junior outside linebacker from Colorado Springs added: “I took (a visit to CU during my recruitment) and I came here. Thank God I came here.”

The Buffs, under the leadership of their new head coach, Mel Tucker, refused to take the bait.

“Our focus is really on the preparation and what it’s going to take to put ourselves in a position to perform the way we need to perform in the game,” Tucker said. “I don’t want our guys talking. This is not a time to talk, this is about preparation. … The game will take care of itself.”

The media tried to get some bulletin board material from quarterback Steven Montez, but Montez wasn’t having it: “They’re talking enough for both of us”.

Nebraska fans said that they were going to take over Folsom, and, well, they did. Colorado sold over 20,000 season tickets (to go with over 12,250 student tickets), but entering the stadium, it was obvious that many Buff season ticket holders had traded their black-and-gold for green. The ESPN game story estimated the crowd to be 40% red-clad, and it would be hard to argue with that figure.

(Side note … to those Buff fans who sold their tickets to Nebraska fans – a pox upon your houses).

For almost three full quarters, Buff fans were subjected to “Go Big Red” cheers, as Nebraska raced out to a 17-0 halftime lead, and nursed that advantage for the first 13 minutes of the second half.

Then, late in the third quarter, the Buffs put together a drive. The Colorado offense, which had all of 193 yards of total offense to that point, finally put some points on the board, with Jaren Mangham taking it in from 11 yards out, to make it a 17-7 game.

The significance of the score at that point was as much about the Buffs getting on the scoreboard as it was in Nebraska still being stuck on 17 points. After marching up and down Folsom Field in the first half, the Cornhuskers shifted into neutral, as the Buff defense found its second wind.

When asked after the game if he was worried about being down 17-0 to Nebraska, Mel Tucker was blunt. “No. These are long games now. They are 60-minute games, four quarter games”, Tucker said. “You have to stay with it. I’ve been doing this a long time. There’s no such thing as a safe lead in college football. We all know that. We just continue to play. We talked to our players at halftime and said, ‘They gave us their best shot. Whatever the best that they could do, we saw it in the first half.’ We were able to make our adjustments and come back out and exert our will on them play in and play out. Then as a football team, we were able to wear them down. There is no need to get nervous. You just want to play the next play.”

When, in the first minute of the fourth quarter, Steven Montez turned a flea flicker to K.D. Nixon into the longest play from scrimmage in Colorado history – 96 yards – the hope for a miracle comeback was now a reality.

At least for a play.

Nebraska scored on the very next play from scrimmage, with Adrian Martinez connecting with running back Maurice Washington (yes, that Maurice Washington, who would have been booted from almost every other team in the nation months ago) for a 75-yard touchdown. Nebraska 24, Colorado 14.

But the Buffs were having none of it.

It took only five plays for the Buffs to respond. A 57-yard completion from Steven Montez to Jaylon Jackson set up a seven-yard touchdown run by Jaren Mangham. In less than two minutes of game clock, the Buffs were back in it at 24-21.

“I think that our conditioning played a role in this game, especially in the second half,” said Montez, who finished with 375 yards passing after going an ugly 13-for-18 for 84 yards, with an interception and three sacks in the first half. “I think Nebraska was a little bit tired here at altitude which tends to happen. I think that we use that to our advantage we run into quick pace type offense and then slowing it down a little bit when we want it to really control the tempo. The second half was huge for us. We got them on their heels and kept them there.”

After a forced fumble by Mustafa Johnson, the Buffs tied the game with a James Stefanou field goal with 8:30 to play. The Cornhuskers then mounted a touchdown drive to reclaim the lead, but a Montez-to-Tony Brown 26-yard touchdown pass with 46 seconds remaining sent the game into overtime.

There, the CU offense was able to post a field goal to give the Buffs their first lead of the game, with a Mustafa Johnson sack taking the Cornhuskers out of field goal range. The 48-yard attempt by the Nebraska punter had no chance, and CU had an improbable victory.

Colorado pushed its record to 2-0 under Mel Tucker, and did so against the Buffs’ two main rivals, Colorado State and Nebraska.

It really doesn’t get any better than that.

True enough, it wasn’t like the 62-36 beat-down in 2001, when the game was basically just three-plus hours of joy. This game had three hours of suffering in an 88-degree sun (the one time the CU and Nebraska fans were together in a joint cheer came in the third quarter, when a cloud gave us in the east stands a brief respite from the heat), with only a shocking ending to celebrate.

And where do the Buffs go from here?

Well, considering how well the CU coaching staff was able to make halftime adjustments for the second week in a row, the future, which looked bright in the long term under Mel Tucker, may be brighter sooner than we thought.

One of the most impressive aspects of Mel Tucker is his approach to the game.

Here’s what Tucker said after the Colorado State game, when asked if he was relieved to have his first game – and his first win – under his belt:

“I wouldn’t categorize is as relief at all. I’m not a believer in relief because I’ve talked to players about relief syndrome. Relief syndrome is ‘I got an A on my first test, I can get an F on the next one and still get a C in the class and I’m good’ because you’re so relieved that you won a game. That’s not the emotion and feeling we want. It’s a level of accomplishment—job done, what’s next? ‘So what, now what’. That’s my mind set.”

Considering how well the Buffs have played in the second half of their first two games (compared to their efforts in the first halves of those games), you have to believe Mel Tucker is onto something.

Tucker also had this to say after the CSU game, but he could have just as well said it after overcoming a 17-0 deficit to defeat Nebraska in overtime:

“We got the win but it’s not the end all be all. There is things we have to improve upon and things we have to get straightened out. That’s the message to the team. We are not going to get too high. We are not going to get too low. We’re going to be steady and we’re going to work and trust the process.”

Buff players have certainly bought into the process, and the come-from-behind (waaay behind) win over Nebraska will help keep the Buff players focused and on task when they face adversity in future games this fall and beyond.

Meanwhile, the Buff Nation gets to enjoy a two-game winning streak over Nebraska, with two last minute victories to savor until 2023, when the Red Horde returns to Boulder.

Mel Tucker is 1-0 against Nebraska. Scott Frost is 0-2 against Colorado.

Mel Tucker won his first-ever home game as CU’s head coach against Nebraska. Scott Frost lost his first-ever game as Nebraska’s head coach to Colorado.

Those facts will be there for eternity.

So, to the woman four rows behind me at the game, who tried to start a “Go … Big … Red” cheer after about what seemed to be every third play of the game when the Cornhuskers were in the lead, I have this to say:

“Go … Back … Home!”.

We’ll see you again in 2023!

—–

 

40 Replies to ““Trust the Process””

  1. Cheered loud and long from here in the great state of New Jersey. What a game. Two games into the Coach Tucker era and I’m blown away by how well he/his coaches make adjustments at halftime and how cool/collected he always appears to be. Great win for the Buffs. I was a bit disappointed by all of the red shown in the stands on TV, which point Fox beat to death in the first half. What does the “N” stand for on the Fuskers helmet? No wins vs. CU for the boy genius, Scott Frost.

    In Tuck We Trust!

  2. Stu, If you and your readers want to continue to enjoy the yesterday’s victory you might want to check out cornnation.com. The fans in Nebraska are on the brink of a full-fledged Husker meltdown. Bring back Frank Solich. That said, tomorrow we need to start thinking about Air Force. That game will go down to the wire as well and the Falcon defense won’t gas. BMO

    1. I just went to that site. For a team and fans that claim that CU is not a rival, they sure did have a plan to travel in incestuous hordes to punish the Buffs and their fans. They are a real bitter bunch before and after the game. just reading the comments gave me a headache.

      1. The best are when you read the 17-0 half time article’s comments from when they were ahead and then read the comments from when the Buffs scored and scored again and then the meltdown becomes very becoming of their type.

        Also funny is how some of them complain that they lost to a mediocre team when they were 4-8 last season; and the Buffs looked better against CSU than the corn against USA, a last place Sun Belt team. So, their misguided sense of superiority, fueled by the inflated media & coaches polls, had the arrogant fuskers, fans & players, thinking they were way above a mediocre team with a new 1st year coach & staff. Thanks pollsters for the win against a “ranked” team. 😉

        Which teams HC & staff made the correct half time adjustments? And, which one probably just patted his players on the head and said “good job”, not even thinking about how the Buffs adjusted last week?

        1st year coach my ass, Tucker is already proving by his demeanor and discipline, see KD’s response to the red fans leaving disappointed, the team’s conditioning and trust of the coaches and 2nd half adjustments… you get the picture, that CU got the right HC this time. While Frosty was a good OC at OU with a lot of talent and a good HC in a lesser conference, so was Hawkins and MacIntyre, that doesn’t mean he can run a power five program; at least not yet.

        Yea, I just compared frosty to Hawkins and MacIntyre, both did better in the lower group of 5 too; but his discipline and willingness to play their RB is a joke compared to those other two.

      1. The fact that the Buffs persevered in the face of it should impress anyone with character especially since I saw a lot of extra red elbows on TV so there must have been more going on that Montez described.
        After reading Mustafa’s account of walking thru campus where the Moos minions were bating him and others too I’m sure I am convinced these people from the AD, coach on down to the fans have a substantial lack of character.
        Let them keep the misogynists, jerks, and the arrogant. For me it smacks of desperation

        1. Thanks, Stephen,
          I was referencing the game story published on ESPN, not the coverage on Fox.
          I’ve updated the sentence to clarify the source.

  3. Oh yes! It was almost worth it to see all the red-clad hoard file quickly out of Folsom after that comeback! They knew they had witnessed the downfall of beloved prodigal son, Frosty the SNOW Man and CU administering yet another hard blow to their “storied” program!

    Had great post-game fun recommending to all those Fuskers wearing “#7” Frost jerseys that the number should be changed from “7” to “0-2”!

  4. Great Finish! Was seriously bummed that I wasn’t there. It was a rough first half and I was losing confidence but thought about it and realized that they were only 17 behind even though it seemed like they were dominated. This coaching staff really makes great halftime adjustments. I look forward to the point where they start the games same way.

    Flew up to take my son on a tour of CU as he tries to select a place to go to school and tried to get tickets. I was thinking I might be able to score tickets for $150 each since I have friends up there.
    However I refuse to pay $300 per ticket. With three teenagers, I really don’t have that kind of spare cash. Even my friends who tried to get me tickets from some of their friends were told they wouldn’t sell them for less than double the face value. What a bunch of greedy SOBs. You won’t even sell to your own friends for face value? I guess my morals are different. With most of you on the site as exceptions, it is clear that the CU fan base is clearly fair weather fans and in fact, re-defines the term.

    1. That’s now way to treat a loyal CU Grad that goes up from AZ and tries to see the game. I say it is despicable.

      I’m going to get in touch with my Congressman and insist that the Judiciary Committee quit some of the goofy stuff they are doing and hold hearings to find out how all those miserable Fusker Followers got tickets for that game. I think there is some deep state stuff going on here.

  5. Wow. What a game. Great win. Fugly. But, still a great win. Johnson’s got brass balls, no doubt. Love it. Because it worked. I still have plenty of concerns though. Not sure how good CSU and NU really are. Not very, could be the answer.

    Not sure that many other opponents we’ll face this year would let a team back in it that they held to zero net rushing yards in a half. Zero. But, so what? A win’s a win. The way they fought back was tremendous. Taking on Air Force makes me more nervous having seen Army take MI to the wire.

    As disappointed as I was to see the sea of red in Folsom, my comment to my buddies was, it’s ok, as long as we send them home w/ a loss. Glad it worked out. I hope it wasn’t VK that sold all of his 25,000 season tickets to them. That would buy a lot of golf though.

    Go Buffs.

  6. I cracked up upon glancing at the opening line of this essay, Stuart. My son attends MSU, and if you ever have to defend him, I hope you repeat this line during your closing statement to the jury. At least 8 jurors are going to agree with you and let him walk.

  7. The money that those turncoats got for their tickets will be forgotten by the time the leaves turn and start to fall from the trees, but they will always remember the EPIC game that they MISSED. Karma is a b*tch! And just to give you insight into the “classy” fans to whom you sold your tickets, a drunken cretin dressed in red yelled out as the FG sailed wide right in OT, “At least Sal is dead.” One of our season ticket group confronted her, and her red-clad buddies defended her. What a bunch of sickos. These are the same a$$ clowns cheering on the alleged purveyor of child porn.

    I think that the Buffs slow start was no doubt effected by the sea of red. It was like a damned road game. I told my friends that we have 2 road victories in a row over the Cornholers, unfortunately one of those wins was in Folsom!

  8. A completely different feel to this team. They don’t quit and they broke the Pusskers in the 4th quarter. This is what we haven’t seen (2016 excepted), for too long

    We sit in the west stand, and knew the red stain was around us. We had no idea how many here were until we saw pictures of that side. Ashamed of any fans that sold their tickets. At least we could gloat without making a huge effort with all the red filth around us.

    We also heard the GOOO BIGGG REEEEEDDD ………..GO BIG RED cheer way too often. I countered with WASHINGTOOOOON’S A PED……….PEDOPHILE. It obviously irritated the Huskers who could hear it.

    Was very disappointed in you Stuart. Watched your section the whole game a saw 0 grannies rolling down the stairs. What happened? Target rich environment!

    Husker Jesus failed, HCMT looks to be a Grand Slam. We won both on and off the field!

    1. Funny you should mention that … there was a Nebraska grannie just down the row from us. At one point, she cut in front of us, and, after she sat down, my friend Randy gave me grief for not giving her a little shove because of your comment … 😉

  9. Any other long time Buff fans out there like me who happened to be at the 1999 game? Trailing
    27-3 late in the third, Mike Moschetti leads improbable comeback, throwing tying TD pass to Javon Green in exactly the same spot as Tony Brown’s catch yesterday to tie the game? Buffs lost in OT though. Cant’t believe it’s been 20 years.
    Took a while, but revenge is served up cold, and sweet, and worth the wait!

  10. Wow…can’t remember another game like this, esp. given the opponent. Can’t remember a CU staff that can make in game adjustments like this one.

    I keep thinking Auburn/Oregon after the two games…we have gone all Auburn in the 2nd half of both. Right now things could not be better for Buff Nation, no one in the South should be feared.

  11. Oops, Stuart… a correction to your recap above:

    “After a forced fumble by Mustafa Johnson, the Buffs tied the game with a James Stefanou field goal with 8:30 to play. The Cornhuskers then mounted a touchdown drive to reclaim the lead, but a Montez-to-Tony Brown 26-yard *INTERCEPTION* with 46 seconds remaining sent the game into overtime.”

    What a terrific game! Instant classic! Great job to the Buffs and this Coaching Staff… trust the process indeed!

    Go Buffs!!!

    1. Oops, Stuart, I was all confused… I read Montez and was thinking Martinez. No need to print anything I wrote! Apparently I need my morning caffeine.

  12. Awesome game love the story and your right for those Buff ticket holders who sold out shame on you. CU ticket office wanted 145.00 on Friday for a ticket so I said no and got tickets to Air Force, Stanford, Washington for a total of 145.00 a donation was added in there. Go Buffs

  13. Stuart my sons Brian and Colin, both proud Buff grads, were there for the game in Lincoln last year, and there again yesterday…Brian flew out from San Francisco just to see the win! Montez is the Corn Slayer!

    1. Montez is the Corn Slayer! love it. Stuart, is there any other CU QB that has played two or more games against the corn that is undefeated?

      1. Hi Marcus, I realize I’m not Stuart, but, felt compelled to answer the question. If I’m not mistaken, current running backs coach Darian Hagan was undefeated against them. Winning 27-21 in 1989, 27-21 in 1990, and a 19-19 tie in 1991.

        1. Thanks Alex, if no one else and I could only think of Hagan too (after my post), so without looking it up, that would make Montez #2, but the current “Corn Slayer”.

        2. A lot of season ticket holders know their neighbors and a little jabbing about the game they missed will probably happen, most won’t want to upset their neighbor, but others will.

  14. I would just like to repeat myself……………………again

    You know the tune an it is a fitter……………….

    You know the tune!

    ————–I hear the korn truck coming——————-
    —————I smell it round the bend————–
    And my nostrils have been plugged up since I don’t know when
    I’m stuck in Stinkn Linkn and time keeps dragging on
    And that damn ol korn truck keeps the smell rolling strong.

    When I was just a baby, my momma told me son,
    You need to get out of linkn, boy you need to run
    But I didn’t have kno nolwedge so I couldn’t find a way
    When I hear that corn truck coming I start to cry every day

    I bet those folks in Boulder are smart and loving the day
    They’re probably drinking micros and smoking Mary Jane
    Well I know I had it coming and I know its cause of genes
    ——–But those Boulderites keep on moving up—-
    ——–And that’s what’s torturing me——

    ————Well if I could get out of Linkn——–
    ———-And if that corn truck was mine——–
    I bet I’d move it on a little further down the line
    I’d try to get to Boulder, that’s where I wanna to be
    But since I have kno nowledge there is no room for me

    ————————————————————————————

    Why does it feel so different than the last 7 years? HCMT is nowhere close to reaching a peter-principle rating. No where near.

    Go Buffs.

    Note: The lil red pucker factor is tough for those losers to deal with

    Note 2: Cornholer state patrol tweeted to Colorado State patrol
    “You guys see any Nebraska license plates heading into Colorado”??
    After the game the CSP answered
    “Yes we have and their all heading East dragging their tails?

    Note 3: A tweeter said:
    “Well at least the 6 hour drive back to Lincoln is all down hill from the mountains so I expect them to save on gas……….I estimate at least a gallon” hahaha

    End Note: SO PROUD.

    Real end note: Scot Frost is a phony arse pink chicken who let his rb beat up a woman and now lets his new rb be a porn dealer. Perfect fit tor the kornholer filth

  15. The MacIntyre teams never had the tenacity to come back at all, much less absorb guy punches like that Washington swing pass turned 75 yard coming after the flea flicker, or the shenault kickoff return then fumble. Super impressive.

    But yeah. I’m in the east stands too (217) and it was really hot and I feel destroyed by the heat and sun and crowds and beer and 8am tailgate start. Could have used the rain that the forecast called for!

    1. MacIntyre seemed to be rolling in 2016 and then there was the beat down that we absorbed against Washington. We never seemed the same again. I don’t know what happened, but Mel Tucker has a completely different vibe. He just exudes calm and confidence. You don’t get the feeling that a loss will derail him. Even a big one. You get the feeling that if/when we lose that he will use it to teach the guys how to be better. McIntyre never seemed to have that quality. Even in 2016 it seemed like the team made the same mistakes throughout the year. 2017 & 2018 were massive regressions. You don’t get the sense that Mel Tucker’s teams will see big regressions. I told my wife that he seems like the first real coach we have had since Barnett. I am so happy he chose CU!

    2. It looked like there should have been a clear holding call on the 75-yard Washington swing pass touchdown (Nebraska’s #9 holding Abrams). However, neither the Colorado players nor the coaches complained – “So what? Now what?” in action. Great game by an excellent coach and poised group of players.

      1. There were basically zero flags like that thrown at all. Which makes that ineligible man downfield penalty (which is basically never called) even more bizarre.

        A typical “refs let them play” kind of game, I guess. Though they were still a lot of often bizarre penalties that definitively threw off the rhythm of the cu offense in the first half.

        1. Your analysis regarding the “early” calls and the “non-calls” is spot on. Quite glad that the Buffs kept “playing to the echo of the whistle” on every play for the entire game.

  16. I was there. I bought my tickets months ago and never dreamed of selling it. It was opportunity to make a memory with my dad. While I have been a buff my whole life – born in 91 – I never have seen us beat the Huskers in person. So when this game was announced years ago I circled sept 7th 2019 and said I will be there. Beating them in Lincoln was sweet. Beating them in boulder though – nothing like it. And after that kick went right and the stadium went nuts, I just held onto my dad. Tears rolling and all. That’s what makes this game so great. Suffering through the losses for that one moment I have been waiting for 28 years in the making.

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