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November 2nd – Pasadena           UCLA 31, Colorado 14

UCLA quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson completed 21-of-28 passes for 226 yards and a touchdown, leading the Bruins to an easy 31-14 victory over Colorado. Taking advantage of a Steven Montez interception and a porous Colorado defense, the Bruins raced to a 17-0 first quarter lead … before the Buff offense could muster its first first down of the contest.

Steven Montez completed only 21-of-38 passes for 195 yards against a defense which entered the game 127th in the nation in pass defense (306.8 yards/game). Overall, the Buffs mustered only 14 points against the No. 114 scoring defense, and only 283 yards of total offense against the No. 112 defense in the country.

The Buffs’ leaders on offense each only mustered 77 yards, with Jaren Mangham gaining 77 yards on the ground (on 17 carries), while Tony Brown led the receivers with 77 yards on six receptions, including a 27-yard touchdown reception in the fourth quarter when the game was already well out of reach.

“I was overall just very disappointed with the way we started the game,” said CU head coach Mel Tucker. “Give UCLA credit, they’ve gotten better and got some things on track, they have players.”

Game Story … With two defenses as bad as those of Colorado (125th in the nation in total defense) and UCLA (112th in total defense), it would make sense for fans of these teams to want to start the game with their offense on the field. Colorado was given that opportunity … and promptly went three-and-out to start the game.

The UCLA offense had no such reluctance to take advantage of their opponent’s weaknesses, needing only six plays to cover 57 yards to take the lead. Never bothering with even so much as a third down, the Bruins scored on a 16-yard pass from Dorian Thompson-Robinson to Devin Asiasi. UCLA 7, Colorado 0, barely three minutes into the game.

And that’s as close as the Buffs would come the remainder of the evening.

CU’s second drive of the game was a repeat of the first drive … three plays, four yards, and a punt.

The Bruins were more methodical in their second drive, taking 12 plays to cover 74 yards of Rose Bowl turf. The Colorado defense did stiffen once the UCLA offense penetrated the CU red zone, however, and the Bruins were forced to settle for a 28-yard field goal by J.J. Molsen. Ten minutes into the game, the Bruins had a double digit lead at 10-0.

The Buffs, working against a defense which was 127th in pass defense, 112th in total defense, and 114th in scoring defense, again failed to secure a first down on their third attempt. Not only did the CU offense not move forward, it moved backward, losing three yards on the first two plays before Steven Montez threw an interception, giving the ball right back to the Bruins.

What do you do when you force a turnover? You go for the jugular, of course.

UCLA understood that … but apparently Colorado did not get the memo.

On the Bruins’ first play from scrimmage after the Montez interception, Dorian Thompson-Robinson hit Ethan Fernea for a 45-yard touchdown. There were still four minutes left on the first quarter clock, and the game was already out of hand. UCLA 17, Colorado 0.

A Steven Montez run for 12 yards on the next play from scrimmage gave Colorado its first first down of the game. The next three plays, however, netted two yards in losses, and the Buffs punted again.

A Nate Landman sack of Dorian Thompson-Robinson on the first play of the second quarter forced a UCLA punt, and was the first positive play of the night for the Buffs. Taking over at their own 17-yard line, the Buffs finally pieced together their successful drive.

After four drives in the first quarter netted the CU offense 10 total yards, the Buffs drove 83-yards in 12 plays to dent the scoreboard. Three straight runs by freshman running back Jaren Mangham were good for 13 yards and a first down. Completions of nine yards to Tony Brown and 16 yards to Brady Russell – and a 15-yard personal foul against the Bruins – set the Buffs up at the UCLA 27. A 16-yard run by Mangham gave the Buffs a first-and-goal at the six, with Steven Montez carrying it in from the two-yard line two plays later to put CU on the board midway through the second quarter.

The teams traded punts as the second quarter clock wound down, with CU taking over at its 16 yard line with just under five minutes to play in the half.

A 15-yard run by Laviska Shenault and an 18-yard completion from Montez to K.D. Nixon pushed the ball into UCLA territory as the second quarter clock ran down. Thereafter the drive stalled, however, and the Buffs failed to make it a one-score game again as kicker James Stefanou missed a 47-yard field goal with four seconds remaining before the break.

Halftime score: UCLA 17, Colorado 7

The Buffs got a second chance at new life on the first drive of the second half, as Dorian Thompson-Robinson was intercepted by Carson Wells at the UCLA 37-yard line.

A Jaren Mangham run of 12 yards gave the Buffs one first down, then a ten-yard completion from Montez to Tony Brown gave the Buffs a first-and-goal at the UCLA eight yard line. A chance to pull within a field goal was right there for the Buffs, but the next three plays went backwards, with James Stefanou called upon to kick a 27-yard field goal to make it a 17-10 game. Instead, Stefanou missed again, and the threat was averted.

As had been the case in the first quarter, the UCLA offense then put together a long touchdown drive to reassert its dominance. The Bruins took 11 plays to cover 80 yards to remove any doubt as to the outcome of the game. The five minute drive was capped by a five-yard Joshua Kelly touchdown run. With 4:11 to play in the third quarter, it was officially a rout, at 24-7, UCLA.

The inept Colorado offense used its next two drives to run seven plays to cover 16 yards before punting the ball back to the UCLA offense … with the Bruins mercifully missing a 50-yard field goal attempt of their own in between.

The second and final CU scoring drive against a defense giving up 34.3 points per game began at the CU 32-yard line. A pair of completions from Montez to K.D. Nixon were good for 15 yards, before Montez hit Tony Brown and Laviska Shenault for gains of 13 and ten yards. The eight-play drive was completed with a 27-yard touchdown pass from Montez to Tony Brown with just under six minutes remaining.

With the score 24-14 and the clock against the Buffs, the only remaining question was whether the Buffs could hold an opponent under 30 points for the first time in 13 months.

Nope.

After a failed onside kick set up the Bruins on the CU side of the field, it took the UCLA offense only four plays to again make it a three-score game. A 35-yard run by Joshua Kelly sealed the deal, making it a 31-14 game with four minutes remaining.

CU’s final drive ended on a turnover on downs near midfield, as a Montez offering on a fourth-and-15 fell to the turf without incident.

Final score: UCLA 31, Colorado 14. 

For the game, UCLA posted 426 yards of total offense … which was actually a step up for a Colorado defense which entered the game surrendering 486.9 yards per game. The difference was that the Colorado offense could only muster 283 yards of total offense against a Bruin defense used to giving up over 450 yards per game to the opposition.

“We just have to start faster,” said Tucker, whose team battled the Bruins to a 14-14 draw … after falling behind 17-0. “We’ve done that a few times this year where a team goes on to score and then we find our footing and then we start with some stuff, get after the quarterback and stop run, play physical, get some takeaways, things like that. You can’t wait and see how it’s going before you get into it. You got to start fast, get after it right way. It’s the mentality, the confidence to go out and stop people right away. You gotta have it. It’s really a mentality and it’s something that we have to develop.”

When asked if the 3-6 Buffs still had something to play for, linebacker Nate Landman had no reservations. “Yeah, 100 percent season isn’t over. The next couple weeks are definitely going to fall into leadership, and those young guys are going to be looking at us older guys to give that guidance and reassurance that we’re not out of it.”

Game Notes … 

— The win gave UCLA an 11-4 overall advantage in the series, including a 7-1 lead in games played in Los Angeles/Pasadena;

— Freshmen running back Jaren Mangham and cornerback Tarik Luckett earned their first career starts;

— Mangham’s 77 rushing yards gave him 396 yards for the season, ninth-most by a CU freshman (eighth-most for a true freshman);

— Linebacker Nate Landman tied a career-best with two sacks. He also had a career-high four third down stops (giving him 31 for his career, 14th on the all-time list;

— Steven Montez tied the CU career record for touchdown passes, with his 60th in the fourth quarter. The 60 touchdown passes tied him with Sefo Liufau and Cody Hawkins, who also both had 60 touchdown passes in their careers. Montez also became the second Buff quarterback with over 9,000 career passing yards (9,083), trailing only Liufau (9,568).

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24 Replies to “UCLA 31, Colorado 14”

  1. I’ve been a CU Buff fan since the days of Dal Ward. I’ve watched the highs and lows of this team for 65 years. Now, it’s time to bench Montez, he’s been here for 5 years and still throws off his back foot, very inconsistent and continues to make questionable passes. It appears as if some of the players have given up and are just waiting for the season to be over so they can move on. Hopefully, Tucker still has the faith of the younger players and can develop the winning attitude with the whole team and his coaches. Also, why does Tucker wear that blue shirt on the sidelines, hasn’t he heard about the Fairbanks era and the blue shirts. Colorado colors are Silver/Gold/Black.

  2. This team sucks because of the coaching staff. Mel seems like he can put it together but he needs a blank check to hire two quality coordinators. Mel Tucker is on an island by himself. Chevy is a keeper too. 2 million looks cheap for Jim Leavitt now. Shit, bring him back! He was the only decent coach this team has had for over a decade. Everybody knows he is the reason for success in 2016. The offense seems like it can be fixed but the defense is just like 2012. The secondary waits for the opponent to catch the ball before they take a bad angle and try to tackle with alligator arms. Money will fix this! You wanna be like the SEC then you better pay like the SEC. Bring back Leavitt from FSU George. Yeah he rubbed everybody the wrong way! Probably because he knew what he was doing.

    1. Seems like leavitt is likely working every path available to be the next guy at FSU.

      I am sure Mel is working every path he can to right the ship at CU.

      Hopefully he figures it out. This is brutal.

      Go Buffs

  3. Don’t be downcast…. Coach Rhule (Baylor) went from 0-7 and flipped that to 7-0.

    Of course, I know Coach Tucker is not Coach Rhule, I’m just sayin it’s possible in Boulder. Naturally, it takes “great recruiting”….not “good recruiting”.

    Then, it takes great coaching…… which I haven’t seen. Defensively, our DBs are not only young, but they’re also not being coached correctly. Our competition drools at the possibility of being able to throw 75%-90% on any drive as they know all they have to do is slant their receivers in front of our DBs and throw 5-10 yds on each play. Bingo, first down. Bingo, first down. Bango, Touchdown.

    Offensively, I don’t need to say anything all of you don’t know. I don’t care how good a QB is, he can’t be proficient without good protection and the “run game” can’t be successful without decent creases and holes to run thru.

    BB season is only weeks away…… somehow, I wish the hemorrhaging of FB would be over.

    SKO BUFFS

  4. This season has shown how bare McIntyre (and Embree) left the cupboard. Tucker and staff were able to work some near-miracles at ASU and the amazing comeback against Little Red. The problem is a lack of talent (but not a lack of heart) on defense, and a lack of heart (and no clue) on offense. Montez is physically a prototype QB but he doesn’t have it between the ears, as shown by his reversion to bad fundamentals. His mates don’t help by getting ridiculous penalties and pass drops at key moments. Anyone who honestly thought Tucker could turn this around in one season, especially given the Buffs brutal schedule, were living on hope and not facing the tough reality of our long-substandard recruiting. In Tucker I absolutely trust, but he is nearly in MacCartney territory in terms of a long rebuilding process. Hang in there Buffs Nation! This team will get better, will go bowling and will challenge for championships, but it is apparent that will have to wait until Coach has all or nearly all his own players. GO BUFFS!

    1. The players ate not the problem. There are teams just as young and beat up as the Buffs in the top25. This team needs a defensive coordinator that brings a system that they are familiar with. This DC sucks and it was pretty obvious before they hired him. He buried his last program and he is gonna bury this one unless its fixed soon.

  5. I honestly feel bad for Coach Tucker. If I could have read his mind on the sideline it would go something like what else can I do to get these guys to execute in games? Almost at a loss for answers. I hope he sticks to his process, mixes up the lineup a bit, and I hope the process works next year. I really do.
    I’m worried about players, and more recruits, believing in the process. We all thought the ASU game was turning the corner, seeing a team start to get it. But it has been a slow slide since then and is starting to look more like the Embree years, I’m sorry to say.

  6. Looks to me like several players have already decided the season is over. Montez and, surprisingly, Nixon… to name a couple. Laviska is a quandary… unable to play for the majority of the game, but in it at the end when it was out of reach? I fear that the “losing” mentality is still being carried over from years past… merely waving the red cape as the opponent’s ball carrier charges to the end zone in latter parts of games. Still hoping Tucker can change the culture in the next few years. Kudos to guys like Brown, Landman, Manghem, Russell for playing hard til the end. Go Buffs

    1. Tucker… “I’m looking for guys that are going to compete, continue to fight, work to get better, do what we ask them to do. There’s a lot of film study, a lot of corrections that need to be made. We have to have a really good week of practice. We’re going to continue to look for guys that have the type of behavior on a consistent basis that we need to get this job done.”
      Losing mentality? Big Man On Campus syndrome? I hope he finds his guys…

      1. If Tucker really believes that he will start another qb the rest of the year. I realize that our defense is weak, but with a real qb we find a way to win 6 last year and this year. Just think how huge that would have been for this program..

  7. Ironically, the D played well enough for the team to win. Made some timely stops, Landman was all over the field, even the undermanned DBs made some plays including Luckett who was a WR to start the season. It is the O that screwed the pooch. I had a sinking feeling when KD dropped that easy first down catch on the first drive. A couple of drive killing false starts from our experienced tackles, errant throws from our 5th year QB, rotten kicks from the 30+ year old kicker, etc. It is not the youth of the team that is killing it, it the experienced guys that should know better and should be leading the team. I hope that Viska goes pro, all he is now is a distraction. Will he play? Won’t he play? Is he or is he not hurt? Oh, he is in this play! Where is Viska? He seems to operating under his own agenda. He’s a next level talent and fun to watch, but at this point he’s more of a distraction than an asset.

    I am still hopeful that MT will turn this around, but the old culture from Mickey Mac prevails and is stronger than even I thought possible. There is an observable apathy that hangs over the older players. To them it is just another loss. There have been no consequences for any of the previous losses, so to them it is no big deal. If you win, great, if you lose, no big deal.

    Culture is one of those buzzwords that tends to be overused, but in the case of this football roster, it is appropriate. Right now it is a losing culture that has prevailed almost since the day Barnett was fired by Bohn. To expect MT to turn it around in a few months is unfair at the least and probably delusional. Let’s just hope it is not a completely lost cause.

  8. That was so hard to watch. What is wrong with Montez? The offense is just embarrassing. That’s the second week where the defense started very poorly but then locked in and played above their heads. At that point we need our offense to move the ball, and score some points and we’re right back in the game. Our defense is bad, but at least they look like they care and they’re trying. Can’t say same about the offense.

  9. For the future I would hope Tucker finds a way to get a little playing time for the back up QB’s. Wouldn’t that help the off season and next year?

  10. I will be happy when Montez graduates. Don’t care if Laviska comes back. Need to recruit some players. My hope is the injury bug isn’t as bad next year.
    I do feel there is a chance Tucker will be successful.

  11. Well, I guess the good news is, they at least use the tight ends in the passing game?

    Wow. That was fugly. New staff, same jeckyl and Hyde team. Man, I am disappointed and discouraged. At least the coaches are just disappointed.

    Here’s to hoping the better Buffs show up these last theee games.

    Go Buffs

  12. The 2019 season is history as far as I’m concerned. We may or may not win one more game. That’s it. It is time to start planning the 2020 season . We will need much help, both on the offense as well as on the defense, if we are going to better this year’s dismal record. The coaches now need to devote most of their time to recruiting and finding a QB who can play on this level is the first priority. I’m going to turn 90 years old in 2020. I hope that I can live long enough to see a winning season before it is too late for me.

  13. What is most disappointing is the team is clearly moving backwards each week vs. improving. Montez is too inconsistent, as is the offense. It’s looking more and more like no more wins this year. Last chance is probably vs. Stanford. I see no chance vs. Washington nor Utah. Yikes!

  14. A sad situation.
    A bare cupboard.
    Maybe not so great a kitchen staff. ( Maybe cause I give em 3 years to fail)

    Clearly the cupboard is bare.
    Clearly there is an issue with the offense. Some real and/or perceived talent at the skill position. Results on this side of the ball are underwhelming. Scheme and coaching are at play here. Lotta talk no action

    Clearly the defensed is undermanned. Especially in the DB area. Did you know that? I am hoping the reason for the poor defensive showing is not because of a scheme that is not doable. I just see a lot of running around and nothing really happening for the good guys.

    Okay another losing season
    Another season with no bowl
    Another season of disappointment.
    Broncos suck
    Can Tad really coach em to the tourney? (8 years??)

    See ya at homecoming eh?

    Buffs.

    Note: The day started out so good……………………The Kornholers of Kornkob Kommunity Kollege got whipped by Purdue………………………….I had such great expectations for the day

    Note 2: Almost time for 2020 season of football to get underway 3 games to go. 1 and 2 maybe???
    Recruiting sign up in 5 weeks Thanksgiving blah blah blah…………….We need more wine not more whine.

    1. Oh, the ol’ bare cupboard. Woe is me. Maybe you can tell me how the offense’s cupboard is so bare compared to last year? Travon?

      Must be the coaching, scheme and play calls. Thankfully they are throwing to the tight ends though. Whew.

      Whether coaching or playing, here’s to hoping it improves.

      Go Buffs

  15. To Stuart,
    Gotta admit that I didn’t even bother watching the vast majority of the second half. Yet another game where the QB was “off” and throwing off his back foot and seeming not to care.

    When it became obvious that the line was tired of blocking for their qb and having their coaches do nothing about it I moved on to other things.

    I like that Mel Tucker remains calm… But sooner or later he has to do something. It’s obvious that neither the OC nor the QB are going to lead this team to anything other than another long year of ineptitude.

    Why is it that coaches are so slow to admit when something isn’t working? Johnson has to realize that our record -setting quarterback will be gone after three more games and Colorado will enter next season with nobody to lead the offense next year who has ANY meaningful game experience.

    All I will remember about any of the seemingly endless string of record-breaking quarterbacks is that meaningless records seem to have taken precedence over wins and losses.

    Mel Tucker has his work cut out for him. It’s not just players who he has to convince to build for the future. He also needs to convince his coaches.

    Chip Kelly has ridden the worst stretch of his coaching career to get where he is now. But he has a three game winning streak deep into conference play. His Bruins are only going to get better going forward. They will be a a force to contend with in coming years.

    Tucker ‘s Buffs will get there too. All those freshmen on defense will be much better next year. He’s also going to be recruiting his type of guys going forward. But, unless he gets in a phenomenal freshman QB this off season who is magically able to take over and not ever get injured, he’s gonna need someone who’s able to run the offense. They are not getting any training this year under Johnson.

    It’s going to be a process. But Tucker could do something to ease his (and ours) future pain now by making some changes on offense. There is no chance that Colorado goes to a bowl game this year. They will not get those extra practices that a bowl game allows. It’s time to treat the rest of the season as prep for next year. Otherwise, next year will just be prep for the year after since we can’t expect miracles from a QB with no experience, right?

    Tucker is going to have some serious growing pains. It’s part for the course. Even the great Bill McCartney had to learn from some tough times. In the meantime, it’s tough on the players and the fans.

    Another year bites the dust.

    Mark
    Boulderdevil

  16. Ack! What is wrong with this team?!

    Tucker had better get this team’s attention, and fast. Tonight’s game was lost because the Bruins wanted it more, plain and simple. No excuse for that. I can take losing if we are competitive, but I don’t appreciate it when they just don’t show up!

    1. I agree wholeheartedly….Tuck talks about body language…they came out so flat I told my wife it was over during after the first two series…no juice, no energy, going through the motions. Now Tuck lit into the O apparently and got everyone back on track, but the game was already lost. Huge Tuck supporter, but that is on the coaches.
      Thank you Steven Montez, you gave your heart/soul/body to the team. But let’s give someone else a shot, it’s the EXACT SAME THING every game for the past 3 years. I would much rather lose w/Stenstrom at this point.

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