November 28th – Boulder          Colorado 20,  San Diego State 10

The Colorado defense dominated the entire game, forcing seven three-and-outs (and one four-and-out), holding San Diego State to 155 yards of total offense in a 20-10 win in Boulder. In a non-conference game put together 48 hours earlier after CU’s Pac-12 game against USC was canceled, the Buffs scored on their first drive of the game and then made it stand up, getting the Buffs to 3-0 in Karl Dorrell’s first season.

Running back Jarek Broussard had 32 carries for 124 yards (including a number of runs for losses in the fourth quarter as the Buff offense tried to take the air out of the ball. Quarterback Sam Noyer went 17-for-29 for 138 yards and a touchdown, but a mistake – a pick-six in the second quarter – gave the Aztecs their only touchdown of the game. The Buffs were held to 272 yards of total offense themselves, in a contest which featured 16 punts … eight by each team.

The defense, led by All-Pac-12 linebacker Nate Landman (who had 11 tackles and three sacks, earning him the Walter Camp National Defensive Player-of-the-Week honors), held the San Diego State offense to four-of-17 on third down attempts, posting four sacks and 11 tackles for loss.

“A good win for us as a team, a difficult win”, said Karl Dorrell. “One of those wins you are hoping that you’re able to do what we did today”.

For the most part, Dorrell saw what the Buff Nation saw.  “I thought our defense played outstanding; they made a great number of improvements from the first two games to this third game”, Dorrell said. “I’m excited about what our defense looks like. Offensively, we had some challenges today against a very good defense. It was tough to run the ball. It was tough to throw it. It was tough in protection. I think there are a lot of things we need to work on and fix on the offensive side.”

Game Story … In a season where nothing was normal, it seemed only appropriate that a substitute game … not start on time. COVID testing results for San Diego State were late, pushing the kickoff back thirty minutes.

San Diego State got the ball to open the game, and went three-and-out, but not before there was a scare that Mehki Blackmon would not only be flagged for a targeting call, but give the Aztecs 15 yards and a first down. The call was waved off, however, and the CU defense had their first three-and-out of the game.

The CU offense next launched their best drive of the first half. Two runs by Jarek Broussard, covering 19 and 16 yards, gave the Buffs a first down on the SDSU side of the field. A six-yard run on third-and-two kept the drive alive, with quarterback Sam Noyer hitting La’Vontae Shenault for 13 yards on third-and-ten to give CU a red zone opportunity. Inside the ten yard line, the Buffs ran five plays, with the Sam Noyer capping a 16-play, 83-yard drive with a one yard scoring run on fourth down.

The remainder of the first quarter was a punting contest. The teams combining for five straight punts … with the Buff defense forcing two more three-and-outs from the Aztec offense.

Taking over at the CU 37-yard line with just under 12 minutes remaining in the half, the Buffs embarked on a bizarre scoring drive. It appeared that the Buffs were going to go three-and-out, but the Aztecs were called for a facemask penalty after stopping Broussard for no gain on third-and-three. Three plays later, it appeared that the Buffs were going to be forced to punt, but a defensive holding penalty on an incomplete pass on third-and-20 gave the Buffs new life.

A 15-yard completion from Noyer to Shenault, followed by a 14-yard run by Noyer, gave CU a first-and-goal at the SDSU seven yard line. Two runs gave the Buffs a third-and-goal at the one, but a personal foul on the Aztecs gave the Buffs a fresh set of downs … and the Buffs would need the help. Two runs lost three yards before Sam Noyer connected with wide receiver Jaylon Jackson on a shovel pass for the score.

The drive took 13 plays – five inside the SDSU five-yard line – taking over seven minutes of game clock. Colorado 14, San Diego State 0, with 4:50 left to play in the first half.

The Buffs looked to put the game away after the fourth three-and-out of the first half out of the San Diego State offense. A 13-yard return on the punt set the CU offense up at midfield.

It was all right there for the Buffs … a 14-0 lead, a defense which had held the Aztecs to two first half first downs, and the ball at midfield.

Then … disaster.

On the first play of the drive, Sam Noyer tried to hit K.D. Nixon on a deep out. Instead, Noyer hit Aztec cornerback Darren Hall, who took the interception 57 yards for a touchdown.

Just like that, it was a new game, with the Buffs’ lead cut to 10-7 with 3:18 to play in the half.

Rattled by the change in momentum, the CU offense went three-and-out for the first time in the game. The San Diego offense, energized by the play of its defense, more than doubled its first half production, covering 42 yards in eight plays. Kicker Matt Araiza connected on a 48-yard field goal with four seconds remaining, giving the Aztecs a boost heading into the locker room.

Halftime score: Colorado 14, San Diego State 10

A 15-yard run by Jarek Broussard to open the Buffs’ first drive of the second half seemed to right the CU ship, but, on third-and-one at midfield, a poor snap cost the Buffs eight yards and possession.

A quick three-and-out from the Buff defense gave the CU offense possession at its own 40-yard line. An 18-yard completion from Noyer to Shenault on third-and-seven kept the drive alive. with a 13-yard run by Broussard and a ten-yard completion from Noyer to Brenden Rice for 10 yards gave CU a red zone opportunity.

Two runs by Joe Davis, losing two yards, followed by an incompletion, stalled the drive. Evan Price, though, cashed in the ten-play drive, connecting on a 36-yard field goal to up the Colorado lead to 17-10 midway through the third quarter.

Another three-and-out from the Buff defense gave the offense yet another opportunity to put the game away. Instead, the Buffs quickly – after four plays – gave the ball back to the Aztecs.

The punt would have put the ball inside the SDSU 20-yard line … except … a personal foul allowed the Aztecs to start their drive at the their 29-yard line. The CU defense forced yet another three-and-out … except … linebacker Akil Jones was called for roughing the passer, keeping the drive alive.

The Aztecs responded to the gift by piecing together its first drive of the second half. The SDSU offense covered 53 yards in 11 plays, but were halted at the CU 33- yard line. Kicker Matt Araiza, who had connected on a career-best 48-yarder to end the first half, was short and right on a 50-yard attempt, keeping it a 17-10 game with 13 minutes remaining in the game.

A quick three-and-out was in the offing for the Buff offense, but Noyer was able to connect with Dimitri Stanley for a ten-yard gain on third-and-eight to keep the drive alive. A 26-yard run by Jarek Broussard put the ball deep into SDSU territory. The drive thereafter stalled, however, with Evan Price connecting on a 41-yard field goal. Colorado 20, San Diego State 10, with 9:34 to play.

Set back by an unsportsmanlike penalty on the ensuing kickoff, the San Diego State offense faced a first-and-25 to open its next drive. The Aztecs gained 21 yards over the next three plays – the second longest drive SDSU had put together in the second half, but it still left a fourth-and-four … and another three-and-out for the CU defense.

A 52-yard punt put the ball at the Colorado seven yard line, with the Buff offense going nowhere – minus four yards – on the next three plays. The 39-yard punt by Josh Watts allowed the Aztecs to set up camp on the CU side of the ball, starting their drive at the Buff 43-yard line.

The Aztecs did complete a pass for 14 yards to the Buff 29-yard line, but the next three plays netted only two yards. Kicker Matt Araiza, though, missed a 44-yard field goal attempt, keeping it a two-score game with 5:07 to play.

The Buffs went conservative on its next drive, losing a yard in three plays … but burning two minutes of clock.

San Diego State’s last gasp started at midfield … and ended there four plays later, with the Buffs taking over on downs with just over three minutes remaining.

After a CU punt, the Aztecs did get 23 yards of offense in garbage time before SDSU quarterback Jordon Brookshire was picked off by Curtis Appleton with 26 seconds remaining.

Final score: Colorado 20, San Diego State 10 

“We won the game with a day of preparation”, said Dorrell, who joined Rick Neuheisel as the only CU head coaches in the past century to open their careers 3-0 (Neuheisel opened 5-0 in 1995). “I thought our players did a great job of getting a feel of what San Diego State does. Our defense played well and offensively was a bigger challenge. That’s a very good defensive front and I think they’re third in the country in rush defense and it showed today. It was difficult for us to get some things together running the football”.

The win gave the Buffs bowl eligibility for the first time since 2016. “It’s huge”, said defensive star Nate Landman. “I was part of the 2017 (recruiting) class and seeing those guys in 2016 accomplish everything that they did, it kind of set the bar and tempo for us. We’ve been working towards bowl eligibility for the last 3 or 4 years and we fell short every time. Given the circumstances, it’s great to be bowl eligible but we have a lot to do. We’re focused on winning the PAC-12 championship and being 1-0 next week.”

Video highlights, from BuffsTV … 


Game Notes … 

— The win gave CU a 2-0 lead in the all-time series with San Diego State – the Buffs previously defeated the Aztecs 24-14 in 2002;

— Karl Dorrell became the seventh coach in CU history to open with a 3-0 record, but only the second since 1905 (joining Rick Neuheisel, who opened 5-0 in 1995);

— The Buffs opened with three games against teams from the same state for the first time since 1924, and the first time from a state other than Colorado;

— The 10 points allowed were the fewest since the Buffs opened the 2017 season holding CSU and Texas State to a field goal. The game represented the 75th straight win for CU when holding an opponent under 13 points (dating back to a 7-0 loss to Nebraska in 1988);

— The Buffs remained perfect in the red zone on the season (13-for-13, with 11 touchdowns and two field goals);

— CU raised its all-time record to 75-1 when holding an opponent to under 100 yards in both rushing (79 yards by SDSU) and passing (76 yards);

— Nate Landman – 11 tackles, three sacks, four tackles for loss, became just the third Buff since 2010 with three sacks in a game. For his efforts, Landman was named the Walter Camp National Defensive Player-of-the-Week;

— Jarek Broussard became only the second player in CU history (joining Charlie Davis) to rush for over 100 yards in the first three games of their career. Broussard had 32 carries for 124 yards against San Diego State, giving him 432 for the season;

— Two players, wide receiver La’Vontae Shenault and tight end C.J. Samanski, made their first career starts. Samanski became just the 10th walk-on player since 1992 to earn a start;

— A new kickoff man, walk-on Mac Willis, also made his debut as a Buff.


10 Replies to “Colorado 20, San Diego State 10”

  1. For one thing (no two) Chev got conservative on the last TWO possessions in the LAST TWO GAMES and ran the ball into the defensive line Oon the two first plays, leaving 3rd and really long. Smell Mel–(thanks ep)– must have been whispering in Chev’s ear……OR, CHEV’ CAN’T SHAKE TUCK.

    Last year, I almost went nuts with the play calls on 3rd down with 15-20 yds to go for a 1st…. and, the play call would be a run straight into the middle of a stacked D-line. WHAT happened in our last two games ?….. Yep, successive runs into the middle of a stacked line.

    What was the avg’ gain on those plays ?….(I would estimate no more than 1-2 yds.). I can understand doing that if there’s minimal time left on a clock and the opposing “D” doesn’t have any T/O’s left. BUT, there was ample time for the other team to advance the ball and call T/O’s which would give them the opportunity to tie or win. SHEEEESH.

    C’mon Chev’….. Smell Mel isn’t around to scrutinize you.


  2. As VK mentioned, did the Aztecs “figure out” the Buff offense? or is their D just that good? It appears to me that Chev and KD have established an efficient O that was simple enough to practice well, get execution down and was geared towards the individual strengths of the players. Maybe its time to test the players a little more and open it up a little more.
    I noticed we averaged 8 yards per completion. Gott knows we have enough capable receivers to run a go route jail break once in a while. The few times Sam has thrown a pass 20 yds or so in the air he has down well.
    Those that live only by the dink will die by the dink.

    1. Noyer. 11 carries for 12 yards
      Oline gave up 2 sacks
      5 hurries
      10 tackles for loss

      I think the sds dc firgured chev out


    2. “Chev and KD have established an efficient O that was simple enough to practice well, get execution down and was geared towards the individual strengths of the players. ”

      I agree with that statement. Maybe that potion of the work before the canceled game was all that they really could keep, chucking out the USC game plan & starting over. Plus they only had a walk through before the game & were probably still developing the game plan, or at least who does what on the other side, while the players were watching their first video of SDSU.

      If they get back to playing a more creative game through out the game against UofA, then last week was a really simple game plan that was made last minute & they won; conservative play calling & all. But if they do the same again, then your right & it’s starting to look like a pattern.

      If there is any week to open things up the way you describe it’s this weekend against a team that lost a boatload of DBs, some of them just last week, so it would be way more difficult to adjust in such a short period at this time in the season. Which is kind of like what CU experienced when Mel came on but worse because of the timing & the number, and teams took advantage.

      It took the Buffs at least 4 games to get the new guys up to speed, some were already playing too. I suspect that the same would be for a team losing so many so recently. CU needs to open it up in fact!

  3. Glad for the win, but we can’t help but wonder if Sam hadn’t thrown that interception & IF the Buffs finished that drive for a TD taking a 21-3 score into half time what the finial score would have been. 28-3?

    That team would have been ready for a top 25 ranking, but I’d like to see them beat a power 5 team with a winning record before they are ranked; I want them to be hungry, not feel like they have arrived.

    The defense cleaned up a lot of problems & played a solid game, yes SDSU were missing their QB & top RB, so it would have been different, but (without being able to watch) it sounds like the defense was handling their o-line , so how much would it have changed things? Certainly would have been more difficult, but the defense was playing great.

    3-0 is so much better than the “know it all pundits” gave them!

    1. They didn’t look bad; they just didn’t look good. Watching it reminded me of a small town high school game where both teams run the lines into each other and run for 3 yards and the Buffs more often than not won “in the trenches”.

      The optimist in me wants to say CU didn’t want to give any wrinkles in the play calling away and just did enough to win.

  4. Okay then, three and ooooooh looks good eh?

    Clearly the SDS DC had the Buffs offense figured out. Held em to 20 points. Under 300 yards. Okay the Buff OC only had a couple of days but…………………? Still it would appear the Buff offense once discovered by the opponent is stoppable. Chev needs to keep his ego out of the way. It has always been a bit of a problem for him.

    Clearly the SDS offense is overrated or the Buff defense has improved that much from the start of the season. Held em to under 200 yards only gave up 3 points. Responded when needed. I am hoping it is the improvement scenario.
    Still a bit concerned about the kicking game. Looks a bit weak.

    Anyway please let the Zonas stay virus free, so the Mighty Buffs can go kick kitty arse. Start with BB this week


    Note: The serum is here. HCKD Nice.

  5. What’s up with Mangham? I haven’t loved his body language on the field this year. I honestly can’t say I’ve noticed that often and it’s a bummer. But I also haven’t seen a reason to not choose him over Davis. We really haven’t given him a chance to get going. Or am I wrong? Thoughts?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *