November 7th – Boulder          Colorado 48, UCLA 42

The Buffs used four first half UCLA turnovers to race out to a 35-7 lead, then hung on for dear life in the second half before securing a 48-42 victory. Head coach Karl Dorrell became the third consecutive CU coach to win in their debut, defeating his alma mater before a crowd of less than a thousand at Folsom Field.

Sam Noyer became the first CU quarterback to start his first game as a senior since 1976, and made the most of his opportunity, completing 20-of-31 passes for 257 yards and a touchdown, also picking up 64 yards and another score on 13 carries. “I just wanted this opportunity from the start”, said Noyer, making his first start since his senior year in high school … in 2015. “And I finally got it in, and that’s all I could ask for”.

Sophomore running back Jarek Broussard also had a stellar debut, with 31 carries for 187 yards and three first half touchdowns. Playing without senior receiver K.D. Nixon, the receiving corps was led by tight end Brady Russell (five catches for 77 yards and a touchdown) and Dimitri Stanley (six catches for 66 yards).

The CU offense went for 525 yards of total offense, holding the ball for almost two-thirds (39:31) of the game clock. The Buffs had a 35-14 halftime lead, but three scoring drives by the Bruins, all of which took less than 90 seconds of game clock, made the game interesting until the final 1:45, when receiver Dimitri Stanley recovered an onside kick to preserve the win. The CU defense, which played well in the first half, ended up surrendering 478 yards, with quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson responsible for most of those yards (303 yards and four touchdowns passing; 109 yards and a touchdown rushing).

“Our guys found a way to win and a way to score more points in the second half when things got close and got within seven”, said Karl Dorrell, picking up his first victory as a collegiate head coach since leaving UCLA after the 2007 season. “We found a way to just hang in there. It says a lot about this team. They didn’t give up. They kept fighting and they hung on for a victory. I am very proud of them.”

Game Story … The Sam Noyer debut opened with the Buffs gaining 20 yards on six plays before being forced to punt … but … the first punt of Josh Watts’ career in Boulder was fumbled on the return by Kyle Phillips. The fumble, forced by Derrion Rakestraw, was recovered by Alec Pell, giving CU the ball back at UCLA 25-yard line.

Four plays later, the Buffs were on the board. Three runs by sophomore running back Jarek Broussard, including a six-yarder for the score, gave Colorado a 7-0 lead five minutes into the game.

On UCLA’s next possession, Bruin quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson was intercepted by junior linebacker Carson Wells. Wells intercepted the ball at the UCLA 15, and was returned 14 yards to the Bruin one yard line. The ensuing Buff drive was clean and quick: one play, one yard, four seconds, with Jarek Broussard scoring his second touchdown of the quarter.

After the Buff defense forced a quick three-and-out from the Bruin offense, the CU offense put together its first long drive of the game. The passing game was clicking, with Sam Noyer hitting Dimitri Stanley for ten yards on third-and-four to open the drive. Completions of ten yards to Jaren Mangham and 13 yards to Maurice Bell put the ball on the UCLA side of the field. The drive stalled, however, when Sam Noyer missed his first pass of the night, failing to connect with Stanley on a fourth-and-four at the UCLA 40-yard line.

The Bruins quickly took advantage, needing only six plays to cover 60 yards to make it a game again. A screen pass from Dorian Thompson-Robinson to running back Demetric Felton covered 28 yards for the touchdown, making it a 14-7 game in the final minute of the first quarter.

Instead of wilting under the pressure, however, the Buffs responded. Two completions from Noyer to Dimitri Stanley, covering 21 yars and 15 yards, put the Buffs in scoring position. An 11-yard run by Jarek Broussard on third-and-seven at the UCLA 26-yard line put the Buffs in the red zone, with Sam Noyer hitting tight end Brady Russell for a 12-yard touchdown. Colorado 21, UCLA 7, with 12:56 remaining in the second quarter.

UCLA pushed the ball out to midfield on its next possession, but Dorian Thompson-Robinson fumbled the ball back to the Buffs, with Derrion Rakestraw the ball at the UCLA 47-yard line.

With a chance to go for the kill, the Buffs substituted quarterbacks. Junior Tyler Lytle, who entered fall camp as the presumed starter, was given a drive. Hampered by a holding penalty, the Buffs went three-and-out, punting the ball back to the Bruins.

Instead of taking advantage, however, the Bruins gift-wrapped another touchdown for the Buffs. On the first play of the drive, junior linebacker Jamar Montgomery forced and recovered a fumble by Demetric Felton. Starting at the UCLA seven yard line, the Buffs needed only two plays to score. A one-yard scoring run by Jarek Broussard, his third of the first half, made it a 28-7 game midway through the second quarter.

After another three-and-out from the UCLA offense, the Buff offense was on the move once again. A six-play, 70-yard drive – all on the ground – put the Buffs on the scoreboard once again. A 37-yard run by Jarek Broussard, followed by two runs of 12 and six yards by Sam Noyer, pushed the ball inside the Bruin ten yard line. The drive was finished off by a two-yard touchdown run by Jaren Mangham, giving the Buffs a 35-7 lead with 5:46 left in the second quarter.

If only the game had ended right then.

With a huge lead, the Colorado defense, which had played well to that point, gave up an easy score. Dorian Thompson-Robinson hit a wide open Greg Dulcich, with the tight end lumbering 52 yards for a touchdown. The three-play, 65-yard drive took all of 1:02 off of the clock, making it a 35-14 game.

The teams then traded three-and-outs before the Buffs took the ball over at the CU 41-yard line. A 17-yard completion from Noyer to Stanley on a third-and-six allowed CU to milk the remaining second quarter clock. Despite having all three time-outs remaining, the Buffs settled for a 51-yard field goal attempt by James Stefanou. The kick, however, came up a few yards short.

Halftime score: Colorado 35, UCLA 14

Any hopes that the second half would be a cakewalk for the Buffs were quickly extinguished on UCLA’s opening possession of the third quarter. It took all of two plays for the Bruins to score, with quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson going untouched for a 65-yard touchdown 36 seconds into the second half.

The Buff offense appeared to be ready to answer, methodically moving the ball downfield. A 34-yard completion to tight end Brady Russell gave the Buffs a first down at the UCLA 31-yard line. The drive thereafter, however, stalled, with the CU offense settling for a 40-yard field goal attempt by James Stefanou. The kick was blocked, however, with the ball returned to the UCLA 40-yard line.

It took the UCLA offense only six plays to make it a one score game. A 41-yard completion on third-and-ten, followed by a 15-yard scoring pass from Thompson-Robinson to Demetric Felton completed the 88-second drive.

Just like that, it was 35-28, with less than five minutes gone in the third quarter.

The CU offense, though, got its act together, putting together a 10-play, 75-yard drive to again make it a two-score game. A 20-yard completion from Sam Noyer to Maurice Bell, followed by a 14-yard run by Broussard, moved the ball into scoring territory. After a roughing the passer penalty put the ball into the red zone, two runs by Noyer gave the Buffs a first-and-goal at the three yard line, with Noyer doing the honors with a one-yard scoring run. With 6:41 remaining in the third quarter, it was now a 42-28 contest.

Undaunted, the UCLA offense set off on its third touchdown drive of under 90 seconds in the second half. Being gifted 25 yards in penalties by the Buff defense (pass interference; defensive holding), the Bruins needed only four plays to cover 75 yards, with a 26-yard scoring pass from Thompson-Robinson to Keegan Jones making it a 42-35 game … with still over five minutes remaining in the third quarter.

The Buffs put themselves into holes on their next drive, with Noyer completing a 21-yard pass to tight end Brady Russell on third-and-19, Noyer rushing for six yards on third-and-one, and Noyer connecting with Jarek Broussard for 21 yards on third-and-12. The 13-play drive, taking almost five minutes of game clock, concluded with a 45-yard field goal by Evan Price. 45-35, in the final minute of the third quarter.

The Bruin offense again quickly moved into Buff territory. In less than two minutes of game clock, the UCLA offense had the ball at the CU 30-yard line. There, on fourth-and-one, running back Keegan Jones was stopped by linebacker Nate Landman for no gain, giving the ball back to the Buffs.

A 38-yard completion from Sam Noyer to Daniel Arias gave the Buffs a chance to put the game away, setting up the CU offense at the UCLA 31-yard line. The Buffs, though, were not able to punch the ball in, settling for a 36-yard field goal by Evan Price. The kick upped the CU lead to 48-35, but 9:26 still remained in the game.

Thanks to two holding penalties, the Bruins next faced a first-and-30 to open their next drive. Plays covering 11, 11, and 15 yards, however, gave the UCLA offense new life. A sack by defensive tackle Mustafa Johnson – CU’s only sack of the night – helped force a fourth-and-11 at the CU 40. With just over five minutes remaining, the Bruins had to go for the first down, but Thompson-Robinson’s pass fell incomplete, with the Buff defense posting its second consecutive fourth down stop.

A 25-yard run by Jarek Broussard seemingly put the Buffs in position to ice the game, but three more plays netted only nine yards. Evan Price, who had connected for two field goals earlier in the second half, had his 44-yard attempt blocked … and UCLA had new life.

Taking over at their 37-yard line, the Bruins had 3:20 of clock left, but remained down two scores. The CU defense bent, but did not entirely break. The Buffs gave up a nine yard touchdown pass from Thompson-Robinson to Mike Martinez, but forced the Bruins to take ten plays – and, more importantly, almost half of the remaining game clock – to score.

When receiver Dimitri Stanley easily covered the ensuing onside kick, Sam Noyer needed only to kneel down three times to preserve the victory.

Final score: Colorado 48, UCLA 42

“They should feel confident that they can win and win a lot of games”, said Dorrell. “We won our first one so that is a big bonus for us. We won the game without playing our best football. It was a good start, and we did a better job offensively”.

The Buffs finished with 525 yards of total offense, but surrendered 478 … while holding a commanding advantage in time of possession (39:31-20:29). “We knew playing against a third-year starter at quarterback that we would have to put some points on the board”, Dorrell said of watching a 35-7 first half lead evaporate. “They were more aggressive and started exploring our secondary a little bit. We are going to need to get all of those things fixed but we hung on”.

“We just had to make a couple corrections, there were a couple missed assignments, but it was nothing major,” said senior safety Derrion Rakestraw, who led the team with six tackles, also forcing one fumble and recovering another. “It was nothing that we couldn’t fix.  Going in next week we’ve got to be keyed in on those kinds of things, and we are going to continue to get better”.

Here are the YouTube highlights, from BuffsTV … 


Game Notes … 

— Despite the victory, CU still trails UCLA in the all-time series, 11-5. The two teams, however, have split the last six games, with the home team winning each time. The Buffs tied the series in games played in Boulder, at four victories apiece;

— CU moved its record in Pac-12 openers to 5-5, including three in a row and four of the past five. The Buffs upped their record in season openers to 82-44-5, with a 54-20-1 record at home;

— The 90 total points was the highest-ever for any CU opener, besting the 83 points in the 2019 opener (a 52-31 CU victory);

— Official attendance for the game was 554;

— A total of 15 Buffs saw their first career action. Five Buffs made their first career starts: CB Christian Gonzalez (Fr.); TB Jarek Broussard (So.); WR Daniel Arias (Jr.); WR Maurice Bell (Jr.); QB Sam Noyer (Sr.). Gonzalez became just the 14th true freshman to earn a start in his first game;

— Sam Noyer (13-of-21 passing for 257 yards, one touchdown; 10 carries for 64 yards and a touchdown rushing) became just the eighth player in CU history to rush for a touchdown and pass for a touchdown in their first start … His 321 yards of total offense was the fifth-best opening game in school history;

— The 31-carry, 187-yard effort by Jarek Broussard was the second-best effort in a first start by a running back in school history. In 1990, Mike Pritchard made his first and only start at running back, replacing a suspended Eric Bieniemy, going for 217 yards and two touchdowns in a 31-31 tie against Tennessee. If you are talking “true” running backs, Broussard’s effort was second, trailing only the 202 yards Billy Waddy posted against Wisconsin in 1973;

— More Broussard … When Pritchard and Waddy set their marks, it was not their first game. As a result, Broussard’s efforts are the most by a CU running back in their first career game … Broussard became the 19th Buff to go over the 100-yard mark in his first career start at running back … His three touchdowns in his first game trails only Michael Adkins, who had four (and ties Bobby Anderson, who also had three rushing touchdowns in his first career start);




23 Replies to “Colorado 48, UCLA 42”

  1. So I watched the second half. What I thought was happening in real time was right.
    1. On the first two to explosive plays Landman was either positioned on an edge or was blitzing an edge. Change the play call to keep Landman in the middle and I bet you get a different result.
    2. Gonzalez needs to turn his head when the ball is in the air.
    3. Rakestraw may need help in man to man coverage.

    I am not sure why they are not blitzing perry? He was so effective at it last year. Maybe becuase they felt they did not need to?

  2. Great win for the Buffs!

    I don’t care if it was ugly, or that we gave up a huge lead. They kept fighting and came through when it mattered!

    Noyer and Broussard were wonderful surprises, and even tho D struggled late, Rakestraw was great, interception by Wells was great heads up play, and Landman on that 4th down stop!!! Wow! Great team effort by everyone. Lots of work to do to get better, but fun game that showed Dorrell was ready and focused… and so was his team.

    Go Buffs!

  3. The Buffs proved that they have greatly improved “O” and “D” lines….’Bout damned time.

    ‘Gonna hafta’ clean up some porous DB play …..But what’s new ?

    HOT DAMN !!!!! where have the Tight Ends been ? (Would make a tidy tune). I thought we just recruited offensive tackles and put them out there at the end of the line as de-facto TE’s.

    Good “O” play calling Darren….. of course – as it should be…..Glad you have some talent to work with, and you showed everyone how to use ’em.

    Overall….. good for 1st timers. GO BUFFS.

  4. D problem’s were 1st game issues, I still like it a lot. PI needs to get cleaned up, but we are playing aggressive man and it happens.

    Blown coverages resulted as other have stated in 2-3 TDs. Those will get fixed.
    The issues w/screen game, will get fixed.

    What I didn’t like was in the 1st half esp. it seemed like we were running defenders on right before the snap…watch the screen for TD…Gustav comes sprinting on and then just goes straight after the QB…on pure instinct I think. Not sure what all the late subs were about…it seemed to get marginally better in the 2nd half.

    Like the D, b/c situations where things were more clearly defined i.e. 4th downs we were as solid as hoped.

  5. Definitely ugly win. But honestly, most of our wins have been ugly for a while. Broussard was a welcome surprise. Hoping we get to see them play all six/seven games.

    Go Buffs

  6. Not pretty but I’ll take it. The second half tension with UCLA staging a big comeback had me gulping in remembrance of that second half Buffs collapse almost ten years ago to the day against Kansas when CU was leading 35-10 at halftime en route to falling 52-45….Recalling how a huge game by Speedy Stewart, who Broussard is drawing comparisons to was wasted back then. But alas Noyer played better than Cody Hawkins and Dorrell coached better than Cody’s dad and the defense got the two 4th down stops. Time now to clean up some stuff and go get a winnable road game at Stanford

  7. With how depressing the last 14 years have been, especially the last 9 months, this was a very enjoyable win! Can’t take winning for granted. Yeah the defense and kicking game needs work but every unit made big plays throughout the night. We looked well prepared and sharp on offense. Feels great.

  8. It was not pretty but who cares? Having had no idea what to expect from Sam Noyer, I was very impressed. I know UCLA’s defense is sieve-like but I kept noticing not only was Noyer making all the throws, but how his passes looked. Young man has a strong arm and he throws a good-looking ball. No wobblers or wounded ducks. I know not what to say about young Mr. Broussard other than, “Wow!”

    Given how 2020 had gone so far for the Buffs in terms of having to make an unexpected, late coaching change, not having any spring practice with new coaching staff, and then getting shut down by Boulder County Health Department so that they had no practice with new coaching staff until early October, I was more than a little impressed by how they looked last night. To my eye (and I’m no expert, self-proclaimed or otherwise), they looked like a team that was prepared to play.

    Home dogs in their season opener and they pull off a win. I went to bed here on the east coast a happy Buff.

  9. Kudos to the offensive line. The push up front was impressive and the holes they created, especially in the first half help created some of those runs for Jarek. Haven’t seen that type of o-line performance since 2016. I think Coach Dorrell made a great hire in Coach Mitch Rodrigue. Coach Kip had these same players…….night and day from last year to now.
    Great first win!!!

    1. I really agree. The o line was great! I was worried a bit by Rodrigue but it looks like the o line came out and dominated the trenches.

  10. For having no spring practice, a new head coach, a young secondary, and a new qb we overcame and beat Chip Kelley’s 3rd year team with a 2 year starter…..

    What I liked:
    1. Our offense moved the ball reliably and scored points. I don’t care if UCLAs d is very bad. They were really bad last year and we could not score points on them. But this year we did what you should do against a bad defense.
    2. Our o line created real movement and drove.
    3. We have depth at RB.
    4. NOYER! I have a feeling we will all be asking him to stay for another year….. I really like how fast he got the ball out of his hands and how he was so decisive.
    5. Russell – I gotta say I was afraid the tight end would disappear again with Chev calling plays. I am super glad he has not just become a blocker….
    6. Take aways- we won this game because of take aways. Remember the years we couldn’t find the ball? That does not appear to be a problem.
    7. Lamdman’s 4 down stop. Priceless.

    Things that concern me
    1. Defense as a whole but here are some specifics
    2. Gonzalez needs to get his head around when the ball is in the air. I think the game was moving a bit fast for him so hopefully this will change with experience.
    3. Landman on the edge instead of the middle….. I gotta say, I think Chip figured this out in the second half and ran away and threw away from him…. I think you have to put Landman in the middle so he can be a factor in as many plays as possible.
    4. Blown coverages. I am going to have to watch this but we blew at least 3 or 4 coverages that resulted in long plays or touch downs. That has to be cleaned up.
    5. Screen defense – I am going to have to rewatch the game but I am not sure why our screen d was so bad.
    6. Our kicking game. 2 blocks whuh? That score should have been higher….. this should be easy to fix…..
    7. Pass interference penalties. We are going to need to clean this up.

    Still great win! I think 3 wins is definitely possible. Darrell has focused on execution and I think there is a lot to fix on the defense side but he beat a Chip Kelley 3 years team becuase they out executed them….

  11. Broussard reminds me of both Speedy Stewart and the Great Phil Lindsay. I know, only one game but he seems to have IT. Great win for the Buffs!!

  12. Noyer did not disappoint and Broussard was amazing. He seems to have tree stumps for legs (too short for tree trunks) but boy how he can move them. He seems to be able to slip through a closed door. His yards after contact for a little guy is amazing too.
    And Noyer running like a full back up the middle of the line was impressive. The Buff execution on O finally looked like it hasnt for a while. …but the play calling got a little stale in the last third of the game. Hopefully the play book will expand a little as the season progresses.

  13. The D was the weak link who would have thunk. The secondary flat out stunk. If it wasnt for Broussard the Bruin QB could have been the Buffs MVP. He couldnt hit the broad side of a barn even though his O line dominated with pass blocking even picking up the Buff horribly disguised blitzes…..and even though his receivers were ALWAYS open.
    If the pass coverage and secondary run D doesnt make up several country miles of ground and quit giving up a hundred yards of penalties I fear Rooney’s prediction of 1-6 may come to pass.

    1. Thanks, Debbie Downer.
      Head off to the UCLA Board, where they are trying to figure out how their third-year head coach, and third-year starting quarterback, lost to a team with a new head coach, a first-game quarterback and a first-game running back, giving up 48 points to an offense playing without Alex Fontenot or K.D. Nixon in the lineup.
      I’ll take an ugly 1-0 any day …
      With the Oregon State/Washington State game still pending as we talk, there are three teams in the Pac-12 who are 1-0 … Oregon; USC; and Colorado …

      1. Well well well look who is feeling a little feisty here tonight. You got a shot of that serum eh? Feeling better eh? Well Good.

        Glad to see it.
        The VK.

        Note: ep ain’t a downer. He has the virus too. Maybe worse than you. And he is old

    2. A week or two ago I heard D-Mac, always a great source of stupid on Denver sports radio, claim that he was watching highlights of Dorian Thompson-Robinson and that if Drew Lock doesn’t work out the broncos should consider taking him with their top ten first round pick.

      Yes. He said that. And not ironically. DMac is a moron.

      And DTR is just awful. That guy has the lowest football IQ I’ve basically ever seen on a quarterback at a supposedly big time university.

      This game said oddly little about CU, because it came down almoat completely to two things we already knew: UCLA run defense is abysmally awful, and DTR is dumb as a brick but can still score tons of points (for both teams)

    3. Hey ep hope you are covid 19 free??


      Hope you feel better this am. Yup Buff D struggled on D. They were also amazing on those stops eh..

      So a little flash back for ya.

      2019 Conference only.

      Buffs………………….32.2 18.1

      2019 Buff vs UCLA………….
      31-14 UCLA wins……………
      2020 Buff vs UCLA …..
      48-42 Buff Wins……

      It would appear to me the Buffs are now set up to compete in the Pac………..Wouldn’t you say? Appears they have a Pac 12 offense………………and a Pac 12 defense…………..Yup a real offense.

      Okay have a great dayl


      Hope the serum works on ya.

      The VK


    4. Sadly, you are right. The secondary was terrible. That said, the lads fought hard and came up with some big plays when we needed them. Go Buffs!

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