Colorado Daily – Utah Week

November 26th – Game Day!

… CU in a few minutes … 

CU/Utah scouting report: Team with the most rushing yards wins

From the Daily Camera

Utah offense: The Utes’ attack is paced by its run game, which ranks among the best in the country with 213.9 yards per game. They have three exceptional running backs and a powerful offensive line. Utah also has a trio of talented tight ends and playmakers at receiver. What makes this unit pop, however, is quarterback Cameron Rising, who has taken the Utes’ to a 7-1 record since becoming the starter. “We know what they want to do,” CU safety Mark Perry said. “They want to run the ball. They want to use 13 personnel, 12 personnel, use their tight ends. Their tight ends are a staple of their offense and so is their slot receiver, Britain Covey. We know who they are, we know what they are. We’ve just got to go out and execute.”

Utah defense: As the season has gone along, the Utes have improved on defense. Led by All-American linebacker Devin Lloyd, they’ve been dominant at times. A key to that is an improved defensive line. The trio of Mika Tafua, Junior Tafuna and Van Fillinger have combined for 24.5 TFLs and 17 sacks. “Relative to some of the struggles we had earlier in the season, we’re playing much, much better football right now up front,” Whittingham said. Linebacker Nephi Sewell and safety Brandon McKinney have also been leaders for the Utes.

Utah special teams: For years, the Utes had one of the best special teams units in the Pac-12, if not the country. They’ve struggled a bit more than usual this season, however. They have made just 10-of-15 field goals overall, and they rank last in the Pac-12 with a 38.24 average on punts, while using three different punters – including Rising twice on quick kicks. Covey is an explosive returner, however, as he’s already returned two punts for touchdowns.

Utes notables

  • Utah was the last Pac-12 South team to reach the conference title game, in 2018, but it has now won the South in three of the last four seasons. The Utes are 18-3 in their last 21 conference games.
  • Utah is seeking the 700th win in program history. Currently, the Utes are 699-472-31 all-time. They could become the 32nd FBS program to reach 700. CU hit that mark in 2017 and has a record of 718-524-36.
  • The Utes have three running backs with at least 400 yards, led by Tavion Thomas (836, 17 TD) and T.J. Pledger (548, 5 TD). Micah Bernard has 454 and 2 TD.
  • Utah’s defense ranks 10th nationally in tackles for loss (85) and 15th in sacks (34). Offensively, the Utes are 13th nationally in giving up just 42 TFLs and eighth in allowing only 11 sacks.
  • This season, the Utes are 8-0 when they outgain their opponent in rushing yards and 0-3 when they don’t. In their three losses, they gave up 224, 204 and 260 rushing yards.

Continue reading story here


November 25th

… CU in a few minutes … 

Dorrell hopes to have the chance to build what Utah has: “That’s what we all aspire to do”

From the Daily Camera … Led by head coach Kyle Whittingham, now in his 17th season, Utah has the most consistent and reliable program in the Pac-12 South division if not the entire league.

Colorado head coach Karl Dorrell is 17 games into his tenure and is still trying to set the foundation that exists in Salt Lake City.

“That’s what we all aspire to do,” Dorrell said of Utah’s consistency. “Once we get a chance to get a foundation set in your program and start building with recruiting classes and start having the natural ascension through your program with seniors being able to help coach the younger players and it kind of rejuvenate itself year after year. We’re just in the beginning stages of that.”

On Friday at Rice-Eccles Stadium in Salt Lake City, the established Utes will host the rebuilding Buffaloes in the regular-season finale.

A week ago, Whittingham became the winningest coach in Utah history (142-69) as his team wrapped up its third South division title in the last four years. The Utes will be playing in their 14th bowl game under Whittingham and they have posted 15 winning seasons under his watch.

“If you get a chance to be at a place for a long period of time, your foundation and what you are as a program gets really established, and you have years of classes that go through that program that have a great feel of what the expectations are and their systems of what they play defensively and offensively,” Dorrell said.

Continue reading story here

Neill Woelk’s Five Keys to Utah Game

From … Colorado’s final game of the season is not a bowl game — but if the Buffaloes want to make a postseason-worthy splash, they have the opportunity Friday when they play at Utah (2 p.m., Fox).

Utah (8-3 overall, 7-1 Pac-12) has already clinched a Pac-12 South title, is 19th in the latest College Football Playoff rankings and is playing its best ball of the season. Not only have the Utes won four games in a row, they are coming off a 38-7 beatdown of Oregon last week, a game Utah dominated in nearly every fashion.

No doubt, a win for Karl Dorrell‘s Buffs (4-7, 3-5) would be a great way to cap what has more often than not been a disappointing season.

But while they are playing well, the Utes are by no means perfect. After losing their second and third games of the season (BYU and San Diego State), they hammered out three straight wins before losing to Oregon State, 42-34.

We remind you, that’s the same Oregon State team Colorado beat 37-34 in two overtimes just two weeks later.

Thus, our weekly Fast Five keys for the Buffaloes:

1. Turnovers, turnovers, turnovers. Colorado won a game last week when the opponent dominated just about every statistical category — except turnovers. The Buffs had four defensive takeaways in a 20-17 win over Washington and did not turn the ball over once.

Zero turnovers is no rarity for CU — in fact, it’s happened more often than not. Colorado has had a school-record six games this year without a single turnover and has just seven for the season, the second-best mark in the nation.

But the Utes aren’t exactly prone to giving the ball away. They have thrown just five interceptions and lost six fumbles.

Still, the Buffs need to coerce a mistake or two from Utah QB Cameron Rising and force the Utes to put the ball on the ground a couple of times.

After all, this stat is no coincidence: Colorado is 4-1 this season when winning the turnover battle.

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November 24th

… CU in a few minutes … 

Dimitri Stanley: “Right now I plan on coming back”

From the Daily Camera … Stanley, a fourth-year sophomore from Cherry Creek High School, is CU’s active career leader in catches (63) and receiving yards (686), but this year has caught just 12 passes for 82 yards while missing three games with an injury.

“It’s been a little frustrating because I was expecting to have that breakout year,” he said. “I wanted to have that 1,000-yard receiving year and it just didn’t happen.

“You kind of just keep moving forward and that’s my mentality. What I’ve been trying to do is just help my team in any way I can and everything happens for a reason. I think everything will come as long as I work hard, so I’m not really too worried about it. I just know I need to work hard this offseason and have that season that I was expecting (next year).”

Asked if he will return to CU in 2022, Stanley said, “No comment. … I’m just kidding. Yeah, right now I plan on coming back, so nothing’s changed.”

Continue reading story here

Safety Mark Perry pleased with his progress: “I feel like I’ve done a good job and my teammates trust me”

From the Daily Camera … A few days ago, Colorado safety Mark Perry compared his statistics from 2020 and this season.

The difference was significant.

“Everybody’s gonna have their own opinions, but I’m good with myself,” Perry said. “I feel like I’ve been making a lot more plays. I feel like I’ve done a good job and my teammates trust me.”

Playing in all five regular-season games last year, Perry was on the field for 72 percent of the defensive snaps but recorded just 10 tackles and one pass breakup. He had one tackle for every 25.3 snaps played.

This year, he has started all 11 games at free safety, has played 90.5 percent of the snaps and is fourth on the team with 66 tackles (one for every 10.5 snaps). He also has two interceptions, three pass breakups, two tackles for loss and a fumble recovery.

“It feels a lot better,” Perry said of his season compared to a year ago. “It just does a lot for my confidence, just knowing I’m able to go out there and take another step from where I was last year.”

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November 23rd

… CU in a few minutes … 

Center Colby Pursell may return for another year after all

From the Daily Camera … Center Colby Pursell, a fifth-year junior, went through the senior day ceremony on Saturday but said he hasn’t decided if he’ll return next year or not. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Pursell could take advantage of playing one more season.

Because Saturday might have been his last game at Folsom Field, he chose to go through the ceremony.

“It’s a big day for my family, as well,” he said. “It was awesome for them to be able to come out here and experience it. Especially since the uncertainty next year, I want to make sure that we have this opportunity together.”

Buffs will be thin at receiver for finale

From the Daily Camera … Colorado’s already thin receiver group will be even thinner this week.

On Monday, CU head coach Karl Dorrell said freshman Brenden Rice will not play when the Buffs (4-7, 3-5 Pac-12) visit No. 16 Utah (8-3, 7-1) on Friday in Salt Lake City (2 p.m., TV: Fox).

Rice, who leads CU receivers in catches (21) and yards (299), suffered a leg injury early in the second quarter of Saturday’s 20-17 victory against Washington and won’t be ready in time to play against the Utes.

Also on Monday, third-year freshman La’Vontae Shenault officially put his name in the NCAA transfer portal. Dorrell said Saturday that Shenault, who was suspended for seven games earlier this year, was no longer with the program.

On Monday night, Shenault posted on Twitter: “I would like to thank buff fans and coaches that have taught me many things in life that will still be with me on my journey that is far from over. Furthermore I would like to express that I am entering the transfer portal to find a new home. Thank you CU! NEXT CHAPTER!!!”

Rice’s injury and Shenault’s departure come one week after the Buffs lost receiver Montana Lemonious-Craig for the season with a leg injury.

… Going into Saturday, the Buffs will lean on Stanley (12 catches), junior Daniel Arias (18 catches) and a trio of freshmen: Chris Carpenter (six catches), Chase Penry (eight catches) and Ty Robinson (six catches).

Read full story here


November 22nd

… CU in a few minutes … 

**Video: Karl Dorrell’s final 2021 pre-game press conference**

From YouTube, courtesy of BuffsTVKarl Dorrell … Treating Monday’s practice as a Tuesday practice in preparation for a Friday game … So far, so good … Obviously, we have to play more efficiently offensively … Definitely some positives on both sides of the ball that we can work on … What we need to work on most, on both sides of the ball, is third down … We’re not getting off of the field on defense, and not staying on the field on offense … There are some coverage things on defense, which hurt on third down … We do have some young guys playing … Jack Lamb and Robert Barnes, transfers who have evolved over the course of the season … That’s been a silver lining from Nate Landman’s injury … On being quiet on the sidelines: I am reserved, not stoic … Don’t let my exterior fool you … This team is learning to become a team … Nikko Reed – his confidence is off the charts – he’s had that attitude since he’s been here … He’s a true competitor, and we trust him … Wait until you see him as a returner (with Brenden Rice out) … We still have a confident group at receiver; we just need to execute on offense … Utah got better every week of the season; in week six or seven everything started to click … They are a difficult team to defend … If you get a chance to be at a program for a long time, you can develop a system (like Utah has) … It gives you a chance for stability and success … That’s what we all aspire to … We’re just in the beginning stages of that … We’re building a strong foundation … We have to coach and develop them better, and I think that’s coming. I think we’re heading in the right direction … We have to learn to win on the road, and we haven’t done that this year … Defensive linemen Janaz Jordan and Justin Jackson, and outside linebacker Jamar Montgomery, are expected to be back in the mix for the Buffaloes this week. When asked about linebackers Nate Landman and Guy Thomas, Dorrell said, there is “a chance” they could be healthy enough to play against the Utes. Inside linebacker Jack Lamb will not be able to suit up in Salt Lake City after suffering an injury that Dorrell said will take “a couple weeks” to recover from …

Buff seniors turn their attention to Utah: “It’s a bittersweet moment”

From … The Buffs also can’t plan on winning with very little offense too often. CU finished with 183 yards of total offense against the Huskies. It was the first time since Sept. 11, 2004, at Washington State that a CU team won a game with less than 200 yards.

Still, a win is a win and the Buffs needed a win. For Dorrell, it was a good sign to see his team get a victory that wasn’t pretty and went down to the wire.

“They’re starting to develop that competitiveness and that drive to just fight for 60 minutes,” Dorrell said. “That’s definitely something our program is going to build on. It’s really gonna be part of who we are. That’s our fabric is being fighters. We’ve got to continue to build this program the way that it used to be. We’re going to get it back to that level and I think the mentality is starting to come back. But we’ve still got a lot of work to do.”

For some of the Buffs, Friday’s game will be their last at CU and the focus this week will be to play a great finale.

“The preparation will be the same as always,” senior defensive lineman Mustafa Johnson said. “Make sure our team is ready and make sure I’m ready and do the same thing I do every week. To go out there and play our hearts out. For me, it’s a bittersweet moment because even though last year was kind of a sudden change, and this time I’m actually going to sit down and feel all the effects of everything. It’s bittersweet, but I’m going to do everything I normally do each week.”

For most of the Buffs, Friday’s game will be about taking some momentum into next season. After a 1-4 start to the season, the Buffs are 3-3 in their last six games, including a 2-1 record in November.

Continue reading story here

Neill Woelk’s Takeaways from the Washington game

From … Late Saturday afternoon, after a hard-fought 20-17 win over Washington, Colorado linebacker Quinn Perry summed up what is no doubt going through the minds of a long list of young Buffs.

“We’re playing for next season,” said Perry, who was credited with nine tackles in the win. “We want to show people why Colorado football is Colorado football. We’ve got a lot to ramp up for next year. We’re just showing a little preview right now.”

Now 4-7 overall and 3-5 in Pac-12 play, the Buffs will wrap up their 2021 campaign next Friday in a 2 p.m. game at Utah (Fox).

It will no doubt be a stiff test. The Utes (8-3, 7-1) are coming off a dominating 38-7 win over Oregon, a victory that knocked the Ducks out of contention for a College Football Playoff berth and clinched the Pac-12 South title for Utah.

The matchup will provide the Buffs with a national stage against a quality opponent on a holiday weekend — exactly the kind of game that can enhance a program’s profile. Colorado will have nothing to lose and plenty to gain, and should play the final game of the season with a strong measure of abandon.

But equally importantly, the game will give a number of young players one more chance this season to test themselves against high-level competition, and prove to coaches they are ready to take their game up a notch, beginning next spring.

There are, of course, a number of Buffs who will be making their final appearance in CU black and gold. That list includes seniors Nate LandmanKary Kutsch and Matt Lynch, as well as several juniors who have earned their degrees and are ready to move onto the next stage of their lives.

That group will be aiming to leave the program on a winning note and provide a little momentum and confidence for the future. A victory would no doubt leave a solid footnote to their legacies in Boulder.

But first, one last look at the win over the Huskies with our weekly takeaways:

1. There will no doubt be some holes to fill on defense next season. Plenty of players who came up with big games Sunday will be back next year, giving defensive coordinator Chris Wilson a solid foundation.

The group includes Quinn Perry, safety Mark Perry, cornerback Christian Gonzalez and linebacker Jack Lamb and Robert Barnes. The latter two are transfers who battled injuries early this year, but showed Saturday what kind of impact they might have.

But CU will have to find replacements for Landman, OLB/DE Carson Wells and D-lineman Mustafa Johnson, each of whom were critical elements of Colorado’s defense. There are plenty of candidates, but those shoes won’t be easy to fill.

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November 21st

… CU in a few minutes … 

Carson Wells among juniors who were honored on Senior Day

… Carson Wells had a great day to close out his final game at Folsom.  Wells had seven tackles; three tackles for loss; two quarterback hurries; two third down stops; one fourth down stop (the game-winner); two passes broken up; and a forced fumble … 

From the Daily Camera … Prior to Saturday’s 20-17 win against Washington at Folsom Field, the Colorado Buffaloes took a moment to honor their seniors.

They also honored a few juniors who have graduated and plan to move on, including outside linebacker Carson Wells, a fifth-year junior who confirmed to after the game that this will be his last year with the Buffs as he pursues an opportunity in the NFL.

CU has four seniors who are exhausting their eligibility: defensive lineman Mustafa Johnson, offensive lineman Kary Kutsch, linebacker Nate Landman and tight end Matt Lynch.

The non-seniors who went through senior day festivities were: safety Chris Miller, center Colby Pursell, linebacker Jonathan Van Diest and Wells. Four walks-ons were also honored: offensive lineman John Deitchman, kicker Evan Price and tight ends Nico Magri and C.J. Schmanski.

As usual, it was an emotional day for those saying goodbye.

… “Every one of those guys are great, great young men that are going to be doing a lot of positive things in life,” Dorrell said. “When I shook their hand and gave them hugs, it was emotional, because I felt like I didn’t have enough time with them. I’ve only had a year with them, but yet we’ve come so close in such a short period of time. But it was good. I feel great that we came up with a tough victory and at least their last time on campus on that field that it was a win for them.”

Read full story here

Nate Landman becomes the first player to win the Buffalo Heart Award twice

From the Daily Camera … When a group of friends and Colorado football fans created the Buffalo Heart Award in 1998, it was designed to honor the Buff who demonstrates grit, determination and toughness.

In essence, it was created with players like Nate Landman in mind.

On Saturday, Landman became the first player to earn the honor twice. The award, voted on by fans, typically goes to seniors. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Landman got an opportunity to play a second senior season this fall and added to his legacy.

Although injured and unable to play on defense in Saturday’s 20-17 win against Washington, Landman pulled the pads on in the final minute to line up as the deep back in CU’s victory formation.

“I got teared up and saw Nate out there in the victory formation,” said outside linebacker Carson Wells, one of Landman’s closest friends on the team. “I feel like there was no better way to end the game than that.”

When the game was officially over, Landman, who has missed the last four games because of a shoulder injury, was presented with the Buffalo Heart Award behind the CU bench.

“He’s been a very impactful leader, he’s very passionate about the game,” CU head coach Karl Dorrell said this week about Landman. “He’s an old school Dick Butkus-type of kid. He just loves the game, he studies it that way. He tries to share a lot of the stuff that he does naturally to his young counterparts. He just has a natural feel that you can’t teach at times. But, he’s been trying to create that foundation of thinking with the younger players here, so he feels like he’s leaving his mark on the program.”

Continue reading story here

La’Vontae Shenault off the team (probably for good); Brenden Rice injured (but might play v. Utah)

From the Daily Camera … La’Vontae Shenault’s time with the Buffaloes may be over for good.

The third-year freshmen receiver was not with the team Saturday and Dorrell said after the game, “He’s not currently in the program right now.”

… Early in the second quarter, CU receiver Brenden Rice was injured when he was hit while trying to make a catch.

Trainers worked on Rice’s leg and he spent some time on the exercise bike in the second quarter, but never returned to the game. He spent the second half on the sidelines in street clothes.

“It’s not a major injury,” Dorrell said. “We thought that maybe he could come back in and play but it was starting to stiffen up on him, so we decided to hold him out. He’s got a chance (to play) next week.”


15 Replies to “Colorado Daily – Utah Week”

  1. Game just ended
    counting the seconds until Chev is officially terminated.
    Watched 3 games today and the Buff’s O still looks pop warner.
    Hope RG has been beating the bushes now for a month for his replacement.
    Really hope the commits, and coming transfers and O line coach bring a lift to the lines.

  2. The ole “right now”……………….

    I hate that

    beat utah

    Note: Any of these good receivers leave………………….Use the thumb chev

    Happy thanksgiving

    1. VK glad to see you finally figured out how to spell “ole” as in “Ole Miss, Ole VK, Ole ep,” and getting really “OLE” hoping that the Buffs can become relevant again in football. All us Buff Fans have really gotten “OLE” following this drama and time is running out for some of us, or at least “This Ole Buff Fan.”

  3. Gonna be really tough. I watched Utah demolish the duckling brood.
    The Utes are a touch bunch of well disciplined mean motherf**kers.

    Go Buffs give it a good shot

    Buffalo Up

    Note: This could be the record low yards in a game for Chevs offense.

  4. Hi Stuart, I was surprised to see Carson Wells honored at Senior Day. I know he is an actual Junior but will graduate.
    Is he really not coming back for another year. This would be a huge loss.

  5. Apparently La’Vontae Shenault has put his name into he transfer portal. Hope he gets his issues resolved wherever he lands. He has a mountain of talent. Would be a shame to mess up an otherwise likely pro career.

    My gut is telling me that he might be struggling with the legacy his brother had at CU. Hopefully his support system outside of the team can help him.
    Just don’t go to USC.

  6. Woelk usually writes pertinent and informative articles. However given the fact that he writes on he seems quite restrained in actual criticism. He says nothing about the putrid offense and how it must be completely overhauled starting with the OC.

  7. If CU beats Utah, Oregon State beats Oregon, and Washington State beats Washington.. The pac12 title game will be between unranked 8-4 Utah and unranked 7-5 Washington State, with barely ranked 9-3 Oregon on the sidelines and the Pac12 looking longingly at the AAC as Cincinnati cruises to the playoffs…. Even though we all know that a team like Cincinnati would never survive the Pac12 schedule intact.

    Playoff expansion with guaranteed spots for conference champions can’t come soon enough

    1. Bohn is terrible. Was a terrible fund raiser and made one good hire at head coach. Never liked him as AD here, hope he continues SC’s descent into irrelevance.

  8. So Neil expects playing with abandon again. Seriously? on Offense?
    Playing with abandon, AND playing for next year, should have meant abandoning chev at the beginning of the bye week and starting again on a whole nuther direction. I get the feeling, mostly from the coach’s pressers (themselves) they think their schemes are akin to brain surgery and the kids arent smart enough to handle changes without a collective spring and fall practice. I garon-tee you they are smart enough to recognize the turd they have been handed. Another easy bet is if Chev hasnt been let go a week from now you are going to get more transfers from the O side of the ball than you would otherwise.
    Ahhh next year. Start brewing that sugary koolaid even before the end of this year. I’m surprised someone hasnt started calling it groundhog year. Will the players and fans finally find an OC, and maybe a DC, they can fall in love with and break the cycle?
    Will Shrout change his middle initial to “C” after becoming the savior that leads the the team to glory in the rose bowl rewarding all those bud light qb “experts” for their blind faith? Or will Lewis be awarded more than 20 passing plays a game with a much smaller percentage of dinks?
    One thing is sure neither will have much of a chance if the O line doesnt improve a lot more with another year’s experience and better coaching,
    Ditto for the D line.

    1. ep, it does really boil down to the guys up front on both O & D doesn’t it……still a blocking and tackling game, goes back to when you played with no face masks and leather helmets. Hasn’t really changed much, huh? No doubt the QB who now handles the ball first and starts the play on offense, also even if talented need those guys up front, some imaginative play calling and a lot of mechanics along the realm of coaching.

  9. Well I look forward to being able to watch the game this Friday with a leftover Turkey sandwich.
    Utah is the program we would happily be similar to, consistently good and tough.
    The coaching staff should have a plan for our Buffs to be competitive and battle for 4Q’s as the best thing that can happen for all (players, 2022, recruiting, fans, program etc) is a competitive and hard fought game.
    I would channel some old Big Red mentality of yesteryear in the sense that this game is about repect and pride as well as a W, ie Motivation
    Go Buffs, finsish Strong

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