Dampened Enthusiasm

Die hard CU football fans are used to attending games played in adverse conditions. After all, the Buffs will usually have two home games in November, when the forecast can be less than favorable for the Folsom faithful.

There was, of course, CU’s version of the “Ice Bowl”, the 19-19 tie against Nebraska in 1991, when the air temperature was 12-degrees, with an eight-below feel with the wind chill. More recently, there was the home finales against Utah in 2020 (temperature at kickoff listed as 23-degrees) and 2018 (temperature at kickoff listed as 28-degrees, with a “light snow” which sent most of the Buff faithful home early in a 30-7 rout).

But playing in the rain is a rarity for the Buffs. The last rainfall at Folsom occurred on October 3, 2015, prior to and during the Oregon game; the previous time had been all the way back on October 14, 2006 during the second half against Texas Tech. The last road games with rain before this season were in 2019 and 2017 at Washington State, 2014 at Oregon and in 2013 at Oregon State and at Washington.

After playing in the rain on the road against Air Force (and fumbling on the game’s opening possession), the Buffs spent the week preparing for the Oregon State game using wet balls in practice, in anticipation of playing in the rain at Reser Stadium in Corvallis.

As it turned out, there was only some occasional light rain as the Buffs, so adverse conditions could not be used as an excuse as Colorado was mauled by Oregon State, 42-9. The Buffs turned the ball over four times, including a fumble inside the Oregon State ten yard line, and a pick six on CU’s first play of the third quarter, with the 21-3 halftime score up to 35-3 before many of the Beaver faithful had returned to their seats after enjoying a rain-free break.

While the Buffs and Beavers were playing in more than reasonable conditions (especially considering the rain Oregon and UCLA had played in up in Eugene – some 45 miles away – that afternoon), the game of the day actually was played in tough weather.

A game between two top ten teams. A game which had huge conference and perhaps national championship implications. A game which was affected significantly by the rain.

UCLA at Oregon, just up the road in Eugene?


The biggest – and perhaps best – game of the day was played in Bozeman, Montana, reminding me that there is quality football out there … and right in my own backyard.

On Saturday afternoon, Montana State, No. 3 in the latest FCS poll, took on No. 5 Weber State, with the hometown Bobcats taking down the Wildcats, 43-38. The game time temperature for the 1:00 p.m., kickoff was 41-degrees, with intermittent rain – and fans only got colder and wetter as the afternoon went on. The capacity crowd of 20,700, however, didn’t care. Say what you want about football fans, but, as difficult as it is to dress for a game to be played in the rain, if the game is good, you find a way to endure.

The Montana State/Weber State game was a back-and-forth affair, with both teams taking two-touchdown leads, with the game coming down to a fourth down drop in the red zone in the final minute. The game was affected by the elements throughout, with Weber State having one of the most bizarre special teams afternoons you’re likely to ever see.

The good for the Weber State special teams: Within the span of four minutes in the first quarter, the Wildcats scored on a 100-yard kickoff return and a 91-yard punt return, taking an early 17-9 lead, making it much colder for the Bobcat fans in the stands.

But what the Weber State special teams gave to its team … it also took away.

Over the course of the game, the Wildcats lined up in punt formation five times, but punted only once.

Pause for a moment to try and figure out how that would be possible … five times in punt formation, with only one punt.

Check out the Weber State drive chart – one you’ll never see duplicated:

  • First quarter, 8:48 remaining … fourth-and-one at the Weber State 19 … ball snapped through the end zone. Safety;
  • Second quarter, 6:19 remaining … fourth-and-one at the Weber State 33 … ball snapped through the end zone. Safety;
  • Second quarter, 1:39 remaining … fourth-and-seven at the Weber State 30 … ball snapped through the end zone. Safety;
  • Third quarter, 12:28 remaining … fourth-and-12 at the Weber State 34 … ball snapped through the end zone. Safety.

On Weber State’s fifth punt attempt – using a different snapper – the Wildcats were actually able to get the ball to the punter.

With a 43-38 final between two top five teams in the FCS, those plays – and the conditions – made a huge difference.

The Weber State Wildcats could return to Ogden, Utah, blaming the weather for keeping them from upsetting the No. 3 team in the FCS.

The Colorado Buffaloes, however, had no one to blame but themselves for their anemic effort on offense against Oregon State.

After two weeks of positive momentum for a program in dire need of anything positive, leave it to the Buff offense to keep raining on CU’s parade.

In his three career starts for the Buffs, J.T. Shrout has played in the rain twice, His first start, on the road against Air Force, began inauspiciously with a fumble on the first series of the game. Less than a minute into the contest, CU was behind, 7-0. In his second start, on the road against Minnesota, began inauspiciously, with a fumble on the first series of the game. Less than a minute into that contest, CU was behind, 7-0.

In Shrout’s third career start for Colorado, on the road against Oregon State, the Buffs went three-and-out.

Only at Colorado would a three-and-out be considered an actual improvement.

For the game, Shrout completed only 13-of-29 passes for 209 yards and two interceptions. In the first half, when the passes still mattered, Shrout was 5-of-15 for 41 yards.

After his first pass of the second half, Shrout was 5-of-16 for 41 yards … and a pick six.

Three games; three turnovers for touchdowns. For the season, Shrout has thrown for exactly three touchdowns, which means he is responsible for as many touchdowns for the Buffs as he is for the opposition.

To be sure, it’s not all Shrout’s fault. There were several dropped passes, and there were missed blocking assignments by the offensive line.

But the hero of the game against Cal was also the goat against Oregon State.

So, where do the Buffs go from here?

“I believe in these players”, said interim head coach Mike Sanford. “I want them to continue to press through the feeling of having to make a play, and pressing to make a play. But just to go out there and make the plays. And, you know, I think we saw that in glimpses today, but just piecing it together consistently. And as I said, the margin of you know, to come and play a really good 6-2 now, Pac-12 team, the margin is so small. So I think we just, we just got to continue to have that belief, that inner belief in ourselves to continue to go out and make those plays and, and I believe that we’re gonna, we’re gonna make those plays down the stretch; got a lot of football left, I got a ton of belief in these guys. And this is a locker room that is fighting, and will continue to fight, we’re gonna go get some results that we want”.

For what it’s worth, the players echoed the sentiments of their coach.

“There definitely still is”, said linebacker Josh Chandler-Semedo, when asked if there was still fight left in the 1-6 Buffs. “We’ve been treating this as a new season. Right now, we’re one and one. Basically, we’re playing ourselves. We look ourselves in the mirror every day. We played ourselves today, we lost. So, we got an opportunity at home, hopefully in front of a big crowd again, Homecoming trying to be two and one.”

Added freshman wide receiver Jordyn Tyson. “It’s been amazing just to be a part of this program. This has been good we got a win last week and that was one of the best feelings we’ve had but I just want to keep building on things, keep building on the program and that’s all you can do.”

Perhaps the Buffs can put it together one last time next weekend. There will still be four games left on the schedule after the Arizona State game, but no one is going to give Colorado even a puncher’s chance against a schedule of Oregon, at USC, at Washington, and Utah.

Arizona State will limp into Folsom with a 2-5 record and an interim head coach of their own. The Wildcats do have a win over Washington on their resume, but the only other victory came over Northern Arizona.

The weather for CU’s homecoming should be fine, with the current forecast for a high of 60 and partly cloudy skies.

So it’s not the weather conditions which are dampening CU’s chances – and the enthusiasm of its fan base – but the play of the team.


5 Replies to “Dampened Enthusiasm”

  1. Everyone knows their secondary is good. Why not build a game plan more to the run? Like Stacks getting more action but that was the only diff. Just watch how the beavers line up.

  2. https://youtu.be/1z1VJOx3tOQ

    The four safeties. Amazing. Never seen that. That dude was sailing those snaps thirty to forty yards in the air!

    Also wow Shrout should never start a game. Somehow he’s able to come in off the bench but with a week off prep he’s.. Worse?

  3. Mike needs players and recruiting seasons to build his roster. As much as Mike believes in his players, I believe in Coach Sanford. The coaches and team are competing to win whatever the outcome and that starts with the Coach. CU football is going to be a long term process in achieving success.

Leave a Reply

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