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September 3rd – Boulder         TCU 38, Colorado 13

The 2022 CU season opener ended just before 12:00 a.m., MT, but the clock had struck midnight for the Cinderella Buffs about an hour earlier. The Buffs dominated the first half of their game against TCU, but were completely routed in the second half, falling to the Horned Frogs, 38-13. Colorado had more first downs (20-17) and wasn’t passed in total yards gained until the fourth quarter, but the Horned Frogs had no trouble with the CU defense in the second half, scoring 31 unanswered points.

Brendon Lewis started at quarterback for Colorado, finished 13-for-18 for all of 78 yards. Lewis also led the Buff rushing attack, putting up 42 yards on eight carries. Backup quarterback J.T. Shrout, who came on late in the first half and then made another appearance in the fourth quarter, finished with 13 completions on 23 attempts for 157 yards and one touchdown.

The Horned Frogs, who had just 67 yards offense in the first half, finished with 413 for the game. That total included more than 260 on the ground alone in the final two quarters. The Buffs, who had 212 yards of offense in the first half – but only two field goals to show for it – had 136 yards of total offense in the second half, with 94 of those yards coming in garbage time.

“I wasn’t expecting that type of game,” CU head coach Karl Dorrell said. “We played decently in the first half … But apparently they made better adjustments. We couldn’t stop what they were doing.”

Game Story … The revamped Colorado offense opened the game by gaining zero yards on the first two plays of the season before a Brendon Lewis to Daniel Arias connection for 25 yards kept the drive alive. The Buffs then marched quickly down the field … until they got to the redzone. There, on a fourth-and-one at the TCU 15-yard line Lewis was stopped, ending the drive.

The Buff defense, though, kept the home crowd excited, forcing a three-and-out. Assisted by a pass interference penalty, the CU offense again threatened. An eight-yard run by Alex Fontenot was followed by an 11-yard run by Deion Smith, giving the Buffs another red zone opportunity. The Buff offense once again stalled, hurt by a delay of game penalty when facing a third-and-five at the TCU 12. A two-yard loss on a Brendon Lewis run ended the drive, with Cole Becker connecting on a 37-yard field goal with 4:44 left in the first quarter to give Colorado a 3-0 lead.

TCU’s offense managed one first down on its second drive, but again punted the ball back to the Buffs. Taking over at their 10-yard line, the Buffs moved the ball out from the shadow of their own goal posts, but were forced to punt after gaining one first down. Freshman punter Ashton Logan, with his first punt as a Buff, sent a line drive to TCU punt returner Derius Davis, who ran past the Buff coverage team for a 60-yard touchdown.

Three plays into the second quarter, the Buffs, who had dominated the first quarter of the contest, found themselves behind, 7-3.

The CU offense responded to the shock with another good drive. A Brendon Lewis 24-yard run moved the ball into TCU territory, with a nine-yard completion to freshman wide receiver Chase Sowell moving the ball into field goal range. The Buff offense again stalled, however, with a false start and a delay of game forcing another field goal attempt. Cole Becker was again true, hitting a 43-yarder to make it a 7-6 game midway through the quarter.

The Horned Frogs then held the ball for ten plays, but gained only 35 yards before punting the ball back to the Buffs late. Taking over at their one yard line with 2:07 left before the break, the Buffs were just looking to run out the clock. Quarterback J.T. Shrout, however, making his Buff debut, had other ideas. After pushing the ball out to the five with a quarterback sneak, Shrout hit Daniel Arias for 35 yards, giving the Buffs a chance to take the halftime lead. A holding penalty, though, ended CU’s hopes, with a Hail Mary pass to the end zone falling harmlessly to the Folsom Field turf to end the half.

Halftime score: TCU 7, Colorado 6

The Buffs dominated the first half stats, but not the scoreboard.

The Horned Frogs dominated the second half stats … and the scoreboard.

Making halftime adjustments, the TCU offense, which had been held to under 100 yards in the first half, looked like world beaters. The first drive of the second half: five plays, 75 yards … actually 95 yards, because the Horned Frogs were flagged three times for 20 yards, and still couldn’t be stopped. A 43-yard touchdown run by Emari Demercado three minutes into the third quarter gave TCU a 14-6 lead … and Buff fans a sign of what was to come.

Despite the success of J.T. Shrout to end the first half, Brendon Lewis was again behind center for CU’s first drive of the second half … and CU gained one yard in three plays.

Taking over the line of scrimmage, TCU then methodically moved down the field on the suddenly porous Buff defense. The Horned Frogs’ drive finally stalled at the Buff 15-yard line, with Griffin Kell hitting a 33-yard field goal to make it a 17-6 game late in the third quarter.

A nine-yard completion from Lewis to Deion Smith, followed by a 12-yard run by Lewis temporarily gave Buff fans hope for a comeback. Facing a fourth-and-five at the TCU 41-yard line, though, CU head coach Karl Dorrell opted to punt, with TCU taking over at its 20 after Ashton Logan’s punt rolled harmlessly into the end zone.

The TCU offense, which hadn’t been stopped in the second half, wasn’t stopped this time, either. Quarterback Max Duggan, in for injured starter Chandler Morris, ran for 33 yards on the first play of the fourth quarter to end the evening for many Buff fans. The 10-play, 80-yard drive was finished off by Kendre Miller three-yard touchdown run, making it a 24-6 game four minutes into the fourth quarter.

On CU’s next drive, head coach Karl Dorrell, who had opted to punt on a fourth-and-five at the TCU 41-yard line on the previous drive, decided to go for it on fourth-and-17 on the Buffs’ 32-yard line. J.T. Shrout’s offering fell incomplete, with the Horned Frogs taking over with a short field.

Two plays later, it was 31-6, with Derius Davis scoring on a 27-yard run.

After a quick CU punt, the Horned Frogs toyed with the Buff defense, ripping off consecutive runs of 32 and 35 yards. The five-play, 81-yard drive was finished off with a seven-yard touchdown run by Sam Jackson, making it a 38-6 game with 3:14 to play.

The Buffs’ first touchdown drive of the 2022 season was witnessed only by friends and family – and about 5,000 TCU fans – as the Buff Nation had long since called it night. Consecutive completions from Shrout to Chase Sowell (14 yards), Jaylon Jackson (13 yards) and Jack Hestera (14 yards) put the ball on the TCU 23-yard line, where Shrout connected with Jordyn Tyson for the score to make it a 38-13 score with 1:13 to play.

Final score: TCU 38, Colorado 13

“There’s a lot of work to be done and that starts with me,” Dorrell said. “I’m not pointing a finger at any of our players. Our coaches and I have to get this thing done and I’m very confident this group of coaches will do that.”

It was a tale of two halves … except on the scoreboard.

First half stats:

  • Colorado … 212 yards of total offense … 11 first downs … 22:08 time of possession … six points
  • TCU … 67 yards of total offense … 3 first downs … 7:52 time of possession … seven points

Second half stats …

  • Colorado … 153 yards of total offense (94 in garbage time) … nine first downs … 11:10 time of possession … seven points with 1:13 left in the game
  • TCU … 346 yards of total offense … 14 first downs … 18:50 time of possession … 31 points in five possessions (with a kneel down at the end)

The Buffs had the ball (12:23 of the first quarter alone) and their chances – two red zone possessions, but could only muster six points. The Buff defense held the talented Horned Frog offense to zero points and 67 total yards.

Yet the Buffs were behind at halftime, 7-6.

And then it got ugly.

“That first half I was disappointed because we weren’t getting points in terms of touchdowns,” Dorrell said. “There’s a lot of things in this first game that were exposed and we need to get it shored up pretty quickly.”

Game Notes

— It was the first meeting between the two schools, with a rematch scheduled for Ft. Worth to open the 2023 season;

— The Buffs fell to 83-45-5 in season openers, which includes a 55-21-1 mark in Boulder; the Buffaloes had won six straight season lid-lifters … CU fell to 19-27 in Friday games and 24-32-1 when wearing all black (3-2 in season openers);

— The game was delayed 35 minutes due to lightning in the area. The last game delayed due to weather at Folsom Field was on October 3, 2015 vs. Oregon (heavy rain and lightning); that 8:07 p.m. kick was delayed 61 minutes to 9:08, with the game ending at 12:31 a.m., the latest in CU home history (Oregon won, 41-24);

— CU’s first score of the year was a field goal, a 37-yarder by Cole Becker. It was the first time the Buffs opened the season with something other than a touchdown since 2009;

— The Buffs didn’t turn the ball over in the opener for the fourth straight season. Brendon Lewis extended his consecutive passes streak without an interception to 150, fourth longest in school history;

— TCU’s punt return for a touchdown was the first against the Buffs … in three games (Kyle Phillips had an 82-yard punt return for a touchdown in November, 2021);

— Jordyn Tyson became the first true freshman in school history to collect a touchdown pass in the season opener;

— Three players made their first career starts – Graduate transfer offensive lineman Tommy Brown; sophomore offensive lineman Austin Johnson; and sophomore wide receiver Montana Lemonious-Craig.

—–

25 Replies to “TCU 38, Colorado 13”

  1. Wish I wouldn’t have blown all that cash bringing my wife and kids to boulder for the game. Coaches aside, we don’t have the players. I’m done.

    Have a nice fall guys.

  2. Lewis better never see the field again unless Shrout, McCown, Carter and Kopp and any walk-on QBs are all on crutches. He is just not a good QB. Nothing personal. I have no idea what the game plan was. The crowd was ready to explode and root them to victory, but I had a sinking feeling when on the first drive, 4th and 1, KD calls a timeout and then come out in shotgun with one RB and don’t even come close to converting.

    Brings to mind the rant from the old Michigan State coach, the players are doing their jobs but the coaches are screwing it up!

  3. I turned it off at halftime and went to bed. I could feel it coming. Yet another year of …….. (insert your adjective here).

      1. Well the game was basically obviously over when the buffs went three and out after the defense just gave up to start the half

  4. As a CU freshman in 1956 we lost to Oregon 35-0. I thought what brought me to CU, however, we went on the beat Clemson in the Orange Bowl that year.

    After we lost Tucker to Michigan State, I was quite disappointed in the hiring of Dorrell as I remember him from the Neuheisel era. Dorrell must go, I only hope that Rick George hasn’t waited until this loss to have a list of potential candidates!

    NJ Buff Fan

  5. Best players play.
    Make Lewis a running back.
    Our game plan is more Buffy than buff
    Back in the 70’s NU and OU use to love to follow and play the team that played Colorado because they were bear up physically

  6. I live on the East Coast and stayed up late to watch them fall apart in the second half. Went to bed when they hit 24. From what I saw of Shrout, if Dorrell doesn’t start him the rest of the season, WTF!

  7. Uhhhh, how was this ever a close QB race. It’s so obvious that JT Shrout has a far superior arm. I mean completely different command of the ball it’s not close, which is scary that the entire coaching staff couldn’t see this. As well, he knows where his receivers are… Lewis can’t identify wide open receivers . When JT was inserted, he was pressing to make something happen given time (end of first half) and then down by multiple touchdowns (we need to make it happen now). If JT had started this would have been an entirely different game. Feel like the Buffs would have put up more point in the first half and would have dictated a different second half of the game. TCU, has some wheels on that team, but this game should have competitive, gross negligence on the coaching staff for not having JT start

  8. Okay tough one.
    Disappointing one.
    Shocking one.

    So it didn’t turn out like it started.

    That’s it.

    Go Buffs.

    Note: What a good student crowd. Memories.
    Note: That game was late. Way late.
    Note: They needed to have their practices for the last 10 days at 7 pm. Finishing up at 12 pm isn’t the same as finishing up at 12 am
    Note: I am riding with em.
    Note: Fluffy Boulder will never change. It is a the republic of Boulder and you drive in and out of it from various places, ya just gotta be glad ya live here.
    Note: Go Badgers

  9. Pretty sure I’ve seen Lewis before in the movie “Gridiron Gang”. But he didn’t need to act or have a stunt double, cuz he really can’t throw. Kid was a natural born star fit for this part.

  10. I am sooo done. I feel bad for these kids with an idiot HC. Unless Lewis is his illegitimate child or has blackmail evidence again him, I see no reason why his 4 yard passes in the dirt(mind you the WR is open at 10 yards) is even a consideration to be 1st 2nd or 3rd QB. I would bitch about the play calling but there is no point when you have possibly the worst QB arm and decision making in the history of football. But my annual trips to Boulder have been canceled, not wasting another dime to watch or contribute to this university that just does not get it!!!!!

  11. Common denominator: Dorrell.
    Lewis must be one hell of a practice player …. He ain’t a gamer.
    Imagine if Shrout had started, with the energy of the first half.
    Hmm….
    Scratching head

    And back of throat.

    1. Yup we have seen those good practice players before.
      Pick JT and go with it to the end.

      Buffs.

      Note: Beat Air Force
      Note: No note

  12. Welp, I’ll just get ready for the offseason to build my hopes up for next year like a fool again for the 16th time in 17 years. I am genuinely concerned this team may not win a game. Go Buffs.

  13. Lewis still looks like he is afraid to throw the ball unless it is to a check down and he seems to short arm his throws.
    While Shrout wasn’t outstanding at least he threw the ball downfield. Shrout needs to be the guy!
    It seems I was wrong about our defense, I thought the front seven would be our strength and DB’s would get torched.

    1. Either TCU has a great offense or The Mighty Buffs are so down level and have been for so long it is just impossible to get past the reality of the fan.

      Sheesh.

      Buffs.

      Note: Me and Dusty are living on the same street

  14. Well this sucks! In a bad situation without resources to do anything (or just unwilling) if we’re stuck I say screw let’s just run triple! Games will be shorter at least. I don’t see how CU gets out of this without some big structural change in the admin and perhaps Boulder itself.

  15. Well this season ended early. Humiliated by a 4 win team at home. Decision making by Dorrell is indefensible. He is indefensible. That performance should do wonders for conference realignment. Should be a fire on the tarmac moment (except we were at home). But it won’t. We’ll sit through a 1-11 year. Then talk about continuity. Michigan State looked good. I’m done. Fan for 38 years. Done.

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