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September 24th – Boulder          UCLA 45, Colorado 17

Dorian Thompson-Robinson, making his fifth career start against Colorado, finally won in Boulder, leading UCLA to a 45-17 domination of Colorado. DTR, who had lost to the Buffs in starts at Folsom Field in 2018 and 2020, went 19-for-23 for 234 yards and two touchdowns (plus seven carries for 56 yards) in less than three quarters of work as the Bruins scored on their first three possessions of the game, never looking back.

Colorado freshman quarterback Owen McCown earned his first career start, and led the Buffs to their highest point total in CU’s 0-4 start. McCown went 26-for-42 for 258 yards and a touchdown (he also had a touchdown rushing), but also suffered an interception and a fumble. Eleven different Buffs had receptions on the afternoon, as the Buff coaching staff had an open casting call to try and insert some energy into CU’s lethargic offense. Daniel Arias led the Buffs with 82 yards on four receptions, with CU’s second touchdown coming on an eight-yard touchdown pass from McCown to Jordyn Tyson late in the fourth quarter.

The Buffs dropped to 0-4 overall and 0-1 in Pac-12 play while the Bruins improved to 4-0, 1-0.

“Frustrating day,” CU head coach Karl Dorrell said. “But I felt like there were some positive things, even though we weren’t a factor in getting a chance to win this one, It just got away from us. I was encouraged by the young freshmen that we decided to use … But we just didn’t do the things we needed to do in the second half. There’s a lot of areas that need a lot of work. We’re a young team that needs to continue to grow and mature as we go. But we just have a tremendous amount of work to do with this team.”

Note … It’s worth checking out the Game Notes, below … CU had three true freshman starting on offense for the first time in school history … Six players made their first career starts … Owen McCown’s start in Game Four became the earliest start at quarterback for a true freshman in school history …

Game Story … Freshman Owen McCown became the third starter at quarterback in four games, and, in CU’s first possession, at least didn’t fumble the ball on the first series – the first time in three games the Buffs didn’t give the ball up on one of the first two plays of the game.

Okay, he did fumble on CU’s first possession, but it didn’t count. After gaining a first down on a six-yard completion to wide receiver R.J. Sneed and a nine-yard completion to tight end Brady Russell, the Buffs were soon faced with a third-and-six at their 44-yard line. McCown was sacked on the play, fumbling the ball away … but UCLA was called for offsides on the play, giving the ball back to the Buffs. The 13-play drive to open the game, which included first down runs by Charlie Offerdahl on third-and-one and a fourth-and-one, came to nothing as the drive ended with a missed 54-yard field goal attempt by Cole Becker.

The UCLA offense had no issues on its first drive, covering 64 yards in only six plays to take the lead for good. Without facing a third down on the drive, the Bruins scored first with a 24-yard touchdown pass from Dorian Thompson-Robinson to Matt Sykes midway through the first quarter.

The Buffs’ second drive was kept alive by a roughing the passer call on third-and-ten, but the Buffs couldn’t take advantage, netting four yards of total offense before punting the ball back to UCLA.

Starting at their five-yard line after a 51-yard punt by freshman walk-on punter Trent Carrizosa (in for the ill Ashton Logan), the Bruins were undeterred. Forget third downs … the Bruins only faced two second downs in covering 95 yards in seven plays, with running back Zach Charbonnet taking it in from 35 yards out in the final minute of the first quarter.

On the first play of the second quarter, Owen McCown hit Daniel Arias for CU’s longest play of the season, a 42-yarder to give the Buffs a red zone opportunity. The CU offense, though, was unable to take advantage. A strong ten-yard run by freshman running back Anthony Hankerson on third-and-ten gave CU a first-and-goal at the Bruin eight yard line, but the Buffs only went backward from there, settling for a 35-yard Cole Becker field goal, making it a 14-3 game early in the second.

On UCLA’s third possession, the Bruin offense did what it did the first two possessions – move quickly down the field for a touchdown. The Buff defense did force the first UCLA third down of the game, but on a third-and-one at the CU 40-yard line, quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson ran for 19 yards and a first down. Two plays later, running back Zach Charbonnet had his second touchdown of the game, this time from 13 yards out. UCLA 21, Colorado 3, with nine minutes still remaining in the first half.

After a quick three-and-out from the Buff offense, UCLA went in for the kill. The Bruins again had no problem moving into CU territory, but, in a move which could only be described as hubris, the Bruins went for it on a fourth-and-two at the CU 27-yard line. Running back Keegan Jones gained only one of the two yards, giving the ball back to CU on downs.

A nine-yard completion from McCown to Montana Lemonious-Craig, followed by a 10-yard run by Charlie Offerdahl, got the Buffs’ next drive off to a quick start. For the second time in the half, the Buffs were bailed out of a failed third down conversion on a roughing the passer call, keeping the drive alive. A 31-yard completion from McCown to Jordyn Tyson on the play after the penalty set the Buffs up with a first-and-goal at the UCLA eight yard line. It appeared that Charlie Offerdahl scored on the next play, but a holding call put the Buffs back at the 15-yard line. From there, it took the Buffs five plays (with the aid of an offsides call) to get the ball into the end zone. A keeper by McCown on fourth-and-goal at the two gave CU just its fourth touchdown of the season, this one coming in the final seconds of the half.

Halftime score: UCLA 21, Colorado 10

The Buffs seemed to have given their fans some hope based on the way the first half ended … but then again, the Air Force game had been 20-10 at halftime, and ended up 41-10.

Different teams … similar second halves.

If the Buff defense had been buoyed by finally stopping the Bruin offense late in the second quarter, the momentum didn’t carry over to the second half. UCLA needed all of four plays to score on its first possession, with Zach Charbonnet’s third touchdown of the afternoon coming on a 46-yard run.

Less than two minutes into the third quarter, and the game was all but over – UCLA 28, Colorado 10.

The CU offense didn’t help matters by going three-and-out on its first possession, but the Buff defense did respond in kind, forcing UCLA’s first punt of the afternoon on the Bruins’ next possession.

The Buffs then went three-and-out … actually four-and-out … on their next possession, when tight end Brady Russell was stopped short of the line to gain on a fake punt on a fourth-and-three at the CU 30-yard line.

The CU defense, to its credit, did force a three-and-out of its own with UCLA taking over at the Buff 31. The Bruins, though, were close enough for a field goal, with Nicholas Barr-Mira making it a 31-10 game with a 44-yard field goal.

When Owen McCown fumbled on CU’s next possession, many of the Buff faithful started heading for the exits. The flood out of Folsom continued a few moments later when UCLA completed its two-play, 30-yard drive with a two-yard touchdown pass from DTR to Colson Yankoff. UCLA 38, Colorado 10.

The two teams traded punts before a Owen McCown interception set the Bruins up at the Buff 39-yard line. Taking advantage of UCLA’s third possession out of four set up in CU territory, backup Bruin quarterback Ethan Garbers hit Colson Yankoff for a three-yard touchdown on the first play of the fourth quarter.

The remainder of the game was played before family and friends, with the Buffs managing to post a second touchdown in a game for the first time in the 2022 season after a 14-play, 85-yard drive which consumed most of the quarter. A 15-yard completion to R.J. Sneed and a 25-yard completion to Daniel Arias were the highlights, with the Arias catch giving the Buffs a first down at the UCLA 13-yard line. Three plays later, McCown hit Jordyn Tyson for an eight-yard touchdown with 2:59 left to play.

Final score: UCLA 45, Colorado 17

On the day, UCLA out-gained Colorado, 515 to 309. Bruin running back Zach Charbonnet went for 104 yards on only nine carries, with three of those carries going for touchdowns. The teams were close in passing yards (with UCLA having a 266 to 258 yard advantage), but the Bruins ran all over the worst rushing defense in the nation, going for 249 yards while averaging 7.3 yards per carry. The Buffs, meanwhile, managed only 51 yards on the ground … at a 1.5 yards/carry clip.

Colorado had now given up at least 249 yards rushing in every game this season, and has been beaten by a minimum of 25 points in four straight games for the first time in school history.

“We’re really working hard on trying to get those things shored up and some of it has just been that some of our players are in the wrong gap,” Dorrell said of the defensive lapses. “That’s the challenging part. Sometimes it was a linebacker issue or it was a D-line issue … The rushing game has been our nemesis on defense and we have to find a way to get that shored up.”

Despite the fourth lopsided loss in a row, Dorrell said his team continues to maintain a good attitude.

“The encouraging thing in the locker room is that they’re challenged about getting better,” Dorrell said. “They’re challenging each other about getting this thing right. It’s not a, ‘We’re quitting’ or feeling sorry for themselves. These guys have shown some resilience about moving forward and getting this thing going because they think they have that type of capability to do so.”

Game Notes … 

— UCLA up its lead in the series to 13-5 count (5-4 in Boulder) … CU dropped to 83-44-2 in conference openers (5-7 in the Pac-12) … CU head coaches are 21-14 against their alma maters (Dorrell is 1-2 against UCLA);

— CU’s record dropped to 0-4, doing so for just the ninth time in its history, last doing so in 2006;

 Six players made their first starts for the Buffaloes against UCLA: DL Chance Main, QB Owen McCown, TB Charlie Offerdahl, WR R.J. Sneed, WR Chase Sowell and ILB Mister Williams;

— Chase McCown’s start gave CU three different quarterbacks starting in just four games. The UCLA game marked just the eighth time in the modern era (since World War II) in which Colorado used three different starting quarterbacks in the same season (and the fastest to get to that mark – just four games);

—  Three True Freshmen Starters On Offense In Same Game.  With QB Owen McCown, WR Chase Sowell and OG Van Wells starting on offense against UCLA, it was the first time three true freshmen started the same game on offense since a 28-24 win over Iowa State in Boulder on November 8, 2008 (TE Ryan Deehan, QB Tyler Hansen, TB Darrell Scott)’

— QB Owen McCown (42-26-1, 258, 1 TD, 116.6 rating) … Made the earliest start in a season by any true freshman quarterback in CU history;

— Punter Trent Carrizosa (4-184, 46.0 avg., 3 inside the 20). With fellow true freshman punter Ashton Logan out due to illness, Carrizosa (a walk-on) had to punt. It marked just the second time in CU history that two true freshmen have attempted at least one punt in any season.  The other was in 1977: Lance Olander 18, Steve Doolittle 1.  (The last punter who was a walk-on was Darragh O’Neill in 2011; he earned a scholarship by the next year.). 

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28 Replies to “UCLA 45, Colorado 17”

  1. Huge losses through portal…experienced Starters in secondary, running backs, wide receivers. Would they be 0-4? Unknown, but highly unlikely. Hence, the pervasive youth issues. For some reason they leave…is it the team? Administration? Or is it Boulder? After all, can they really sell a place like that to recruits and their families based on the heinous, disgusting mess the downtown region has eroded into? It looks like San Francisco. Frankly, I can’t blame anyone for wanting to get out.

    1. Hand wring over KD and replacing him will only result in the same.

      As long as CU loses more than it can gain through the portal, it won’t matter.

      As long as CU can’t keep or attract quality experienced players through the portal that can transfer in, it won’t matter.

      As long as CU’s academic requirements makes getting 2nd year to seniors players, it won’t matter.

      As long as CU is a development program that gets raided every year and loses more than it can replace through HS recruiting, it won’t matter.

      Even if CU had millions to hired a top 10 program’s coach, until they can fix, NIL, Portal losses and academic requirements for transfer, it won’t matter.

      Bring in Nick Saben or any other top ten coach, even if he brings in a great class and transfers (see academics) that come solely because of him, if he can’t get NIL money to keep them, they will be gone as soon as another school offers them big NIL money, AND it won’t matter.

      Sure the Buffs would wins some games and be more competitive, but that would just add value to the players the other schools are going to steal through the portal using NIL money to bribe them to leave. So, it won’t matter.

      And it starts all over.

      KD hasn’t fixed what’s wrong, but how many coaches can win with playing with a JV squad against 20-22 year experienced players, some with top top recruits year after year? Blaming ANY coach for CU’s administration’s “anti-football, academics are all that matter” is only going to result in the same.

      This is not a pro KD piece, it’s a no one can fix this mess without big money for player’s (NIL and recruiting) as well as coaches and changes to transfer requirements to get players.

      USC, a top academia and very expensive private school (you may hate them, but their degree and alumni networking has a lot of value) brought in something like 22 quality players (10 or more starters and almost all on the 2 deep) from other schools, how many of those could have transferred into CU had the same coach been hired at CU?

      I’m betting almost none, unless graduated or academically ahead of their grad requirements. if your a starter with a high probability of going to the NFL, your probably taking the least academic requirements you need to stay eligible (at some schools this includes PE) but your not pushing to graduate early.

      I’m betting that given an older experienced and way more talented team the results would differ greatly for KD, right now he isn’t the answer, but what coach if given what they have to overcome due to the above, could win more than 4 games before the pilfering of players starts?

      This really starts and ends at the top of the whole university, the Athletic Department is going to have their hands tied behind their back until CU can fix the above; that takes both money (don’t have) and policy changes (the academics won’t do)

      With out that, CU is just doing the same thing and expecting different results.

      “Insanity”!

      1. You have articulated perfectly the vortex…catch 22…negative feedback loop…or whatever else you want to call it
        that the Buff football program finds its self in right now. At the moment there is no way up for teams no NIL money.

      2. Thank god someone understands the problem. Go after the academia elite that run the show at CU. CU like all Univerties is a Hedge Fund, that gets awesome tax breaks. The academia elite run it the way they want and they don’t want the Buffs Football. They want to be a research only school… can we see the bank accounts of the administration. CU can’t win until standard are changed within the administration.

      3. Kansas is 4-0. Washington State is 3-1. Wake Forest is 3-1 with an overtime loss to Clemson. Colorado is the worst team in the country. And they will be next year unless a change is made. Has nothing to do with NIL.

  2. Defense? Everyone thought Tyson Summers was bad. But, what is up with Chris Wilson? How does he still have a job? Yes, the offense is a mess but this guy is in year 3 and it keeps getting worse. Terrible scheme, poor fundamentals, can’t stop anything.

  3. I’m happy for the kid McCown who at least shows signs of seeing the field when he passes. His 258 yards was the most for a CU QB in nearly two years when Sam Noyer also tossed for 258 yards in a loss to Utah 12/12/20. We’ll know more in his next outing now that the opposition has a bit of film on him. On a side note. I noticed a scene in the 2nd half when the camera panned to our sideline and there stood Lewis and Shrout and a few others just casually watching and and conversing. I would think those 2 QB’s would have been near the sideline either signaling or with clip boards charting. Maybe it’s something and maybe it isn’t…Surely one would think that Dorrell requires that like other coaches do.

  4. Slight tangent: I happened to be in boulder today with my gf after our hotel plans fell through (live in LA, but I grew up in boulder and my father still teaches there).
    Obviously, I knew CU would lose terribly, but I decided to still go…. How many chances do I have to support them in person? Few. Plus, I figured it would be easy to score tickets.

    We showed up a bit late, and it was already 14-0.
    Scalpers had already left, since there was no interest in the game. The ticket office is not allowed to discount under any circumstances. They wanted $60 each (three of us, so…. No). I did find a couple scalpers that together had three Tix, but they demanded $50 each, and walked away when I pointed out that it was only $10 difference and CU was getting blown out as expected. They just walked away.

    So we went to the tailgate zone on the adjacent field, watched the first half for free, interspersed with some corn hope and some tossing of the pigskin. It was nice.
    At the half, I tried again to talk to the box office. Still not budging…. The people were sympathetic, but they are not allowed to do anything but charge full price up until the last second.

    Perhaps I’m self entitled in this, but I really think that CU should be more open to getting butts in seats in general. Especially this season. Yikes.

    Needless to say, we left and I did not see one second of the second half. Based on the box score…. We didn’t miss anything.

    Point is, I’m a lifelong fan, I was in town, was as motivated as anyone is likely to be this season, was denies the game, and ended up being satisfied not supporting the team at all.

    The rest of the day I had a few conversations with other fans on pearl st, and the consensus was that at this point, when you’ve started three different QBs, and not one of them can run the offense, the common denominator is the coaching. (Though Owen has looked the best).
    Sadly, CU maintains its head up bum position that hiring unproven coaches at discount rates, and then extending them into godawful extensions at the first inkling of potential success is the way to go. No. The average $ spent over the last 15 years on coaches (the active ones plus the last one being paid out) surely would have been enough to have attracted and kept a proven Coach…. But no…. They keep thinking they will spin gold out of what they find in the discount bin, never learning that it ends up costing them the same $ anyway, but in a fashion that simply guarantees failure.

    Why do I still care…. I honestly don’t know. Masochism? Evidently.

    CU admin has blood on their hands.

  5. From Neil at cubiffs.com

    McCown led Colorado on touchdown drives of 85 and 74 yards, and the Buffs also had a 58-yard march that produced a field goal. His 258 yards passing were the most by a CU quarterback since Sam Noyer threw for 267 in the 2020 season finale against Utah.

    Wow.

    Bo Guffs

  6. The problem is the CU Administration and academia elite. In the age of Amazon, Door Dash, FOMO we have all grown accustomed to having problems solved immediately. Bill McCartney’s head would have been on the chopping block. Until everyone starts targeting their frustration at the CU administration making it impossible to have a competitive team (yes, Nike example) things will not change. I think RG can come up with a better business model. Narrow the pay gap between head coach and offensive/defensive coordinator and find up and coming coordinators. Utilize students getting a degree in Sports Administration to create Branding platforms for Student Athletes. Can someone be a closer and getting naming deal done for Folsom (yuck gross, but necessary). Our team is loaded with Freshmen, no one is going to be competitive with 60 Freshman. There isn’t a coaching solution, at least with the current administration. Make it know we can be a research University and have competitive sport teams… mind and body.

    1. If you have 60 freshmen in your 3rd year, you are the problem. Kansas is 4-0. A coach who could not get an interview with any D1 school inherited a 5 win team laden with talent and in year 3 after getting humiliated (not losing, humiliated) for the 4th straight time the excuse is well…we’re young. You think that excuse in year 3 works at Auburn? Hell Arizona? Anywhere? If Jed Fisch went 0-12 in year 2 this year in this manner he’s gone. Happen to see the student section in the 3rd quarter? This has to end before it’s too late. We are watching different games.

      1. Jeff, there is a reason why we have 60 Freshman… it’s the Academia Elite standards that created this and the Hedge Fund called CU saying we don’t want Football. The only thing I can say, I still believe in OM (think Buddhist hum chant) at QB

        I still like KD, 1 of the three years Tucker left early and CoVid , it was a wash year. The second year, we could all see that OC and DC deficiencies and new staff brought in. We’re in the third year. What I’m suggesting is keep KD and pay up and go get best OC and Defensive coordinators for the dollar (that we can afford). Please get an OC who can coordinate a game plan for a lefty QB. OM is real deal (I know it wasn’t always pretty but he’s a baller). The play calling represents that the OC doesn’t know how to game plan accordingly, receivers routes were awful. Hire a former left hand QB OC who understands and felt the pain and knows what will work.

        1. Karl Dorrell has an offensive background. We really are going to blame the coordinator (he hired) again? Karl Dorrell won’t win another game at Colorado. Just have to decide how long that’s going to be

    2. And the McCartney analogy has some major problems. I’ll give you that we are in a more impatient era. Better or worse. But in year 3 for McCartney, the team lost 4 games by a touchdown or less. That includes against the 10th ranked team in country. Lost to number 5 Nebraska 24-7. Were competitive in most games. The better analogy is Embree. And just like that situation, the answer is obvious.

    3. B Mac’s teams were competitive, and our front 7 is loaded with “experience”… it’s hard to have confidence that this thing will ever turn around when it’s be a gradual trajectory to the first time in school history to lose 4 straight by 25+.

    1. Why only have one Dorrell on the payroll when you can have two. Every example of nepotism the Buffs have endured starting with Hawkins have been disgraceful

    2. Because Football is richer in nepotism than even Hollywood. Didn’t you see slick Rick’s son manning the sidelines for UCLA

  7. I simply can’t understand how this team and the way it plays football got this bad. Can anyone enlighten me? This is much worse than I could have imagined or expected. Please provide guidance.

  8. Well the QB wasn’t awful. But receivers can’t catch, can’t get open, and give up on plays. Running backs are walkons. The line can’t open holes or blocks. And the less said about the defense the better.

    As a team, they get worse every game. Impressive really.

    Only question is if he gets fired before or after losing by forty to Arizona, but before the bye week

  9. Don’t look now, but Michigan State is 2-2… wonder if they’re starting to feel a little buyers remorse in East Lansing (?)

  10. Thanks again Stewart for all that you do, and everyone who participates on here. I just sent this to the CU ticket office. ” I’ve twice been a seaon ticket holder. I have been going to games since the mid 90s. I live in LA. I am going to the USC game. That will be the last time I give money to CU. No more patience.”

    1. …gets kinda old, right ?!

      Barnett basically explained at the end of the game “this is what we’ve got to work with, need to make the best of it”. Not sure if he was referring to the players, the coaches, or both (?) Everything emanates from the head coach, good or bad…. good coaches can get greatness out of mediocre players and bad coaches can make great players mediocre

      1. They should just hire Barnett. He would at least get them competing. Of course that will never happen. Bunch of idiots that fired hi. In the first place.

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