October 28th – at UCLA          No. 23 UCLA 28, Colorado 16

The Colorado offense, last in the nation in sacks allowed, was exposed early and often as No. 23 UCLA slowly pulled away in the second half, posting a 28-16    win before a sold out Rose Bowl crowd. Buff quarterback Shedeur Sanders was harassed and hit all night, suffering seven sacks and numerous other hits. A strong early effort by the Buff defense, which generated four first half turnovers, was wasted as the CU offense netted all of three points off of those opportunities.

The UCLA offense, kept to a 7-6 lead at halftime, methodically pulled away in the second half, finishing with 487 yards of total offense. The Buff offense, meanwhile, posted only 255 yards of total offense … with 86 yards of that total coming in CU’s only touchdown drive of the contest late in the fourth quarter. Shedeur Sanders completed 27-of-43 passes for only 217 yards, with other totals – 24 pressures; 17 hits; 13 knockdowns; seven sacks – telling the true story of the game.

“Offensively, we’ve got to improve,” Coach Prime said. “Our quarterback is taking a beating. (Shedeur Sanders) got an injection at halftime just to block some of the pain… We have to do a better job of protecting him … Running the football, we’ve had a couple lineman go down (with injuries), but that’s no excuse.”

With the seven sacks counted, the Colorado offense finished the game with 25 yards on 24 carries. “It’s a struggle to run the ball, and we’ve got to figure that out because now we’re one-dimensional,” Coach Prime said. “It’s easy to stop a team when you’re one-dimensional. That’s who we are at this point in time.”

Game Story … The Colorado offense took the field first for one of the few times in 2023, and opened the drive with a nine-yard pass from quarterback Shedeur Sanders to running back Dylan Edwards. After Edwards picked up three yards on his first carry to give the Buffs a first down, Sanders connected with wide receiver Javon Antonio for 12 yards an another first down. Three straight completions to running back Anthony Hankerson, going for ten, four and 11 yards gave the Buffs a first down at the UCLA 25-yard line. A 12-yard completion to tight end Michael Harrison put the ball inside the red zone, but three straight incompletions ended the drive. Somehow evading an unblocked rusher, kicker Alejandro Mata put a 31-yard field goal throw, completing the 13-play, 62-yard drive.

On the third play of UCLA’s first possession, cornerback Travis Hunter made an athletic play on the ball for his second interception of the season, giving the ball back to the CU offense at the Bruin 36-yard line.

A six-yard completion from Sanders to Antonio on third-and-two gave the CU offense a first down at the UCLA 22-yard line, but three more plays netted only one yard. Mata was called upon again, and, at the midway point of the first quarter, gave Colorado a 6-0 lead.

Bruin running back Carson Steele posted a 13-yard run to give the UCLA offense its first first down of the game, but three more plays gained only one more yard, with a UCLA punt giving the ball back to the Buffs at their 15-yard line.

A seven-yard completion from Sanders to Omarion Miller, followed by a a seven-yard run by Sanders, gave the Buffs a first down, but that was it for the drive, with a short punt, a nine-yard punt return, and a face mask penalty on the Buffs during the punt giving UCLA the ball at the CU 40-yard line. In took nine plays, including a 13-yard run by quarterback Ethan Garbers on fourth-and-12 at the CU 37, but the Bruins were able to score to take the lead. A three-yard touchdown pass on third-and-goal on the second play of the second quarter made it a 7-6 game, UCLA.

A five-yard loss on first down, an incompletion, and a sack left the Buffs with a fourth-and-25. After a 34-yard punt by Mark Vassett, the Bruins took over on the CU side of the field once again, setting up at the Buff 45-yard line.

UCLA looked to take control of the game on its next possession, but a fumble by running back Carson Steele on the second play of the drive was recovered by cornerback Omarion Cooper at the CU 20-yard line, ending the threat.

Two completions from Sanders to Kaleb Mathis netted the Buffs 11 yards and a first down, but the CU offense went backwards from their, with another sack of Shedeur Sanders forcing a punt.

Again, instead of taking control, the Bruins turned the ball over. Travis Hunter collected his second interception of the first half, giving the ball right back to the CU offense. Instead of taking advantage, however, the Buff offense went three-and-out, with yet another sack of Shedeur Sanders.

The Bruins next drive methodically moved the ball down the field, not facing a third down until they were in the CU red zone. A targeting call against safety Shilo Sanders gave UCLA a first-and-goal at the CU ten-yard line, but the Bruins were not able to cash in the opportunity. After three plays netted four yards, UCLA kicker RJ Lopez 24-yard field goal attempt bounced off of the left upright, leaving it a 7-6 game with less than two minutes before halftime.

Another sack of Sanders, and another three-and-out from the Buff offense later, UCLA had the ball back. Starting at their 41, it took the Bruins only two plays to get into field goal range at the CU 16-yard line. There, however, a Carson Steele run to the CU six yard line resulted in a fumble forced by Roderick Sneed and recovered by Cam’Ron Silmon Craig … UCLA’s fourth turnover of the first half.

Halftime score: No. 23 UCLA 7, Colorado 6

The UCLA offense, which had four turnovers and a missed chip shot field goal in its seven first half possessions, wasted no time on its eighth possession. On the first play of the third quarter, quarterback Ethan Garbers hit Logan Loya for 49 yards to the Colorado 26-yard line. On the second play of the third quarter, Garbers hit Moliki Matavao for a 26-yard touchdown. A grand total of 35 seconds into the third quarter, UCLA had a 14-6 lead.

The Colorado offense, which went three-and-out three times in the first half, went three-and-out to start the second half.

Taking over at its 23-yard line after CU’s punt, UCLA again marched into Colorado territory. After nine plays, though, the Bruins, thanks in part to a sack by Ethan Garbers by LaVonta Bentley, punted the ball back to the Buffs.

The CU offense would have gone three-and-out yet again, but a roughing the passer call on third-and-14 gave the Buffs new life. After a delay of game penalty against the Bruins and a six-yard completion from Sanders to Xavier Weaver, Sanders connected again with Weaver, this time for 44 yards and a first-and-goal at the UCLA nine yard line. Another sack of Sanders, though, ended the drive. Alejandro Mata came in again, hitting a 34-yard field goal to make it a 14-9 game with four minutes remaining in the third quarter.

A sack of Ethan Garbers by Jordan Domineck gave the Buff fans momentary hope of a change in momentum, but a pass interference call and a 15-yard completion quickly put UCLA out near midfield to start the Bruins’ next drive. A 14-yard completion on third-and-seven near midfield kept the drive alive, with a 23-yard gain by TJ Harden giving the Bruins another red zone opportunity. A three-yard run by Harden on third-and-goal gave UCLA its first two-score lead of the game, at 21-9, in the first minute of the fourth quarter.

A pass interference call to start CU’s next possession gave the Buff offense a first down, but yet another sack of Shedeur Sanders ended the Buff drive three plays later.

The exhausted Colorado defense did manage to force two third downs on UCLA’s ensuing drive, but couldn’t get off the field. The 11-play, 75-yard, six minute drive was capped with a seven-yard touchdown run by Collin Schlee. At the 6:34 mark of the fourth quarter, the sellout crowd at the Rose Bowl could start heading for the exits, with UCLA now up 28-9.

With the game decided, the Buff offense set off on its best drive since the opening drive of the game. An eight-yard run by seldomly used running back Sy’veon Wilkerson opened the drive, with a 15-yard completion from Sanders to Xavier Weaver and a pass interference call giving the Buffs a first down near midfield. Two completions to Jimmy Horn gave the Buffs another first down, with another running back who hadn’t found his way onto the field for the first two months of the season, Alton McCaskill going for nine yards. The nine-play, 86-yard drive was finished off two plays later with an 18-yard touchdown pass from Sanders to Jimmy Horn.

After forcing only the third punt of the game out of the UCLA offense, the Buffs got another consolation first down in the final minute.

Final score: No. 23 UCLA 28, Colorado 16

When asked about CU’s offensive line troubles – a 1.0/carry rushing game, and seven sacks of its quarterback – Coach Prime had this to say:

“Depth. Not only depth, [but] killer instinct, want, desire, will [and] athleticism” Sanders said. “The hardest thing to acquire is linemen. So, when you get a good one, you hardly see linemen jump to a different school. I think we have some guys that it’s going to be a good little seasoning, but overall we just don’t have the fight or the passion to do what we want to do”.


15 Replies to “No. 23 UCLA 28, Colorado 16”

  1. Somehow this o-line looks worse than last year…or at least on par. Same results…zero run game or pass protection, and a battered QB running for his life on almost every play.

  2. I think Travis & Shedeur will both be leaving after this season. And who can blame them, no reason to stay another year, taking these useless beatings and jeopardizing their futures. We all saw how bad Shedeur was getting pounded, but what I don’t understand is why Deion left him out there when the game was in hand the last drive or so-to physically punish him more? Recruiting is not going to fix the lines next year, and there doesn’t look to be much coming in, so the portal is the answer? Didn’t work well this last go around.

    1. I don’t think Travis can leave, and I don’t think Shedeur will leave. Definitely curious to see where and how they find the new o line and d line guys (and linebackers), but I have confidence they will.

      I don’t think anyone could’ve brought in the level of skill guys Deion did in one offseason, and now that he’s rolling, I think they can shift gears to get the big guys, a bit.

      I’d expect mostly through the portal b/c there’s no patience to let freshmen season and grow into their roles. Unless they can get that rare man child, who’s 300 lbs, runs a 4.8 40 and has high football IQ, as well, who can come in and dominate as a freshman. Maybe they’ve got some of them too?

      It’s going to be another interesting offseason.

      At least now, for the big guys they want to target, they can show them how explosive this offense can be, if they can get some consistent blocking. That’s gotta help show the vision, so kids want to come help it materialize.

      Still four games to go. All winnable. All losable. Want to see them get two more. At least.

      Go Buffs

  3. It is hard to have a pass heavy offense even if you have a number of skill players as CU does have if you can’t protect the trigger…QB.. Not a lot of imagination also in the offense to try and compensate for an OL that obviously has not yet come together and probably won’t this year. I still don’t understand running one of the smallest RB’s straight into the line and if you are going to use him that much then get him the heck out in space like the first series tonight where they utilized that aspect.

    There were many comments earlier when CP was putting this team together, lamenting that it didn’t seem like we were getting enough of those big bodies up front on both O & D. As good as this year has been it sure isn’t hard to think of that old Football Maxim that success starts up front. I just hate to lose to these CA teams and maybe the Stanford loss was the biggest disappointment. I also hate to lose to Chip Kelly as he has had his way with too many Buff teams at Oregon and now UCLA.

  4. After 8 games I think it’s fair to say OC Lewis doesn’t know how to adapt his scheme to his teams strengths and weaknesses. Run game, play action, bootleg, move the pocket, etc. Nope. Just keep trying the same thing over and over and expect a different result. It’s pretty dang weird.

  5. We need to make a coaching change on the line coach. They had not idea what they were doing. It wasn’t just them getting out muscled/outplayed, they didn’t comprehend what looks they were getting. Multiple guys blocking ghosts too many times.

    Also Sean Lewis needs to develop some over pursuit runs. Couldn’t believe we didn’t try to use their highly aggressive pass rush to get them off balance. Again didn’t help that the entire line imploded like a cheap sub every play.

    Seans refusal to run lets them just Tee off on Shedeur and only think about beating their man, hitting the gap, chasing him down. A 1/4 second of hesitation would help us tremendously. I am not giving up on Sean yet but its not good.

  6. I think that praise for the defensive performance is really missing the mark. Four turnovers and a missed field goal in the first half sounds great, but those are all high variance plays. The median play UCLA ran was still hugely successful. Once UCLA stopped making those mistakes in the second half they dominated.

    Meanwhile wtf offense. Lewis clearly thinks that bubbles are a realistic alternative to runs as a way to relieve pressure on the qb, but unlike RB screens or draws a bubble screen doesn’t change what the defensive line does. If anything it makes it worse because it encourages the defense to play press coverage and dare CU to block long enough to throw a deep shot. Which they only bothered trying to do once the game was out of reach.

    Honestly. Just fucking run the ball more. Get stuffed more. At least a stuffed run isn’t as bad as Sanders getting sacked again. Sometimes you need to at least try to act like you’re not one dimensional.

    But still. Some of those offensive line whiff blocks were painful. That redzone play early the second half where BOTH guards let defensive ends through untouched to the inside at the same time? What the hell?

  7. O-line play folks, building blocks of good teams. Prime brought his Louis to Boulder but they also threw in some American Tourister in the cargo hold and we will not go bowling this year sadly because of the O-line play and the sacks/pressures. Another half-second or second of protection makes Shadeur hum and that must be our off-season priority. We also need to develop/retain good young linemen who will be that foundation and not transfer out when they start getting good.
    On a happier note at least none of our coaching staff is going to get poached and hopefully we can keep some stability and all improve together and be an 8-9 win team next year. I see possibly one more win this season but that’s it, echoes of Midnight Mel in 2019 and his 5-7 season. But a +4 result in the win column isn’t a bad result for a first-year coach and a humility injection for CP doesn’t hurt either.

    1. Wazzu cratering right now. They’ve had bad losses ever since they looked great while beating Oregon state. But at WSU is tough.

      1. ep, can’t argue with your post. No attack from here, as a matter of fact I applaud your statement as hopefully some of the adjustments CP makes at the end of the season includes just what you have written. I guess Kelly can stay around but needs to enroll in one of CU’s remedial math classes this off season and learn how to count from one (1) thru eleven (11).

  8. UCLA’s D line was highly touted but that was ridiculous.
    If I was Shedeur I would be sayin “sorry dad, but I’m done. After all these bruises heal up I’m waiting for the draft”
    If Staub was smart he would head for the portal. Prime might have to get someone like McCaskill to go wildcat for the rest of the season.
    Can Prime do a repeat on the portal for the entire O line? It wasn’t completely their fault. I didnt see a tight end stay for blocking a whole lot. Seems like they kept trying to run Edwards up the middle. I saw him not miss blocks on pass plays but actually avoid them.
    I dont blame him either. Making him pass block makes no sense whatsoever.
    I think I caught Prime talking to the woman with the mike at the end of the half saying they had to do something different. I didnt see anything different. Did anyone else?
    I had to nod when I heard the half time commentator ask “why do they do the same ol thing all the time?” I think I also heard earache yelling at the TV a thousand miles away when he said that.

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