Oregon State Recap
The tandem of Brandin Cooks and Sean Mannion were what they have been all season, the best quarterback to wide receiver pairing in the nation. The Buffs were not special on offense and I thought I was watching the teams from 2011 and 2012. Connor Wood was 4 of 15 in the first half with an interception. There was no way to sum up his day other than awful. He couldn't hit a receiver and his throws were not accurate at all. He looked like the Wood that was yanked from games that he got an opportunity in 2012. The play calling was no better. The Colorado staff repeatedly threw a short pass or ran a draw on 3rd and long. You have to have your foot on the pedal in the Pac 12 or you end up getting rolled over. That's what happened to Colorado. They had five 3 and outs (one was an interception on 1st down) in the first half. There was no rhythm and there was no sense of urgency. It appeared that the Buffs may get out of the half down by only a score or even have the opportunity to tie the game when the Buffs defense forced a fumble with 4:14 in the first half. That hope was short lived with a 3 rushes and out coupled with an unsportsmanlike penalty giving Oregon State the ball with 2:34 remaining. With less than a minute to go and a 4th and 10 on the 33, the Buffs defense appeared to once again stop the bleeding the atrocious offense started. Instead a poorly defended 4th and 10 lead to a 21 yard gain and the Buffs quickly were down 17-3 heading into halftime.
The 3rd quarter, all wheels came off the bus and Oregon State began the 2nd half with a quick touchdown drive and then added 2 more scores before the quarter ended. The Buffs offense had 15 yards in the third quarter and were embarrassed by fumbles on kickoff returns, not being able to field a kickoff and with them leading already by 4 TDs, Mike Price and the Beavers decided to throw a pass back to Mannion to try to get him a receiving touchdown. Instead they allowed Mannion to toss his 5th TD of the day.
After getting a TD and 2 point conversion, Colorado's defense had a good series and stopped the constant beating of Oregon State only to have Connor Wood throw his second interception and allow Mannion to come out and throw an easy 6th TD of the day, an Oregon State record!!!
Colorado got a late touchdown to make the final score 44-17 by the hands of Paul Richardson to give him his fifth of the season and give the Buffs a positive to an ugly day.
The positives that can be taken from this game by the Buffs were:
- Michael Adkins II-This true freshman from San Diego was the one bright spot on a rainy, gloomy Oregon day in Corvallis. He rushed for 98 yards on 14 carries and looked like the best power/speed back Colorado has had in a while. It was only one game against a weak run defense but he has ran with the most authority we have seen in a Buffs back this season.
- Special Teams Coverage-While the fielding of the return teams was awful, the Buffs coverage units seemed to have a much better grasp on not allowing lanes to open up. They were solid on both kicks and punts throughout the day.
- Greg Henderson-He is CU's shutdown corner. He allowed a couple good catches but for the most part, he had the best game of any person in the secondary.
- Addison Gillam-He was out of position on a crucial 3rd and long but otherwise I can't fault this young man. He has more speed than most thought and he seems to be a steal for a recruit that we are lucky came over with Mac and his staff. He continues to impress.
- The Buffs pass rush was the best we have seen all-season accumulating 2 sacks but mainly disrupting the backfield and forcing Oregon State to pass with 8 tackles for loss. Of course, their passing game was on the money all day.
- Wood looked lost and Richardson looked pretty frustrated he wasn't able to get the ball to him.
- The offense had no rhythm and it bit the Buffs in the butt all day by putting too much pressure on a defense that is better than the last two years but needs the offense to be the strength.
- Returning game-Now they need to teach the guys how to field a squib kick and how to hold a ball when you are getting group tackled. I think they have the wrong guys returning the ball and would like to see a guy like Devin Ross back there over Ryan Severson.
- Secondary had issues opposite Henderson. The coverage also looked to go to the wrong spot and make the wrong decision on many big plays the Beavers had.
- Many more I don't care to detail
Colorado welcomes the Ducks into town at 4 p.m. MST, October 5th. Oregon is a well oiled machine that seems to have lost nothing with the departure of Chip Kelly to the NFL. The Ducks have the Number 1 rushing offense in the NCAA coupled with a Top 40 passing attack. They average 59.8 points a game, good for 2nd most in the NCAA and only allow 10.8 per game which is 4th best in the NCAA.
The Ducks are lead by Heisman trophy candidate Marcus Mariota, who is both a threat with his arm (1000 yards passing) and legs (just under 300 yards rushing). Mariota could run for over 1000 yards and pass for around 3000 yards. The Ducks rushing attack is led by the two-headed beast of De'Anthony Thomas and Byron Marshall, both with over 325 yards for the season. Mariota spreads the ball around but his main targets are Josh Huff with 16 catches for 342 yards and Braylon Addison with 14 catches for 187 yards. The Ducks spread the ball around and put up yards and points quickly. They had 6 touchdowns in under 2:30 on offense and added two punt return TDs against CAL. Unlike with LT, the speed that kills is the legs of their team which is some of the fastest athletes ever seen as an overall team.
The Ducks force opposition to change their plans by getting ahead quickly and it's an absolute disaster. Last year's Buffs were down by 56 points... at halftime. The Ducks haven't lost a step and this Buffs team will have it's hands full.
The Buffs go into the game 38 point underdogs. That's an improvement of the nearly 49 point dogs they were last year. The Buffs are not the 2-0 team that we thought they were, nor are they the completely inept offensive team we saw against Oregon State. I think they looked completely rusty and had no rhythm going for them. I think Oregon will not help that rhythm but I believe the Buffs will respond with a much more solid showing. They will not let the Ducks run over them like they did last year and they won't look as inept on offense.
The Buffs will be more prepared and MacIntyre probably installed some Oregon with Oregon State during their break. It maybe wasn't the right decision. I believe Wood gets back on solid footing and the offense uses their ability to run a little help the passing attack. The Ducks will score quick and often, it will not be close but I look for the Buffs to cover and at least keep it respectable scoring the most points on Oregon and making it 52-21. Normally I'd go into positional match-ups but I just don't see much chance for a team that has many second team guys that would start for Colorado
Season Outlook Weekly Revisited
The Oregon State game proved to optimistic Buffs fans that they are going to revert to their former selves at times and are not who we thought they were (as Dennis Green might have said). The Buffs have a tough next two games with hosting Oregon after being 4 weeks away from Folsom and follow it up with a trip to Tempe to face the surging Arizona State Sun Devils. The Buffs are rebuilding still and will most likely have a 3 game losing streak heading into either their October 19th make-up game. I believe the Buffs have the right coach to guide them through this difficult stretch with 4 of the next 5 Pac 12 opponents being Top 25 programs. The replacement game for Fresno State
Oregon, Arizona State, Washington and UCLA all being losses.
Cal and Charleston Southern as wins.
USC, Arizona and Utah as the toss-up games. Utah has not looked special and depending on how the Buffs do against USC and Arizona, it could be a team needing a win to get to a bowl game that will put every bit into the game. USC is talented and the loss of Kiffin may allow for a more relaxed team that shows that by the time the two teams play. Arizona gets a confident Colorado team knowing they need a Win to try to get to 6 wins and stops the worse passing team in the pass-heavy Pac 12.
The Buffs and their fans have something to look forward to. They have to feel excited by the fact the Buffs can finish 6-6 and go bowling thanks to a 1000-year flood, an NCAA rare exemption and a coaching staff that won't give up or point fingers but remain positive. Buffs will finish 6-6 and go bowling a year sooner than expected. Stay positive Buffs and all their LOYAL fans!!! Go Buffs!!!