Game 1 Report Card - CU 38 vs. CSU 17

Here is what I thought of the 38 - 17 CU win against Colorado State:

QUARTERBACK
 

B

Cody Hawkins looked pretty good, showing poise in the pocket and making plays on his feet to buy time. He went 20-29 for 214 yards and a touchdown and one interception that was tipped on a screen pass. He also rushed for two touchdowns on quick hitter sneaks on the goal line. He found WR Scotty McKnight and TE Patrick Devenny in key situations and also completed passes to 8 different players. All of the above deserves an A- to an A grade but I thought his management of the no huddle offense could have used some work and he needs to be more efficient in catching the ball from center. There were a couple of plays that he snapped the ball early before players were entirely off the field or set. I would like to see Hawkins go through his pre-snap reads more and use the play clock. The Buffs seemed like they had the ball more than the Rams but due to the no huddle, the Rams actually lead the time of possession battle. A "B" grade is probably a little harsh but I expect a lot of Cody Hawkins this year. Stats were good, game management needs a little more work.
RUNNING BACK
 

B+

As a group the Buffs rushed for 153 yards on 36 carries for a 4.2 yard average against an undersized Colorado State defensive line. Other than an end around by WR Josh Smith for 8 yards, the Buffs rush offense consisted of shotgun dive left and shotgun dive right. Nothing extraordinary outside to get Stewart or Scott in the open field which is probably more of a function of the offense. Due to that, it was hard to evaluate starting running back, Demetrius Sumler, who had 10 carries for 41 yards. Rodney Stewart had the best run of the night, a 17 yard scamper through the middle of the defense but a fumble stopped his 4 carry, 38 yard night as he did not get back in the game in the second half. And then there was Darrell Scott who played extensively in the second half after limited action in the first. He had decent numbers, averaging 4.9 yards/carry on 11 carries. The big 14 yard run that Scott had was the first sign that he has the tools to be a big time player, breaking two tackles. Scott also got a touchdown and made several great blitz pick up blocks to protect Cody Hawkins' backside. He didn't shy away from contact often engaging in it. Hawkins added two touchdown runs as well.
WIDE RECEIVER
 

A-

Solid performance all around by the big 3, Josh Smith, Patrick Williams and Scotty McKnight. Each had their moments and no one dropped any passes. McKnight and Hawkins really got it going in the first half capped off by a beautiful 35 yard strike for the first touchdown of the game. Williams had soft hands and made some big catches in traffic. Smith had a great game on special teams but we didn't get to see a lot of him on offense, only catching one ball for 15 yards.
TIGHT END
 

B+

Patrick Devenny caught 4 passes for 27 yards and a couple in crucial 3rd down situations. He calmed my nerves about not having starting TE Riar Geer in the lineup and it was good to see that he had the confidence of Hawkins to make plays.
OFFENSIVE LINE
 

B

They didn't allow any sacks, which is a plus.  Devin Head, Blake Behrens and Max Tuioti Mariner all substitued in at guard and did a decent job opening holes in the middle against a smaller defensive line. The Buffs did have some holding penalties, false starts and a personal foul committed by G Devin Head that need to be worked out. Hawkins helped the line out by using his feet to make plays and buy time. The running game averaged 4.2 yards per carry, and in three goal-line situations the Buffs converted but when the Buffs were backed up deep in their own territory, CU failed to get a big push upfront something that will be a challenge as they try to adopt a power style offense from the spread offense.
DEFENSIVE LINE
 

B-

Their is a lot of mixed emotions today regarding the defensive line. On one hand they got to CSU QB Billy Farris 4 times. On the other hand, if you take away the sacks, the Buffs gave up 121 yards on 20 carries for an average 6.0 y/c and many of the sacks were due to Farris panicking after not finding his first read. Hypolite didn't have a huge presence, certainly not All-American caliber while Nicolas and Herrod probably had the two best games for the defensive line. Wait and see on this unit still. I would have liked to see a little more dominance against an undermanned offensive line. Starting CSU RB Gartrell Johnson had 12 carries for 96 yards which will need to be improved on.
LINEBACKER
 

A-

This one is easy. Defensive game ball goes to Brad Jones who shadowed CSU TE Kory Sperry all over the field Sunday night, only letting the 6'5" 260 lb TE catch 2 balls for 11 yards after he had over 100 yards and 3 TD's last year. This was the difference in the game. Jones also had 7 solo tackles, 2 for lose and 1 sack. Jeff Smart played more outside linebacker than middle linebacker as Michael Sipili filled that spot. Smart had 11 total tackles and Sipili had 4. Didn't give them the outright "A" grade because they are still responsible for Johnson's 8 yards/carry average. But overall, a job well done for a defense that played well. Our boy Shaun Mohler played extensively and had three tackles, including a beautiful open field collar tackle and a pick.
DEFENSIVE BACKS
 

C+

They weren't challenged a lot but when they were they had a blown coverage and a big pass interference call in the end zone. S Daniel Dykes made a good play to knock away another deep ball and almost made the interception. Both safeties played well in my opinion except for the blown coverage where Ryan Walters was out of position but he also had 11 tackles and an interception. Now while the corner backs were not extensively challenged, Gardner McKay isn't the answer at corner back. He isn't physical enough. He made a lot of arm tackles and a few times CSU Jr. WR Rashaun Greer, who hadn't caught a ball in his college career, made McKay look very below average. This backfield will be tested greatly by the run and gun offense of Eastern Washington. We will know a lot more after that game.
SPECIAL TEAMS
 

B

Josh Smith fumbled the first punt of the game, but made up for it with his 93-yard kick return for a TD and a 50-yard kick return that almost went the distance if it wasn't for a great open field tackle. But the Buffs also had some kicking woes, especially P Matt DiLallo who had a 31.0 yard average. Also, freshman KJameson Davis had three touchbacks but one short kickoff that led to a 90 yard Mosure touchdown return. K Aric Goodman made his first CU field goal and was perfect in extra point attempts.
COACHING
 

A-

Only complaint was the offense looked out of sync at times but the defensive game plan against TE Kory Sperry was brilliant and in the second half, the Buffs out coached CSU and dominated the game.
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