Losses against the #11 team, #4 team, #19 team, #15 team and a #16 team in Kansas at the time should buy you an excuse. Let's face it. The Buffs deserve some benefit of the doubt with the schedule and the injuries and the youth. Yeah, I got the company line down Coach Hawkins. Like we joked in the game thread, the Buffs are #1 in "learning about life lessons," having "fun," making Hawkins "proud" and dealing with "adversity." Those teams the Buffs lost to rank much lower, definitely out of the top 25 in "learning life lessons." We got that on all of them, especially the Big 12 South! All I know is I hope the Buffs aren't ranked #1 in "having fun" next year. It's a lonely spot, no one seems to challenge us for it. "Having fun" is watching Oklahoma vs Texas Tech or Texas vs Texas Tech. It is officially becoming hard to watch Buffs games. Hard. I watched Cherry Creek H.S. upset Grandview H.S. (no allegiances, in fact I dislike Creek) and I had "fun" watching that game. They made plays, didn't catch punts inside the 10 yard line, their WR's didn't drop five or six passes and overall, they played a style of football that was "entertaining." At least the CU players are "having fun." I wish I could say that for the fans.
Yes, the Buffs covered last night, only lost by 13 and gave the impression that they were in the game. CU had chances to close the gap inside the 10 point mark but it felt more like OSU was just toying with the Buffs and less CU getting in control? I mean RB Kendall Hunter got hurt, TE Brandon Pettigrew was in and out of the game, the Pokes did CU a favor by not throwing to one of the best WR in the nation in Dez Bryant and gave the Buffs a gimme interception inside the red zone. As soon as the Buffs get down by more than 10 points versus anyone with a pulse (that negates Iowa State), the Buffs have not shown the ability to come back.
Frustration sets in when "having fun" needs to shift to making plays. Last night their were a couple of times when one unit would do something and give the Buffs some momentum and the other unit wouldn't capitalize. For example:
- The Buffs' offense is stopped on their first drive, OSU drives down the field easily but the CU defense steps up and holds Oklahoma State to three points. Momentum Buffs. The offense begins to drive past midfield, then the Buffs run a fake reverse to Patrick Williams, attempted hand off to Sumler that was fumbled by Hawkins which lost 12 yards and boom, end of drive. Momentum lost.
read about more missed opportunites after the jump...
- The next drive, the Pokes drive down the field and again, hold them to a field goal. Moral victory: Buffs. CU's offense drives down the field and stalls again, this time inside the OSU 30 after the Buffs get a holding penalty to make it 3rd and 18. Whether it's execution, play calling or the defense making plays, CU's offense doesn't seem to respond well on the opposition's side of the field. The Buffs miss a field goal and again, momentum is lost. The Pokes go on to score a touchdown and it is now 13 - 0. It could have been 6 - 3. Sounds similar to the Florida State and Texas games.
- Okay, its only 13 - 3 at halftime. All of us would sign up for that today. It's not an impossible hill to climb. We all agreed that if the Buffs could get a stop right out of the gate, this could be a game. CU needed to make a couple of halftime adjustments like stopping Kendall Hunter who averaged 7.0 y/c in the first half and the Buffs should be good. Shame on us for thinking about halftime adjustments. 2nd and 17, the Buffs defense seems to be in a great spot and just like that, Kendall Hunter goes all Antoine Smith on us from FSU and takes it 47 yards to the house. 20 - 3. Missed opportunity.
- But the Buffs get a lucky play where a Hawkins pass bounces off Cody Crawford and into the hands of Scotty McKnight for a touchdown on fourth down. Buffs back in the game. 20 - 10. Just need a stop on defense. Folsom is ready to go nuts with a stop. Davis kicks a touch back. OSU has to go 80 yards. The Buffs defense is in a great position. Eight plays later and the Buffs unable to get Oklahoma State to a third down situation, momentum is once again lost. 27 - 10 Pokes. Buffs inexplicably continue to rush three, play zone with the other eight and make Zac Robinson look like a world beater by throwing 10 yard dump passes.The Buffs defense didn't sack or even come close to sacking Robinson the whole game. Yep, the three man rush is working!
- CU LB Shaun Mohler (who had a pretty strong game all around, 12 tackles and an INT) intercepts the ball inside OSU's red zone. Buffs score 27 - 17. The defense responds and forces a punt which Josh Smith catches at the CU 7 yard line instead of trying to let it go into the end zone. CU goes three and out in the fourth quarter and that is all she wrote. To further show the Buffs offense did not make plays, they went 3 - 15 on third downs and only gained 116 yards in the second half, 304 for the game.
If your an optimist, you look at that and say the Buffs were close. Very true. If your a realist and a fan who has been watching this team the whole year, it is an ugly trend that has continued the whole year: a lack of play making. Youth and injuries are a great reason for why the Buffs aren't making plays. Learning to respond in key moments is gained by experience. Losing both the starting safeties and starting running back can have a big impact on a team. You know the rest of the rap injury list that I don't need to go over it. Preparation, adjustments and coaching is another reason the Buffs aren't making plays.
The Buffs have a week off and then play the dreaded Huskers who seem to be peaking right now, which is bad news for the Buffs, who are already at a disadvantage on the road. The Buffs will surely be double digit underdogs. Winning would be a big upset but you never know when these two get together. A couple extra weeks of practice would be beneficial if the Buffs were to win but I am anxious for next season. Start saying your prayers that the Buffs will have minimal injuries next year and that "fun" isn't the top priority of this team. I am ready for next year already. Yes, I will be amped for Nebraska but next year is time for results.