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3 takeaways from Colorado’s win over San Diego State

Colorado stays undefeated going into the final two weeks of the 2020 season.

NCAA Football: San Diego State at Colorado Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

The Colorado Buffaloes (3-0) needed a bit of luck to end a chaotic week that started with the 18th-ranked USC Trojans on the schedule and ended with the San Diego State Aztecs (3-3) coming to Boulder.

The game started 30 minutes later than expected due to a delay in COVID-19 testing for the Aztecs. However, when kickoff did happen, Colorado came out firing and didn’t skip a beat.

It was Noyer’s least-productive game thus far, but still a ‘W’

Sam Noyer threw for a touchdown and ran for another to lead Colorado in the 20-10 win over San Diego State at Folsom Field on Saturday night.

He struck first on the Buffs opening drive touchdown run from 1-yard out, giving them a 7-0 lead midway through the first quarter. It was a nicely orchestrated 16-play, 83-yard drive resulting in the Noyer’s fourth rushing score of the season.

Both team traded punts for nearly a quarter in game time before Colorado extended their lead. A 3-yard flip pass from Noyer to Jaylon Jackson gave CU a 14-0 advantage with 4:50 to go before halftime. The first career touchdown grab for the Cedar Hill, Texas native since coming to Boulder as part of the 2017 recruiting class. For Jackson, it was his only reception of the game and his second this season.

Colorado’s defense held San Diego State to a three and out on the ensuing drive and got the ball back with 3:18 to work with before the half. That was before Noyer was picked off by SDSU’s Darren Hall, who returned it 57 yards for the Aztecs only touchdown of the game. The second interception for Noyer on the season and his first career pick six led to a temporary shift in momentum, but in the end, the only turnover for the Buffs wouldn’t matter much.

Noyer finished the game going 17-of-29 for 138 yards with the two touchdowns.

The Buffs defense stood tall for 60 minutes

Colorado’s defense put together one of their better games in recent memory. The group led by linebacker Nate Landman’s 11 tackles held the Aztecs offense scoreless in the second half. They also kept SDSU to 155 total yards, along with picking up four sacks and 11 tackles for loss in the process. The Aztecs finished going 4-of-17 on third down and a staggering 2.6 yards per attempt.

San Diego State relies heavily on their rushing attack of Bell & Bell, but without leading rusher and Nebraska transfer Greg Bell, they were left with 79 yards on the ground. CU’s defense gave up three points to the Aztecs which matches the total allowed to Colorado State in the Rocky Mountain Showdown on Sept. 1, 2017.

An interception by Curtis Appleton sealed the win for the Buffs. It was the first career pick by the junior safety and CU’s sixth turnover on the season.

The Price’s right

Evan Price knocked through two field goals on the night to keep the Buffs offense productive at key times. Especially in a defensive battle where both teams exhibited a “punt fest” in two stages of the game. There were very few concerns when the Evergreen, Colo. native stepped in to replace the retiring James Stefanou. Price booted field goals from 36 and 41 yards out to extend CU’s lead and also kept him near-perfect on the season.


Colorado will resume Pac-12 play on Dec. 5 at Arizona. The Buffs clinched bowl eligibility for the first time in four years with a third win on the shortened 2020 season.