As the Colorado Buffaloes jogged off into the Empower Field tunnel, they were met with a chorus of claps from the CU faithful just above them. Not many expected the Buffs to hang around with No. 5 Texas A&M, but they did just that in a heartwrenching 10-7 loss.
Colorado led for nearly 45 minutes on Saturday until Texas A&M backup quarterback Zach Calzada threw an 18-yard go-ahead touchdown pass to Isaiah Spiller late in the fourth quarter.
“When you’re leading in most of it to the very end, you can imagine there’s some disappointment about that,” Karl Dorrell said. “But there’s no reason to hang our head low for anything. We got a chance to win a game, significant game, and our locker room is more disappointed in us not finishing the game.”
Despite the late slip, CU’s defense deserved a world of praise for their effort. The Aggies saw the red zone just twice and were held under 300 yards. Nate Landman was nails, as always, and helped keep the Aggies under 100 net yards on the ground. Saturday was also a breakout game of sorts for Guy Thomas, who had a career-high five tackles.
Brendon Lewis’ second career start began considerably better than his first. After throwing an interception on the Buffs’ first offensive drive, Lewis opened up the playbook with his own speed and his playmakers' speed in their third possession. The Buffs offense was playing at a quick pace and one that A&M struggled to keep up with. Lewis’ premier play came on a 30-yard run which helped pave the way for Jarek Broussard to punch it home from 2 yards out. It turned out to be the Buffaloes only score of the day.
“I think we showed glimpses of greatness, especially in the first half, but we should be a second half football team,” Brady Russell said. “We’re better conditioned than them and we’re in better shape. We should be able to run up the score in the second half and we didn’t do any of that.”
Missed opportunities became an unfortunate theme in the second quarter. True freshman kicker Cole Becker missed a 46-yard attempt and the Buffaloes turned the ball over on downs at the Aggies’ 5-yard line. Dorrell, however, said that these missed chances didn’t define the Buffs downfall. “I’ll do it again,” Dorrell said of the fourth-and-one attempt, which was a failed QB sneak.
Neither team was able to score in the third quarter as both TAMU and Colorado couldn’t gain even 50 yards.
About halfway through the fourth quarter, we witnessed a play that will likely be talked about for years. With A&M threatening at the Colorado 13-yard line, Calzada broke free and rushed for what appeared to be a touchdown. It wasn’t until well after the celebration dust settled that the Buffs began to question the play. A review was prompted and it was discovered that Joshka Gustav had bothered Calzada just enough for him to lose control of the ball inches before it crossed the goal line. Mekhi Blackmon recovered the fumble and CU’s 7-3 lead remained intact.
Sadly, the Buffs couldn’t keep the momentum and went three-and-out on their next drive. Calzada continued to settle in and delivered the game-winning throw on A&M’s ensuing possession. After going 1-for-8 on third downs in the first half, A&M went 5-for-7 in the fourth quarter.
Another talented Power-5 team, the Big 10’s Minnesota Golden Gophers, will visit Folsom for week three on Sept. 18.