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Colorado Buffaloes’ rushing attack carries offense in 35-7 season opener win

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With Ralphie VI leading the charge, the Buffaloes were running wild in their season opening win

UCLA v Colorado Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

They say a four-leafed clover is a rare find, but the Colorado Buffaloes have found just that in their group of running backs. Four CU RB’s found the promised land in Friday’s 35-7 season opener defeat of Northern Colorado. Jarek Broussard, Alex Fontenot, Ashaad Clayon and Deion Smith each scored en route to rushing for a combined 217 yards.

But the most exciting run of the night came at just past 7 p.m. when Ralphie VI made her inaugural loop of Folsom Field.

A lively crowd of 44,153 witnessed a new era of Ralphie, but a familiar script for the CU offense. Now that we’re done with the positives, let’s look at the negatives, and there were quite a few.

The final score may have had the Buffs up big over Northern Colorado, but it wasn’t smooth sailing by any means. I’ll preface the following by speculating that it’s possible CU may not have been showing its complete playbook with Texas A&M on deck Saturday. That will be answered next week, however. Back to UNC, we didn’t get to see much of Brendon Lewis’s arm in action. The passing attack relied heavily on high completion screens and rarely took a shot downfield. A 23-yard completion to La’Vontae Shenault in the fourth quarter marked the longest pass of the night. Brendon Lewis impressed with his mobility but threw for just 102 yards on 10-of-15. He called his starting debut “decent.”

Thanks to consistently solid field position, courtesy of Dimitri Stanley’s 68 total yards of punt returning, the Buffs put up two touchdowns at the half. Lewis’s lone passing TD came to Montana Lemonious-Craig midway through the second quarter. Lewis rolled right out of the pocket and scrambled long enough to find Lemonious-Craig, who made a diving catch near the endzone sideline. The 17-yard score marked the first career TD for both culprits.

Overall, though, the halftime stats were ugly, at least on offense. The Buffaloes had just 109 total yards while finding just five first downs. UNC, meanwhile, had 14 more offensive yards and held possession for six more minutes. Despite that, UNC was held scoreless at the break.

Fortunately, the Buffs’ defense made up for the subpar offensive output. Mekhi Blackmon snagged a crucial second quarter interception and tied both Nate Landman and Chris Miller with four total tackles. On the D-Line, Jalen Sami’s high intensity and two TFL’s helped hold UNC to just 20 net yards on the ground.

For Karl Dorrell, he said the discipline CU displayed was poor, especially in terms of penalties. False starts are to be expected in season openers, but three unsportsmanlike conduct penalties did not sit well with Dorrell.

Texas A&M here we come!