The long wait for the Colorado Buffaloes is over. For the first time since September 22nd, 2012 the Buffs have won a Pac-12 conference game. Tonight was also their first home conference win since November 12, 2011. It was a big, big night. The Buffs defeated the California Golden Bears 41-24 thanks to a balanced offense and a solid defensive performance on a cold, extremely windy evening in Boulder.
Paul Richardson and Nelson Spruce led the way for the Buffaloes with 140 yards on 11 and 8 receptions respectively. Richardson did what we now expect him to do on a regular basis, tying the Colorado single game reception record. But it was Spruce who had the breakthrough game, adding a onside kick return for a touchdown to his numerous big third down catches. This is what SHOULD happen when you have a receiver like Richardson. You should see that number two guy with room to roam and take advantage of the defenses attention being elsewhere. Hopefully this game turns out to be a turning point in Spruce's career.
Jared Goff has received a lot of hype as a solid young true freshman quarterback who could have a bright future in the Pac-12 but it's Sefo Liufau who looked like he could be a star in this conference. Liufau stood in the pocket and threw some darts to both Spruce and P-Rich. He was confident and calm when he had to leave the pocket and got knocked around. More importantly he looked like a leader for this young offense and he showed that he could be the guy to lead this program out of the dark.
Then there was the Buffaloes defense, who really deserves a game ball as a unit. California is a bad football team but this is not a bad offense. The Colorado defense held them to 17 points until garbage time, constantly putting pressure on both Goff and Kline and getting numerous huge stops on third and fourth down. Derrick Webb had one of his best games of the season and Addison Gillam continued doing what he has done throughout his freshman stint. The secondary had easily their best game of the year. With Tedric Thompson playing great in place of an injured Parker Orms and Kenneth Crawley showing up with his best game as a Buff it was an incredible effort from the whole unit.
For now, these seem to be two programs going in opposite directions, connected by concurrent coaching vacancies and the curious decision out of Berkeley to not look at the candidate just down the road. I'd wager most Buffaloes fans are happy with the decision that's coming up on a year old. I'd guess that a lot of Colorado fans enjoy no longer being the conference doormat and will look forward to perusing conference power rankings and not seeing Colorado at position number 12. I'm quite positive that Buffs fans feel much better tonight than they did a week ago about the future and the direction of this program. I know I do.