Let’s start this off with the good news. The Colorado Buffaloes are 3-0. They’ll be 3-0 in December. Forget COVID-19 for a moment, with everything that happened to this team after Mel Tucker decided to head to Michigan State that is an incredible feat and a testament to the entirety of the program. With a 20-10 win over San Diego State the Buffs have made themselves eligible for a bowl and stay in the hunt for the Pac-12 Championship game and that, is something to be thankful for.
All of that being said, Saturday night’s game was an ugly, sloppy contest that the Buffs essentially dominated. The Colorado defense held the Aztecs to 10 points, 27 below their season average, and 155 yards. The score was only as close as it was due to a pick six late in the second quarter that cut the score to 14-7 when the Buffaloes had just gotten the ball in SDSU territory with a chance to make it a three score game.
In the first half, the Buffaloes slowly moved the chains with two long, sustained drives. Both teams were off their game but Jarek Broussard and Sam Noyer were doing what they have done so well all season and they were assisted by a number of bad Aztec penalties that kept the drives alive.
The Buffs struggled to move the ball during the second half. The offensive play-calling seemed conservative at the very least, Noyer wasn’t on the same page with his receivers and the Buffs faced too many third-and-longs to be effective. They barely did enough to get into field goal range for Evan Price. He made two field goals of 36 and 41 yards to score CU’s only points of the second half (Josh Watts ended up with more yards punting (307) than the Buffs had yards of total offense (273)).
The offense’s moribund play, however, shouldn’t discount how effective Jarek Broussard was, as he finished with 124 yards on 32 carries. He joined the legendary Charlie Davis as the only Buffs running backs to have 100+ yards in his first three career games. He’s up to 432 yards on the season and has been far and away CU’s offensive MVP so far.
With Colorado’s offense scuffling, they needed a standout performance from the defense to get the win. Playing bend-not-break defense, the Buffs made big plays whenever they needed a stop. None were better than Nate Landman, as he led the unit with 11 tackles and a career-high 3 sacks. Such strong play forced San Diego State into three punts, two long field goals and one turnover on downs, resulting in nary a second half point.
At this point, schedules are close to becoming irrelevant but if things go according to plan the Buffaloes will head to Arizona next weekend before welcoming Utah to Boulder. The USC cancellation has thrown the conference race into chaos, but all Colorado can do is keep winning against whomever they can play and letting the cards fall where they may.