When you open with an onside kick it says a lot about your state of mind heading into a football game (especially at home). The Buffs didn't recover but the defense took it in stride and delivered a quick three and out to perk up the few Buffs fans who showed up on time to start the game. A Connor Wood to Paul Richardson bomb put the Buffs at the Oregon 30 and a fourth down conversion later and the Buffs had a 3-0 lead and a bit of momentum.
Oregon's offense quickly ramped back up to a more acceptable Oregon speed in a methodical (if you can ever call that offense methodical) 75-yard drive that lead to a touchdown and a two-point conversion for a 8-3 lead. Two plays later the Buffs proved that they really were going all out with a double-reverse pass from Paul Richardson to D.D. Goodson that ended in a 75-yard touchdown.
The Buffs defense responded with a huge fourth down stop on their own 38 before Connor Wood's Favre'esqe gunslingin' (calling @jon_bois) finally caught up to him on an off-balance interception toss. It took the Ducks a couple of plays, but Thomas Tyner entered the game and quickly did what Byron Marshall couldn't in getting Oregon into the end zone in three quick rushing plays.
After a Buffs punt from within Oregon territory Marcus Mariota set a career record with a 75-yard pass to Bralon Addison, who was 6-7 yards ahead of the nearest DB when the ball was thrown. A second quick Connor Wood pick and three quick plays later and the Ducks were back in the endzone with a 29-10 lead.
One series later and Paul Richardson made what will end up being one of the top receptions of the year, a one-handed grab after a called pass interference, to get the Buffs to mid-field. Colorado tacked on a 22-yard field goal and followed it up with the best series the defense has delivered this season (and maybe even over the last couple of years) in shutting down the Ducks with another quick three and out.
After the Buffs drove down to the Oregon 12 and had to settle for a field goal they had matched the most points scored against the Ducks in a game this season in less than a quarter and a half. The Ducks were able to take a 43-16 lead into the half, but the Buffs had already shown that the dumpster fire that was the second half in Corvallis was an aberration and not necessarily a regression back to the mean for this Colorado team.
If it sounds like that was way too detailed of a recap for the first half it's because that's how it felt to watch it. Even with a lopsided score, it didn't feel like the normal Buffs blowout. It's hard to explain with a scoreboard that so desperately wants to call me a liar, but this was a Colorado team that was ready to compete and make plays. A team that wouldn't give up.
Connor Wood's two interceptions hurt, three Will Oliver field goals that could have instead been touchdowns may have kept it closer, but in actuality Oregon's talent was easily the biggest difference maker here. This Ducks team is far and away faster, stronger and quicker than nearly every other collegiate football program and it's really going to show against a young, growing team like these Buffaloes.
It's hard to do after a blowout like this one, but it's a lot easier to say the future looks bright after watching that game, as weird as it may be. The yearly Oregon massacre is over and done with. Onward and upward.