Head coach Mike MacIntyre’s first Rocky Mountain Showdown leading the CU football team ended on a high note on Sunday as the Buffaloes ran away with a 41-27 victory over the CSU Rams under junior quarterback Connor Wood.
MacIntyre considered the game a great success for the team.
“They just kept fighting and playing through it,” he said. “I was really impressed with what they did and their resilience. They fought tremendously.”
After CSU punted from its own 49-yard line at the 13:26 mark in the first quarter, CU monopolized quickly on offense. 45 seconds and two plays later, the Buffs scored with an 82-yard pass by Wood to junior wide receiver Paul Richardson, bringing the score to 7-0. The play was recorded as the second longest pass in the season opener and the sixth longest overall in Colorado football history.
CSU’s offense continued to struggle against the Buff’s defense throughout the majority of the first half, only getting within 21 yards of a touchdown during the next two possessions.
The Buffs got the ball back with seven minutes left in the half and used the next 6:24 to move the ball to the Colorado State five-yard line.
The Buffs moved the ball well, rushing and passing as Wood spread the field with plenty of throwing options. They were forced to resort to a field goal on a fourth down at the five-yard line with just over 30 seconds left in the quarter. Junior kicker Will Oliver completed the 22-yard field goal to bring the score to 10-0, Colorado.
Colorado State was only able to fit two more plays in the first quarter, but their quarterback, Garrett Grayson, managed to get them to Colorado’s 27-yard line before time expired with a 40-yard pass to Joe Hansley.
The Rams opened up the second quarter close to the end zone, but CU’s defense held them off and forced them to a field goal. Jared Roberts completed the 39-yard field goal to get the Rams on the board and bring the score to 10-3.
The Buffs ended a four-possession dry spell for both teams with an 18-yard pass to junior wide receiver D.D. Goodson for a touchdown. CU led 17-3 with just under three minutes left in the half.
CSU wouldn’t back down, scoring on their next possession with a seven-yard Kapri Bibbs rush. They closed the gap to 17-10.
CU managed to move the ball to the 24-yard line in the last minute of the half, giving Oliver the chance to try a 41-yard field goal. He made it, bringing the score 20-10.
The Rams worked quickly at the start of the second half with a 74-yard touchdown by Hansley on their first possession. This pivotal play brought the score to 20-17, CU still leading.
CU had the next opportunity to score when Oliver completed a 44-yard field goal with five minutes left in the quarter; 23-17, Buffs.
CSU responded two plays later with a touchdown following an 84-yard punt return, giving CSU its first and only lead of the game, 24-23. The quarter ended two possessions later.
The Buffs regained possession at the start of the fourth, which ended with a career-high 52-yard field goal by Oliver to bring the score to 26-24.
On CSU’s next possession, Hansley committed a fatal error by fumbling a pass, which was recovered for a touchdown by junior Greg Henderson, giving CU a 33-24 edge over the Rams.
The Rams attempted to close the gap with a 30-yard field goal by Roberts with just under four minutes left, but they could not overcome CU’s lead as it grew larger.
In the first play of the next possession, Wood completed a 75-yard pass to Richardson for another touchdown. Wood and Goodson combined to complete the two-point conversion, bringing the final score to 41-27.
“We were preparing all week and hearing things, and to finally come through with a victory is a great feeling,” freshman offensive linebacker Addison Gillam said.
Contact CU Independent Staff Writer Alissa Noe at Alissa.firstname.lastname@example.org.