Yes, the University of Colorado football team lost Saturday night. The Buffs lost to Oregon 41-24. CU deserved to lose, there’s no doubt about it. Colorado was outplayed on both sides of the ball. That being said, this CU team could have won. This was a winnable game. This could have been the team that knocked off Oregon. This could have been the team that secured the biggest win in the program’s recent history. Tonight, CU had so many chances to become the team that all Buffs fans prayed it would become –but it didn’t.
In its past four games against Oregon the Buffs were blown out before the game even really started. The Buffs haven’t been within 26 points going into half time since entering the Pac-12. But this year was different. This year Colorado truly thought it had a chance to win, not just compete.
“We always knew we could compete with [Oregon],” junior defensive back Tedric Thompson said. “No disrespect towards them, but we don’t look at them as like a super great team. We feel like we can beat them. That’s how we feel like every great team. So when it was 17-17 we felt like we should’ve been up to be honest with you. So we weren’t even in the locker room patting each other on the back. It was more as like why is this team tied with us. We shouldn’t be tied. That’s the kind of attitude we had.”
Thompson is right. Going into to half time CU could have had a bigger lead. A couple plays here and there could have changed everything for the Buffs. A few more Sefo Liufau completions and this may have been a very different article. Without a Philip Lindsay fumble and the game might have turned out completely different. If the Buffs had picked up on Oregon’s wide receiver reverse late in the game they might of have won.
In spite of that, the Buffs went into halftime tied 17-17 after playing an impressive half. Liufau had thrown for 192 yards and the offense was moving, and more importantly putting up points. CU’s defense, while not containing Oregon by any means, had stepped up when it had to, specifically on the Thompson interception in the end zone. All in all it was a good half for Colorado, but then it all fell apart.
In the second half, Liufau began to feel the Oregon pressure and missed more throws than he had in the first half. The defense, which had held so far, was annihilated by the Ducks running game. Oregon rushed for 212 yards in the second half.
Even with the Ducks controlling possession, CU still had a chance. In the fourth quarter Liufau rushed for a touchdown on a read option to make it a seven-point game, but the defense couldn’t hold.
This was a winnable game for the Buffs. For the first time since entering the Pac-12, Colorado was a legitimate competition to Oregon. The Buffs however, just weren’t ready. There were still too many small mistakes holding the team back.
“Man we could beat Oregon,” Thomspon said. “We can beat anyone else in the Pac  we play against. We just gotta fix the little things. That’s the kind of mindset we have … It always be the littlest things that beat us like not getting the right guy, not getting the right call.”
There is something to be said about this game though: the Buffs finally competed against Oregon. This team truly believed it could win despite the evidence that said otherwise, and it proved it was right in that belief on the field regardless of the loss.
The faces in the press conference told the story plain as day. Pure frustration. That was the look on the face of every Buff player and coach coming off the field. The frustration didn’t come from the knowledge that the Buffs had lost a game yet again, but that they once again had played a game they should have won, a game that would have made a statement. They showed progress but at this point head coach Mike MacIntyre is done saying losses are progress.
“The kids battled extremely hard,” MacIntyre said. “I definitely thought we could win this game and we had some opportunities to do it. … Our kids definitely believe they can win. I don’t know when the last time it was 17-17 at half with Colorado Oregon; but in no way shape or form do we take any kind of moral victory.”
That pretty much sums up the Buffs’ night, and for that matter, the last two seasons. The team showed progress and looked impressive at times. Most importantly CU believed it could win, that it could find a way to pull out the signature victory that so many have been hoping for. When Buff fans look back on this game they will not remember the score at half time but they will remember that the Buffs had a chance to win and again didn’t capitalize.
Contact CU Independent Sports Writer Sean Kelly at Sean.email@example.com.