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The University of Colorado Buffaloes move to 1-0 on the season with a 44-7 trouncing of the Colorado State Rams. The Rocky Mountain Showdown was the first game of the season, and a couple key things could be taken from the game.
Beyond the Physical
The mental aspect of the game is becoming more and more ingrained in the Colorado Buffaloes. Once a team becomes mentally prepared and mentally tough, results on the field are much easier to come by.
Nothing should prove this more than the 44-7 end result. But there’s something else that shows this mental toughness.
This was the biggest margin of victory in the Rocky Mountain Showdown since 1956. It was only the team’s first game of the season. Senior quarterback Sefo Liufau returned quickly from a nasty injury. Yet, it wasn’t enough. After the game, players and coaches talked about what the team could improve.
The four fumbles are obviously the main thing to enhance. Ball security was the thing players and coaches agreed on. Colorado also repeated the “We have to go 1-0 every week” mentality. Even after a blowout win, the team doesn’t take it for granted or change their outlook.
“Our coaches tell us to take it one game at a time,” said sophomore tailback Kyle Evans. “We beat CSU in a big way. . . they’re our rivals but come Monday, we get ready for Idaho State and Michigan the week after that.”
Fast Times at the University of Colorado
Anyone following the game could immediately feel the change in the offense. This game isn’t a good bookmark, considering CSU’s inexperience on the football field in general, but it gave the fans a small taste of what to expect.
This new offensive tempo means that personnel changes are going to be few and far between. No position is as affected as the running back position.
Colorado again has a crowded backfield. Having this many players may be detrimenta…or it could be a godsend. If the team needs to go at a fast tempo, switching backs between possessions could keep the running game engaged and working efficiently.
Most notably, from this game, junior tailback Phillip Lindsay took the bulk of the running duties. This is interesting, considering that Lindsay seemed to gall out of favor near the end of last season. It was an up-and-down showing for the running back. While the stats jump out at you, 20 carries for 95 yards and two scores, his ball security was a hard pill to swallow.
The mixing of carries by these backs will be a fun thing to watch, as long as the running game produces. If the team flounders on the ground, Liafau is going to have to throw more. Throwing more leads to a lot of mistakes.
The Bucking Buffalo Defense
The turnaround Jim Leavitt gave to this defense was immediate. With expectations where they were at, the Buffs still exceeded them, in part due to Colorado State committing four turnovers this game. The Buffs forced two fumbles while snatching up two interceptions.
Thorough play from all levels of the defense helped achieve this goal. The front seven dominated at the line. Pressure constantly got to whoever the quarterback was. Three quarterback hurries were recorded, as well as two sacks and five tackles for loss.
Senior defensive backs benefitted most from this, as Tedric Thompson and Chidobe Awuzie both came down with interceptions. It was clear on both throws that the pass wasn’t clean.
Colorado State doesn’t measure up to most of the teams on the Buffs’ schedule, but their offensive line is an experienced one, and one that has played a lot of time together. This was good practice for games to come and a welcome sign of improvement.