The University of Colorado Buffaloes snapped their four-game losing streak Saturday afternoon, trouncing the Arizona Wildcats 34-0. Colorado earned their first FBS win of 2021, improving to 2-4 overall and 1-2 in Pac-12 play. Arizona’s losing streak continues, falling to 0-6 overall and 0-3 in Pac-12 play.
The story of Saturday’s game was Colorado’s defense, getting their first conference shut out in 16 years. Senior linebacker Nate Landman and senior linebacker Carson Wells wreaked havoc on the Arizona offense. Wells led the team with four tackles for a loss, on top of an electrifying 50-yard interception, which resulted in a touchdown. Landman touched on the dominating shutout win.
“It’s huge, and that’s our goal,” Landman said. “As long as our offense puts up three points, our mentality is that we put in a shutout, we win the game.”
Colorado did put up at least three points, 34 to be exact. The Buffs’ offense exploded in the second half after a shaky first half. Freshman quarterback Brendon Lewis broke out in a big way, passing for 248 yards on 12 of 19 attempts. That included touchdown passes to sophomore wide receivers Brenden Rice and Dimitri Stanley. Rice talked about the adversity this team has faced and how they have overcome it.
“I mean, just going through adversity, you gotta love it,” Rice said. “You’ve seen some of the greats go through it, and that’s what really brings you back on top. That adversity builds teams and builds that foundation, and winning’s always good.”
Arizona’s woes continue as their losing streak extends to 18 games, spanning back to when they beat the Buffaloes in Oct. 2019. The Wildcats never got anything going, amassing 280 total yards. Freshman quarterbacks Gunner Cruz and Will Plummer saw action, but Colorado’s defense held them to pedestrian days on the field.
A 6-0 game through two quarters, it seemed like it was going to be the same old story once again for the Buffs, but the dagger came halfway through the third quarter, when freshman safety Trevor Woods blocked an Arizona punt, scooped it up, and returned it 36 yards for the touchdown. The following series would result in the Wells pick-six, and Colorado would take control after that. Woods spoke after the game about the play and the impact he could make.
“There aren’t a lot of ways I can impact the game at the moment, but that’s one of the few ways I can right now,” Woods said. It’s important to note that Colorado’s special teams’ play has been outstanding all season, especially the leg of junior punter Josh Watts. Watts has been a steady leg all season, and today was no different, recording his career-long punt of 64 yards.
Head coach Karl Dorrell mentioned that subtle changes were being made to the team, specifically the offense. The offense did look better, especially at the quarterback position with Lewis.
“I think his body of work was pretty good today, but he still held on to the ball a couple of times,” Dorrell said. “He always takes care of the football, but I’m trying to make him more efficient with his legs. If there is something that’s not there, give me something with your legs, get down, and we’ll go onto the next play.”
With this win, Colorado’s confidence is back, and they look to carry this momentum into next week when they travel to the Bay Area to take on the California Golden Bears in Berkeley.
Contact CU Independent Sports Staff Writer Jason Marks at firstname.lastname@example.org