Continuing the season’s theme, the Colorado Buffaloes had an embarrassing home loss to the UCLA Bruins on Saturday afternoon. The game ended with a final score of 45-17, leaving the Buffs just a step behind the rest of the teams in the country.
After a humiliating first three games, Colorado came into their game on Saturday against undefeated UCLA as underdogs again. The Buffs’ main change was to start freshman quarterback Owen McCown, who saw his first collegiate action last weekend in Minnesota. McCown started the game off well, going five for six on completions and finding his open receivers.
McCown played a decent game, finishing with 258 yards on 26/42, throwing an interception in the third and a touchdown in the fourth. But McCown’s lack of experience certainly showed, as he struggled to find his targets while Bruin defenders pressured him, which led to his 62% passing percentage.
Referring to how his quarterback played, head coach Karl Dorrell said that he was encouraged by the freshman’s play and thought he kept his poise throughout the game.
“Overall, he played okay,” said Dorrell. “I don’t know if it was good enough to win, but I saw some positive moments.”
Similarly to their previous games, CU kept the game close in the first half: down only 21-10. They held a great advantage with possession, almost double that of UCLA. In his postgame press conference, Dorrell said he was happy not to turn the ball over on CU’s first possession.
One of the Buffs’ best offensive weapons, senior tight end Brady Russell, went down with a leg injury in the third quarter. Russell leads the Buffs in receiving yards after he collected four receptions for 33 yards in his time on the field.
The second half told a different story, Colorado was outscored 24-7, but it felt worse as the Bruins put together quick scoring drives down the field, and CU was never able to get their feet under themselves, only stopping the Bruins once on a fourth down.
“We didn’t do the things we needed to do in the second half,” said Dorrell after the game.
He returned to his comments in previous weeks, again mentioning that he liked what he saw in practice, but it hasn’t been replicated on the weekends.
The Buffs’ defense couldn’t hold rigid, as UCLA was able to charge into the endzone on six occasions, their offense going for 515 yards. Many of the Bruin’s extended plays came on passes down the middle, leaving CU defenders scrambling to find their assignments. Stopping the run was also demanding for the Colorado defense, as they let one running back score on three separate occasions for UCLA.
“The rushing game has been our nemesis all year,” said Dorrell postgame.
A simple summary of the contest could be shown by the Bruin’s 8.2 yards per play compared to an average of 4.2 yards for the Buffs. Colorado struggled to make big plays on offense while simultaneously giving up big plays on defense.
In their postgame press conference, seniors Frank Fillip and Josh Chandler-Semedo reflected on the past month of football.
“There’s nothing you can do but keep pushing forward. We just have to stay the course,” they said.
Students’ displeasure could easily be seen as the majority of the student section left during halftime or the third quarter.
The Buffaloes look to end their losing streak as they continue conference play next week as they fly to Tucson to take on the University of Arizona Wildcats. The matchup will be on Saturday, Oct. 1, and the kickoff will be at 7:30 pm MST.