After a devastating 54-7 loss against the now No. 12 Washington Huskies, the 1-10 Colorado Buffaloes will be back at Folsom Field for the season’s final game. This Saturday, the Buffs will take on No. 14 Utah who are 8-3 overall and 6-2 in PAC-12 play.
This past weekend, the Buffaloes traveled up north to face the Washington Huskies at Alaska Airlines field. Despite knowing the challenge ahead, the Buffs seemed unprepared. As opposed to starting off strong and gradually seeing the players fatigue, the first two quarters of the game were instead the ugliest.
The Huskies hit the ground running, scoring three touchdowns in their first three possessions of the game to take a 21-0 lead over Colorado. It seemed enough damage had been done, but it only got worse.
The final two minutes of the half were disastrous. The Buffs gave Washington a safety on a bad snap preceding a punt and, less than a minute later, Washington scored another touchdown. Within the final fifteen seconds, Colorado fumbled the ball on the final kickoff of the half. Quickly, the Huskies recovered the ball and made a 33-yard field goal for a 33-0 lead over the Buffs.
Following the half, Washington scored two more touchdowns, further embarrassing Colorado. In the final minutes of the third quarter, Colorado finally scored a touchdown putting themselves on the scoreboard 47-7. In the fourth quarter, Washington scored their final touchdown and finished the game at 54-7.
Although a catastrophic loss, the Buffs were able to prevent a scoreless game due to Montana Lemonious-Craig’s 69-yard touchdown catch. Colorado has seen many double-digit margins this season, but this game had the largest at 47 points.
“We wanted to run the football and win this game in the trenches,” said Head Coach Mike Sanford. “But hats off to Washington. They were good up front and that led to us not capitalizing on the opportunities that we had. That’s a really good team. Right now, they’re playing as good of football as anybody in our conference.”
Looking forward to this week’s game, Sanford turned his attention to the seniors.
“[This week] is about these 18 seniors that are gonna walk,” said Sanford. “I think it’s important for us as a staff, us as an entire group of players and support staff, everybody, to just rally behind these players and do everything in our power to make sure we are at our best.”
This season has been anything but smooth sailing for Colorado and the final stretch has been comprised of top-25 teams. Closing out the season with Utah is going to be a challenge considering the Buffs have lost to the Utes repeatedly in the last five years.
“Utah has been the model of continuity,” said Sanford. “It is a testament to what building a program and sustaining a program looks like. They’re physical and violent, they’ve corned the market in the Pac-12 of physicality, and we are excited for that challenge.”
Kyle Whittingham has been with the Utes since 1994 and is entering his 18th season as the head coach. Whittingham is currently the longest-tenured coach in the Pac-12 conference and the second-longest tenured for the same school in the NCAA.
Utah’s defense is ranked No.1 in the Pac-12 . Colorado’s offense is ranked last, which is only going to add more pressure to the Buffs’ defense. This season, the Buffs have had 23 fumbles, 12 of which have been recovered by the opposing team, and 22 turnovers. Colorado had a 3-1 fumbles-lost against Washington. It is essential that Colorado’s offense is more coordinated and detail-oriented when in possession. Doing this should take some pressure off of an already overworked defensive line.
Even though the threat is high offensively, Colorado has a better chance defensively. Although the Buffs are still ranked last defensively, Utah is only ranked No. 6 offensively, putting them in the middle of the Pac-12. Defensively, Colorado has a pattern.
Whether it’s leaving the wide receiver uncovered or creating an open path for the running back, it is consistent in their miscues. If Colorado can keep a close defensive line and actually pay attention to each Utah player on offense, there may be a chance to prevent any touchdowns that are served on a silver platter.
Closing out the season, Colorado faces off with Utah this Saturday at 2 p.m. MT at Folsom Field. The game will be televised by the Pac-12 network.
Contact CU Independent Staff Writer Malaina Humphreys at email@example.com.