Editor’s note: This article was updated to correct the name of outside linebacker Jordan Domineck.
The University of Colorado Buffaloes lost 16-28 to the No. 23 UCLA Bruins in Los Angeles on Saturday night. After the defeat, CU Boulder now has a 4-4 (1-4 Pac-12) record in the 2023 season. Despite a 3-1 start to the year, the Buffs have now lost four of their past five games.
It was once again a tale of two halves for the Buffs as they leave Southern California with a loss. Despite a two-interception game from two-way-star Travis Hunter, Colorado couldn’t string together a consistent performance, and come away on the losing end of another tough game in their already strenuous 2023 schedule.
“I’m proud of these young men. They hung in there as long as they could,” said head coach Deion Sanders in a post game press conference. “[But] we got to a lot better, not only offensively, defensively, as well as coaching the game. And I’ll take full responsibility for that.”
Colorado had a much better start against the top 25 ranked Bruins at the Rose Bowl. The defense forced four turnovers in the first half as the Buffs were only down by one point going into the break. In spite of the significant help by the defense, the Buffs offensive line continued their struggles giving up a total of seven sacks, limiting any momentum on offense.
After a tight first half, the Bruins were able to pull away with ease coming out of the locker room. By the final whistle UCLA had 487 total yards compared to 255 for the Buffs, while also running for 180 more yards than CU. After a tremendous start from a defensive squad that has struggled to find a groove all season, Colorado couldn’t keep UCLA quiet as the night went on.
“I know everybody is doing their best,” Shedeur Sanders said. “We just weren’t on the same page tonight, I’d say, overall. We just have to watch the film and get better.”
Colorado quarterback Shedeur Sanders had one of his most difficult games in a Buffs’ uniform, as he was sacked seven times on Saturday. The transfer from Jackson State went 27/43 for 217 yards and a touchdown, with the pressure of the UCLA defense forcing tough plays and missed passes all night.
After a hit in the second half, Sanders was seen limping throughout the rest of the game, and was asked about it in the postgame press conference.
“Yeah I’m cool, just a little banged up right now,” Shedeur Sanders said. “That’s just what happens after games when you’re playing against tough opponents and a great defensive rush.”
Despite the continued troubles facing the offensive line, Sanders was still able to find a total of nine receivers over the course of the game. Graduate transfer Xavier Weaver caught five passes for 86 yards and transfer Jimmy Horn Jr. had five catches for 35 yards and the lone touchdown of the game. Freshman Kaleb Mathis also caught four passes for 15 yards in his first collegiate action for the Buffs.
Travis Hunter once again put on a unique performance in Los Angeles on Saturday night. The transfer from Jackson State grabbed two interceptions in the first half, while also collecting four total tackles and catching three passes on the offensive side of the ball.
“Travis is Travis. I knew he was going to bounce back,” Coach Sanders said. “He prepared and ready today, and he gave you a Travis Hunter performance.”
Charles Kelly and Colorado’s defense seemed to have made meaningful strides on Saturday as they held UCLA to only 54 yards in the first quarter, and had forced three turnovers by the end of the first half. Regardless, the Buffs couldn’t continue that level of play, and slowly allowed the Bruins to go for 265 total yards and find the end zone three times in the second half.
Coming into Saturday as second on the team in tackles, senior safety Trevor Woods had a game high 12 total tackles for Colorado. Buffalo defensive transfers LaVonta Bentley and Jordan Domineck also had a stellar game, as the duo combined for 17 total tackles and three sacks against the Bruin offense. Shilo Sanders had four tackles and a forced fumble, but was ejected from the game after a targeting call in the second quarter.
“He was having a heck of a game,” coach Sanders said. “He’s one of the leaders on the back side of the defense. That was a tremendous blow for us.”
The Buffs were never able to establish their running attack against UCLA, as none of their four running backs reached more than 15 yards on the night. Freshman Dylan Edwards led the team with only four attempts, but Colorado only had a total of 38 rushing yards as a team, and never looked to try to make a difference with the rush.
Colorado started their matchup against nationally ranked UCLA with a strong effort, able to score early and forced mistakes from their opponent. But as the game went on, the holes in the team really started to show, and they got beat by a team that just played better than them.
“We’re trying to win, period,” coach Sanders said. “A lot of the mistakes, we know we can do better than that.”
With the 12-point-loss on Saturday night, the University of Colorado Buffaloes have now lost four of their past five games. Through the first eight games of the 2023 season, CU is now 4-4 (1-4 Pac-12), and are currently eighth in the Pac-12 conference. Despite the recent hardship, Colorado still has a difficult schedule remaining, each of the teams with the same or better record than the Buffs.
Colorado will return to action next week as they host the Oregon State Beavers at Folsom Field on Saturday, Nov. 4. The game kicking off at 8pm MST and live on ESPN.
Contact Assistant Sports Editor Eli Gregorski at email@example.com