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You Can’t Stop The Rain: Breaching the Beaver Dam

Discussion in 'CU Buffs Newsroom' started by absinthe, Sep 28, 2013.

  1. absinthe

    absinthe Ambitious but rubbish. Club Member Junta Member

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    You Can’t Stop The Rain: Breaching the Beaver Dam



    “Adversity is the state in which man most easily becomes acquainted with himself.”

    – John Wooden

    Sometimes life goes by so quickly, you have to stop to blink every now and again. That is the funny thing about momentum. It is so easy to get caught up in the flow of things that we can lose conscious awareness of the moment. To “stop and smell the roses”, if you will. This rings especially true when the momentum brings an infectious, good feeling. In contrast to what Colorado Buffaloes Football fans have seen over the recent past, The Herd has every reason to be excited about the program’s first 2-0 start in the last five years. With new Head Coach Mike MacIntyre at the helm, the Buffs are not only once again competitive, but every bit as entertaining. In many ways, the beginning of the 2013-2014 campaign has been like watching a great movie on a rainy day. Isn’t that just the problem with a good movie though? Sometimes you get so sucked in, you lose track and burn the popcorn.

    The Buffs were set to play on September 14th at home against Fresno State, when Mother Nature decided otherwise. At a time when the community needed help, the University opted not to draw from the efforts of those tending to those in need. Instead, they opted to lend a hand and served food to those who had been displaced from their homes, when in fact many of them were in the same situation. It is the little things in life that matter, the subtleties. Every moment gives birth to a new learning experience, if it is looked upon as such. Buffs fans were more than disappointed to see only the third game in CU history be postponed. However the level of competition between the first two opponents and the rest on the schedule are incrementally different. If there is one thing I have learned from watching Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos this season, it is that, when you combine talent and skill with extreme preparation, you can achieve true greatness. When the Buffs take the field their main goal is to win the game every single time, as is the same for any other team, in any other sport. Athletes want to win, Coaches want to win, Fans want to win. The old clichés, if you win in practice then the games take care of themselves; if you put in the work then you will reap the rewards. While the Buffs’ quick start was every bit as indicative of the work they put in to make the shift from where the program stood at the end of last season, they now take the next step.

    When CU (2-0, 0-0) takes the field in Corvallis against OSU (3-1, 1-0) on Saturday afternoon, they will not have played a football game in 20 days. They take on an opponent who has played four games compared to their two. It is not only CU’s first road game of the season, but their first Pac 12 conference game of the season as well. They will have not played an FBS opponent in 28 days, yet travel to an unfamiliar hostile environment to face one of the most dynamic passing offenses in the entire country, including the leading passer in the NCAA. If you have to be challenged, you would rather it be in the beginning of the season when the team can bond and grow together from their experience. While a game against a talented Fresno State team would have been a good warm up for the Buffs, they now have the opportunity to test their abilities to not only overcome the adversity, but to learn a very valuable lesson at the same time. It is a crash course in maturity and preparation that a coach can only ask for.

    Having a great game plan, sticking to it and dictating the flow of the game has not fit the description of the Colorado Football team as it concerns In-Conference games over the past few years. However, the Buffs are on the right track and await kickoff of what could be the a great rivalry for years to come. Oregon State remains the only Pac-12 team that Colorado has not played since joining the Pac-12 conference in 2011 (CU played Cal in a non-league play agreement and it was not counted in conference standings). OSU owns a 3-2 series lead against CU, but the two have not played in 25 years. When the Buffs and the Beavers matched up on September 24th, 1983, CU won easily, 38-14, and advanced to a 2-1 record. In doing so, it was the first time in five years that Colorado was over .500 after the first three games. Until this year, the Buffs have not started a season 2-0 since in 2008 in which they went on to begin 3-0, also five years ago. The game has completely changed and the world is a much different place than it was in 1983. The Buffs and Beavers are now conference rivals about to write a new chapter in their histories. This has been the season of new beginnings for Coach Mac and his team and what better way to start conference play than creating the story from which a rivalry is built on. CU has had a lead in both games they have played this season and let their opponents back in the games both times. In all likelihood, this will not be one of those affairs. In all four of Oregon State’s games this year, the final decision has never been more than a margin of four. The Buffs will need to dig in, stick their horns out, and charge because this matinee has all the makings of an old fashioned shootout.



    IF CU WINS, OFFENSIVELY THEY WILL…

    “Rain. The rain could be heavy at times. High near 64. Breezy, with a south wind 6 to 16 mph increasing to 16 to 26 mph in the afternoon. Winds could gust as high as 39 mph. Chance of precipitation is 100%. New precipitation amounts between three quarters and one inch possible.” - Forecast from NOAA.gov for September 28th, 2013 in Corvallis, Oregon.

    Establish a running game. Colorado has yet to assert the run as consistent part of the offense yet. That is due in large part to a hamstring injury that TB Christian Powell suffered last year and re-aggravated in the CSU game and again the Central Arkansas game, according to Coach Mac. When asked about Powell’s status for the game, Mac said earlier this week that, “He’s 100 percent. But hey, he’s been 100 percent before”. Powell and TB Tony Jones combined for 28 carries for 69 yards on the ground against CSU. The next week they improved their efficiency but Powell was re-injured earlier in the game than the week before combining with Jones for 18 carries for 80 yards. However, TB Donta Abron, who has seen a fair amount of action in Powell’s absences thus far, carried the ball eight times for nine yards against UCA. The best defense will be the Buffs offense. Considering the conditions, if they can control the clock and keep OSU’s high-powered offense off the field it will go a long way if they can build up a lead. That, of course, starts in the run game. To do that they will have to go up against a Beaver’s rush defense that is very inconsistent giving up 150+ yards on the ground twice already this year and not allowing more than 75 yards in their other two games. CU will go up against a very talented front four, once again led by their DE’s, Dylan Wynn and Scott Crichton. It is the second game in a row where offensive line play will be a key to victory for the Buffaloes. They have to do a good job providing QB Connor Wood with a pocket and time to throw the ball. Against Central Arkansas CU gave up four sacks and faces a team that has eleven combined through their first four games. The matchup of the afternoon in my eyes is with CU’s star WR Paul Richardson who averages the most yards per game in the country thus far. PRich will draw the assignment of Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Week last week, CB Steven Nelson. Nelson has an interception in each of his first four games; he is tied for the national lead in that statistical category. The chemistry between Richardson and Wood will certainly be tested on the road as Oregon State’s first day of classes is on Monday. Expect a heavily attended, loud environment, Reser Stadium has a capacity of 45,674. This may be the first game Richardson does not eclipse the 200 yard mark on the day. I expect to see a good game out of a guy like Nelson Spruce who is one of four, top 11 receivers in the Pac-12 conference that is featured in this matchup. CU averages 9.0 yards per catch and OSU allows 9.2 yards per catch. With that being said, I could easily see this being breakout game for one of the receivers lower on the depth chart, potentially WR Devin Ross. It remains to be seen how much trust Coach Mac really has in Ross to this point. The other big thing you have to look for is Connor Wood’s composure and poise. If he can maintain an even demeanor on the road then the Buffs may surpass most expectations this season.



    IF CU WINS, DEFENSIVELY THEY WILL…

    Create Turnovers. In a statement you would have to have been crazy to make last year, defense has been CU’s catalyst for success thus far. Three defensive touchdowns, breaking their defensive scoring dry streak with their first fumble recovery for a TD since 2011 and their first interception return for a TD since 2009. CU’s three interceptions against Central Arkansas tied their total from all of last season. Oregon State’s offense is talented and there are no two ways about it. It starts under Center with 6’5” 220lbs, QB Sean Mannion, the leading passer in the country. The Beavers have completed 137 passes, the highest total in the country. His favorite weapon is battling it out with Paul Richardson for acclaim atop statistical receiving categories in the country, WR Brandin Cooks. In their first four games Mannion and Cooks have hooked up 43 times for 7 touchdowns. Cooks leads the country in receiving yards with 639 entering the game. CB Greg Henderson will most likely get his assignment. Henderson has two defensive touchdowns himself entering the game and will lead a secondary against a deep receiving core including WR Richard Mullaney. At 6’3”, Mullaney the Sophomore will give CB Kenneth Crawley an important job. Colorado’s secondary will play a pivotal role in this ball game. They will have to limit Mannion’s options through the air as much as they can. Colorado allows 77 yards a game on the ground and their front seven’s task of shutting down the run will be a lot easier without OSU’s leading rusher TB Storm Woods, out indefinitely with a concussion. Presumably TB Terron Ward will get the start at Tailback for the Beavers on Saturday. Ward has 76 yards and two touchdowns in four games for Oregon State this season. Expect Addison Gillam and Derrick Webb to be able to stop the run. If they are not able to, CU could be in for a long day as OSU has won 26 of its last 31 games in which a Tailback rushes for 100 yards-plus. DT’s Nate Bonsu and Josh Tupou haven’t been getting a lot of recognition but they have certainly played a factor in stopping the run this far.



    CU’s Pass Offense v. OSU’s Pass Defense = Advantage CU.
    Despite only playing two games WR Paul Richardson still ranks 8th in the country in receiving yards but will encounter a tough matchup with CB Steven Nelson. QB Connor Wood should be able to spread the ball out against a defense that allows 9.2 yards per attempt through the air. WR Tyler McCulloch had three big first down plays for the Buffs against Central Arkansas. At times it seemed he was Wood’s safety valve and aided the Buffs moving down the field. They had five three and outs against UCA, and they will not be able to subject their defense to being on the field too much against OSU’s talented offense. It all depends on how well Wood can play on the road. He has blown away expectations in Coach Mac’s simpler style of offense and hopefully that works to CU’s benefit Saturday afternoon. WR D.D. Goodson could have a very big game, if CU is moving the ball down the field. The ran him the ball on the first possession against UCA, so expect to see Goodson used in a versatile format. If it is as windy and it rains as much as the forecast calls for then this could turn into a sloppy game.
    MATCHUP TO WATCH: Junior WR Paul Richardson v. Junior CB Steven Nelson
    END OF THE DAY: This will be the game that shows whether or not the Buffs can hang in the Pac-12 this season. OSU was ranked in the Top 25 for a reason, but there is something special happening at the University of Colorado right now. I think Wood holds up under pressure and plays the role of Game Manager amidst the rough conditions.

    CU’s Rush Offense v. OSU’s Run Defense = Even.

    It all depends on the health of TB Christian Powell. He showed flashes of a consistent #1 TB, hopefully health won’t hamper him. I think Coach Mac will make more of an effort to run the ball in this game more than the previous two. It will make for an interesting game if the teams can’t throw the ball because running efficiently will make all the difference. With gusts up to 40mph, kicking field goals may well be out of the question.
    MATCHUP TO WATCH: Colorado’s Front 5 v. OSU’s Front 7.
    END OF THE DAY: “His mudda was a mudda.” “His mudda was a mudda?” “His fadda was a mudda.”… This could get ugly if the weather is that bad. The Buffs didn’t run the ball all that much against UCA, but when they did, it was moderately efficiently. They have to find their legs. The offensive body can’t move without legs. CU has to go over 100 yards on the ground to stay competitive and 120-plus to win for sure.

    OSU’s Pass Offense v. CU’s Pass Defense = Advantage OSU.

    QB Sean Mannion will provide the most difficult matchup to date for a secondary that has played well above expectations this year. CB’s Greg Henderson & Kenneth Crawley will need to play well no matter what. If this game goes to the ground, it favors the Buffs. It is vital that they don’t make any stupid mistakes on the back end. It would be nice if the Buffs could provide a pass rush. They have four sacks through their first two games. DE Chidera Uzo-Diribe will need to step up and be a leader on the road against a talented team sure to use the hard count plenty of times.
    MATCHUPS TO WATCH: CB Greg Henderson v. WR Brandin Cooks
    END OF THE DAY: OSU will pass the ball no matter what, they have no choice. In bad conditions, I see the Buffs playing well defensively. Partly because I believe Coach Mac will have them ready, but I also think having just lived through a torrential downpour for a week and a 100 year flood, a little drizzle probably won’t bother them. I like the Buffs in this matchup if the wind becomes a factor. Mac preaches turnovers and they seem to be up to the task so far.

    OSU’s Rush Offense v. CU’s Rush Defense = Advantage CU.

    OSU will be without starting TB Storm Woods out indefinitely at least another week with a concussion. 5’7” 202lbs, Junior TB Terron Ward will get the start with 76 yards and two touchdowns CU held CSU to 94 yards on the ground on 28 carries and looked markedly better in the run stoppage department. Then they followed up that performance by holding UCA to 60 yards on the ground on 20 carries. DT’s Josh Tupou & Nate Bonsu have been a big factor stopping the run so far and they will play a crucial role in a slop game. LB Derrick Webb played well, but did not have an eye-popping performance to say the least. The Buffs will need more out of him if they want to be competitive this year in a very talented Pac 12 Conference. True Freshman MLB Addison Gillam leads the team with 22 tackles and has filled a much needed position at Middle Linebacker. He will have no problem taking care of Ward.

    MATCHUP TO WATCH: DT’s Josh Tupou & Nate Bonsu v. TB Terron Ward
    END OF THE DAY: CU owns this matchup all day long. Losing your starting running back in a game like this is a big blow. Don’t be surprised to see a strip or two and maybe a scoop and score from the Buffs D.

    CU’s Special Teams v. UCA’s Special Teams = Advantage UCA

    CU’s Punt and Kickoff coverage units had huge gaffes against both UCA and CSU. Coach Mac took the blame after the game but it comes down to tackling and on both the long return plays by CSU, Colorado had players down inside the 20 yard line. So it’s not a matter of getting there, it’s a matter of making the tackles and I’m sure that will come into play at some point in this game as well. I don’t expect Special Teams to play a big role in a windy game but a Special Teams mistake either way could cost either team the game. KR Marques Mosley who finished last season 20th in the NCAA in kick return average and second in the Pac 12, only has one kickoff return this year. Coach Mac said this week he like Ryan Seversen back deep. Getting the feeling from he the he likes to play for good possession rather than risk making a dumb play and turning the ball over.
    MATCHUP TO WATCH: CU’s Kickoff & Punt Coverage Units v. ANYONE
    END OF THE DAY: This game could very well come down to a play made on special teams. It would be a shame if Colorado cannot shore up their kickoff and punt coverage units this week. Darragh O’Neil will need to be on his A-Game if it ends up being a ground and pound, slop type of a game.



    SHAMELESS PREDICTION:

    You would have never caught me saying this several months ago, but this is a WIN. If the conditions are as forecasted then don’t be surprised to see a lower scoring game than most would think. I predicted on my show 38-35 before I knew about the conditions. Now I think CU wins 24-20. They will get their first rushing touchdown, probably plural. PRich still will have at least one TD and over 100 yards, he’s just that good. Buffs are 3-0. Prove that they belong in the Pac-12 and are ready to compete in one of the nation’s toughest conferences.



    SHOULDER TO SHOULDER!

    GO BUFFS!

    Mat Smith is the Senior Sports Correspondent and Voice of the Colorado Buffaloes for KVCU. Mat is a featured writer for Allbuffs.com. Catch him as the Host of News Underground on KVCU Mondays, Wednesdays and Friday’s from 6-7pm MT!

    Follow Mat Smith on Twitter at www.twitter.com/RealMatSmith

    Like Mat Smith on Facebook at www.facebook.com/TheMatSmith
     
  2. MtnBuff

    MtnBuff Not allowed in Barzil 2 Club Member

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    And people say my post are long?

    Good job though, and agree with the premise. We aren't back yet but we do have reason to enjoy the moment and look with some optimtimism for the future.

    We can also look at a coach and a team that gives us reason to believe that given a chance we can win games instead of find ways to lose games that should have been wins.
     

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