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Discussion in 'CU Buffs Newsroom' started by RSSBot, Aug 30, 2014.

  1. RSSBot

    RSSBot News Junkie

    Jul 8, 2005
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    By Stuart

    Against Colorado State in the 2014 Rocky Mountain Showdown, Colorado had 34 rushes for 134 yards.
    Not great, but an improvement over last season’s averages.
    Against Colorado in the 2014 Rocky Mountain Showdown, Colorado State had 30 rushes for 185 yards …
    … in the second half.
    After holding the Rams to 81 yards rushing in the first half (and only 22 in the first quarter), the Buffs could not contain the Colorado State rushing attack, giving up 266 yards on the ground, with a 31-17 defeat the humbling result.
    Bad enough, but the brutal reality facing the Buff Nation in the aftermath of the debacle is that the Colorado State offensive line may be the worst offensive line Colorado faces this season.
    Colorado State had to replace four of its offensive linemen this fall. The lone returning starter went down in the first quarter, never to return. So the CSU offensive line ran over, through, and around a Colorado defensive line*utilizing an offensive line which had started a combined total of zero games coming into the contest.
    Let’s pause and let that sink in for a moment.
    Zero career starts along the offensive line … yet the Rams posted 45 rushes for 266 yards, a 5.9 yards per carry average.
    The harsh reality is that, with no waiver wire or trade possibilities, the defensive line roster is what it is.
    The 2014 season could get ugly.
    Fast forward for a moment to game 11 …
    Fade in: Autzen Stadium, Eugene, Oregon.*Duck quarterback Marcus Mariota is set to play his final home game before his adoring Duck faithful.*It will be late in the Heisman chase, a late opportunity to impress Heisman voters.
    Enter: the Colorado defensive line.
    The horror!
    Colorado coach Mike MacIntyre, while*sounds were*coming out of his mouth*during the post-game press conference, was still at a loss for words in describing what happened to his defensive line: “One thing that I saw was a bunch of missed tackles out there”, said MacIntyre. “We’ve been working on that extremely hard …*You all that have come out to practice have seen how hard we work on tackling …*But we’ll keep working on it and get better at it … I think a lot of it was missed tackles … Some were in the backfield even a few times …*So we have just got to keep working, keep improving and look at it on film and see what happened there …*I think we got cut out of the gaps some of the time … Sometimes when they came free instead of going flat down the line we went up the line and they sprung it us …*We’ll look at it and figure out what’s going on …*We have got to fix it, that’s for sure.”
    Makes you feel all warm and fuzzy that things will improve, doesn’t he?
    The maddening part of it all was the inability of the CU defense to get off the field in the second half. Even when the Buffs forced a third down, they couldn’t close the deal.
    The numbers (CSU third down attempts*after the Buffs took a 17-7 lead midway through the third quarter):
    - Third-and-three – gain of two yards (followed by a two yard gain on fourth-and-one);
    - Third-and-seven – gain of eight yards;
    - Third-and-six – gain of seven yards;
    - Third-and-ten – gain of 13 yards;
    - Third-and-ten – gain of 11 yards;
    - Third-and-four – no gain (followed by a successful field goal attempt).
    Want to feel worse? Okay, there’s this … none of the above third down attempts took place in the red zone. Four times the Rams got into scoring position during the game, but not once in those four red zone trips did the Colorado defense*force a single*third down.
    “We have just got to keep getting better, we’re really young”, said MacIntyre. “We’ll keep playing hard and we’ll keep fighting. That’s all you can do. It’s one game.”
    Yup. The CU head coach is just as befuddled as the Buff Nation.
    And it’s not like the coaching staff – or anyone else – was unable to foresee this issue. In my preview for the game, I wrote: “If you want to watch one position battle during the 2014 Rocky Mountain Showdown, watch how the Buffs’ improved – but suspect and depleted*- defensive line fares against CSU’s completely rebuilt offensive line. The winner of that trench warfare will likely win the game”.
    Game. Set. Match.
    Okay, it’s not as if there were not some positives coming out of the game.
    As hard as it is to believe, Colorado actually led for three quarters of the game (42:21, truth be told). In the first quarter, the Buffs dominated. Colorado had 152 yards of total offense, holding Colorado State to 26 yards (on 11 plays). Colorado held the ball for 10:35, had a 7-0 lead, and, as the*quarter came to a close,*were facing a third-and-one at the Colorado State five yard line.
    If only the game had ended then.
    Painfully, the Buffs had to settle for a field goal to open the second quarter, when four rushes netted four yards.
    It wasn’t the series which decided the game, but one can only wonder what might have happened had the Buffs gone up 14-0 early in the second quarter.
    Other positives:
    - Freshman wide receiver Shay Fields tied a school record, with his eight catches tying a school mark (held by Scotty McKnight and Nelson Spruce) for most catches by a Buff in their first career game;
    - Punter Darragh O’Neill had a good night, with six punts for a 45.5 yards average, with four punts inside the CSU 20-yard line;
    - Nelson Spruce had four punt returns for 35 yards. Not much to get excited about? Compare: Colorado had 45 yards in punt returns … in all of 2013;
    - The Buffs did not have a turnover, and did not give up a sack;
    - The Buffs did not suffer any significant injuries.
    Okay, that’s not much to go on, but, at least for the first third of the game, the Buffs looked much improved on offense, defense, and special teams.
    Can Colorado rebound?
    “We’ll keep fighting and keep pushing”, said MacIntyre. “It’s one game. We have a bunch more to go and we’ll keep fighting”. Is it just me, or is usually language coaches use after the team loses its seventh game, and all hope for a bowl bid has been eliminated?
    No choice, the schedule says we have to keep playing. We can’t just fast forward to 2015 … or 2020.
    We’ll just have to wait, patiently or impatiently, for our Buffs to improve.
    You know, as I sat in Sports Authority Field, in an ever dwindling group of CU fans, watching the CSU student section go crazy, I was going through different potential headlines for the post-game essay.
    “Fault: Line” sounded good to me. Then there were a number of “De-” related headlines: “De-Ficiency”‘, “De-Railed”, or even “De-Pressed”.
    Well, there are still 11 games left to the 2014 season.
    There will be other opportunities for these headlines …

    Originally posted by CU At the Game
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