BOULDER – The Colorado Buffaloes came out and made a statement Friday night in their 17-3 victory over the Colorado State Rams. It wasn't a statement because they won, but it was how they won that surprised people the most. With everyone expecting a shootout (hand raised here), the defense came in and just shut down the Rams in brilliant fashion.
Don't worry about the defense
Experienced players such as Rick Gamboa, Isaiah Oliver and Derek McCartney showed why they've been mainstays on the CU defense for a couple of seasons now. But it was the newcomers that really shined in this one.
Javier Edwards and Chris Mulumba displayed what made them such good players at the junior college level. Edwards was consistently plugging the holes and virtually shutting down CSU's run game by himself.
Jacob Callier, as a true freshman, picked up right where Jimmie Gilbert left off, showing off his natural ability to get after the quarterback. Evan Worthington showed that he's more than capable of filling the big shoes that were left in the secondary, and Trey Udoffia, although he clearly had showed some jittery moments from inexperience, will only get better and seems more than capable of getting the job done.
And last, but not least, Drew Lewis could be better than Kenneth Olugbode. The way that DJ Eliot utilized his athleticism and had him flying around the football, Lewis had his athleticism on full display. He also showed off his incredible instincts on the delayed blitz, drilling CSU's quarterback Nick Stevens to the ground multiple times.
Play calls, not players, the problem on offense
The offense looked, at best, rusty and, at worst, very stagnant. The goal of a fast-paced spread offense should be to get the ball into their playmakers' hands quickly and in the open field. There were countless times when one of CU's wide receivers caught the ball and had nowhere to go. This offense should be all about yards after the catch and it just wasn't here.
Steven Montez and the offensive play callers need to work on getting the ball in Shay Fields', Devin Ross' and Bryce Bobo's hands a lot quicker and with space in front of them. There were multiple games last season where CU dominated the slant route early and it opened up the opposing defense for big plays in the second half.
I was surprised to see such limited slant routes on Friday night, and when we did see one, Montez was unable to make the throw. Montez has to know when he should scramble and when to sit in the pocket and make a quick throw. If this offense wants to reach the heights that they believe they can get to, they have to be quicker and more precise.
Media make the game about the refs, but it wasn't
I was incredibly disappointed to see so many media members say that the refs ruined this football game. If you worry about the refs as much as people did Friday, you're going to continually be a disappointed person. Football games are not won or lost because of refs. There were plenty of plays that made up that football game and it pains me to see my fellow media members make it about the officiating.
The first offensive pass interference that CSU committed, the officials left their flag in their pocket. On third down, Michael Gallup pushed off on Oliver on a comeback route to secure the first down. Presumably, one of the CU coaches was not happy about it, the officials talked about it and agreed to not let CSU push off on CU's cornerbacks. From then on, anything that was close to a push off was called offensive pass interference. That's not poor officiating, that's called making a mid-game adjustment and not letting CSU get away with something that's considered illegal.