The Colorado Buffaloes did not surrender to the 8th-ranked USC Trojans. They were behind by three points in the second half and fought back with everything they had to try to pull off the upset. Here are three things to remember following the Buffs’ 48-41 loss against the Trojans on Saturday.
Late in the game, Colorado’s offensive play calling was questionable.
This one hurt a little in the game’s final stretch. There was no meaningful time management, and timeouts were a self-inflicted harm. Furthermore, the series of rushing plays that went nowhere across the middle allowed USC to run out the time at the end. I’m not sure what Sean Lewis was attempting, but it could have gone much better. That’s not to say Shedeur Sanders didn’t try to get the Buffs back into the game. It was basically an unplanned shambles.
When the Buffs needed a spark, a player came through, and today was no exception. Omarion Miller, a four-star freshman receiver, with seven grabs for 196 yards and a touchdown in the second half. It was the best freshman performance in CU history. He was a go-to option for Sanders and made a number of clutch plays to keep the Buffs in the game.
Deion Sanders’ request was answered by Cormani McClain.
Cormani McClain received a wake-up call this week. Coach Prime was furious with CU’s defensive back for his lack of effort, but he made up for it in spades. The five-star Florida prospect swarmed the ball and complemented Travis Hunter on the sideline admirably. He almost had an interception, but it was called back due to a penalty, and he had a great PDU that saved a touchdown. McClain battled valiantly, and it was evident that he understood his mission.
It wasn’t, because a loss is a loss is a loss. But that’s fine in this case.Unlike last week’s thrashing at Oregon, the Buffaloes put up a remarkable fight on Saturday at Folsom Field. Even though No. 8 USC won 48-41, the tenacity showed by the Buffs dispelled any notion that the team’s electrifying start to the season would soon unravel under the grind of Pac-12 Conference play.
It wasn’t a moral triumph. “I don’t know what that is,” CU quarterback Shedeur Sanders said following the comeback attempt. Head coach Deion Sanders also stated that he does not believe in them. Whatever you want to call it, the mood around the program after Saturday’s loss was a total 180-degree turn from the aftermath of the thrashing at Oregon, and the setting remains set for the Buffs to make a run at a bowl berth.
With a 27-point deficit midway through the third quarter, the Buffs had plenty of reasons to quit. They didn’t, and many of the circumstances that contributed to their nearly impossible comeback should bode well for the Buffs in a pair of upcoming favorable matches, the first at Arizona State next week, followed by a Friday night home date against Stanford.
Buffs players took the “next man up” attitude to heart on both sides of the ball, with vital contributions coming from all corners. It was freshman receiver Omarion Miller’s time two weeks after Michael Harrison’s unexpected outburst late in the win over Colorado State. Miller had only appeared in two of the season’s first four games and was an afterthought at halftime, but by the end of the day he had seven receptions for 196 yards and a touchdown, setting a CU freshman record.
Cam’Ron Silmon-Craig produced the game-changing defensive play, intercepting reigning Heisman Trophy winner Caleb Williams only one play after CU had narrowed the score to 48-27. That additional drive resulted in another Colorado touchdown, providing fuel for the late rally.
The running game finally found a spark, gaining a season-high 193 yards (CU had a total of 223 rushing yards entering the game). And, while the defense is still a work in progress, to put it nicely, CU’s defenders continue to find the ball. One takeaway against USC isn’t really noteworthy, but the CU defense can brag about being the first unit this season to record an interception against Oregon standout quarterback Bo Nix, as well as Williams. When the Buffs line up against quarterbacks other than Nix and Williams, there should be reason to believe they can return to their ball-hawking ways that resulted in 10 takeaways in the first three games.
The magnificent finale obscured the gaffes that will not be forgotten when the Buffs enter the video room. CU gave Williams a short field twice in the first half, once on a Sanders interception and once on a blocked punt. Both possessions resulted in scores for the Trojans. If the Buffs simply keep the ball on those possessions and punt, the outcome may be different.
Nonetheless, a team charged with restoring its swagger after being battered in Eugene succeeded. With apologies to Oregon State and Utah, the Buffs will presumably soon welcome back two-way standout Travis Hunter and safety Shilo Sanders to the rotation, and the most tough part of CU’s Pac-12 schedule is already complete.
The last two weeks have demonstrated unequivocally that the Buffs are not yet ready to dethrone the best of the best in college football. Saturday, though, served as just another reminder of how far the program has progressed in just 10 months under Coach Prime.
NCAA college football returns for the 2023 season, with over 90 games scheduled in Week 5. Is this one of those must-see games? This afternoon’s contest between No. 8 USC and Colorado. Since the team’s winning streak was snapped against the Oregon Ducks in Week 4, all eyes will be on the Buffs during this weekend’s Big Noon Kickoff. Are you ready to see the Trojans take on the Buffs? Here’s how to watch the USC vs. Colorado game, as well as the rest of the schedule for Week 5 of the 2023 NCAA college football season.