Buffaloes looking to build momentum

Granted, Colorado’s 1-1 mark could have also easily been a 0-2 record if not for a close 41-38 win versus Massachusetts last Saturday. Yet, as slim as that victory was in margin, it does give the Buffaloes confidence that they can continue their winning ways, as they host Arizona State Saturday at 7 PM PT.

Colorado began their 2014 campaign with a 31-17 loss to in-state rival Colorado State, that preceded their aforementioned win last weekend. Ironically, much like Arizona State the Buffaloes are also dealing with inexperience on the defensive side that has manifested itself in that tandem of contests.

“The last two games, on defense, we had one senior, one junior, and nine freshmen and sophomores,” head coach Mike MacIntyre told CUBuffs.com. “You see them keep growing up as you watch the games and yeah, they’re going to watch mistakes, but they’ll keep growing up and keep getting better. We’ll keep a maturation process.”

Last Saturday at the New England Patriots’ Gillette Stadium, in Foxboro, Mass. Colorado found itself trailing Massachusetts 31-20 early in the third quarter before outscoring the Minutemen 21-7 the rest of the way.

A major part of that win was the fact that the Colorado defense was able to hold UMass in the fourth quarter to a negative one yard rushing that was helped give this green group of players much needed self-assurance to close out a game against a Minuteman offense which was forced to be dimensional.

In that same interview MacIntyre was proud not only by the overall effort in the second half, but also with his team’s attitude not being in a state of despair after its surrendered ten quick points in the first 2:36 minutes of the second half.

Oddly enough, their season opening loss to Colorado State was an opposite script. With 9:47 left in third quarter Colorado had 17-7 lead, but then proceeded to surrender 24 unanswered points in a another neutral site game, this time with the Denver Broncos’ Sports Authority Field being the locale. The Rams’ 266 yards on the ground frustrated the Buffaloes’ comeback efforts.

The connection between sophomore quarterback Sefo Liufau and junior wide receiver Nelson Spruce is proving to be very productive, as the later tries to fill the very big shoes of outgoing senior Paul Richardson. Spruce has already collected 249 yards on 17 receptions and four of those catches went for touchdowns. Liufau has passed for 559 yards on 50-81 throwing and has recorded five touchdowns and one interception.

Their two leading rushers are Michael Adkins with 73 yards on 21 carries and Christian Powell with 88 yards on 24 carries. Liufau who is a very mobile signal caller has 50 yards on 13 carries.

The Colorado defense hasn’t been able to generate much defensive pressure even against lower caliber of opponents recording just three sacks so far. The front seven hasn’t been fairing all that much better on the ground allowing 185 yards rushing per game. Yet, their secondary has fairly stingy this season ranked 45 nationally in passing defense allowing just 200 yards per game.

MIKE linebacker Addison Gilliam who has 18 tackles, four of them for a loss in 2014 is the heart of this Colorado offense. Strong safety Tedric Thompson is the leader of the secondary and has 20 tackles, forced fumble, pass breakup, and an interception on the season.

Macintyre described Saturday’s win over UMass full of “big, big turning moments”, that could increase team's confidence as it faces tougher challenges. Saturday’s match up versus Arizona State will put that theory to test.


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