What went right: Well, let's see here. There was that one play for positive yardage in the first quarter. And then there that was that pass that wasn't intercepted in the second quarter. Nobody got hurt walking to the locker room at halftime. Oh yea, and the Buffs won the second and fourth quarters, outscoring the Cougars 14-3.
Other than that, there wasn't much to cheer about for the CU faithful. Derek McCoy and D.J. Hackett continued to be reliable receivers, combining for 18 catches for 194 yards and a pair of scores. And tight end Jake Klopfenstein showed, once again, that he can be a force in the red zone.
What went wrong: For the third straight game, the Colorado secondary was destroyed. The Buffs allowed touchdown passes of 74 and 77 yards in the first quarter. WSU quarterback completed 17 of 33 passes for 310 yards and three scores. That's more than 18 yards a completion from a quarterback who just took over the starting role this season and is working with a new coaching staff.
Needless to say, it's time for some major changes in the defensive backfield.
The running game and special teams play were equally miserable. Bobby Purify, who injured his ankle, and Brian Calhoun combined for 92 yards on 28 carries. That's just 2.4 yards a carry and that's nasty ugly. The running backs haven't had much to work with, as the offensive line hasn't done much blocking. But at some point the backs have to start making something out of nothing.
The special teams allowed the Cougars to return the second-half kickoff 99 yards for a touchdown. After bobbling the kick, Sammy Morris scooted down the left sidelines – largely untouched – for the backbreaking score.
The field goal kicking unit was even worse. For the second time in as many weeks, Mason Crosby had a PAT blocked and he missed an extra point later in the game.
Three Stars of the Game
1. Matt Kegel. At times it must have been like shooting fish in a barrel. Nonetheless, the senior signal caller rebounded from a disappointing loss in South Bend to thrash the Buffs. He found the open receivers when he had to and made CU pay for too many defensive lapses.
2. Sammy Moore. The senior wideout averaged 48 yards per catch, including a 74-yard TD reception to open the scoring for WSU. His kickoff return to start the second half sent a clear message that the Buffs would not be getting back into the game.
3. Derek McCoy and D.J. Hackett (tie). Through three games, the duo has become one of the best tandems in the nation. They are big and strong, and can make tough grabs. Hopefully, next time they can shine in a winning effort.
Injury Report: Feelings weren't the only things hurt on Saturday. Colorado lost both Joel Klatt and Purify to injuries that will most likely keep them out against FSU, if not longer. Klatt injured his shoulder in the first half. He later returned to the game, only to injure the shoulder again. He is doubtful for the Florida State affair. The same is likely true for Purify, who suffered a high ankle sprain. It's the same injury he suffered late last season that rendered him useless for the Big 12 title game and the Alamo Bowl.
The Big Picture: In some ways, the disappointing loss to WSU made the first two games of the season an afterthought. Before the season began, most fans would have been happy to see the Buffs to go 2-2 in their brutal non-conference schedule. But after upsetting CSU and beating UCLA, Colorado was on the verge of going 3-0 with a chance to head to Tallahassee with a full head of steam.
Instead, the club is facing a 2-2 record in the face, as very few teams go into Florida State's house and emerge victorious. That's what the fans expected, but it could have been much better.
Mentally, the players have to be spent. Two late-fourth quarter wins to start the season was hard enough. But to then get embarrassed in front of your fans is never good. Injuries to key players – and leaders – are also tough to deal with.
What's next? The Florida State Seminoles host the Buffs next week. The 3-0 ‘Noles barely beat Georgia Tech last week, raising some questions as to whether or not Bobby Bowden's club is really back and ready to compete with the big boys.
The same can be said of the yong Buffs, who will enter Doak Campbell Stadium with their tails firmly between their legs. Even with a healthy team, this test may be too much for Gary Barnett's team to handle