5 Questions: Buffs-Bobcats Revisited

Inside, five questions about the Buffaloes revisited after Colorado lost a shocker to Division I-AA Montana State Saturday at Folsom Field.

1) Can James Cox gain confidence as a starter?
Cox made enough plays for the Buffs to score more than 19 points, Montana State's tally. This loss isn't on the senior quarterback's shoulders. Then again, the offense failed to rally when the Bobcats took the lead in the third quarter. Three times in the third quarter, the Buffs went three-and-punt. Sometimes, a quarterback's got to be able to ignite his squad.

2) Which back will lead the Buffs in rushing?
Turns out, senior Mell Holliday had the most carries and yards (12 for 50/4.2 ypc). Hugh Charles gained 35 yards on five carries, while Byron Ellis went for 12 yards on four carries. The tailbacks were rotating in and out of the game so much that none were able to get a rhythm going, especially in the second half. The Buffs ended with an unimpressive 106 yards on the ground.

3) Will the receivers stretch the field?
Yes and no. A handful of receivers found their way past the MSU defense. Patrick Williams made a 42 yard reception on CU's first offensive play. Dan Goettsch had a long gain called back because of a holding penalty. James Cox overthrew Cody Crawford on a third-down play, and Alvin Barnett dropped a long pass when he had beaten two defenders by a step. But overall, those in the passing game — the entire offense — failed to come up with plays when the team needed them to.

And it was painfully obvious that Colorado doesn't have a legitimate, big-time deep threat at receiver right now. Blake Mackey, in case you didn't notice, didn't get off the bench.

4) How many freshmen will play?
Michael Sipili saw time at linebacker and on special teams. Chapelle Brown played several series at corner. Justin Drescher played well at longsnapper all day, and even had two tackles in punt coverage. Of course, if your longsnapper is making tackles, it usually means your punt coverage needs to get better. RS-Fr. Devin Head started in place of Daniel Sanders (back spasms) at guard and played the whole game.

5) Will the Buffs really keep "swinging their swords for 60 minutes"?
Umm, no.

What's most disconcerting about this loss is that Colorado was the bigger, stronger, faster team. They should've been able to line up and beat Montana State on every play. But that's not the way college football is measured anymore. It's all about personnel groups and exploiting matchups and playing the percentages. Colorado got beat in those areas of the game. They got outcoached.

Will the Buffaloes get better at the thinking/strategizing side of things as the season progresses? It usually happens that way. But, dang, a loss to Montana State?

Which brings to Question 6: Is this the worst loss in program history?

I'll put it this way – it's the most embarrassing loss.

It's more embarrassing than at Baylor in 2003. I think it's more embarrassing than the back-to-back losses to Drake in 1979 and ‘80. Those were at the end of a coaching tenure, Chuck Fairbanks', that needed to end. This one's at the beginning of the Dan Hawkins era. It's going to taste bad for quite a while.

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