The Colorado players seemed ready for this one. After taking the ball for an opening-drive touchdown, then holding CSU to three-and-out, things were looking up. The players, however, seemed in more emotional turmoil after this loss than the opening loss to Montana State. Despite what some players said outside the locker room Saturday — namely, that the team wasn't melting down in frustration — this one may be tough to get over. Especially with Arizona State, Georgia and what looks like a good Missouri team in front of them.
2) Will we see more than James Cox under center?
Umm, yeah. The CU coaches pulled a fast one and inserted Bernard Jackson into the starting lineup at quarterback. While Jackson shared reps with the ones with James Cox all week in practice, they didn't tell Jackson he was starting until Saturday. The move worked well right off the bat, as CSU was caught back on their heels. Jackson marched the team to a touchdown on the opening drive, rushing for 32 yards, including a three-yard touchdown run.
But after the CSU defense adjusted, the Colorado offense was ineffective the rest of the day, finishing with just 146 total yards.
The Colorado coaches appear not to trust Jackson as a drop-back passer. He only dropped back a few times when it was absolutely necessary. He was a respectable 8-of-13 for 70 yards, and most of his throws came on rollouts. Coaches had planned to use Cox more in the game as a change of pace, but used him sparingly because they liked what Jackson was doing.
The big question now is: Who starts next week vs. Arizona State? Coaches were mum on the subject. OC/QB coach Mark Helfrich indicated it "probably" would be a week by week decision.
But with Jackson and Cox's styles so different, it makes the most sense to choose a player and go with him, and let the rest of the offensive players get used to that player's particular style.
3) If Colorado is behind late in the game, will they fold or fight?
They fought. But the team is still looking for playmakers – especially on offense.
4) Can the Buffs win the field position battle?
This was a toss up until late in the game when punter Matthew DiLallo — who had booted a 73 yarder early — punted 30 and 31 yards on consecutive possessions to give CSU excellent field position on their final two drives. Really, though, it didn't result in any decisive points. CSU was already ahead 14-10, and the Buffs kept them out of the end zone.
5) Will we see another nail biter?
This one came down to the final drive, once again. The Rams had a crucial third-and-8 from CU's 43 yard line. If the Buffs – out of timeouts – could stop them, they'd get one more shot at a score. Sonny Lubick over ruled OC Dan Hammerschmidt's call to run the ball on the play, and said to play-action pass to Johnny Walker. Terrence Wheatley had good coverage on the play, but Walker came down with a Caleb Hanie pass at the 11 yard line. The game was effectively over.