FIRSTS: Sophomore Maurice Cantrell earned his first start in a CU uniform. The former linebacker started at fullback. WR Nick Holz also earned his first start. Senior tailback Mell Holliday's 32-yard jaunt up the middle in the first quarter for a touchdown was his first collegiate score, and the first CU touchdown this season by a non-quarterback.
HOLLIDAY'S DAY: Holliday had his best day as a Buffalo. He rushed 11 times for 65 yards, a 5.9 yards per carry average.
ELLIS' DAY: Junior tailback Byron Ellis had arguably his best day as a Buff, as well. Especially impressive was Ellis' nine-yard touchdown run with just over four minutes remaining in the fourth. Ellis took the ball, juked and ran off right tackle, then stretched over the goal line. It was the Buffs' first points in the fourth quarter this season, and Ellis' first career touchdown. Ellis finished the day with 8 carries for 40 yards (5.0 ypc).
WRIGHT and WHEATLEY's DAYS: Senior defensive end Abraham Wright played a great game – perhaps his best to date. He had two sacks and five tackles. He now has eigth sacks on the season and 17 1/2 in his career, good for 10th on the all-time CU list. Meanwhile, junior corner Terrence Wheatley had a good game, intercepting two passes. The second pick was particularly significant, as he got his hands on a ball in the end zone when Baylor's quarterback Shawn Bell was throwing on 1st and goal from the 4. It was Wheatley's first two-pick game of his career. (It was the first time a Buffalo had two interceptions in a game since Thaddaeus Washington had two at Nebraska in 2004.)
STARTERS of NOTE: On offense, Ellis started at tailback. On defense, Lionel Harris and Ben Burney started at safety (in place of the injured J.J. Billingsley and Ryan Walters), while Chapelle Brown, Terrence Wheatley and Lorenzo Sims joined them in the secondary.
WASHINGTON BACK: Linebacker Thaddaeus Washington sat most of the loss in Missouri, but played most of the game vs. Baylor. The senior captain came in on second series in first quarter. Colorado played with three down linemen, two linebackers and five defensive backs much of the game, defending Baylor's spread offense. Washington ended the game with eight tackles. Fellow linebacker Jordon Dizon led CU with 13 stops.
CRSOBY STRUGGLES: Saturday may have been Mason Crosby's worst game – at least of the senior All-American's past three seasons. One of his kickoffs went out of bounds, drawing a 15-yard penalty. Later, he hit a line drive kickoff right to the Baylor kickoff returner who took it 39 yards, giving the Bears a 1st and 10 at the 43-yard line. It was only the second kickoff in Crosby's career an opponent has started past the 40-yard line. In the first half, Crosby missed a 36-yard field goal.
THIRD DOWN IMPROVEMENTS: Colorado had struggled this season in third-down situations. They came in averaging converting just 29.1 percent of their opportunities. Saturday, those numbers improved. The Buffs managed to convert 8 of 17 third-downs Saturday.
RUN D?: Baylor came into the game averaging 27 yards on the ground, the worst rushing offense in the country. But the Bears caught the Buffs napping on a number of rushing plays, and totaled 110 yards on the ground.
ETC.: Colorado won the toss and in an unorthodox move, elected to receive the opening kick rather than defer to the second half. They scored on the opening drive. The strategy worked again as Thaddaeus Washington forced a fumble of Baylor's returner on the second-half kickoff, which Alvin Barnett recovered. … The 25-second play clocks were not working Saturday. Baylor was called for one delay of game. …47,065 tickets were distributed for the Baylor game. Officials estimated there were 42,500 in attendance.
INJURIES: Safeties J.J. Billingsley (knee, artho conducted Thursday), and Ryan Walters (stinger) sat out the game. Billingsley is out for Texas Tech, Walters is probable. Defensive linemen Alex Ligon (knee), day to day, and Alonzo Barrett (concussion), probable, and center Mark Fenton (leg), out, also missed the Baylor game. Vance Washington had surgery on his knee recently and is out for the year, and, because he's a fifth-year senior, he's done with football.