Offense Hits Sour Notes In Loss

Dan Hawkins took his cue from the CU students and dressed in black Saturday night, head to toe. He looked like he was ready to do his best Johnny Cash impression. But the Florida State Seminoles made a jailbreak, and escaped Folsom Prison with a 16-6 victory. This concert by the Colorado offense hit too many sour notes.

This game had buzz. Friday night's pep rally on Pearl Street in Boulder drew an excited crowd. On Saturday, for the first time in years, Folsom was nearly full when Ralphie made her run around the field just before kickoff.

The "blackout" organized by the students was impressive. Kids in face paint dotted the student section, couples in matching black pullovers snuggled, families clad in black CU jerseys of their favorite players chowed on hot dogs.

At kickoff, blinking flashbulbs twinkled through the stadium. Against the black backdrop, they looked like stars in the Rocky Mountain night sky.

There were also the handful of recruits — including instate blue chippers Curtis Cunningham and Jon Major —on the sidelines holding a "show me what you got" gaze in their eyes.

But all Colorado's got these days is a set list of missed opportunities.

Florida State is a proud program, but these ain't your older brothers' Seminoles. These ‘Noles were there for the taking. The Colorado defense upheld their end of the deal. Other than failing to fill a gap on FSU's touchdown run, the Buffalo defense was thumping the Seminoles like a big bass drum.

"Colorado came in playing to win, and they would not let down," said Seminole tailback Antone Smith. "Colorado's defense was excellent, and better than we expected."

If only the Buffalo offense could step up to the microphone and sing it! Just sing it!

But for the second-consecutive game, the Buffs got a case of stage fright. Instead of finishing drives, they came up with a bad snap here, a dropped pass there, a poor pass route and overthrown ball.

Only as the clock hit single digits in the fourth quarter, and a sense of urgency filled the CU bench, did the Buffs' plug in to the amplifiers and turn up the volume. By then, though, it was too late.

And what about Dan Hawkins' desire to "Pound and Launch"? There's no pound in this CU offense. Without a running game — CU has gained five yards on 51 attempts the past two games (that's NOT a typo) — the launch is strictly nickel and dime time when CU has the ball.

The Buffs spent extra time in practice this past week working on the running aspect of their offense. So much for extra reps. All Hawkins was left to do afterward was state the obvious: "You have to run the football to win consistently," he said.

A CU touchdown with 3:39 remaining in the game extended the Buffs' scoring streak to 225 games. Little consolation for a team struggling to find a spark on offense. Miami of Ohio comes to town next week. Suddenly, it feels like a must-win game for the Buffs, who are sitting at 1-2.

With 1:43 remaining in the game, Colorado was trying to mount another drive. The national ESPN telecast played a clip of the 1994 "Miracle in Michigan" play, where Michael Westbrook snared Kordell Stewart's Hail Mary pass in the final seconds to win in the Big House.

It came off as kinda sad, really. Like a wistful song about days gone by, sung by the Man in Black.

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