November 28, 2022

Colorado still winless in Pac-12 play after USC loss

Colorado Buffaloes Football

Colorado Coach Karl Dorrell huddles up with his team during a timeout in the second quarter against USC Saturday October 2, 2021 at Folsom Field. (Lynn Harrington/stayaliveinpower5)

BOULDER, Co. — The Buffaloes have lost four-straight games and as of now there seems to be no light at the end of the tunnel.

After USC invaded Folsom Field Saturday afternoon and left with a 37-14 victory, there’s obvious more questions than answers on the current state of the program. Clearly the players want to hit the reset button on the season, and there’s still plenty of football left to be played.

Losing six of his last seven games overall is not what Karl Dorrell had in mind for the team’s 2021 campaign. At this point, the reigning Pac-12 Coach of the Year will not be a candidate for the hardware this fall. Colorado fans are feeling bad for the players, because they’ve been working hard and deserve better coaching.

USC quarterback Kedon Slovis torched the Buffaloes’ secondary for three touchdowns in his return to the venue. He now has six career touchdown passes inside Folsom Field. Not to mention the Buffaloes are still winless against the Trojans.

It’s hard to pick some bright spots out of the Buffaloes’ performance. Quarterback Brendon Lewis had decent day passing the ball compared to the previous three games. The Texas native completed 10 of his 17 passes for 162 yards and touchdown. However, Lewis held onto the ball too long in the pocket, lost a fumble, threw an interception and was sacked five times.

Jarek Broussard had a decent day running the ball, but he never got into a rhythm. Considering Colorado (1-4) had to play from behind the entire contest, made the offense abandon the run game. Passing became obvious on third and long and the Trojans’ defense was able to pin their ears back. By the second half, the 48,000-plus fans that were in the stadium had already started heading for the exits.

“It sucks to lose a game, but I mean it’s not really much you could do,” Broussard said. “You just need to go back to the drawing board and just try to execute more plays and that’s it.”

The Pac-12’s reigning Offensive Player of the Year and his teammates are only doing what they’re told. Everything falls back on the coaches on who to put in the right place, and of course play-calling has been abysmal. Colorado has some talented pass catchers in Brenden Rice, Dimitri Stanley and Brady Russell.

It’s unfortunate that they haven’t been able to showcase their potential because of a mediocre passing attack. The Buffaloes don’t seem to be making any halftime adjustments either.

On the defensive side of the ball, the unit played solid as always, but was on the field too long, and by the second half the Trojans were making the explosive plays. Safety Mark Perry finished with a game-high, 10 tackles, including seven solo and recovered a fumble. He was pleased with his performance, but it was bittersweet because it came in a losing effort.

He’s not into pointing fingers because it’s a team came, but someone has to take some accountability for the team’s shortcomings.

“I’m not going to bash any guy on offense because I see what they do during the week,” Perry said. “They’re fighting their tails off to get it right.”

USC running back Keontay Ingram rumbled for a season-high, 124 yards. He even ripped off a 53-yarder that took a lot of gas out of Colorado’s defense.  It was obvious the unit was fatigued, and the Trojan were able get yards by the chunk on the ground. Linebacker Nate Landman, who’s the heart and soul of the unit, tallied nine stops. He’s literally one of a few defenders who’ve remained consistent, but it’s still not enough to get the team over the hump.

The Buffaloes won’t have a game next Saturday and are catching a bye-week at the right time. Dorrell needs to make sure his team utilizes every minute of it to get rejuvenated for their return to the gridiron.

“We get an extra week to prepare for the game in in two weeks,” Landman said. “We get to get healthy, get guys back, and we get to work on the small things.”

Colorado’s next two opponents are Arizona and California. The Wildcats are the only FBS team without a win on the season and the Golden Bears have lost  four of their past five game. That should be more than enough motivation for the Buffaloes to right the ship through the month of October.

Games aren’t played on paper and it’s still any given autumn Saturday. And Colorado should have a good opportunity at snapping its’ four-game losing streak.