Welcome back Paul Richardson.
There is no question who the difference maker was in Denver. Richardson opened the game with an 82-yard touchdown on Colorado’s second play from scrimmage and closed it with a 75-yard touchdown with just over three minutes left, sealing the deal for the Buffs.
P.Rich proved he is the dynamic player we saw rack up over 270 yards against Cal a couple of seasons ago, and it sure is good to have him back in black and gold after last seasons torn ACL kept him on the sidelines, and likely cost Embree his job.
Hello Connor Wood! I think we can all agree that THAT was the quarterback Texas thought they were bringing in in 2010, when he was ranked as the third best quarterback in the country by Rivals and started the 2010 US Army All-American Bowl.
It’s been a tough road for Wood since, and it must have really felt good to put in a performance like that on Sunday.
Wood looked calm and cool in the pocket. He showed he has some athleticism on a couple of read option plays. Most importantly, he didn’t turn the ball over.
Coach MacIntyre’s scheme allowed Wood to make a lot of easy throws, getting the ball out quickly on button-hooks and tosses to the backs, but Wood showed the ability to throw down-field as well.
While Sunday in Denver was definitely the Paul Richardson show, Nelson Spruce and DD Goodson came to play as well.
We all knew Spruce was a sure-handed guy from his effort in 2012, and he proved it again against the Rams. With the CSU defense keying in on Richardson, Spruce was able to haul in 8 passes for 99 yards. If any player on the team is happy not to be the number one guy this year, it’s Spruce, who should benefit from having Richardson on the field as much as any player not named Connor Wood.
One of the biggest question marks coming in, DD Goodson was a stud on Sunday. Goodson, who played running back and defensive back in 2012, provided a much-needed weapon at slot receiver in Denver. We knew DD was fast, but his hands were what impressed me most. It will be exciting to see how many ways the Buffs can use that hands-speed combo going forward.
Running Backs: C-
35 carries for 132 yards against a mediocre CSU line isn’t going to cut it.
Powell ran strong early, but struggled as the game went on. The big back only averaged 2.8 yards/carry on 15 attempts.
Tony Jones needs to learn how to hit the hole strong. Jones was solid in pass protection and showed his speed on four catches, but he danced too much in the backfield and was ineffective as a running back. Jones is a talented player, but this is the same thing we saw in 2012.
Jones either needs to learn that sometimes picking up three yards is a good play, or Donta Abron or Michael Adkins need the chance to be Colorado’s number two back.
One thing I did like about the CU running game was the use of Powell as a fullback in the I-formation. Powell, a fullback in high school, is a load to bring down in those short yardage situations.
Offensive Line: B-
The O-Line did a good job keeping Wood upright, allowing only one sack, but the hog mollies need to do a better of job opening up holes in the run game.
While Jones danced too much in the backfield, he (hopefully) wouldn’t have if he saw more holes.
Senior Gus Handler had some poor moments, committing two penalties and one bad snap, but in fairness Handler might have had more shotgun snaps on Sunday than he has in his career up to that point.
Stephane Nembot, who is as physically gifted as any Buffalo, and one of the best stories on the team (Nembot is from Africa and hasn’t seen his family in years), needs to play meaner.
One good thing however is that there were no injuries along the line. Offensive line depth for the Buffs is thin at best, and these five will need to stay healthy if Colorado wants to compete in Pac-12 games.
Overall though, a tremendous performance by the offense. If the play of Wood and Richardson, along with Goodson and Spruce, doesn’t excite you as a Buff fan, then I don’t know what will.
For the first time since Gary Barnett had his strong backs stuffing it down the throats of defenses behind an even stronger offensive line, the University of Colorado Buffaloes looked like they have an offensive identity.
And that is what excites me the most.