Colorado football: offense thrills in win over UCLA

Colorado football

What a welcome back for Colorado football. Even without fans in attendance, Boulder was rocking after a big 48-42 victory over the visiting UCLA Bruins.

The game was a classic late-night Pac-12 football offensive showcase. With 90 points scored in total by both teams, this game marks the highest-scoring season opener in Colorado football history.

Sam Noyer solidifies QB1

There were many questions surrounding the Colorado Buffaloes coming into the season opener, but none were more prevalent than the questions surrounding the starting quarterback. Following the departure of Steven Montez, there was a fierce quarterback competition between Sam Noyer, Tyler Lytle and Brendon Lewis, but the former backup safety in Noyer ended up controversially getting the nod as the starter.

Noyer not only took the opportunity but he ran with it. After throwing for 257 yards and one touchdown, completing 20 of 31 attempts and adding 64 yards and another touchdown on the ground, the doubters of Noyer are all but silenced in Boulder. He is just the eighth player in his starting debut to rush for a touchdown and pass for one.

“It felt great getting my first start under my belt and getting the win, it was a fun game for sure,” Noyer said after the game. “There are some things we need to clean up for sure, but overall a great experience. Obviously, it’s our new norm playing in front of 900 people rather than 55,000 and that takes getting used to but you know, we continue to preach that nothing changes and we have been putting in a lot of work during the week to be prepared and I think you saw that tonight.”

Buffs new head coach Karl Dorrell deserves a lot of credit for the simple fact of recruiting Noyer back into the program. Last season under now current Michigan State head coach Mel Tucker, Noyer was switched to safety to which he played back up and recorded no stats. Dorrell convinced Noyer to come back to CU for a chance to become the starting quarterback.

“With Sam, this is definitely vindication for him,” Dorrell said postgame. “He believed he was a quarterback but did a team, unselfish thing a year ago when he moved to safety. Finally, he is back playing a position he wanted to play from the very beginning. For him to play the type of game he played today in his first start, I am very proud of him too.”

Surprisingly, with 11:27 left in the second quarter, backup quarterback Tyler Lytle came into the came for a drive, did nothing, and then was replaced by Noyer for the rest of the game. Dorrell said coming into the game both quarterbacks would have a shot to play, but after Noyer’s performance, there is no way the quarterback competition should still be ongoing.

Jarek Broussard is a star in the making

After just one game, running back Jarek Broussard is already making a strong case for comeback player of the year.

Broussard started his career at CU with back to back knee injuries. After beginning his career on the injury list in 2018, he later reinjured his knee in last year’s preseason camp, forcing him to miss the entire 2019 season.

“All those experiences I use as motivation for me honestly,” Broussard said postgame.

With starting running back Alex Fontenot out indefinitely, Broussard made the most of his opportunities rushing for 187 yards and three touchdowns on 31 carries. His 187 yards were the most in school history in a debut game.

After a historic first game, Broussard was honored for his performance, being named the Pac-12 offensive player of the week. Broussard joins Phillip Lindsay (2016) as the only Colorado football running backs to earn this award since the Buffs joined the Pac-12 in 2011.

Turnovers, turnovers and more turnovers!

The Colorado defense was flying around the field, creating turnovers in the first half for the Buffs. UCLA started the game with two straight turnovers in a fumbled punt return and an interception thrown by UCLA quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson to linebacker Carson Wells. The two early interceptions resulted in two touchdowns runs by Broussard.

The turnover party wasn’t over for the Buffs as they recovered two fumbles by the UCLA offense in the second quarter. The Colorado offense was able to capitalize on the UCLA mistakes scoring 21 points off of turnovers in the first half.

“Penalties and turnovers are things that you can’t do if you’re trying to win football games in this league,” said UCLA head coach Chip Kelly on turnovers after the game. “I don’t think the context of the year has anything to do with it. You need to clean up and win the turnover battle.”

CU needs to finish stronger

The Buffaloes were purely dominant in the first half, outgaining the Bruins 284-155 total yards and led 35-14 at halftime. However, the second half was an entirely different story.

Led by Robinson, the Bruins quickly came back to turn the game into a tight back and forth contest at the end, bringing the game to within seven at one point. The Bruins outgained the Buffs 323-241 total yards and outscored them 28-13 in the second half.

The Buffs defense seemed to run out of gas allowing huge plays on the ground by Robinson and Demetric Felton and never accumulated a sack.

“Defensively, we kind of got caught a little bit. We had a couple of coverage mistakes in the second half,” said Dorrell on his second-half defense. “We will fix those things. We have a young secondary and will continue to work and get them better.”

The field goal team will also have to do a much better job in protection after two blocked kicks helped the UCLA comeback effort

What’s next

Next week Colorado football is traveling north to Palo Alto, California to face off against the Stanford Cardinal on Nov. 14. Last season the Buffs defeated Stanford 16-13 in Boulder. The game will be nationally televised on ESPN2 at 3:30 p.m. ET.

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