The Colorado Buffaloes went to California with dreams of making a statement to the Golden Bears and the PAC 10. Instead their worst nightmare occurred as California destroyed Colorado 52-7.
CU was beaten in every facet of the game. The offensive line could not protect quarterback Tyler Hansen and they did not open up any holes for Rodney Stewart and the running game. Approximately 20 minutes into the game, the Buffs had negative yardage on offense.
Cal quarterback Kevin Riley threw four touchdown passes and Shane Vereen ran for one score and was on the receiving end a Riley TD tosses. The Bears let the other teams in the PAC 10 and across the nation know that it is not wise for them to underestimate Cal this year.
The Buffs did not have an answer to the Golden Bears explosive offense, but CU’s offense did not help matters by giving Cal outstanding field position throughout the game when they constantly turned the ball over. Hansen threw three interceptions and had one fumble, plus he was sacked six times. The team had nine penalties as well.
Two of the turnovers were returned for touchdowns; one just before the half when Hansen was picked off by Mike Mohamed who returned it 41 yards for a score and then the son and namesake of CU legend Darian Hagan returned a fumble by CU tight end Ryan Deehan 81 yards to the end zone.
After defeating Colorado State last week, Colorado was brimming with confidence believing that they matched up well against California and were ready to turn the corner and compete with the best in the country. Also, there was a lot of enthusiasm that the Buffs were playing against a future PAC 10 opponent on the West Coast, a region where there are a lot of alumni and top recruits. Unfortunately, the message resulting from this game was that the Buffs are still a long ways from being national contenders.
There will inevitably be questions as to whether or not Coach Dan Hawkins thought about pulling Hansen or if he will start his son Cody in their next game against Hawaii. CU came out flat and did not show any spark at all. This game brought flashbacks to last season where performances like this were the norm, not exceptions.
Coach Hawk has to regroup and put together a game plan that gives Colorado a chance to win. The loss can serve as a wake up call or a precursor for things to come. It is Hawkins’ last chance to prove that he can coach at the BCS level. We keep talking about talent, but it has not produced. Either they are overrated or they are not being utilized to their potential. No more excuses. It’s put up or shut up for both coaches and players.
About the Author
Written by Brian O'Connor
Graduated from the University of Colorado in 1993 and have been a big fan of the Buffs since the halcyon days of Coach McCartney, Big 8 titles and a National Championship. While I know I'll get nostalgic when the day arrives, I'm hoping that a change of scenery to the PAC 10 will lead us back to the glory days. Until then, I want to see some Buff pride in what will probably be our last year in the Big 12. Beat Nebraska.