You’d have a hard time finding a better story in college football than Karl Dorrell’s 4-0 CU Buffs at this point. You certainly won’t find 25 better teams.
You choose the tempo, they dance.
Chip Kelly samba against UCLA? Fine. They will place 48.
A tango against Stanford on the way? A Stanford group that just beat Washington in Seattle? These Buffs had a 35-16 lead in the fourth quarter against the Cardinal on the Farm.
Short-term waltz with the state of San Diego? They kept the Aztecs (4-3), who came in an average of 29 points per game, to just 10.
A bolero in Arizona, where CU had posted a record 1-3 since 1990? Despite a new center and a gruesome injury to left guard Chance Lytle, the Buffs rushed to 407 yards, averaging 8.8 yards per tote, and won 24-13 early Saturday night.
“It wasn’t the prettiest,” said Dorrell after the Buffs opened a league game 3-0 for the first time ever in Pac-12 game and for the first time, period, since the Big 12 salad days of 2002. we actually got the job done. ”
It’s what they do. It’s all they’ve ever done from the jump.
You start a script, they will figure out a way to write a happy ending. For weeks, we wondered what these guys would look like if they played from behind, forced to improvise when they lost two scores along the way. Sure, Sam Noyer looks like a kung fu master when he’s in a lead role. But what if you force the quarterback-die-safety-turned-quarterback-again to circle the cars?
We found out on Saturday. The Buffs came out and committed sins that they had largely avoided for three games. Sanctions. Revenue. Missed tackles.
Wildcats quarterback Will Plummer wasn’t Khalil Tate, thank the Lord, but he gave the Buffs a taste of their own formula: Zone-read runs and the quarterback keeper’s threat, with an aggressive CU linebacking corps betting on holes and mesh points .
What was remarkable was how many of those guesses went wrong early on, leading to massive daylight for the Arizona, Gary Brightwell, and Michael Wiley traffic jams. After the first 15 minutes, the Cats were faster than the Buffs, 106 against 27.
In the next two quarters, CU outperformed Arizona by a margin of 286-80.
If Dorrell is the Coach of the Year candidate, the rest of America can’t believe it, Buffs file Jarek Broussard is the dark horse Heisman Trophy candidate that no one saw coming. Until he whizzed past it.
Broussard’s 301 yards on the ground in Tucson were the most by a CU back since Chris Brown rumbled for 309 against Kansas in October 2002. And, of course, it happens on the fourth anniversary of the death of Buffs legend Rashaan Salaam, CU’s last Heisman winner.
“Every day we walk into Champions Center, we walk past that (Heisman) trophy,” said Broussard. “And it just means a lot to be in that kind of company with those kinds of players.”
Broussard didn’t score a touchdown after being caught from behind several times after long, pay-dirt runs. As Dorrell burst on Saturday night, imagine what this kid could do when he has two healthy knees to work with.
“I told him that once he throws off that knee brace, he might get three touchdowns,” Dorrell joked when asked about his sophomore, who missed the 2019 season with a knee injury.
From Sunday morning, the Pac-12 – yes, yes, we know, Pac-12, roll your eyes, yada-yada – has only two unbeaten squads left. Dorrell has been in control for one of them. Despite everything.
“It’s only temporary, the stuff we’re dealing with right now,” the coach said after being surprised to learn that Washington had fallen to Stanford and Oregon was mad at Cal. ‘We are successful. We’ll keep trying to take advantage of those things, and you know, everything else will work out in the end. ”
You want an underdog, a feel-good story? When Lytle was taken off the turf in Q3, mighty blond locks at rest, medical staff wrapped his left leg in a huge black brace.
Each CU player got down on one knee and then got up to bid him a personal farewell. A row of Buffs, a chain of love and prayers, with Noyer in the front of the sled.
“We’re creating a family culture here,” the quarterback told reporters early last week. ‘And I think that’s really important. That’s something we had in 2016. ”
They have it again. They have each other’s backs. Hearts and hands on the same rope, pulling as one. All the way back in the top 25.