Boulder, CU- Colorado falls to 4-5 after losing at home to the 16 Oregon State Beavers 26-19. In a game that was decided by one touchdown, time management errors, and a struggling offense turned what could have been a successful comeback into another failed opportunity.
With 50 seconds left in the first half, Oregon State was up 7-3. Both offenses struggled with a collective nine punts and two fumbles. The Colorado Buffaloes began their drive backed up on their own five-yard line and under a minute left with two incomplete passes and finished with a run, allowing Oregon State to get the ball with good field position and one more time out.
And the Beavers scored with 20 seconds left in the half. Colorado lost by a touchdown, and this was the touchdown that caused it. Colorado could have run out the clock, but in trying to make plays, the team gave the Beavers the momentum.
“We dropped the pass, we should have run the ball,” Coach Deion Sanders said later. “That’s on me. I take full responsibility.”
Another factor in the first half is that Colorado’s offense struggled, only finishing with 78 yards of total offense and only three points. Days after Sanders demoted offensive coordinator Sean Lewis.
Questions over his decision were addressed after in the post-game press conference thanks to the offensive struggles.
“We’re not going to demean Sean Lewis, we’re not going to take that tone,” Sanders Said. “Sean is a good man; I think he is a good play caller. We just needed change at the time. We needed to try something else at the time, that’s what we did. I don’t look back on it. I don’t second-guess myself whatsoever because there’s more to it that what you may know. Let’s just trust the process.”
Trailing 23-5 with 13 minutes remaining in the half, the opportunity for a Colorado comeback was slim.
The Colorado defense had just allowed a touchdown and a field goal on the two previous drives while the offense was scoreless in the previous quarter, the only two points scored by Colorado in the 3rd quarter were from a defensive PAT conversion off a fumble by the Beavers on their two-point attempt.
Yet, the Colorado offense again came alive with little time left just like earlier in the season with USC, and again the team just ran out of time.
The offense responded to the Beavers field goal with a nine play 75-yard drive, ending with a Travis Hunter touchdown off a 15-yard pass from Shedeur Sanders.
Hunter, a bright spot on the team, stayed mostly silent until this drive; he finished the game with eight receptions and 98 yards.
But the defense failed to stop Oregon from taking a time off the clock and remaining scoreless. As Oregon drove down to end with a 41-yard field, taking 4:47 off the clock. With over 4 minutes left, Colorado was down by two scores.
Yet again the team drove down the field and scored another touchdown, this time ending with a 12-yard pass from Sanders to Anthony Hankerson. There was 1:42 seconds left in the game at this point.
And Oregon took advantage of Colorado’s mistakes, including bad time management, as the Colorado coaching staff forgot to call a time out immediately after a rushing attempt by Oregon.
Coach Sanders blamed himself for the bad time management, but he also defended himself and the coaching staff.
“I make a decision to help this team win. You guys don’t know all the intangibles yet. You’re just looking from the outside of the crib, looking in.
Colorado is home for the final time this year, taking on the 6-3 Arizona Wildcats at noon Saturday Nov. 11.