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The Colorado Buffaloes suffered a tough 45-42 defeat by the Arizona Wildcats on Saturday night. In the game itself, Wildcats quarterback Khalil Tate set an FBS record for rushing yards by a quarterback - running for 327 yards and four touchdowns - while taking the Buffs on a nightlong track meet. Tate kept the Buffs guessing as he improvised and zig-zagged his way around the field all night long.
Even after watching the film on Tate’s dominating performance, head coach Mike MacIntyre doesn’t feel there’s much the Buffs could’ve done differently to slow down the speedy signal caller.
“Two of the plays were broken plays and he just took it down and made some plays on us,” MacIntyre said. “Two plays we had him stopped in his tracks, and he just changed direction, and he made some really good plays. There’s some things we definitely need to fix, but a few of them he just made really good plays and we missed a open field tackle here, and he was just off and running.”
On film, one of the things that stuck out most about the play of the Wildcats quarterback was how fast he appeared to be moving. Being that this was the only time this season the Buffs will be pitted up against a quarterback of Tate’s skillset, Coach MacIntyre feels confident about the team’s ability to rebound and make timely plays going forward.
“Nobody has a guy like him, so it’s a whole different world,” MacIntyre said. “If we were playing a guy like him every week, we’d need to play better in that game. He made some really good plays, and he looked like he was on full speed throttle compared to all other 21 players on the field. There’s definitely things you have to fix and have to do, but some of them are finding ways to get him on the ground so to speak.”
The outstanding performance of running back Phillip Lindsay was a major factor in keeping the Buffs in Saturday’s contest. In a career night, Lindsay ran for 287 yards on the ground over 41 carries.
Although no tailback can be expected to carry the ball that much on a regular basis, Buffs offensive coordinator Brian Lindgren felt Lindsay played a huge role in jumpstarting the offense. Lindgren also felt that type of effort from Lindsay can have a trickle down effect on the rest of the offense going forward.
“He [Philip] did a nice job and I think that definitely helps when you get Phil and the run game going,” Lindgren said. “It simplifies things for your quarterback and creates some easier throws for him, and I think that helped him in the passing game.”
The increased open throwing lanes and overall easier throws that Lindgren is referring to, was something quarterback Steven Montez noticed first hand next Saturday.
“Once Phil started going and cutting those big runs, it felt like the pass game started to open up,” Montez said. “They just really couldn’t cover us.”
After Lindsay’s dominating performance, it’s become clear that if he can carry the offensive load even remotely, the Buffs automatically have a chance of winning any game.
Following the loss on Saturday night, the Buffs drop to 0-3 overall in Pac-12 play. Their tough conference schedule this year hasn’t done them any favors either. Three weeks ago, they played a Washington Huskies team that ranks fifth overall in the country, the following week they faced one of the top quarterbacks in college football in UCLA’s Josh Rosen. Last week, they faced a speed blazing signal caller that started the night as the Wildcats backup. Needless to say, it’s been a tough stretch for the Buffs.
Despite their struggles, light exists at the end of the tunnel as the Buffs go on the road to face a Oregon State Beavers team that ranks toward the bottom of the conference in every major statistical category. It’s been a tough year for the team in Corvallis as they sit at 1-5 halfway through the season after suffering yet another major defeat - this time at the hands of the powerful USC Trojans.
Regardless of the Beavers struggles and inability to execute, Coach MacIntyre was complimentary of their talent as a team - especially after getting some key players back this week.
“A Pac-12 game on the road is always really tough,” MacIntyre said. “I know they’ll be psyched up to play and so will our guys. [The Beavers] did some good things against USC last week on the road, and USC is a very talented football team.
“They’ve gotten some of their guys back. We’ve got to be ready to stop them. Defensively, they’re playing a lot better than they did earlier in the year, so they’ve improved on that side of it. That’s a improved football team from the first couple weeks of the season for sure.”
We’ll see if the Buffs can go in and have a bounce back win against the lowly Beavers on Saturday.
-Even after his wake-up performance on Saturday night, Chris Bounds will be used in a similar capacity on both offense and special teams as he’s been used all season.
-Several times Saturday it appeared that wide receiver Shay Fields was wide open, only to be overthrown or mis-fired to. Head Coach Mike MacIntyre said there's been some “hit-and-miss” execution issues between the duo, and feels they’ll connect soon.
-When asked how to ensure no player had a Khalil Tate-type of impact again, coach MacIntyre simply stated: “Tackle him.” It seems like there's some frustration regarding the missed tackles Saturday night.
-Coach MacIntyre said he was impressed by right tackle Isaac Miller’s performance against the Wildcats. He really liked his ability to rebound and move on after getting beat several times early on.
-He also thought Beau Bisharat did well in the game Saturday after looking good in practice for a while.
-Coach MacIntyre wouldn’t give an update on the injury status of nose tackle Javier Edwards who left Saturday’s contest with a lower leg injury.