September 2, 2006

Montana State stuns CU in season opener

BOULDER, Colo. - What was expected to be nothing more than a tune up for their showdown against Colorado State, quickly turned into a nightmare for the Buffaloes in their first game under head coach [db]Dan Hawkins[/db].

Montana State, Colorado's first ever D-1AA opponent, scored 13 unanswered points in the second half and won the game 19-10.

Cory Carpenter had an impressive debut as the Bobcats' starting quarterback. He completed 23-of-31 passes for 229 yards and one touchdown without throwing an interception. Montana State wide receiver Michael Jefferson hauled in 10 of Carpenter's passes for 87 yards and a score.

"We got outplayed and we got out coached," Hawkins expressed. "You have to give a lot of credit to Montana State. They came in and made the plays they had to make to win and we didn't. That is pretty much the summary."

Early on, it looked like it was going to be easy sailing for Colorado.

The Buffs' defense forced a three-and-out on Montana State's first possession. Then quarterback James Cox hooked up with Patrick Williams for a 42 yard gain on the first offensive play of the game. It was the longest first offensive play in Colorado school history; in fact it was more yardage than the Buffs' previous 14 first offensive plays combined.

But the Buffs' offense managed just 174 yards the remainder of the game and accounted for only two first downs in the second half. Cox finished with 110 yards on eight-of-22 passing.

"The coaches put us in a position to make plays all day whether it be the running game or the passing game," Cox admitted. "There were a lot of plays that were out there for us but we just didn't make them. I don't think we ever got into a real good rhythm.

"It was just one thing every drive. Whether it was a projection break down, or I threw a bad ball or the receiver dropped the ball. We just have to get our team chemistry [on track] and improve ourselves for next week."

Even the incomparable Mason Crosby was human on Saturday. He was short on a 63-yard field goal attempt with 1:11 left in the game. He made his other field goal attempt from 24 yards out.

Defensively, Jordon Dizon led the way for CU with eight tackles and a sack. Fellow linebacker Thaddaeus Washington added seven tackles, a forced fumble and a quarterback sack. Abraham Wright, Walter Boye-Doe and Terrence Wheatley also recorded sacks.

According to defensive captain Thaddadeus Washington, today's loss was not a case of the Buffaloes' overlooking the Bobcats. "We watched a lot of film on them," he said. "They are a pretty good team and we knew that they like to go down field and that's what they did. When they needed to make plays, they made them. We didn't do enough to defend them."

The Buffaloes will have little time to sulk over their season opening loss. They match up against in-state rival Colorado State at Invesco Field in Denver next Saturday. The game kicks off at 3 pm.

"I have been doing this a long time and I've lost before," Hawkins said. "If you can't understand how to deal with losing, you are never going to win. To me, it is only devastating if people make it devastating. We understand that most people are going to jump on when it's rosy but we all find out about ourselves when things aren't so good."

"I told guys after the game, 'We have to look forward, we can't look back'," Washington concluded. "This game is over and we have to flush it. That is the bottom line."

Game Notes:

*** The game's attendance was announced as 45,513. CU estimated there were 3,000 no shows.

*** True freshmen Michael Sipili and Cha'pelle Brown both saw action on the defensive side of the ball on Saturday. Brown recorded three tackles and Sipili recorded two.

*** Bernard Jackson took one snap behind center in the second half and rushed for five yards.

*** Redshirt freshman Devin Head replaced Daniel Sanders at right guard early in the game after Sanders was sidelined with an injury.

*** Penalties hurt both teams early in the first quarter. Montana State's Evin Groves had two long runs called back on holding calls. The Buffs were flagged for a late hit and a face masking call on defense, and a long pass completion to Dan Goettsch was called back due to a holding penalty.

*** Tight end Riar Geer dropped a touchdown pass in the end zone during the Buffs' first offensive drive, which resulted in a 24 yard Mason Crosby field goal.

*** Abraham Wright recovered a fumble forced by Ryan Walters with roughly eight minutes left in the first half, but after the play was reviewed, it was ruled an incompletion.

*** Mell Holliday was the Buffs' primary ball carrier on Saturday. He gained 50 yards on 12 carries. Hugh Charles picked up 35 yards on five carries, including a 14 yard reception.

*** Isaac Garden, Matthew DiLallo and Mason Crosby were all given an opportunity to punt. Garden came into the game as the starter but he struggled, only averaging 34.8 yards per punt on the day.

*** Dating back to last season, the Buffs have now lost five straight by a combined score of 168-42.

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