Brooks: Buffs' September Song Opens On Sour Note
BOULDER - On Thursday night, Jon Embree did a calendar check for his Colorado football team. He believed it would serve as a reality check come Saturday afternoon in the Buffaloes' season-opener.
Didn't work out that way.
Assembled in the auditorium of the Dal Ward Athletic Center, the Buffs listened intently as their second-year coach reminded them that 280 days had passed since they left the field last November in Salt Lake City with a 17-14 upset of Utah.
The goal of Embree and his staff was to somehow keep all elements of that momentum intact for CU's season-opener against Colorado State. That didn't happen, and something else Embree tossed out for his team quickly turned stale with its 22-17 loss to the Rams.
The Buffs have five games in September - "Almost half of our schedule," Embree emphatically pointed out. "We can't afford to come out and (BS) around, mess around in the first quarter . . . five games in September; we've got to get going early."
A day and a half later, with Denver's Sept. 1 temperature hitting 94, Embree's words on Thursday night had apparently dried up and blown elsewhere. CU went three-and-out on its first two series, fell behind 3-0 and looked nothing like what Embree and his offensive staff watched in August.
The second quarter was another story as transfer quarterback Jordan Webb and his receivers got in synch and scored back-to-back touchdowns to take a 14-3 lead. But only 43 seconds before halftime, the Buffs hit the wall.
After a timeout to talk strategy and get its "punt safe" returner - D.D. Goodson - in place, Goodson muffed the punt and gave CSU a first down at the CU 20. First play, Garrett Grayson hit Dominique Vinson for a touchdown. The PAT was blocked, but CU's 14-3 advantage was now 14-9 - and the Buffs' edge was dulling.
Goodson explained the muff like this: "I was back there - it was punt safe. I was supposed to secure it, look it in, make sure that I caught it. Instead, I tried to catch it and run."
Embree said that play and CSU's immediate score "didn't deflate our team . . . we had a good mindset coming into halftime."
But know this: It took a disastrous toll. It was exactly what the Rams needed after the Buffs had showed what turned out to be false signs of running away with this one...more