DENVER—It’s something that should be reserved for the storybooks.
Star receiver, injured, and back-up quarterback, both a sudden abundance of free time. It was 11 months ago, and Paul Richardson and Connor Wood started working out together, started to build the chemistry.
But would the receiver who set school records two years prior ever be the same? Would back-up quarterback with the Texas pedigree ever find his confidence and hit his stride?
Although it’s only one game into a very young season, the resounding answer is “yes” on both counts. And it was evident immediately.
“It started long before the spring,” Richardson said of the two’s connection. “I was recovering from surgery and he wasn’t really ‘the guy,’ so to speak. We would work out. We started to build chemistry.
“We didn’t know if I’d be the same player and we didn’t know if he’d be in the position he’s in, but we had free time. We took advantage of that opportunity and worked hard throughout the winter, spring, summer and fall camp. Today, it came full circle.”
If the last 11 months constituted a full circle, so did the game itself. Two plays into the game, Wood scrambled, lobbed it 47 yards down the field to a wide open Richardson, who took it the remaining 35 yards for the game’s first points. Fast-forward to the fourth quarter, and the two connected for the dagger, a 75-yard strike and run that put the game away.
“It was like Christmas in September, having him back,” Wood said. “It’s nice to have him back.”
In the end of the first game out of the chute, the numbers were impressive:
- Wood completed 33-of-46 passes for 400 yards and three touchdowns. He didn’t throw an interception and the only sack was credited when he was called for intentional grounding after picking up a fumble.
- Richardson caught 10 of those passes for 208 yards and two scores.
The two scores they connected on turned out to be the difference in the game as the Buffaloes came away with a 41-27 victory and matched the squad’s win total from last season in the first contest of the season.
Richardson recorded just the fourth 200-yard receiving game and 13th game in program history where a player had 10-plus receptions. He moved from 21st to 10th in career receiving yards (1,277), 25th to 20th in receptions (83) and his two scores moves him into eighth for TD receptions with 13.
Wood recorded a QB efficiency of 166.3, a CU record for players who have attempted 40 or more passes. His 400 yards were the 11th most in CU history and 11th time a quarterback threw for 400 or more yards and his 33 completions matched the third most in CU history.
“I was really impressed with Connor today,” CU coach Mike MacIntyre said. “That’s what we’ve been seeing in practice, I knew he had the ability to do it and I’m proud of him. Now we have to do it again next Saturday.”