Sunday, September 9, 2018

Colorado 33, Nebraska 28 -- All That Matters

The Colorado Golden Buffs went in to Lincoln, Nebraska and defeated the Huskers 33-28.

It was a game that started with a roar for the Golden Buffs as they turned two Nebraska turnovers into touchdowns and stormed out to a 14-0 lead in the first quarter.

Scott Frost's return to Nebraska then took off in earnest. By the end of the first quarter, the Huskers had cut the lead to 14-7. Over the rest of the first half, Nebraska played smashmouth football and had their way with Colorado.

Shortly before the end of the 2nd quarter, the Huskers were up 21-14 and looked like they would dominate for the rest of the game.

Fortunately for the Golden Buffaloes, they started to tighten things up. Colorado added a field goal before the half to cut the Nebraska lead to 21-17. They added another FG early in the 3rd quarter and were only down by one, 21-20.

Each team added another TD in the 3rd and entered the 4th quarter with Nebraska up 28-27. Colorado coach Mike MacIntyre raised a few eyebrows when he decided to kick an extra point instead of going for two to tie the game. 

Both teams kept threatening to score in the 4th quarter, but a trio of failed attempts on 4th down (two for the Buffs, and one for the Huskers), kept the ball out of the end zone.

The key play helping to decide the game was a bizarre unnecessary roughness penalty on Nebraska. Colorado's last minute drive was seriously stalled and they faced a 3rd down with 24 yards to go. All Nebraska had to do was keep the Buffaloes from getting a
first down and the game was all but over.

The pass from Steven Montez to Jay MacIntyre sailed high and incomplete, and then a Nebraska player inexplicably leveled MacIntyre with vicious hit. That penalty gave the Buffaloes an automatic first down.

On the next play, Montez hit Laviska Shenault Jr. on a beautiful 40 yard touchdown pass to take the lead, 33-28. A valiant effort by the Nebraska backup QB ended with a pass out of the end zone as time expired.

It wasn't pretty. Nebraska put up 565 yards on the Buffaloes, but Colorado caused three turnovers while having none of their own. All that matters for Colorado was that they left Lincoln with a win. 

The close win on the road was reminiscent of their big win over Oregon in Eugene in 2016. It shows the team that they are able to come back on the road in a hostile environment. The Buffs didn't just have to face the Huskers, they also had to face 90,000 extremely loud fans. It was the biggest crowd they will face this season.


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