With a game’s worth of knowledge about the Buffs, here’s what we know going into this now-pivotal Pac-12 North matchup.
Sam Noyer looked like a seasoned vet
You wouldn’t know by watching this game for the Buffs that new starting quarterback Sam Noyer hadn’t been a quarterback for the entire 2019 season. Or that his last game action at the position had come against Utah in Week 12 of the 2018 season. That’s right, Noyer changed positions to safety in 2019 under then head coach Mel Tucker and transitioned back after entering the transfer portal upon Tucker’s departure to Michigan State.
Noyer was prompted to stay under Dorrell and won the starting quarterback role after impressing in a limited preseason camp.
It makes sense now after he finished the game against UCLA 20-32 for 257 yards and a touchdown. Most impressive about his performance against the Bruins was the fact that he took care of the football, took what was presented to him and made some impressive tight-window throws. He’s got terrific athleticism and also put that on display to the tune of 66 rushing yards including 52 yards on designed carries out of the backfield.
He’s a veteran leader on this team that desperately needed one and should be considered a threat every time he takes the snap.
Jarek Broussard was ready to tote the rock
You don’t even have to be an analyst to see how impressive running back Jarek Broussard was against UCLA. He finished the game with 31 carries for 188 yards and three scores, powering in all three touchdowns against what was an overmatched UCLA defense.
He churned out yard after yard and racked up a ton of yards after contact in the process, breaking multiple tackles on his way to a career day on the ground. This all came after Alex Fontenot, the projected starter was announced just five days prior to the season’s kickoff that he was out indefinitely. Broussard is more than just a bruiser, he’s elusive and comes fully equipped with receiving prowess out of the backfield as well.
The Buffs need an answer at pass-catcher
Their leading receiver in the game against UCLA was tight end Brady Russell, who also had a crucial drop and didn’t offer much in the way of separation at the catch point or yards after the catch. Of course, last year they had Laviska Shenault, a legitimate Heisman Trophy caliber kind of player had he stayed healthy in his college career, so this year was always going to be a bit of a letdown at pass-catcher.
But still, this team needs one of their outside receivers to step up otherwise, this Buffs team becomes very one-dimensional, and a good defensive coach could pick up on that.
Colorado has a defense full of sure-tacklers
When the Buffs players got their hands on UCLA ball carriers, it was more often than not that they were going down. There were very few missed tackles and that comes as a bit of a surprise after UCLA RB Demetric Felton is surely one of the most elusive backs in the conference.
But they have their troubles
The Bruins were ultimately allowed back in the game against Colorado due to defensive lapses. They allowed Dorian Thompson-Robinson to scamper for a long touchdown run in the start of the third quarter because they were morbidly out of position. They also allowed a long second-quarter touchdown to tight end Greg Dulcich on clearly a blown coverage. Those two players allowed UCLA to keep the game within a reasonable measure, and ultimately give this game a more ‘positive-looking’ box score for the Bruins, even if this game never was really as close as the box scores indicates.
Their defense has their troubles, even if they are a well-coached unit with speed and talent. There are absolutely areas to exploit.