BOULDER — Losing a game is never something to be proud of, but when your loss looks better than your rival’s it almost seems like a win.
The majority of Ram fans would consider the fact that the CSU football team didn’t get dismantled by No. 1 Alabama two weeks ago somewhat of a success. And on Saturday it was CU’s turn to try and do the same against No. 2 Oregon, however the Buffs’ best Rams impression lasted only 15 minutes before things took a turn for the worse.
To CU’s credit, it actually held the lead against one of the best football teams in the country on two separate occasions, something that the Rams weren’t able to achieve. But it was the following three quarters of the game in which the Ducks spent making a mockery of the Buffaloes that can allow CSU to feel as though it did better in its effort while in the national spotlight.
Considering the fact that neither Colorado team actually had a chance in either game, the success must be drawn from the defensive effort put up against each powerhouse squad.
The Crimson Tide belong to the SEC, a conference based upon the fundamentals of playing football, presenting effective rushing performances that typically prove to be too overwhelming for opponents. The CSU defense couldn’t have done a better job containing the Alabama running game on Sept. 21, holding the Crimson Tide to only 66 yards on the ground.
The most positive factor for CSU was that it was still within reach of Alabama when entering the final quarter in Tuscaloosa. For CU, the moment was much more short-lived.
The last moment the Buffaloes were able to squeeze any points out of the Ducks came just over five minutes into the second frame, the point where Oregon head coach Mark Helfrich decided that it was time to put CU away for good.
The Ducks hit the gas and went full-throttle, not stopping to look back until the postgame press conference and 57 points were tallied onto the scoreboard.
The Oregon offense, which spent years under the reins of now NFL coach Chip Kelly, has developed a skill with moving fast.
Once the Ducks began clicking, all hopes of CU pulling off the biggest upset of the season were immediately scrapped as an afterthought. Oregon went on to put up three different touchdown-ending scoring drives that all lasted less than two minutes, delivering blow after blow to the dignity of the Buffaloes until the entire CU student section emptied before the game even finished.
“I don’t really think about mercy,” Helfrich said. “We’re not in the statistic business and we don’t think about individual awards; that’s not out deal. We just wanted to get into a rhythm offensively.”
Well coach, there’s no doubt that rhythm was found.
The numbers Oregon put up against CU are truly unbelievable, and resemble more of a video game result than an actual NCAA matchup. Despite cycling through four different quarterbacks en route to their public beating of the Buffs, the Ducks still racked up 755 total offensive yards — yes, 755, the second worst defensive performance in CU program history.
Matching the numbers up with each other should make CSU feel proud of the result it yielded at Bryant-Denny.
The Buffaloes may hold the Centennial Cup for the next year, but at least the Rams had something to giggle about over the weekend without having to play a game.
Sports Editor Quentin Sickafoose can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter @QSickafoose.