BOULDER — Who’s the cat who cuts his routes, when there’s danger all about?
How cringe was Oregon State 26, CU 19?
No joke. The real McCoy. Because surreal is the new normal in Boulder, legendary actor Samuel L. Jackson, star of the “Shaft” remake from the summer of 2000, went on the “X” social media platform in the middle of the Buffs’ third straight loss to tap out this:
“Brain Farts all around, the OC can’t call 3 run plays to get off the field! The DC can’t get his guys to stop a baby carriage!! (Shedeur) can barely walk & is going to end up playing wheelchair football behind that OLine!! My rage is better served watching villains in a good Bollywood movie!!”
For three quarters Saturday, Buffs Nation was “treated” to Broncos Country’s greatest hits from 2021. Horizontal passes. Throwing out of your end zone. Routes that stopped short of the sticks. Beat-up QBs.
The only things missing from the Pat Shurmur bingo card in his CU play-calling debut were a tight-end screen and a Melvin Gordon fumble. A boy can dream.
“That’s just the preference of the OC (with) the call, in the rhythm of the game at the time, whether we use the tight end to block,” CU coach Deion Sanders said after his Buffs dropped a third straight tilt and dipped to 4-5 overall, 1-5 in the Pac-12. “If we’re gonna throw to (the) third (target), I’d rather (a wide) receiver be out there. That’s my preference, (rather) than the tight end.”
Who is the mannnn, who won’t help (Gerad) Christian-Lichtenhan?
Can you dig it?
“We’re not gonna demean (offensive coordinator) Sean Lewis. We just needed change at the time, we needed to try something else,” Sanders said. “And that’s what we did. I don’t look back on it. Let’s just trust the process.”
It’s Shurmur we don’t trust, coach. We know better.
After averaging 5.5 yards per play with Lewis running the offense, the Buffs averaged 4.1 yards per snap under Pencil Pat. CU averaged 40.8 points in its previous four home games with Lewis calling plays. The Buffs scored 19 — two came via a special-teams safety — at Folsom Field against the Beavs, who sported the Pac-12’s, um … No. 6 scoring defense heading into Saturday night.
Quarterback Shedeur Sanders limped into the locker room at the half with just 41 passing yards on his ledger — his lowest total at the break to date.
The clocks fell back an hour Saturday night. Shurmur’s offense fell back months, erasing eight hard-fought games of identity, tempo, mantra and momentum.
“I make a decision to help the team win,” Sanders said of his call last week to flip the play-calling duties from Lewis to Shurmur, whose Broncos offenses in ’20 and ’21 were so anemic that the franchise ran to Nathaniel Bleeping Hackett for salvation.
“You guys (in the media) don’t know all the intangibles … just from the outside of the crib looking in, I’ve got tinted windows and you can’t even see in the house. But you’re making conclusions on what I should and should not do.”
The logical conclusion, Prime?
You should give Lewis back the reins.
It’s OK. Really. Chalk the past week up to a moment of madness. Pencil Pat is Mike Zimmer’s pal. Mike Zimmer is your pal. It happens.
Urban Meyer went to bat for Steve Addazio at CSU once, too. Didn’t end well.
This won’t either, if Saturday was any harbinger of what’s to come.
CU’s first 10 non-kneeling drives on the evening produced 12 points. And seven came early in the fourth quarter, with the Buffs already down 23-5 on a hazy homecoming night.
Was the quick slant outlawed in Boulder County after Halloween? CU seemed bizarrely fixated on just two types of pass routes during the first and second quarters: The swing in the flat or the “go” route. It took OSU defensive coordinator Trent Bray about three plays to crack the code.
“We found out (about the play-calling change) kind of late,” Beavers coach Jonathan Smith told reporters after the game. “So, not a ton.
“They’ve had a season and so you’re following the tape and so that wasn’t a major factor on what we decided to do defensively.”
Shurmur’s anemic start wasted a guts-and-grind effort by the Buffs’ defensive front seven, which got bent silly by one of the better offensive lines in the Pac-12 but still held OSU scoreless on six of the Beavs’ first seven drives.
And the touchdown that capped OSU’s eighth drive, a score that proved critical later, never should’ve happened.
With 34 seconds left in the first half, after the Buffs trailed 7-3 and were backed up to their own 4, they threw out of the end zone twice (both incomplete), ran once for no gain, and went three-and-out, eating up all of 27 seconds in the process. No wonder Nick Fury lost his dang mind.
The Beavs had enough time for a big punt return, and a Buffs flag gave them the ball with 22 seconds at the CU 20. One heave was all it took for OSU quarterback DJ Uiagalelei to find Deshaun Fenwick in the end zone for a quickie score the other way.
The ranked Beavs went from stalled out to taking a 14-3 lead into halftime — from seemingly out of nowhere.
“That hurt tremendously,” Coach Prime said.
So did four more sacks of son Shedeur. And more in-game treatment for No. 2, who looks as if he’s lost the legs he had earlier this season, all while losing some zip on the fastball along the way. Collateral damage from weeks of brutal poundings in the pocket.
“The pain of not being there for them,” Shedeur said of his teammates, “overides the pain that’s going through my body.”
Sanders went after the wrong former Broncos assistant. You needed to flag down Mike Munchak, Prime. Not Pencil Pat.
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