Colorado wide receiver Paul Richardson (80) beats Nebraska cornerback Alfonzo Dennard (15) for a third quarter catch at Memorial Stadium on Friday.
Colorado wide receiver Paul Richardson (80) beats Nebraska cornerback Alfonzo Dennard (15) for a third quarter catch at Memorial Stadium on Friday. ( ERIC GREGORY/Lincoln Journal Sta )
LINCOLN, Neb. -- Just when it appears the drama in the Colorado football program is dying down, a star freshman wide receiver adds a little intrigue to the situation.

Paul Richardson refused to commit to returning to the program for his sophomore season next fall on Friday outside the losing locker room following a 45-17 defeat at Nebraska. When asked about his future following a season in which he set several freshmen records in Boulder, Richardson was evasive.

"I mean, I`m not even talking about that right now," Richardson said. "I`m just trying to finish school, but as far as the offseason goes, just still training, getting bigger and getting faster and getting stronger."

Reporters pressed Richardson for clarification on whether he would remain a Buff and pointed out that his refusal to be clear on the subject would lead fans to speculate he plans to leave.

"They can be led on wherever they want to be led," Richardson said.

A reporter asked if he was homesick or didn`t like it in Boulder.

"I like it here a lot," Richardson said. "Like I said, I`m just going to take it slow going into this offseason and finishing off school."

Richardson came to CU late last summer after being cast off from UCLA following an arrest for theft of a purse on campus. CU officials were satisfied that incident was more of a misunderstanding and when Richardson was cleared of serious charges in the legal system, they made him a Buff.


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He set the record for most receiving yards in a season by a freshman on Friday and added to his freshman record with his sixth receiving touchdown. Richardson finished the year with 34 catches for 514 yards, breaking teammate Scotty McKnight`s old record of 488 yards in a season by a freshman.

"It meant a lot for me because it was held by Scotty," Richardson said. "I really look up to Scotty and it was hard to see him upset at the end of the game."

McKnight said he planned to talk to Richardson at some point in the coming days to see what he is thinking in regard to his future.

Miller eyes NFL

Junior offensive lineman Ryan Miller had no comment after Friday`s game when asked if he had decided to turn pro.

Miller has been at CU and played in all or part of four different seasons already. The NCAA gave him a medical redshirt following the 2008 season when he broke his ankle in the fourth game of the season.

The 6-foot-8, 310-pound right guard is considered an NFL talent, but he might not be drafted next April until the later rounds. Pro scouts and members of the CU coaching staff have told the Camera this fall that Miller could use another year of college football, particularly when it comes to his pass blocking.

It`s likely that Miller will ask for advice from the NFL committee charged with advising underclassmen where they might be drafted. Miller said back in August that he was planning to return for the 2011 season, but the coaching change in the program might impact his decision.

Stewart in exclusive company at CU

 

CU running back Rodney Stewart completed the best season of his career with 1,318 rushing yards, the fifth-highest single-season total in CU history. It was the best season for a Colorado running back and the running game in general since Chris Brown ran for 1,744 yards in 2002.

Stewart rushed for 88 yards against Nebraska and has 2,744 yards entering his senior year in 2011. He carried the ball 290 times this season, only Rashaan Salaam (298 in 1994) has more carries in a single season.

Stewart passed Hugh Charles and Brown on the CU career rushing list into fifth place. The only two players to have more career rushing yards at the end of their junior seasons were Salaam and Brown, who both turned pro and didn`t play as seniors.

Wire-to-wire

Wide receiver Scotty McKnight completed his storied career Friday with three catches for 10 yards. He joined six other players in the history of major college football to catch a pass in every game in his career and never miss a game due to injury.

"I`m definitely proud," McKnight said. "I don`t want to take anything away from that, and I`ve always kind of prided myself on being a tough player. But at the same time, it`s just tough because you want to win and in a lot of those games, no matter how many balls I caught if you`re not winning, it doesn`t sit right."

McKnight fell short of becoming CU`s all-time leader in receiving yards, finishing third with 2,521 behind Michael Westbrook (2,548) and Rae Carruth (2,540). McKnight came into the game already ranked as Colorado`s career leader in touchdown catches and career receptions.

McKnight fumbled on the Buffs` first offensive play of the fourth quarter. It was only the second time he fumbled in his career.

Big day for Smith

True freshman safety Terrel Smith unofficially set a school record Friday with 17 total tackles. The number won`t be official until coaches review the film, but if its holds up, it would break J.J. Billingsley`s record of 15 tackles in a game by a true freshman and it would tie the overall freshman record held by Matt Russell.

Notable

Center Mike Iltis was on crutches at the end of the game after suffering a knee injury. Team physicians will evaluate Iltis` injury this week and determine if he needs surgery. Iltis suffered a torn ACL two years ago. ... The Buffs allowed 40 or more points four times this season, the most since 2003. ... The Buffs did not allow a sack for the second time this season and they allowed a tough Nebraska defense just one sack in the final two games of the series ... CU finished the season with 79 penalties for 603 yards.