PASADENA, Calif. — Sophomore receiver Shay Fields returned to the lineup on Saturday for the Colorado football team, but it was a quiet day for the speedster.
Fields had four catches for 39 yards in the Buffaloes' 35-31 loss to the Bruins at the Rose Bowl, which is located not far from where Fields grew up.
He enjoyed playing in front of dozens of friends and family, but said, "It's always tough to come back home and lose, especially like we did."
Fields injured his ankle while scoring a touchdown late in the Buffs' 38-31 loss to Arizona on Oct. 17. He missed the Buffs' 17-13 win against Oregon State on Oct. 24.
Prior to the injury, Fields was on a tear. He posted his first career-100yard game on Oct. 10 at Arizona State, with five catches for 103 yards. The next week against Arizona, he set career highs for catches (eight), yards (168) and touchdowns (two).
Although his production was limited against the Bruins, Fields said he was pleased to return to the field.
"I felt good," he said. "I took some hits to it and came out, but two plays later I felt good."
While Fields appeared to be missing his usual burst, he said he didn't notice it.
"Not that I felt, but I just have to keep going to rehab and getting better," he said. "Honestly, I felt fast."
Fields has caught at least one pass in all 20 of his games at CU, and he's had multiple catches in 19 of those. He is just 14 catches away from becoming the 14th player in CU history with 100 for his career.
The OL shuffle
The Buffs have had a different starting five on the offensive line in each of their five Pac-12 games so far. And, they are rarely finishing with the same group these days.
CU linemen keep shuffling in and out with injuries, the latest being a concussion suffered by left guard Gerrad Kough on Saturday.
Center Alex Kelley is the one lineman who hasn't moved at all. With the exception of some late snaps in blowout wins against UMass and Nicholls, Kelley has played every meaningful snap at center this year.
The junior maintains his confidence in everybody who lines up next to him, though.
"It is nice to have some consistency, but it really is no big deal right now because we've had different people get 200-300 reps already at this point in the season," Kelley said. "They know what to expect and they know how to prepare."
The coaches might have a hard time preparing, though, because they don't know from game to game, or even play to play, who will be in the trenches.
"We're just beat up in there and we just have to keep working it and keep fighting," MacIntyre said.
Getting it right
During high school, Samson Kafovalu once scooped up a fumble and tried to score a touchdown, but got tackled.
Saturday, the junior got another chance, and this time capitalized on it, going 33 yards for a Buffs touchdown.
"I was very excited," he said. "I saw the ball and I had to grab it. We work on it every day in practice.
"I just wanted to make sure this time I would end up in the end zone."
CU had the ball for a stunning 41 minutes, 5 seconds on Saturday, but that wasn't a school record. On Sept. 27, 1980, the Buffs held the ball for 42:17 in 49-7 loss to Indiana. CU did, however, set a record for time of possession in a quarter against the Bruins. CU had the ball for 14:03 of the second quarter, topping the mark of 13:14 in that game against Indiana. ... CU dropped to 57-10 all-time when racking up at least 500 yards in offense. ... When CU quarterback Sefo Liufau was picked off late in the fourth quarter, it marked the first interception he has thrown in the second half this season, and just his fifth overall). It was also Liufau's first two-interception game since Nov. 8, 2014, at Arizona.
Brian Howell: firstname.lastname@example.org, on Twitter: @BrianHowell33.
CU opponent glance
Opponent:No. 9 Stanford Cardinal
Game time: Saturday, 11 a.m. MDT at Folsom Field in Boulder
Coach: David Shaw, fifth season (49-13)
Record: 7-1, 6-0 Pac-12
Last week: Won at Washington State, 30-28
Key players: QB Kevin Hogan, Sr. (116 of 178, 1,662 yards, 14 TD, 5 INT); RB Christian McCaffrey, So. (175 rushes, 1,060 yards, 6 TD; 25 catches, 310 yards, 2 TD); RB Barry Sanders, Sr. (41 rushes, 291 yards, 4 TD); TE Austin Hooper, Jr. (19 catches, 294 yards, 4 TD); WR Michael Rector, Sr. (14 catches, 247 yards, 3 TD); K Conrad Ukropina, Sr. (11-for-12 on FGs, 37-for-37 on PATs); LB Blake Martinez, Sr. (91 tackles, 46 solo, 4.5 TFL, 1 INT); OLB Peter Kalambayi, Jr. (39 tackles, 3.5 sacks); DE Aziz Shittu, Sr. (31 tackles, 6.5 TFL, 2 sacks).
Notable: Hogan is 31-9 as a starter in his career. ... McCaffrey has posted six consecutive 100-yard rushing games. ... Martinez has 53 more tackles than anybody else on the team. ... Under Shaw's direction, the Cardinal are 35-2 when scoring at least 30 points. They are 14-11 when scoring 29 or less.