This isn't the way Jay MacIntyre pictured the end of his Colorado football career, battered and limping to the finish line alongside teammates mired in what could be a program-changing losing streak.
And it certainly isn't the way his father, embattled head coach Mike MacIntyre, pictured his final home game alongside his son, deflecting rumors of his pending demise as CU's leader to focus on sending his seniors out with a win that will land the Buffs a bowl bid.
Nevertheless, such is the state of things for the MacIntyre family heading into CU's home finale Saturday against Utah (11:30 a.m., Pac-12 Network). While the elder MacIntyre undoubtedly is reserving heaps of praise for all the seniors set to be honored before kickoff, it also undoubtedly will be more than just another game for father and son.
Jay MacIntyre has missed the past two games and three overall this season due to concussions, and while his father stopped short of declaring him ready this week, all indications are the younger MacIntyre will be back in the wideout rotation Saturday.
"It's definitely been an emotional week. It's been an emotional couple of weeks here with how everything has played out and not being able to be out there with my teammates, not being able to play the games I want to play my senior year," Jay MacIntyre said. "At the same time, I'm excited for the next two games and the bowl game after that. I'm excited to go out there at Folsom for my last time and take that all in and kind of put everything, all that adversity we've been facing, in the past and try to enjoy these last two games.
"For me, I've put in a lot here. My dad has put in a lot. My family has put in a lot. To run out there for the last time and see my dad at the end waiting there with my family, just knowing how much we've put into this program, it's going to be special for sure."
Given how Jay MacIntyre has evolved into a fan-favorite with his sure hands and toughness in taking big hits across the middle, it is easy to forget about how his signing once drew raised eyebrows. When his father took over in Boulder, the CU program wasn't too far removed from the Dan Hawkins era, a time when his capable but hardly Big 12-worthy son Cody Hawkins handled the quarterback duties.
Some fans locally expressed frustration that Fairview record-setting receiver Sam Martin wasn't the Boulder resident offered an opportunity by coach MacIntyre. Jay MacIntyre had no control over that, and after redshirting in 2014 he quietly has gone about the business of dispelling those question marks. He enters Saturday's action with 84 career receptions for 1,027 yards and six touchdowns. The last two of those TDs occurred earlier this year in a win at Nebraska — a moment that appears destined to be remembered as the high point of an otherwise disappointing 2018 season for the Buffs.
Jay MacIntyre briefly toyed with the idea of attending Wyoming, the only school that offered him a chance to play quarterback, which he excelled at while spending his senior year at Monarch. Obviously the younger MacIntyre hasn't regretted his choice, and he has kept his head down while treading the delicate balance of being one of the guys who nonetheless also doubles as the coach's son.
"That's tough. I don't think anyone can really know how tough that is unless you're in those shoes," Jay MacIntyre said. "It's a lot. But if I didn't think I could do it, I wouldn't have chose to come here. My dad did it and saw he told me what he went through and how he turned out. I was like, you know what? These years, they're going to be fun. It's going to be awesome to be with my dad. But there's also going to be tough times. Those tough times don't define us, but they also help us become the people we want to be.
"That's how I've tried to take it. Each tough time is almost like another motivation time for me. I've had a lot of them in my career. I've had a lot this year. As hard as it is, the rewards at the end...to say me and my dad did this, or that we as a team were able to do that. It's pretty special."