Cliff Grassmick / Staff Photographer
Cliff Grassmick / Staff Photographer
In relation to the hype that surrounded the Colorado receivers going into this season, that group has had a tough year.
Expected to be among the top two or three receiving corps in the country, the Buffs have had their share of struggles on offense.
Nevertheless, senior Bryce Bobo is enjoying the best season of his career and aiming for a good finish – personally and as a team. CU (5-6, 2-6 Pac-12) will visit Utah (5-6, 2-6) on Saturday in a game that is bowl-or-bust for both teams.
“We’re working hard in practices,” Bobo said. “If you work hard in practice, it’s going to show on Saturday, so we’ll see what happens. As a team and as an offense, you want to see yourself perform at a high level.”
It’s a sure bet that Bobo will play a big role against the Utes.
The 6-foot-2, 205-pounder is leading the team in catches (58), receiving yards (640) and receiving touchdowns (five) – all career highs. He’s had at least two catches in every game this season and has had at least six catches in six different games.
“He’s a playmaker,” quarterback Steven Montez said. “He’s got great hands, he gets open, he gives himself space. He’s been a huge target for me all year.”
Montez, who calls Bobo, “Pops,” has developed a close friendship with Bobo and a great rapport on the field. Bobo is often Montez’s go-to receiver is crunch time.
Beyond Bobo’s receiving ability, running back Phillip Lindsay said, “Bobo can block, too. Bobo is one of the best blocking receivers. He’s physical. I know that every time you run his way, you’re going to get a good block from him. He’s strong.”
He’s also been durable this season, for the first time in his CU career.
Although he’s only missed one game in his career, during Bobo’s first three years at CU, injuries limited him during preseason camp, and that wound up impacting his production on the field.
Last year, he finally went through a healthy camp and caught 41 passes for 523 yards (both career highs at the time), but an ankle injury limited him to just one catch for 29 yards in the final three games of the regular season.
It’s no surprise to head coach Mike MacIntyre that a healthy Bobo has led to him having his best year this fall.
“He’s always been a good player,” MacIntyre said. “I think that his fortitude and work ethic has propelled him to keep getting better. Now he’s had a full, complete year with spring practice, fall and the whole season healthy. You can see what he can do when he has all those opportunities.”
With a 12-catch lead on Shay Fields, Bobo is almost sure to finish as the team’s leading receiver this year, and he’s just two catches away from producing the ninth 60-catch season in CU history.
Bobo also enters this week’s regular season finale seventh on CU’s all-time list for receptions (146), with a chance to climb into the top five. He’s 12th in receiving yards (1,585) and could potentially finish one spot higher.
“Individually, yeah (it means a lot), but I never look at my stats,” he said. “It shows production and I guess at the end of the day, numbers don’t lie.”
What the numbers say is that Bobo has been productive throughout his time at CU, and after three seasons of modest numbers, he’s finishing strong.
“It means everything,” he said of having a big senior year. “I put a lot of hard work into it when I was in the offseason and I guess it’s just showing off now and I’m getting a little bit more opportunities than I was usually given. I’m just making the most out of it.”
Contact staff writer Brian Howell at firstname.lastname@example.org or twitter.com/BrianHowell33.