KD Nixon moving past key mistakes despite career day for CU football

  • Cliff Grassmick / Staff Photographer

    Colorado receiver KD Nixon grabbed 13 receptions for 198 yards and a pair of touchdowns in Saturday's loss.

  • Cliff Grassmick / Staff Photographer

    Colorado receiver KD Nixon and the Buffs look to bounce back on Friday against Arizona.



Judging solely by his Twitter feed, KD Nixon was heaping big helpings of guilt upon himself for Colorado’s incomprehensible meltdown at home Saturday against Oregon State.

The sophomore receiver humbly sent out the phrase, “Sorry buff nation, I let y’all down! I’ll bounce back!” in the aftermath of the Buffs squandering a four-touchdown lead in the second half. It was a commendable and surely heartfelt statement from Nixon, yet it was one that belied the fact he had just turned in a career-best game, and that his efforts were among the few individual performances that stood out amid the epic team-wide collapse.

With his good friend and fellow receiver Laviska Shenault still questionable due to a lingering toe injury, Nixon will attempt to build off the good parts of that Oregon State performance while forgetting about the bad when the Buffs look to rebound Friday night at Arizona (8:30 p.m. MT, FS1).

“I’m ready to bounce back,” Nixon said. “I’ve had a great two practices. Last week was disappointing (for) myself, but I’m ready to bounce back.”

The play that likely cost Nixon the most lost sleep Saturday night occurred in the latter stages of the Oregon State defeat, when a throw from Steven Montez on third-and-goal in overtime slipped through Nixon’s hands. It wouldn’t have been an easy catch, as a Beavers defender had position on Nixon and distorted his vision of the pass, but a reception at the very least would have evened the score and extended the game into another overtime.

Nixon also was the culprit on what at the time was a somewhat innocuous third-down play midway through the third quarter after the Beavers had cut the CU lead to 31-10. In a sequence head coach Mike MacIntyre went out of his way to mention during his Tuesday press conference despite the 21-point lead at the time, Nixon seemingly had converted a third-and-four chance near midfield, but after a replay review it was ruled that Nixon had ran backward slightly and missed the first down, forcing a CU punt.

Of course, those two plays hardly defined what otherwise was a career day for Nixon. With Shenault missing his second consecutive game, Nixon emerged as the go-to target for Montez, recording 13 receptions for 198 yards and a pair of touchdowns.

“I think KD had an absolutely phenomenal game,” Montez said. “He played well. He’s tough to guard out on the perimeter, and I think there are very few guys in the Pac-12 that can stay with him. He’s a very good receiver and I think we’ve got some other guys that can make plays and have breakout games. But KD played his butt off.”

Nixon became just the third receiver in CU history to amass at least 13 receptions, joining Nelson Spruce (who did it three times, including a record 19 catches in a double overtime game against Cal in 2014) and Shenault, who recorded 13 receptions in a win against Arizona State on Oct. 6.

Nixon’s regret at the plays he didn’t make, rather than celebrating the many he did, likely could have been held up as an example to follow as the Buffs met earlier this week for a players meeting in the wake of the disastrous letdown against Oregon State.

“(Tuesday) was one of our two best practices, to me, I felt like on offense because we all connected,” Nixon said. “We all were ready to handle the challenge. Our goals are still on the line. We had a players meeting…and it was real. Everybody was wide open, eye-opening. It wasn’t let’s argue with each other. It was ‘Hey, let’s say this,’ and go about our business. It was good that we had it.”

Pat Rooney: rooneyp@dailycamera.com or twitter.com/prooney07