With his mind typically on the opponent and the task at hand, Colorado outside linebacker Nu’umotu Falo admits he probably won’t notice much of a difference when Ralphie V doesn’t lead the team onto the field Saturday night at Folsom Field.
Still, the senior said he’s disappointed he won’t be able to run behind the iconic mascot, who retired last week, one last time.
“I would like to be warned knowing that this is your last one behind Ralphie,” Falo said. “I take every moment running behind Ralphie to heart knowing that we’ve got the best mascot in college football.”
Despite Ralphie V’s early retirement, Falo and the other 16 CU seniors are sure to have some emotions on Saturday when they face Washington in the final home game of their careers.
“It’s crazy to know that four years have gone by like this,” Falo said. “To come to my last one at Folsom, it’s all embracing the moment.”
This is a unique senior class for CU, as eight of the 17 began their careers at other schools, including three graduate transfers – tackle Arlington Hambright, tight end Jalen Harris and safety Mikial Onu – who are wrapping up their only seasons in Boulder.
Regardless of the paths each senior has taken, first-year head coach Mel Tucker knows it will be a special night for the Buffs.
“Senior day, you only get one of those, and it’s a special time,” Tucker said. “You get a chance to reflect back on how you got there and then there’s also a moment to think about where you’re going next. I’m looking forward to that for our seniors. We’ve got a great bunch of guys. I love them to death. They’ve worked really, really hard and bought into our culture and how we’ve shifted some things. I feel like we’re moving in the right direction and our seniors have been a big part of that.”
The class includes six players who have spent five years in the program, joining the Buffs in 2015. That group includes Falo, punter Alex Kinney, center Tim Lynott Jr., quarterback Steven Montez, snapper JT Bale and safety Lucas Cooper.
“It’s kind of surreal,” said Montez, who is set to make his school-record 35th consecutive start at quarterback. “I’m really excited about it, really excited to go get another opportunity to play, but this being the last one at Folsom, it’s definitely special and I’m sure it’s something that I won’t forget for my whole life.”
Montez has great memories of Folsom, including the first pass of his career, on Sept. 10, 2016, against Idaho State. He threw a short comeback pass to Kabion Ento, and Ento went 69 yards for a touchdown.
“I definitely remember my first time being out on Folsom,” Montez said.”Great place to play. Probably the best place I’ve ever played.
“It’s definitely just been an absolute blessing that (former head coach Mike MacIntyre) and that staff that used to be here, they gave me an opportunity to come play for the University of Colorado and I’ll be forever grateful for that. I was coming out of El Paso; I wasn’t very highly recruited and they saw something in me and they thought I could be special here so I’m just very thankful for them for giving me the opportunity.”
Whether they’ve been here five years or one, many of the seniors are thankful for the opportunity to be Buffs and look forward to one last game at Folsom Field.
“It’s a pleasure to play in Folsom,” said cornerback Delrick Abrams Jr., who came to CU last year as a junior college transfer. “Last game in Folsom, so you’ve got to go all out.”
While it will be an emotional night, it’s also a game with significance because bowl eligibility is still possible if the Buffs win their last two games.
“That’s really the most important thing to me,” Montez said. “I can go out there and throw for zero passing yards and if we win, I really wouldn’t care. I just want to get these games and put some wins next to them and see what happens from there.”
The 17 seniors to be honored on Saturday:
- CB Delrick Abrams Jr.: Junior college transfer in 2018 has been starter for most of his two seasons.
- SN JT Bale: Former walk-on has been the snapper for every punt, field goal and extra point over the past four seasons.
- TE Beau Bisharat: Converted running back has been special teams standout and key blocker on offense throughout his career.
- WR Tony Brown: Transfer from Texas Tech leads the Buffs in receiving this season.
- S Lucas Cooper: Former walk-on has been valuable backup and scout team player.
- OLB Nu’umotu Falo Jr.: A key rotational player, he has played 40 games in his career.
- QB Josh Goldin: Walk-on has served as holder and backup QB.
- OL Arlington Hambright: Graduate transfer from Oklahoma State has started every game at left tackle this season.
- TE Jalen Harris: Graduate transfer from Auburn has been in rotation on offense.
- P Alex Kinney: Missed most of 2018 with broken collarbone, but has handled primary punting duties since 2015.
- C Tim Lynott Jr.: Has played 46 games, with a team-high 43 starts, at right guard and center.
- QB Steven Montez: Has started every game the past three seasons and is on verge of several passing records.
- S Mikial Onu: Graduate transfer from SMU, he’s started all 10 games this season.
- K Davis Price: Walk-on handles kickoff duties and has also punted and kicked field goals at various times in his career.
- OL Jack Shutack: Walk-on and transfer from Rutgers has been a key backup most of his career, but has started the last four games.
- OLB Davion Taylor: JUCO transfer in 2018 has started 18 games the past two seasons.
- OLB Alex Tchangam: JUCO transfer in 2018 has been key rotational player this season.
Game at a Glance
Matchup: Washington Huskies (6-4, 3-4 Pac-12) at Colorado Buffaloes (4-6, 2-5 Pac-12)
Kickoff: 8:10 p.m. MT
Where: Folsom Field in Boulder. Capacity: 50,183. Playing surface: Grass.
Radio: KOA (760 AM & 94.1 FM)
Odds: Washington by 14.5
Series: Washington leads 11-6-1