Dimitri Stanley didn’t post the big numbers or have the celebrated breakout performance that some of his Colorado teammates had last week, but he had a great start to his sophomore season.
During the Buffaloes’ 48-42 win against UCLA, Stanley caught a career-high six passes for 66 yards. Four of his six catches went for first downs, including two on third downs to extend drives.
“I think I have still a long way to go,” he said. “Six catches kind of felt good that I was able to help my team in that way, but I think I can do a lot more for our team in the aspect of receiving yards and catches. But not a bad start.”
The 5-foot-11 slot receiver from Cherry Creek High School caught 29 passes for 312 yards and two touchdowns last year. His opening night performance last week suggests he could become a bigger factor in the offense this year.
In addition to his efforts on offense, Stanley made an important special teams play against the Bruins. After UCLA scored with 1 minute, 45 seconds to play to pull within six points, it tried an onsides kick, but Stanley snagged it out of the air and slid down to secure possession. CU ran out the clock for the win.
“I think it was just like a routine catch, to be honest,” he said. “The only thing that was going through my mind is, ‘Wow this is open; I could really run it into the end zone right now.’ Other than that I was just happy to slide, get down and know that we won that game.”
Center of attention
Junior center Colby Pursell is doubtful to play against Stanford on Saturday after being injured against UCLA. Sophomore Joshua Jynes is ready to step in, however.
“He’s done a really good job,” head coach Karl Dorrell said. “He played some in the game when Colby went down and he played well, so Josh is ready. He’s getting obviously most of the snaps this week and getting himself ready to play.”
The 6-foot-3, 310-pound Jynes played 26 snaps last week and is on track to make his first career start. A redshirt in 2018, he played 15 snaps during the 2019 season.
Back in the mix
The Buffs could get two key receivers back against Stanford.
La’Vontae Shenault, a redshirt freshman who is second on the depth chart, returns after serving a one-game suspension for an off-the-field incident over the summer.
Senior KD Nixon, the top returning receiver from last year, missed the opener with a hamstring injury, but returned to practice Wednesday.
“He looked good from the things I’ve seen him do, so we are still treating him day to day,” Dorrell said. “We want to make sure that he doesn’t have any setbacks or anything. He’s making good progress so far this week.”
Price takes over
Evan Price will step in as the Buffs’ new kicker after senior James Stefanou opted for medical retirement on Monday. Price went 2-for-3 on field goals against UCLA and is 11-for-13 in his career, with both misses being blocked.
“We feel like we’re in pretty good hands with Evan,” Dorrell said. “He’s got good experience and we think he’ll do a nice job for us.”
Stefanou has battled hip injuries during his career and couldn’t finish the UCLA game. He talked to Dorrell and the team about his decision on Monday.
“He obviously didn’t feel like he could compete and play on a level that he’s expecting of himself and that was obviously very frustrating, if you can imagine,” Dorrell said. “He spoke with the team and the team embraced him and obviously told him that we’ve got his back.”
Dorrell said defensive lineman Antonio Alfano is still waiting for medical clearance to begin practices. Alfano has been battling epilepsy and has not practiced this fall. … Freshman safety William Anglen entered the transfer portal this week and Dorrell said it was to deal with some family issues. “He’s trying to do the right thing for himself and his family and I understand,” Dorrell said. “We are definitely supportive and we are hopeful that he’ll have a new beginning at some point.” … The Buffs are looking for their third 2-0 start to conference play since joining in the Pac-12 in 2011. They started 2-0 in 2016 and 2018.