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CU Buffs focus on getting win No. 2

Colorado gained confidence against UCLA, aims to take down Stanford

Colorado Buffaloes quarterback Sam Noyer (4) finds room to run on a keeper against UCLA Bruins defensive lineman Osa Odighizuwa (92) in the first quarter at Folsom Field Nov. 07, 2020.
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Quarterbacks are taught to slide when they run the ball, so they can avoid getting hit.

Last week, Colorado’s Sam Noyer went against conventional wisdom and often lowered his shoulder to deliver hits to defenders, or leap over them, in an effort to gain extra yards.

“Honestly, I loved it,” right tackle Frank Fillip said, echoing a sentiment that other players – but not head coach Karl Dorrell – expressed. “I love to see it. I understand it and why he can’t be doing that all the time but, I mean, I got my second wind when I saw that happen on the field. I got so excited.”

Whether it was Noyer’s inspired play, Jarek Broussard’s breakout performance at running back or an opportunistic defense setting the tone early, the Buffs came away from last week’s 48-42 win against UCLA with an extra bounce in their step.

“I think they should feel confident that they can win and win a lot of games,” Dorrell said. “We won our first one, so that is a big bonus for us. We won the game with not really playing our best football.”

On Saturday, the Buffs (1-0) will look to ride that momentum to another win, as they visit Stanford (0-1) in the first road trip of the season.

Considering all the obstacles faced by CU this year, not much is expected of the Buffs. Like everybody else, the Buffs have had challenges associated with the coronavirus pandemic. CU, however, also dealt with losing its head coach and hiring Dorrell in late February – a couple months after most teams made coaching changes.

Dorrell didn’t get any spring practices with his players, making it even more difficult to get a team ready. On top of that, the Buffs had to replace a three-year starting quarterback and returned virtually no experience to that important position.

Even Stanford coach David Shaw was impressed that CU looked so good in the opener.

“I commend all of the head coaches around the country that were new hires that didn’t have spring football and still were able to come out and put their team together,” said Shaw, in his 10th season at Stanford. “I think (the Buffs) were helped by having both coordinators coming back, but still, mixing the staff together and trying to work with your guys, I thought they went out and played great against UCLA.”

With most pundits picking the Buffs to finish last in the Pac-12 South, the season-opening win was big mentally.

“We gained a healthy amount of confidence, but nothing that’s gonna inflate our ego that we’re gonna slack off when it comes to Stanford,” Fillip said.

It was significant, however, to start the season with a win against a Pac-12 opponent, as opposed to previous years, when the Buffs beat Colorado State in their openers.

“I think it gives us a little boost of confidence knowing that we can actually go out there and compete with these guys, especially after a tough loss against UCLA last year,” receiver Dimitri Stanley said. “I think we were just fired up and ready to get that victory against them, and now it’s just on to the next one.

“Nothing really changes. We’re still preparing like it was week one versus UCLA and we’re getting ready to try to win our second football game.”

To win their second in a row, the Buffs know they have to play a lot better in some areas than they did a week ago.

“There is a lot of work to do, but we should feel confident that we can do the things properly,” Dorrell said. “We still have a lot of things we can shore up, fix and get addressed before we get into Stanford.”

Defensive lineman Jalen Sami said “it was definitely an amazing feeling in the locker room” after beating UCLA, but by the time they returned to practice, they had turned the page.

“We’re all moved on and focused on Stanford,” Sami said. “We’re 0-0 and trying to get 1-0 again.”

In an unusual season that could change at any moment, the Buffs are trying to stay within the moment and make this year as successful as possible.

“We’re just kind of taking it one week at a time,” Stanley said. “As Dorrell says, (the season is) seven rounds and this is going to be the second round.”

Game at a Glance

Matchup: Colorado Buffaloes (1-0, 1-0 Pac-12) at Stanford Cardinal (0-1, 0-1).

Kickoff: 1:35 p.m. MST

Where: Stanford Stadium in Stanford, Calif. Playing surface: Grass

TV: ESPN

Radio: KOA (850 AM & 94.1 FM)

Odds: Stanford by 9

Series: Stanford leads 6-5