SAN ANTONIO — In a typical year, the final game of the season is a time to say goodbye to the seniors on a college football team.
This was no typical year, however.
Because the coronavirus pandemic created a delayed and shortened season for many teams, the NCAA granted an extra year of eligibility for all Football Bowl Subdivision players.
What’s next for Colorado’s seniors remains to be seen after Tuesday’s 55-23 loss to No. 20 Texas in the Valero Alamo Bowl.
CU has nine seniors on the roster, including seven on scholarship. Head coach Karl Dorrell said he doesn’t have a timetable for when those players will make a decision on their futures.
“I’ll eventually talk with all of those guys when we get back from the winter break,” Dorrell said. “We’ll sit down and talk about what their goals are, what our goals are. We’ll see how things work out after those discussions.”
The list includes starting quarterback Sam Noyer and star linebacker Nate Landman.
Landman, one of the top NFL prospects on the roster, ruptured his right Achilles’ tendon on Dec. 12 against Utah. That injury typically requires at least a nine-month recovery period, so it’s unclear if he will be able to play football next year. He may choose to go the NFL.
Noyer, a fifth-year senior, started all six games this year and earned second-team All-Pac-12 honors. It was backup Brendon Lewis who led the Buffs to all three of their touchdowns against Texas, though. Noyer has to decide if he wants to return for a sixth year and compete for the job again.
The list of seniors also includes defensive end Mustafa Johnson, linebacker Akil Jones, guard Kary Kutsch, receiver KD Nixon and safety Derrion Rakestraw. All of them were starters and key players.
Walk-on tight ends Nick Fisher and Matt Lynch are also seniors this season.
Big no call
It may not have changed the outcome Tuesday night, but Texas caught a significant break early in the third quarter.
Noyer ran down the middle of the field and slid down, giving himself up and no longer becoming a runner. Defenders are supposed to back off at that point, but Texas’s DeMarvion Overshown lowered his head and launched himself into Noyer.
Immediately, officials threw a flag for targeting, a penalty that would have given CU 15 yards and ended Overshown’s night. Although Overshown hit Noyer with his shoulder, it still checked a lot of the targeting boxes.
After a review, officials waved off the targeting — and couldn’t even assess a late-hit penalty at that point. On ESPN, the rules expert and other broadcasters were surprised there was no penalty. So was Dorrell.
“Usually when you slide like that feet first, he’s showing that he’s giving himself up,” Dorrell said. “I thought that was definitely a foul. Unfortunately it didn’t work out that way. Some people saw it differently.”
A 15-yard penalty would have given the Buffs a first down at the Texas 16. Instead, it left CU with third-and-4 from the 31. Five plays later, they missed a field goal. Six plays after that, Texas scored another touchdown to go up 31-10 and essentially put the game away.
CU running back Jarek Broussard finished his night with 82 yards and two touchdowns, which is a solid performance. His game also included an impressive 2-yard TD run when he plowed through the Texas defense to will his way to the end zone.
Broussard needed 27 carries to get his 82 yards, though, averaging just 3.04 yards per rush.
“I think it was tough getting some consistent run game tonight,” Dorrell said. “I think he worked hard. He did as best he could, given what was out there for him tonight.”
Broussard left the game late with an injury, which Dorrell said was “a little stinger,” but said Broussard was fine.