The numbers don’t necessarily back it up, but Colorado quarterback Brendon Lewis believes he took a step forward between career start No. 1 and career start No. 2.
Those numbers certainly can be hedged as the difference between facing FCS-level Northern Colorado in Lewis’ starting debut last week and going against the No. 5 team in the nation, which Lewis and the Colorado Buffaloes did on Saturday during a 10-7 loss against Texas A&M at Empower Field.
Lewis, despite being under heavy pressure for much of the contest, comported himself more calmly in the pocket and was able to make a few significant plays with his legs. Ultimately, however, the Buffs’ offense was unable to generate a consistent threat, turning a genuine upset bid into a gut-wrenching three-point defeat.
“I felt like I played better, but still not good enough,” Lewis said. “It wasn’t good enough to get the win. So I’ve got to continue to get better and watch film and get better every day.
“I’ve just got to continue to get through my reads. I’ve just got to continue to make good decisions. Continue to get better and get more accurate.”
During his starting debut against UNC, Lewis completed 10-of-15 passes, including his first career touchdown toss, but he at times looked indecisive in the pocket. Lewis often didn’t have enough time to be indecisive in the pocket against Texas A&M, as several unblocked blitzers kept pressure in Lewis’ face from the opening series.
Lewis eventually finished 13-for-25 with just 89 yards through the air. He did throw his first interception of the season when Aggies lineman Jayden Peevy was able to grab an errant, fluttering ball caused by Lewis getting drilled just as he released the pass. The Buffs receivers once again were unable to make a significant impact, combining for nine catches that produced only 68 yards.
However, Lewis made a difference with his legs. During CU’s lone touchdown drive, Lewis carried the ball three times for 48 yards to set up Jarek Broussard’s two-yard touchdown run late in the first half.
It wasn’t nearly enough, however. Given a chance to engineer a potential winning, or at least tying, drive in the waning minutes, Lewis threw two incomplete passes and was sacked before a fourth-down completion fell short of the first down mark, sealing CU’s fate.
As inspired as the defense played, Lewis and the rest of the offense understood they will have to uphold their end of the bargain going forward in order to turn Saturday’s near-upset into a catalyst for the Pac-12 slate.
“It was a good game, a hard-fought game. I thought the defense played amazing,” Lewis said. “The game down to our hands and we didn’t execute. We’ve just got to take that, look at the film on Monday, and get better.”