EUGENE, Ore. — There have been several moments during the past two seasons when Brenden Rice has flashed his big-play potential.
On Saturday, the Colorado freshman had perhaps his most complete game.
Although CU was routed by No. 7 Oregon, 52-29, at Autzen Stadium, Rice racked up 281 all-purpose yards and scored a touchdown. It was the 13th-highest single-game all-purpose yards total in CU history.
“He’s showing some big-play potential,” CU head coach Karl Dorrell said. “He’s getting very confident. He’s practicing that way, too. That’s the other thing that’s encouraging when you have young players that are understanding what practice should look like. When they have great practices, it makes a lot better correlation to how it works on Saturdays and he’s starting to understand that formula.”
Rice caught five passes for 102 yards and a touchdown, had 162 yards on six kickoff returns and added a 17-yard run. He averaged 23.4 yards per touch.
Two weeks ago, Rice had the first 100-yard receiving game of his career in a 34-0 win against Arizona. Last week, he had a 63-yard kickoff return to set up CU’s only points in a 26-3 loss at Cal.
On Saturday, in addition to his plays on offense, Rice had several nice returns, including a 38-yarder on his first opportunity.
“I thought I was gonna take it to the house, but out of nowhere, I see a flash of green or yellow or whatever they are and I just got hit,” he said. “I was very disappointed. I was trying to get to the end zone all day. Big shout-out to my kick return team because they were blocking their (butts) off for me today and I couldn’t ask for anything better from them.”
CU played without linebacker Nate Landman and receiver Dimitri Stanley on Saturday.
Landman was injured during the loss to Cal a week ago. He made the trip for leadership purposes, but it’s unclear if he will return this season.
“We’ll see,” Dorrell said. “He’s making good progress. He’s feeling better. I know that they’re doing a lot of treatments for him for his injury and I think it’s really a week-to-week thing, but he’s definitely feeling better.”
Dorrell said the future is a factor, too, as Landman is a senior eyeing the NFL draft in the spring.
“We want to do what’s best for Nate, too,” Dorrell said. “He has a potential career beyond here, so I want to make sure that when he’s ready to play, he’s ready to play. … We don’t want to jeopardize his career and all those things.”
Stanley missed his second consecutive game with a soft tissue injury.
“He just needed some more rest,” Dorrell said. “He didn’t practice much last week, and we didn’t feel that he really could have helped us this week.”
CU cornerback Tyrin Taylor was flagged for targeting midway through the third quarter after a helmet-to-helmet hit on Ducks tight end Spencer Webb. By rule, Taylor also has to sit out the first half of next Saturday’s game against Oregon State.
It was the first targeting call against CU this year. A few minutes earlier, Oregon receiver Johnny Johnson III was ejected for targeting on a kickoff.
Dorrell had previously said receiver La’Vontae Shenault would play against Oregon following a six-game suspension. The sophomore did not make the trip, however.
“We were hopeful that he’d be back for this game, but it just didn’t work out that way, given his circumstances that he’s dealing with,” Dorrell said. “We’re trying to put that behind him and obviously he’s very disappointed. He wants to be with his teammates, and out here playing and fighting with us. That didn’t happen this week but we’re hopeful that’s going to start on Monday where he’s back in the fold.”
CU has lost 16 consecutive road games against top-10 teams since a 27-17 win at No. 7 Kansas State on Nov. 18, 1995. … CU had its fourth turnover-free game of the season. … A season-high 11 different players caught passes for the Buffs. … Outside linebacker Joshka Gustav and Taylor made their first career starts. … Safety Isaiah Lewis had his first career interception. … Linebacker Quinn Perry led the Buffs with nine tackles.