After Cole Becker’s 35-yard field goal attempt was off the mark early in the second quarter on Saturday, he walked to the sidelines and hung his head.
His Colorado teammates did not, however.
“It’s just cool to see my team rally after the miss,” Becker said. “I stepped off the sideline and I was down on myself, but nobody else was and everybody kept picking me up. I think that’s really what helped me get back into the right mindset to hit that one (in overtime).”
Despite the early miss, Becker became the hero, delivering the game-winning 43-yard field goal to lift the Buffaloes to a 37-34 double-overtime win against Oregon State at Folsom Field.
“I like our kicker,” CU head coach Karl Dorrell said. “When we recruited him, we knew what his potential was, we knew he had a strong leg. We think that he’s going to be one of the great ones when it’s all said and done here so we have a tremendous level of confidence in him. Just like the team rallies around (quarterback Brendon Lewis), they rally around Cole, too. They have a lot of belief in him as well.”
After a rough start to the season, in which he missed his first three field goal attempts, Becker had made six in a row – including a 28-yarder in the first quarter – before his second-quarter miss.
He rallied, however, to not only nail the game-winner but a career-long 52-yard field goal late in the second quarter.
“I think that helps his confidence,” Dorrell said of Becker bouncing back from the miss. “He’s always been a confident kid. He wants to be perfect. It’s one of those things, it’s definitely a great moment for him to overcome some adversity and to come back and get himself straightened out for making a 52-yarder the next one that he does, and then he makes the game-winner.”
Becker, now 8-for-12 on the season, is the first CU kicker to make two field goals of at least 50 yards in a season since Diego Gonzalez in 2015. From 2016-2020, CU kickers were 2-for-6 from 50-plus yards. Becker is 2-for-3 from that distance this year.
The freshman also took a moment to appreciate what Oregon State’s Everett Hayes did at the end of regulation. Although Hayes was just 2-for-4 on the night, he drilled a 60-yarder on the final play of the fourth quarter to force overtime. His career-long before that was 48 yards.
“I thought that was incredible,” Becker said. “He lined up for 60 and I was like, ‘No shot.’ I was standing on the bench and it went in and probably was good from 65. And I was like, ‘Ohh, that was a kick.”
Receiver La’Vontae Shenault was back in action on Saturday after he missed the previous seven games with a suspension for violating team rules.
Shenault didn’t have a huge impact on offense but did catch two passes for 24 yards. He also had three punt returns for 38 yards – the first punt return yards allowed by Oregon State all season.
A third-year freshman from DeSoto, Texas, Shenault played in his 10th career game on Saturday. After playing in four games and redshirting in 2019, Shenault played four games in 2020, catching 17 passes for 193 yards. He missed two other games because of separate suspensions. Shenault then played in the season opener this year, catching two passes for 23 yards against Northern Colorado.
Shorthanded at corner
The Buffs were somewhat depleted at cornerback in the first half on Saturday.
Starter Mekhi Blackmon went through warm-ups, and was in uniform for the game, but did not play against the Beavers because of a soft-tissue injury.
“He’s been battling some soft tissue injuries all season long,” Dorrell said. “He hasn’t been healthy one game this whole season. And to his credit, he’s battled up to this point where he just felt like this was going to be a tough way for him to play at his level that he would normally play. He thought that he couldn’t do it today and we felt that it was the right thing to do.”
The Buffs were also missing freshman Tyrin Taylor, who had to sit out the first two quarters because of a targeting penalty against Oregon on Oct. 30.
Christian Gonzalez was in his familiar starting spot at corner. At the other spot, however, the Buffs turned to true freshmen Kaylin Moore, who got his first career start, and Nikko Reed. Taylor played in the second half and one point, all three true freshmen were in the game.
“I’ll tell you this, I’m completely confident in those players, because they compete with anyone,” Dorrell said. “They battle our guys on offense all the time, so I know what their abilities are. I have a lot of confidence in those guys.”
As expected, the Buffs played without linebacker Nate Landman, who missed his second consecutive game with an undisclosed injury.
Receiver Dimitri Stanley, outside linebacker Guy Thomas and offensive tackle Max Wray also missed the game with injuries.
CU sold 47,984 tickets for Saturday’s game, the fourth time in five home games that CU has sold at least 47,000 tickets. … Running back Jarek Broussard had his first 100-yard game since a 301-yard performance at Arizona on Dec. 5, 2020. It was CU’s first 100-yard rushing performance of the season. … Broussard also moved up to 35th on CU’s career rushing list, with 1,323 yards. … The Buffs had a school-record fifth turnover-free game of the season. … Dorrell improved to 9-0 against Oregon State, including 4-0 as a head coach, 3-0 as a player and 2-0 as an assistant coach. … CU improved to 65-36-5 in homecoming games.