SALT LAKE CITY – At one point, Colorado quarterback Brendon Lewis was hit so hard that the coaching staff called a timeout just to give him a couple of minutes to recover.
CU didn’t have enough timeouts to do that after each of the hard hits the freshman took on Friday, though.
During a 28-13 loss to No. 16 Utah in the season finale, Lewis was sacked four times, ran the ball another 10 times (often on scrambles), threw the ball away at least five times to avoid sacks and spent a good portion of his day trying to escape pressure from the Utah defense.
“We had some pressure (from Utah) and protection (issues) and that was taking some things away from B-Lew,” CU head coach Karl Dorrell said. “We did have some guys open at times, but if the quarterback can’t see them because he’s trying to avoid people in the pocket, that makes it challenging, too.”
Lewis did his best impression of former Buffs quarterback Sefo Liufau, getting up after every hard hit and going back to the huddle, but it was yet another tough day for the freshman quarterback. He completed just 9-of-23 passes for 84 yards while running for 15 yards on 14 carries.
Lewis’ first season as CU’s starter was rough overall, but he did gain some respect from the team.
“He grew an incredible amount,” tight end Brady Russell said. “That’s what I expected from him seeing his work ethic and how he grinds in the offseason and in season and in studying film and knowing what (defensive) looks are going to do what. He’s just grown so much. … I think everybody does that as a freshman when you come in and you’re kind of forced into that role, but he really did a good job of that. It was impressive to watch him grow this season.”
Lewis, who started all 12 games, finished the season with 1,540 passing yards, with 10 touchdowns and three interceptions. He completed 58 percent of his passes (149-of-234) and ran for 188 yards.
Lewis also ended the season with 131 consecutive passes without an interception, tied for the fourth-longest streak in CU history. He didn’t throw any interceptions in the last five games.
This was the fifth consecutive season that CU had the same starting quarterback for every game. Steven Montez started every game from 2017-19 and Sam Noyer was the starter for all six games in 2020.