What a difference a coach makes.
Mike MacIntyre’s debut as Colorado’s head man was a successful one as his revitalized Buffaloes beat in-state rival Colorado State, 41-27, on Sunday to snap the school’s eight-game losing streak. Colorado now leads the series between the two teams, 63-22-2.
The Buffs looked much improved over last season’s 1-11 squad, though it was admittedly hard to get much worse. But it’s worth noting that after turning the ball over 25 times during the eight-game skid, this rather young CU team didn’t lose the ball once against the Rams.
Quarterback Connor Wood was 33 of 46 for 400 yards and three touchdowns, including strikes of 75 and 82 yards to receiver Paul Richardson (10 catches, 208 yards), as the Buffaloes offense exploded for 513 yards of offense. It was an especially rewarding performance for Richardson, who is coming off a knee injury that forced him to miss all of last fall.
The Buffs defense held CSU to just 295 yards of offense and forced two fumbles, one of which was returned for a score by defensive back Greg Henderson. If not for a 74-yard punt return touchdown by Joe Hansley, CU would’ve allowed its fewest points since the 2011 season.
As it is, Colorado has already matched it’s win total from last year. MacIntyre, who helped lead San Jose State to an 11-2 mark in 2012, seems to have a real gift for resurrecting moribund programs. It’s only one game, but the Buffaloes look nothing like the pushover they’ve been the last couple years. While it’s going to take time for Colorado to return to its former glory, a win like this against a heated rival is just what the doctor ordered.
Colorado State has some work to do, too, as it must travel to Tuscaloosa to take on Alabama on Sept. 21. One bright spot for the Rams was freshman punter Hayden Hunt, who averaged 49.7 yards on seven punts. He should be a busy man in three weeks.
At the moment, BYU is looking at one hellacious start to the 2019 season.
Thursday afternoon, BYU announced tat it has added a future home-and-home series with Tennessee. The Volunteers will serve as the host for a Sept. 7, 2019, matchup at Neyland Stadium in Knoxville, with the second game set for Sept. 1 or 2, 2023, at LaVell Edwards Stadium in Provo.
The 2019 game will mark the first-ever meeting between the two football programs.
“There’s something about those orange and white checkerboard end zones that shouts ‘Tradition!’,” BYU athletic director Tom Holmoe said in a statement. “When the opportunity to play a series with Tennessee presented itself, we didn’t blink. They’re a storied football program with a winning tradition, national championships, a classic stadium, incredible fans and hall of fame coaches.
“It will be a great experience to visit SEC country and play in Neyland Stadium, and later host Tennessee in Provo.”
BYU will kick off the 2019 season against Utah, followed by games against Tennessee, USC and Washington the next three weeks. They also have a pair of mid-October games against Washington State and Boise State.
UT’s other non-conference games that season include Georgia State, Chattanooga and UAB.
Lovie Smith is not a big fan of fighting amongst his Illinois players, a lesson he shared with his aptly nicknamed Fighting Illini squad Wednesday evening.
According to the Decatur Herald & Review, Illinois’ spring practice session yesterday came to an abrupt and premature end after a fight between players broke out. The names of those involved in the fisticuffs are not known as the media hadn’t been permitted to view practice.
From the Herald & Review‘s report:
…a source said Smith wanted to send a strong message about how he hates fighting and considers it an inexcusable transgression that robs the rest of the team of a chance to concentrate on getting better.
The field was cleared at about 5:35 p.m., nearly an hour before practice was scheduled to end. The players were sent to the locker room and the field was quickly cleared of equipment. Reporters were told there would be no interviews and were told to vacate the Memorial Stadium facility.
The Illini, which finished 3-9 in their first season under Smith last year, kicked off spring practice feb. 14 and will conclude it March 10 with the annual spring game.
With spring practice getting set to kick of en masse all across the country, there’s more of the expected personnel attrition settling in and coming to light.
On his Twitter account Wednesday, Andy Dodd announced that it is in his “best interest” to transfer from LSU and continue playing college football elsewhere. “This decision was not an easy one, but it is what’s best for me moving forward,” the offensive lineman wrote.
Dodd was a three-star member of the Tigers’ 2013 recruiting class, rated as the No. 17 guard in the country.
After taking a redshirt as a true freshman, the lineman played in eight games the next two seasons. He played in six games, with one start, in 2016.
Another graduate transfer has made a move, albeit with a slightly different bent than most others.
Auburn confirmed Wednesday that Casey Dunn has been added to Gus Malzahn‘s football roster. The center comes to The Plains as a graduate transfer, which makes him eligible for the 2017 season.
He also comes to Auburn from Jacksonville State, an FCS school that would’ve made him immediately eligible aside from the grad transfer exception. Oh, and his new position coach is excited to have him in the personnel fold as well.
The past two seasons, Dunn was an FCS All-American. While Dunn comes to the Tigers as a center who started 27 games at that position for the Gamecocks, he could play anywhere along the interior of the Tigers’ offensive line.
Malzahn is also very familiar with Dunn’s talent as the lineman started for the JSU squad that took him to overtime in 2015.