Colorado v Colorado State

MacIntyre’s debut a success as Colorado snaps eight-game losing streak by beating CSU


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.

Was Washington loss the beginning of the end of the Steve Sarkisian era at USC?

Steve Sarkisian
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Steve Sarkisian’s win totals in his six previous seasons are both a positive and a negative.

On one hand, he resurrected a moribund Washington program that went 0-12 under Ty Willingham in 2008 and took them to four consecutive bowl games from 2010-2013. He won nine games his last year in Seattle, then led a talented-yet-thin USC team to a nine-win season and AP No. 20 finish in 2014.

Those are good accomplishments. But the flip side of the argument is Sarkisian has never won double-digit games in a season, something that’s a necessity to keep one’s job at USC. The Trojans’ 17-12 loss to Washington last night — at home, no less — means the road to 10 wins and a Pac-12 title will be awfully difficult.

And worse yet, there are plenty of arguments to be made Sarkisian doesn’t deserve the benefit of the doubt and a little more time in Los Angeles to turn things around (#SarkAfterDark, his drunken rant at a booster event, certainly doesn’t help). The reaction from national media to last night’s loss looked like this:

Mandel, in his column, argued USC is right where it was two years ago with Lane Kiffin as its coach. And there’s this embarrassing thought, that looks more and more like a truth, for Pat Haden:

This one, however, was the most damning by far for many reasons, most notably that it came at the hands of Sarkisian’s old team. The sense among many Washington fans nearly two years ago was that the Huskies managed to upgrade coaches when the school lured Chris Petersen from Boise State upon Sarkisian’s departure to USC.

They were right.

USA Today’s Dan Wolken similarly wrote that USC needs to drop Sarkisian and bring in Chip Kelly from the Philadelphia Eagles.

This is the state of USC, and it may not get better. The Trojans start a brutal three-game stretch next Saturday at Notre Dame in primetime, then welcome Utah to Los Angeles the next week. A Halloween trip to Berkeley to face Jared Goff and Cal finishes it up. There’s a very real chance USC, for all its talent and all its hype, limps into November with a 4-4 or 3-5 record.

Sarkisian will have to engineer and sustain a major turnaround in these coming weeks, otherwise he’ll give Haden all the ammo he needs to unceremoniously jettison him after two years.

Starting Navy S Kwazel Bertrand undergoes surgery, likely out for season

Kwazel Bertrand, Jacobi Owens
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Navy has seen one of its most productive players on the defensive side of the ball play for perhaps the final time this season.

Kwazel Bertrand sustained a broken ankle in the win over Air Force last Saturday, head coach Ken Niumatalolo confirmed earlier this week. As a result, the defensive back will very likely miss the remainder of the 2015 season.

And, because he is a senior and has no other eligibility avenues to pursue, it would effectively end his collegiate career as well.

“I feel terrible for Kwazel. It’s really unfortunate any time a senior goes down with a season-ending injury,” Niumatalolo said. “Kwazel has been a really good player for us and we’re going to miss his presence out on the field.”

Bertrand started 27 games over the past three-plus seasons, including all four in 2015.