The Buffs’ Offensive Line Woes Reach a Boiling Point in UCLA Loss

Photo Cred: Sporting News

Colorado was in desperate need of a win coming out of their bye week but came up short, falling to No. 23 UCLA 28-16 on Saturday night at the Rose Bowl. This loss drops the Buffs to 4-4 overall, and their bowl hopes are now very much in jeopardy with three ranked teams remaining on the schedule.

“First and foremost, great game by the UCLA Bruins,” Colorado head coach Deion Sanders said postgame. “I adore their head coach tremendously. I have a tremendous amount of respect for him. He’s a great coach. I’m glad we finally got our contest over so I can call him and get advice from time to time. We discussed that before the game and after the game. He’s one of the real ones, he’s one of the good ones, and he knows what he’s doing, so I can gain a lot from him. Today, we played our butts off. I’m proud of the kids. I really am proud of these young men. They hung in there as long as they could.”

Colorado vs. UCLA score, takeaways: Bruins defense tallies seven sacks in stifling win over Colorado -

Photo Cred: CBS Sports

The Buffs’ porous offensive line was once again a theme in this game, just as it has been in many of their losses and even their wins this season. Shedeur Sanders was pressured 24 times, hit 17 times, and took seven sacks against an elite UCLA front that features multiple future NFL pass rushers. Anytime the Buffaloes had to drop back to pass, Sanders was under siege, making it impossible to function offensively.

Laiatu Latu led the Bruins’ pass rush. He finished with two sacks, while the Murphy twins (Gabriel and Grayson) recorded 1.5 sacks each. Outside of that, they had six tackles for loss and five QB hits, constantly destroying the hapless Colorado front.

“I don’t think any other quarterback could put up with a stand and deliver like ours do, week in and week out, and taking the beating that he’s taking,” Sanders said. “We gotta address that. We gotta address that scheme-wise, we gotta address that functionally, what we have on the line, and we just gotta do a better job. We really do.”

Colorado hung around in the first half thanks to four first half takeaways. Two of them were fumble recoveries and star corner Travis Hunter snatched a pair of spectacular interceptions. After a rough outing against Stanford, Hunter returned to his usual level on Saturday night. After leading 7-6 at the half, the Bruins sent a message to start the third quarter, scoring in two plays to take a 14-6 lead. They would never look back, adding two more scores before the Buffs’ final touchdown in garbage time to win 28-16.

UCLA dominates on defense in win over Deion Sanders and Colorado - Los Angeles Times

Photo Cred: LA Times

Despite all the pressure, Shedeur Sanders still finished 27-for-43 with 217 yards and a late score. He was unable to push the ball down the field for most of the game due to the opposing pass rush. Xavier Weaver led their receiving core with five grabs for 86 yards. Hunter had a quiet day on offense, just catching three passes for seven yards, but he certainly made his impact on the defensive end. Colorado struggled to run the ball, finishing the game with 38 yards on the ground after 24 attempts.

“Well, it’s a struggle to run the ball. It’s a struggle to run the ball,” Sanders said. “And we gotta figure that out because now you’re one-dimensional, and it’s easy to stop a team when they’re one-dimensional. And that’s who we are at this point in time.”

On the UCLA side, Ethan Garbers finished 20-for-27 with 269 yards, two touchdowns, and one interception. The UCLA signal caller constantly found Logan Loya, who caught seven passes for 111 yards. UCLA dominated on the ground as well, running for 218 yards as a team on 45 carries. The Buffs’ defensive front played one of their better games in this one but still couldn’t hold off the UCLA ground attack for 60 minutes. Next up for the Buffs is another ranked opponent in Oregon State, who will come to Boulder next Saturday night. Kickoff will be at 8 p.m. MST.

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