Buffs travel to Minnesota, hoping for their first win of the season

Football players for the University of Colorado Boulder run off the field at the start of halftime on Friday, Sept. 2, 2022. (Io Hartman/CU Independent)

The University of Colorado Buffaloes will travel to Minnesota this weekend to take on the University of Minnesota Golden Gophers on Saturday, Sept. 17, to close out the non-conference portion of their schedule. Coming off a blowout loss last weekend to the Air Force Academy of 41-10, Colorado will face the daunting task of grabbing their first win of the season against the very talented Minnesota team. In their game against Minnesota last season, Colorado faced a blowout loss with a score of 30-0.

Colorado enters the game struggling to find any consistency. The offense was nearly non-existent against Air Force, amassing a mere 162 all-purpose yards to Air Force’s whopping 443. Going into last weekend’s game, a lot of eyes were on the quarterback position as head coach Karl Dorrell remained silent all week on a starter. Eventually, it was announced that junior J.T. Shrout would get the start, but this decision had little effect on the outcome. Amidst the poor conditions, Shrout looked uncomfortable and couldn’t establish a good rhythm.

As the Minnesota game approaches, Dorrell has been open and honest about the position.

“[Shrout] hasn’t proven anything to think that he’s the guy,” Dorrell said. “We have to continue to develop that position. Maybe we need to look at some of these younger guys, too. It is what it is. It’s a challenge right now, and I think we need a spark.”

The University of Colorado Boulder’s football team celebrate scoring during the game against Texas Christian University at Folsom Field on Friday Sept. 2, 2022. (Io Hartman/CU Independent)

The only bright side for the Colorado team so far this season appears to be the defense, which seems to be close to finding its groove. Despite allowing lopsided numbers against TCU and Air Force, the defensive unit had a few strong moments. Senior safety Isaiah Lewis and senior inside linebacker Quinn Perry continue to dominate their respective positions and to set the tone for an otherwise young unit.

It will be no easy task for whoever is under center on Saturday, especially given Minnesota’s success in the season so far. The Golden Gophers come into week three at 2-0 and have outscored their first two opponents by a combined score of 100-10, which doesn’t bode well for the CU defensive unit that is still finding its footing.

In addition, all eyes will be on Minnesota’s extremely talented running back, senior Mohamed Ibrahim. After missing most of the 2021 season, he looks to replicate his 2020 success when he rushed for 15 touchdowns and nearly 1,100 yards. Minnesota’s offense will certainly pose a formidable challenge to CU’s defense.

Players for the University of Colorado Boulder’s football team protect the ball during the game against TCU on Friday, Sept. 2, 2022. (Io Hartman/CU Independent)

If Colorado wants any chance in this game, it needs to find a way to improve its offense, for both quarterback position and other offensive playmakers who can make a difference. Players like senior tailback Alex Fontenot and graduate transfer wide receive R.J. Sneed II have the ability to be game changers. If Colorado wants to pull off the upset and win this game, they need to make their presences felt.

Colorado and Minnesota square off at 1:30 p.m. MST on Saturday, Sept. 17., on ESPN 2, both looking for a big win to gain the momentum heading into PAC-12 play.

Contact CU Independent Assistant Sports Editor Jason Marks at jama3115@colorado.edu.

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