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Buffs Notes: Dorrell Says Buffs Still Motivated As CU Prepares For Home Finale

Nov 15, 2021
CU's Nate Landman will make his last appearance at Folsom Field on Saturday.

BOULDER — Now officially out of the bowl picture, the Colorado Buffaloes (3-7 overall, 2-5 Pac-12) must find a different source of motivation as they prepare to play their last two games of the season.

Karl Dorrell's Buffs wrap up their home schedule Saturday with a 1 p.m. game against Washington (Pac-12 Networks), then finish the season Nov. 26 with a 2 p.m. game at Utah (Fox).

"They're disappointed about (no bowl game)," Dorrell said at his Monday afternoon weekly press conference. "But we still are a team that wants to compete, wants to have a better feeling and a better taste in their mouth going into the offseason about making progress this year. The attitude is still pretty good, still pretty strong."

The game will be the last appearance at Folsom Field for a handful of Buffs, including grad transfer Matt Lynch and seniors Nate Landman, Kary Kutsch, Mustafa Johnson and Jeremiah Doss.

There is also a chance that some players with a year or two of eligibility still remaining could leave after this season.

Those seniors, Dorrell said, would love to make their last game at Folsom a winning effort.

"I think the biggest motivation right now is for our seniors to feel like they made a great impact," Dorrell said. "It would be great to have a great showing in this last home game. It's their last time playing on Folsom Field, so it will be pretty emotional. Hopefully it's a great thing they'll be able to feel throughout the whole experience of the day. That's our goal, to play a really good football game against a really good team and send these guys off the right way."

FINDING CONSISTENCY: After looking at the film of Saturday's 44-20 loss to UCLA — a game the Buffs led 20-7 late in the first half — Dorrell said consistency remains an elusive quality.

The Buffs had some solid moments against the Bruins, putting together two long touchdown drives, plus two drives that produced field goals, in the first half. Defensively, they held the Bruins to just 69 yards on the ground in the first half and came up with a couple of key stops.

But the second half was an entirely different story.

"When we're playing football pretty well and everybody's executing at a high level, we feel we can play with anybody in this conference," Dorrell said. "It's just unfortunate that we haven't had the consistency to do that for a 60-minute ballgame."

Now, Dorrell said, the Buffs need to find a way to establish some consistency over these last two contests.

"Their attitude is still pretty good about competing and getting better," he said. "They know they want to finish the season on a positive note and we're going to work like hell to do that."

LANDMAN COULD RETURN: Dorrell said Landman, CU's All-American linebacker, could be back on the field Saturday against the Huskies. He has missed the last three games with an injury.

"He's chomping to play," Dorrell said.

But the news wasn't so good on a couple of other injury fronts. Linebacker Joshka Gustav, injured in the UCLA game, is out for the rest of the year, and wide receiver Montana Lemonious-Craig is also "likely" out for the remainder of the season.

Cornerback Mekhi Blackmon, linebacker Guy Thomas and safety Trevor Woods, however, could return this week.

FIRST LOOK WASHINGTON: The Huskies (4-6, 3-4) will be playing their second game under interim head coach Bob Gregory.

Gregory took the reins last weekend against Arizona State while Jimmy Lake was serving a suspension after an altercation with a player a week earlier. But UW officials announced Sunday that Lake had been fired and Gregory will serve as interim the rest of the season.

The Huskies are still in bowl contention, but missed a big opportunity to take another step in the process against ASU. Washington held a 14-point lead early and was still up by 10 points, 24-14, heading into the final period.

But ASU scored 21 straight points in the last 5:46 of the game before UW scored a meaningless touchdown with two seconds remaining.

Washington has had a solid defense for much of the season. The Huskies have given up just 21.2 points per game — tied for the best in the Pac-12 — and they have the No. 1 ranked pass defense in the conference, yielding 136.3 yards per game.

But offensively, they have struggled — much like Colorado. UW is averaging just 22.8 points per game and the Huskies' run game is averaging just 113 yards per contest.

"Defensively they're still one of the better defensive teams in terms of production in our conference," Dorrell said. "Offensively it looks like they're catching some rhythm and scoring points. It's going to be another strong challenge for us. They are going through some issues and change in their program but I'm sure their players are still fighting."

Contact: Neill.Woelk@Colorado.edu