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Buffs Get No Clear Answer At Quarterback

Sep 17, 2022
Brendon Lewis scrambles from the pocket Saturday.

MINNEAPOLIS — Colorado's third game of the season — a 49-7 loss to Minnesota on Saturday — left Karl Dorrell's Buffaloes still with no clear answer on CU's quarterback situation.

The Buffs rotated their signal callers Saturday, with J.T. Shrout getting the start and Brendon Lewis then coming in for the next series, a rotation that continued throughout the game. Neither managed to produce any kind of consistency with their turns at the helm, although Shrout did manage to direct CU's only scoring drive, a 10-play, 75-yard march late in the fourth quarter that helped the Buffs avoid being shut out.

Shrout finished the game 4-for-11 for 24 yards and a touchdown, a four-yard toss to tight end Austin Smith. He was also sacked twice and lost a fumble on CU's first play of the game, the second week in a row he lost a fumble on Colorado's opening possession.

Lewis finished 2-for-6 for 14 yards and had 1 yard rushing.

"We gave both of them chances and both of them did a few good things here and there, but really nothing to just put it together in a series," Dorrell said. "Our best series was in the fourth quarter, but that's too little too late. We need that efficiency in the first quarter, so we have a lot to do."

Strictly in terms of statistics, Colorado's most-productive quarterback of the day was true freshman Owen McCown, who made his first appearance as a Buff on CU's last possession of the game. McCown completed four of seven attempts for 52 yards, including a 28-yard throw to Jaylon Jackson — CU's longest play from scrimmage of the day — and he also ran three times for 9 yards.

But his appearance came against Minnesota's backup defense, and at a time when the Gophers were simply running out the clock.

Still, Dorrell hinted that he might consider giving McCown more time in the future. 

"That  is something to consider when you're in the position we're in right now," he said. "We're 0-3. We have to find something that's going to give us a spark. So we're going to turn every corner, turn over every stone to try to figure out as a staff what can give us a spark that we need."

McCown was impressive in fall camp, and he brings quality bloodlines to the equation (his father and an uncle both had long NFL careers). But the challenge of thrusting a true freshman into the fray is by no means an easy one.

"He only had a handful of snaps but he operated OK," Dorrell said. "He did what he was supposed to do if he had pressure. He used his legs. He hit a couple passes. So he did some really positive things. I was encouraged by that. But we'll see. We'll just have to see when we go back in tonight and tomorrow and have this discussion with the staff as to what we need to do moving forward."

NEW FACE ON O-LINE: The Buffs shifted their lineup on the offensive line to start the game, with true freshman Van Wells at guard in his first collegiate start and Casey Roddick moving to tackle. In the second half, Roddick moved back to guard and regular starter Jake Wiley went back in at tackle.

BUFFS BITS: RB Alex Fontenot and WR Chase Penry did not make the trip because of injuries … Jeremy Mack Jr. got his first CU start, replacing Trevor Woods at safety. Woods had to sit out the first half because of a targeting call in last week's AFA game … RB Charlie Offerdahl had eight carries for 55 yards, both career highs … Safety Isaiah Lewis recorded his third career interception … QB Brendon Lewis has thrown 156 consecutive passes without an interception, the second-longest streak in CU history, trailing only Steven Montez's 172 in a row in 2017 … Deion Smith had 70 yards rushing on 10 carries, the second week in a row he has established a career high in yards. He also had his first career start. … Also making his first career start was tight end Caleb Fauria … 

Colorado now leads the all-time series with Minnesota 3-2, with the Gophers having won the last two … CU is 0-3 for just the 13th time in its history … Austin Smith's 4-yard touchdown catch came on his first career touch at CU, making him just the 18th known player in Colorado history to accomplish the feat.