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Young Buffs Make Their Mark Against Bruins

Sep 24, 2022
Charlie Offerdahl ran for 47 yards against UCLA.

BOULDER — Colorado's youth movement showed up in a big way in the Buffaloes' 45-17 loss to UCLA on Saturday at Folsom Field.

The Buffs started three true freshmen on offense in the contest and another redshirt freshman.

The most-visible youngster, of course, was freshman quarterback Owen McCown, who delivered a respectable 26-for-42 effort passing for 258 yards, a touchdown and an interception. McCown, who joined Brendon Lewis and J.T. Shrout as Buffs to start at QB this season, also had a touchdown rushing.

True freshmen joining him in the starting lineup were offensive guard Van Wells and wide receiver Chase Sowell, who earned his first career start.

Also earning his first career start was redshirt freshman running back Charlie Offerdahl, who led CU in rushing with 47 yards on 14 carries. Also getting in on the action at running back was true freshman Anthony Hankerson, who carried seven times for 25 yards.

"I thought I played good, just not good enough," said McCown, who led Colorado to its first two-touchdown game of the season. "I got too greedy coming out in the second half and that hurt the offense."

McCown led Colorado on touchdown drives of 85 and 74 yards, and the Buffs also had a 58-yard march that produced a field goal. His 258 yards passing were the most by a CU quarterback since Sam Noyer threw for 258 in the 2020 season finale against Utah.

Offerdahl, a walk-on running back who did not play in a game last season, had some key runs in Colorado's scoring drives.

"One play at a time, get down in the field and really work as a team to get in that end zone," he said. "We really need to build on that and that success that we have in film tomorrow. We need to fix what we did wrong but focus on what we did right and build on that big time."

Several other freshmen had some big contributions. Wide receiver Jordyn Tyson caught his second touchdown pass of the season, an 8-yard reception from McCown in the fourth quarter. Redshirt freshman receiver Jack Hestera had one reception and Hankerson had a catch.

Also, freshman walk-on punter Trent Carrizosa stepped in for regular Ashton Logan (out with illness) and knocked out five kicks for a 46.2-yard average, with three landing inside the 20.

CU head coach Karl Dorrell wouldn't fully commit to McCown having earned the starter's job. 

"We'll talk about that with the offensive staff," Dorrell said. "Right now after the game, it's hard to say. But I was definitely encouraged with how he worked out there. He made a few plays and made a few rookie plays, but overall he played OK."

BUFFS BITS: Carrizosa, Hankerson and tight end Louis Passarello all made their first appearances as Buffs … DL Chance Main, McCown, Offerdahl, WR R.J. Sneed, Sowell and ILB Mister Williams all made their first starts as Buffs … UCLA now leads the overall series 13-5, including 5-4 in Boulder, as the Bruins broke a 3-game losing streak at Folsom Field … Colorado is 0-4, with the last such start coming in 2006, when CU finished 2-10 in Dan Hawkins' first year as head coach … Through four games, 18 different players have caught passes for CU. The season record is 19, set in 1999 and matched in 2004 … This is the eighth time in CU history that three different players have started at quarterback. The last occurred in 2012 (Jordan Webb, Nick Hirschman and Connor Wood) … McCown made the earliest start at QB by a true freshman in CU history. His 258 yards are the sixth most in a starting debut at Colorado.