Editorial Column

Quarterbacks know how to hunt Buffalo


The University of Colorado should make a New Year's resolution: Swear off playing colleges with good quarterbacks.
After last night's shelling at the hands of Joey Harrington and the Oregon Ducks, the whole quarterback vs. Colorado problem became painfully clear to me. It occurred to me that the three games Colorado lost this season, including the win against Nebraska, the one player with the ability to muddle the Buffalos has been the quarterback.
The first loss of the season came with CU's opener against Fresno State it was David Carr who put the kibosh on CU. The truly mediocre Fresno offense had one highlight the entire afternoon, with Carr completing 21 of 36 passes for 198 yards.
This is the same mediocre offense Bosie State and Hawaii found and answer to, and you know WAC teams aren't known for their defense.
Five games into the season, Buffalo fans watched Texas turn up the heat from the helm. Chris Simms was the engineer of this win and, truth be known, Simms should have been the Longhorns back-up.
Austin was the scene of an old-time Buffalo hunt, with Simms standing tall in the pocket and wracking up 234-yards through the air.
In the Big 12 championship game it seemed the Buffaloes had found the answer to the enigma known as Simms, but they certainly didn't see the next challenge cropping up Major Applewhite.
Applewhite nearly brought the Longhorns back from the dead and into the Big 12 Championship, if only there had been enough time. The lucky Buffs got to watch the clock tick down and a 39-37 win put them in contention for a national title. By the way, Applewhite passed for 240 yards in the championship game, and most of his success came in the second half.
Even the week before, in the biggest win in Colorado history, the Buffaloes allowed Eric "Heisman" Crouch to scuttle down the field for nearly 162 yards his second best showing this season. While he was the only productive Bug-eater, the Husker Nation thought it rather disturbing to see a 62-36 point routing of a team, and still have a player produce.
Finally, Joey "College." Joey "Heisman." Joey Harrington. The man of the hour, with destiny on a short leash, rallied what was thought to be the doomed Ducks to an impressive upset. No way could the Ducks withstand the Buff's punishing run attack, and and a defense that always found a way to hold on.
But when "stand-tall" Harrington graced the pocket on the field, he felt about as much pressure as a leaky bike tire. He was sacked once by the Buffaloes, but usually had so much time after the snap he could have set up camp in the backfield.
With the Buff's defense nowhere to be seen, defensive backs giving the Ducks' receivers 10-yard cushions and the front-four being manhandled by a Pac-10 offensive line, Harrington passed for 350 yards and completed 28 passes Fiesta Bowl records.
Maybe the Buffs should have taken a lesson from the Duck's "Quack-attack" defense, and put a game plan in place for the team they were playing. Instead, sticking with base defenses and zone coverages, the notoriously weak Buffalo secondary was pitted against a speedy Ducks offense, an ultimately unsatisfying match-up for Colorado fans.
There is no joy in Muddville, for mighty Barnett has struck-out and perhaps his defense has finally been exposed for what it really is lucky this season.

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