The house was rocking. If Coach Mike MacIntyre had said pregame his team would be neck and neck with No. 2 Oregon midway through the 1st quarter, most experts would have laughed him out of the room. But there they were, hanging tough, down 15-10 at the 7:24 mark. Colorado’s leader said of their tenor to start the game, “I thought our young men fought from the very beginning; I thought they came out ready to play. We talked about not sticking our toe in the water. You know how the pool sometimes is cold? We dove right in the pool.”
Coach MacIntyre was quick to praise the Ducks’ team speed and point out a couple of surprises as well. “Wow. They are fast in person and they are fast on film. You know who I thought was faster today to me? Number 24, the young man from Oregon (Tyner), the freshman. He’s big, and he’s faster than I thought.”
Coach MacIntyre’s last stop was San Jose State, where he led their team to unprecedented success. Now in a rebuilding project with Colorado, he’s still optimistic about the direction of his group. Of his starting quarterback Connor Wood, he added, “I thought there was improvement tonight. He was better than (against) Oregon State, for sure.”
MacIntyre believes there were positives to be gained from the loss to a national program like Oregon. “I was pleased with our fight. I was pleased with our aggressiveness. We got beat 57-16 and we’re not happy about that one bit, but I thought they fought hard. I think Oregon is extremely good. Everywhere you turn and look, they’ve got good football players.”
Freshman Middle Linebacker Addison Gillam led the game with 15 tackles. He talked about the challenge of keeping up defensively with a team like Oregon. “They’re really fast; really hard to get aligned to, and if you don’t line up, they’ll capitalize on those mistakes.”
Leading rusher Christian Powell also talked about that fighter’s mentality Colorado was trying to establish early in the contest. ”We’ve been talking about it all week; about . . . just fighting. It was just little mistakes on both sides of the ball and they capitalized on [them].”
For all the Heisman praise lately for Mariota, one opposing Colorado head coach seemed glad to be finished facing number 8. “Mariota makes everyone look a little bit bad. I think he’s really, really good. That’s a stupid statement (laughter), but . . . he’s fast. Some guys that are running quarterbacks don’t keep their eyes downfield when they scramble and run. He can keep his eyes downfield and go make the first down and throw it. A couple plays tonight, come on, I don’t know what else we could do. He just made the play. He’s a special player.”
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