November continues on and so do the Buffs as they navigate their way through their toughest month on the schedule.
Colorado will be making the trip to Seattle to take on the 17th-ranked Washington Huskies and the nation’s leading passer in Michael Penix Jr.
Penix and the Huskies are coming off of a massive upset win in Eugene over the Oregon Ducks where Penix threw for 408 yards, completed 75.3% of his passes and threw for two touchdowns and one interception.
This week will be the third week in a row that Colorado will face off against one of the premier quarterbacks in the country and interim head coach Mike Sanford spoke about the challenges Penix and the Huskies present.
“[Penix] is another one of these quarterbacks that has elite arm talent,” Sanford said. “In terms of velocity and RPMs on the ball, you can’t find a guy that throws the ball with as much conviction as he does.”
Last week, Caleb Williams’ ability to improvise and make a play once the initial play broke down allowed USC to pull away from CU in the second half. Sanford warns that Penix is capable of doing the same.
“He also has that trait that I keep talking about as a creator,” Sanford said. “If the play breaks down, he’s a threat to run, he’s a threat to create an explosive play.”
Cornerback Nikko Reed snagged his first interception of the season last week when Williams targeted Brenden Rice deep down the field in the first quarter. Reed talked about how he approaches taking on the top teams in the PAC-12.
“When we know we have good receivers to go up against, I feel like that’s a good challenge for us to see where we’re at,” Reed said.
Reed found himself in a position to make a play last week and is hoping to do the same again this week.
“No matter how good somebody is, as long as you do your job and use your technique you can do well enough for yourself,” Reed said.
Alex Fontenot also had a standout performance for CU with 20 carries, 108 yards and one touchdown against USC. It was the first 100-yard game for Fontenot since Colorado’s win over Washington on November 23rd, 2019.
Fontenot missed six games with an injury suffered against Air Force earlier this year. He spoke about how his performance against USC was a confidence booster.
“I tried my hardest to get back out there and thankfully, I was able to put the pieces together and get something going on the field so, that was a good thing for me,” Fontenot said.
Wide receiver Chase Penry also received a confidence boost last Friday as he returned to the field for the first time since week 5 against Arizona. While Penry got through the USC game healthy, he will be redshirting this season with Friday’s game being his fourth of the season.
“The coaches and I decided that I’ll be redshirting to take the year to get stronger and faster,” Penry said. “I’m on the way to doing that.”
Penry was Colorado’s punt returner to start the season before suffering an injury against Arizona. He returned to that role against USC and is looking forward to competing for that job again next off-season.
In other injury news, Deion Smith was expected to play last week against USC but didn’t see the field. Coach Sanford confirmed at his weekly press conference that he will play this week.
Earlier this month, I wrote about how the University of Colorado is embracing NIL with the Buffs4Life NIL Collective.
On Wednesday, the Buffs4Life NIL Collective announced that true freshmen Jordyn Tyson and Van Wells will be the first enrolled student-athletes to be compensated. However, no details or figures were released.
Tyson also underwent successful surgery on his injured leg on Tuesday, no setbacks or complications were reported.
Wells has been a stand-out center for the Buffs in his first collegiate season. Offensive line coach Kyle DeVan spoke glowingly about Wells in the lead-up to the season. In the third game of the season against Minnesota, Wells earned his first career start and has anchored CU’s offensive line since.
Throughout the season, coach Sanford stressed the importance of retaining the program’s young talent through the off-season.
To hear more about coach Sanford’s thoughts on NIL, the transfer portal and what could come next for him and CU, listen to the latest edition of the DNVR Buffs Podcast for an exclusive interview with the Buffs’ interim head coach.