UCLA Colorado Football

UCLA quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson, left, runs for a long gain as Colorado safety Isaiah Lewis tries to make the tackle in the first half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Sept. 24, 2022, in Boulder, Colo. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

BOULDER • The first quarter ended with “Fire Karl!” chants from the student section. Then the Colorado Buffaloes got a good amount of cheers heading into the locker room at halftime. But by the time the third quarter was over, there weren’t many fans left to cheer or boo.

It’s been four games and four blowout losses for Colorado as the Buffs fell 45-17 to UCLA on Saturday at Folsom Field. Colorado has been outscored 173-47 through 16 quarters.

“Frustrating day,” Dorrell said. “Right now, we have a lot of things to really shore up. There’s a lot of areas that need a lot of work. It’s a young team that needs to continue to grow and mature as we go, and hopefully as we go, we want to have success.”

There was at least a little bit of a buzz inside the stadium to begin the afternoon as true freshman quarterback Owen McCown, son of 18-year NFL veteran Josh McCown, made his first career start after providing a spark at the end of last week's blowout loss at Minnesota.

There wasn’t much more that the 19-year-old could’ve done in his first real college action. The highlight was a touchdown drive he orchestrated at the end of the first half that ended with a 2-yard run on 4th-and-goal to cut the UCLA lead to 21-10 going into the break.

McCown finished 26-of-42 passing for 258 yards, which is by far the most passing yards of any CU quarterback so far this season. He got his first career passing TD with a late strike to fellow true freshman Jordyn Tyson.

The first team UCLA offense could do no wrong on Saturday afternoon.

Quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson is the current active leader in passing yards in the Pac-12 and he didn’t need three full quarters to add 234 yards to that total. He finished a crisp 19-of-23 passing, including two touchdowns. He also added 56 rushing yards on 7 carries.

The Buffs came in with the worst rushing defenses in the country and Bruins running back Zach Charbonnet made sure that continued as he ran through massive holes and bullied the CU linebackers and defensive backs on the way to 104 yards and 3 touchdowns on just 9 carries. UCLA finished with 249 rushing yards, which is less than the nearly 350 they were allowing on average.

“That’s a big issue right now that we need to shore up more than anything in my opinion,” Dorrell said. “The rushing game the last four games has been our nemesis on defense and we have to find a way to get that shored up.”

Dorrell said CU tried a few different things this week to try and slow down the UCLA rushing attack. That didn't happen as the UCLA running back didn't even need 10 carries to get over 100 yards, and a third of those carries were touchdowns.

“We had a bunch of those big runs get out where we didn’t even get in front of them,” Dorrell said. “It seemed like they were untouched and that’s not good. We have to find the right people. We’re rotating a number of players and we’re just trying to find the right combination.”

The Colorado secondary is young and still inexperienced. But it's the experienced front seven is getting beat week after week.

“The plays we make in practice, we haven't been able to make in the game,” linebacker Josh Chandler-Semedo said. “We’ve created a lot of one-on-ones for us to execute and we haven’t executed them. Every play, somebody has to make a play. It’s schemed up for the ball to go somewhere to somebody.”