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Last weekend, a collective sigh of relief swept through Folsom Field as the Buffs got their second win of the season. The 48-29 victory over the Arizona Wildcats served as a confidence boost for not only the fans, but also for the team.
Starting quarterback Tyler Hansen recognizes the importance of a win, especially since the team has fallen upon hard times in recent years.
“We haven’t had a lot of wins,” Hansen said. “After a win, you stay confident and play with that confidence. Use that confidence. It’s a lot of the same mentality. We played real well and we need to use that to our advantage and build off that.”
This Saturday, the Buffs (2-9, 1-6) hope to come away with another win against the UCLA Bruins (5-5, 4-3), who will be looking for redemption after a 31-6 loss against Utah. For the CU players–seniors especially–securing another win will help lessen the hardship they’ve faced this season.
Head coach Jon Embree, whose son is Bruins wide receiver Taylor Embree, has no second thoughts predicting a win against UCLA this weekend.
“Our guys expect to win and they expect to win every week,” said Embree about his team’s expectations. “I don’t get caught up in that…We think we are going to win this week, we thought we are going to win last week and think we are going to win in the future. It has to be a mindset that you think you are going to win every time you are out there.”
It’s not hard for the team to imagine that they can snag a win from the Bruins. With Rodney Stewart’s improvements and several players returning to the defense, the Buffs are well-equipped to achieve another victory.
That is, if they can get their communication issues resolved.
“We struggle on defense a lot of times because of people not communicating, not knowing what the play is, or not knowing where to fit at because they don’t know the play,” defensive back Travis Sandersfeld said. “Just being able to communicate out there, just hearing all guys talk, knowing what’s going on…just anticipating what the next play will be.”
Embree agreed, and said that the team is improving in this area.
“Those pieces are coming together,” Embree said. “[Communication] is significantly better now that those guys [on defense] are back.”
For the defense, better communications means they’ll be better off against a strong run game and consistent play from UCLA’s quarterback and receiving corps.
This week’s game is more than just about winning. For many of the players, this will be their first and last chance to play at the historic Rose Bowl stadium. Embree hopes that someday, the Buffs will be able to play in the actual Rose Bowl game.
“The history of it, there is just not a better bowl out there and I haven’t had the chance to be a part of it, but I’m telling you, when we get that opportunity… I can’t wait,” said Embree.
The Buffs will face the UCLA Bruins Saturday at 5:30 p.m.
Contact CU Independent Staff Writer Shay Knolle at firstname.lastname@example.org
Quotes courtesy CUBuffs.com.