- Kevin Gemmell, ESPN Staff Writer
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The moment was great. The moment was exciting.
The moment has passed.
That was the message Colorado coach Mike MacIntyre wanted to relay to his players this week following their season-opening 41-27 victory over rival Colorado State.
“It was very uplifting to see the joy on their faces and how hard they have been working to see the work pay off,” MacIntyre said. “I told them it was a great win for us and for our program, but it’s just one. It’s just the first one. Now our guys have put that behind them and we’re working on our next game against Central Arkansas, which is a really good football team. The way everything went last weekend with seven FCS teams beating seven FBS teams, it’s pretty amazing.”
The Buffs are all-too familiar with the wrath of the FCS. Last year they blew two leads and fell in Week 2 to Sacramento State, 30-28, on a 30-yard field goal as time expired. For those who were there, it was a gut-wrenching followup from a blown fourth-quarter lead to Colorado State the week before.
MacIntyre wasn’t there. But watching him on Saturday, you’d think he was. The way he reacted to Saturday’s victory -- the critical fourth-down measurement late in the game, the sideline animation -- you’d think he was carrying all of the burdens of last season rather than coming off a year in which he coached San Jose State into the top 25. But his emotion was as raw and unchecked as his players’.
“I was just so excited for those kids,” MacIntyre said. “The seniors have all had three different coaches. They lost to that team last year. There’s nothing like your first game of the season. When you add into it that it’s a rivalry game and you add to it a stadium that’s divided 50-50, there is a lot of excitement and emotion that goes into it. I knew that when we held them there that was basically the dagger, and it was done. It was exciting.
“... We talked about it in the locker room as soon as the game was over. Enjoy this, they’ve earned it but it’s just one game, so we take every game as a season within itself.”
It sounds like the message has gotten through -- at least at the soundbite level.
“I think it’s just a preventative statement just for all the guys to understand that its only one game,” quarterback Connor Wood said. “There’s a lot more to go and real winners ... it doesn’t faze them if they win a bunch of games and the media says a lot of good things about you, but they don’t let it get to their head and you stay hungry. I think that’s what he wants to get across to us.”
The Week 1 victory matches Colorado’s win total from a year ago -- a bummer of a season that saw the Buffs at the bottom of nearly every major statistical category and ended with the firing of Jon Embree. So the victory -- especially one over a rival -- was welcomed.
“It got the bad taste out of our mouths from this offseason because it’s been a long offseason,” Wood said. “Especially losing last year to CSU makes it feel a lot better heading into this week but then again its only one game so we have a long way to go.”