CU Buffs quarterback Sam Noyer validates starting role in UCLA win: “He was a safety a year ago. Can you believe that?” – The Denver PostNovember 9, 2020
BOULDER — CU quarterback Sam Noyer watched UCLA cut a four-touchdown deficit to just 7 points on Saturday night. The Buffs needed to push back.
Noyer lowered his shoulder.
Inches from the end zone, on the 10th play of the drive, Noyer played the role of 6-foot-4 battering ram at Folsom Field. Touchdown. His rumble across the goal line and CU’s eventual 48-42 victory unveiled two truths: 1. The Buffs found their quarterback. 2. He wants to run you over.
“I played safety last year,” Noyer said, “so I’m kind of used to the hitting at this point.”
A glance at the stat sheet from his quarterback debut — 20-of-31 passing for 257 yards and a 12-yard touchdown pass to tight end Brady Russell on a perfectly executed play-action set — shows Noyer isn’t just a brute. He also rushed for 64 yards. He looked polished and confident. He didn’t throw a pick.
The performance caused CU coach Karl Dorrell to make a full stop in his postgame news conference. Did Noyer really just do that?
“He was a safety a year ago,” Dorrell said. “Can you believe that?”
Go ahead and blame Mel Tucker for the lapse of positional judgment. Noyer played in four games at safety in 2019. The graduation of quarterback Steven Montez opened the door for Noyer, a redshirt senior, to take the reins at quarterback in 2020. The sample size is small, but early returns suggest CU is validated in its decision to roll with Noyer over junior Tyler Lytle.
“I just wanted this opportunity from the start and I finally got it,” Noyer said. “That’s all I could ask for. I’ve got to continue to get better.”
Added Dorrell: “With Sam, this is definitely a vindication for him. He believed he was a quarterback but did a team, unselfish thing a year ago when he moved to safety. Finally, he is back playing a position he has wanted to play from the very beginning. For him to play the type of game he played today in his first start, I am very proud of him.”
Only 554 fans were in attendance on Saturday at Folsom Field with coronavirus pandemic restrictions in Boulder County. But more eyes across college football will certainly be focused on Noyer after his stellar debut. The Buffs are 1-0 to start the year.
“Guys are just excited to be back out there playing ball,” Noyer said. “A couple of months ago, we didn’t know if we would get this opportunity.”
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