DENVER — As a veteran coach, the prevailing reaction from Bob Simmons in the immediate aftermath of his first game as Boulder’s head coach remained focused on the glut of penalties and turnovers that had the Panthers on the ropes.
Eventually, though, Simmons will always remember that his first game at Boulder was a victory. He has Malcolm Patterson to thank for that.
The junior quarterback came off the bench in the third quarter and immediately revived the Panthers’ lethargic offense, throwing a touchdown on his first pass and sparking a 28-0 second-half run that paved the way for a 36-11 victory against George Washington Saturday at All-City Field.
“It was good to see the guys come out like that in the second half,” said Simmons, a former head coach at Oklahoma State and assistant at CU. “Malcolm came in and made some key passes and made some big plays. There’s always a lot of room for improvement. You build off of winning, and this was a good first step.”
Levi Chandler received the starting nod at quarterback, but after his third interception of the game led to a George Washington field goal and an 11-8 lead for the Patriots, Simmons inserted Patterson.
The junior already understood the nuances of coming in cold off the bench, having replaced his older brother, former Panther TJ Patterson, when he was injured early last season. After a 48-yard kickoff return by Jack Hooson set up Boulder in good field position following GW’s field goal, Patterson wasted no time getting the Panthers turned around on his first play under center.
Rolling to his left, Patterson set up and threw a perfect backside post to senior River Addison for a 40-yard scoring strike. The sudden momentum swing clearly energized the Panthers, who proceeded to finish the game by scoring 28 unanswered points.
Following an 11-yard strike to Collin Heimbach, Patterson’s third throw was good for a 17-yard touchdown to Connor Stowe. Patterson added a 31-yard touchdown pass to Addison before Boulder’s Cleveland McCarty capped the scoring with a 50-yard interception return.
Patterson, who entered the game in the final minute of the third quarter, finished 4-for-5 for 99 yards and three touchdowns. Addison made four receptions for 130 yards.
“I learned a lot from last year when my brother got hurt and I had to step up quickly,” Patterson said. “It was kind of the same thing. I had a little experience in that field.
“The first one was big. River told me on the sideline he’d be there on that backside post. I put it up there and he was good enough to go up and get it.”
Patterson’s heroics certainly were timely, given the way the Panthers stumbled through much of the first three quarters. Boulder finished with nine penalties, including six flags for either delays of game or false starts, and the Panthers surrendered their only touchdown when a botched punt snap was recovered by GW in the end zone.
Fortunately for Boulder, GW, which suited only 20 players, wasn’t much better, suffering 11 penalties while committing three turnovers after halftime. The general sloppiness clearly is an area Simmons wants to address before the Panthers’ home opener next week against Prairie View.
One other bright spot for Boulder was the debut of sophomore running back Todd Jones, who scored the team’s first touchdown of the season on a 39-yard run late in the first quarter. However, Jones absorbed several thunderous hits late in the first half and did not return after the break, finishing his first varsity game with 75 yards on 12 carries.
“We got some momentum, but we have to do a better job of stopping the run,” Simmons said. “As we go into next week, we have to fix all those little things.”
Follow Pat on Twitter: twitter.com/prooney07
Boulder 36, George Washington 11
At All-City Field
Boulder (1-0) 8 0 7 21 — 36
George Washington (0-1) 0 8 3 0 — 11
Boulder — Safety; GW tackled in end zone.
Boulder — Todd Jones 39 run (kick failed).
George Washington — David Bernal recovers fumble in end zone (DeAhnra Williams pass from Nathaniel Mitchell).
George Washington — Adedoyin Jibowu 23 field goal.
Boulder — River Addison 40 pass from Malcolm Patterson (Andrew Pettit kick).
Boulder — Connor Stowe 17 pass from Patterson (Pettit kick).
Boulder — Addison 31 pass from Patterson (Pettit kick).
Boulder — Cleveland McCarty 50 interception return (Pettit kick).
RUSHING — Boulder: Todd Jones 12-75, Jack Pemberton 3-8, Jack Hooson 4-7, Malcolm Patterson 1-(-4), Levi Chandler 5-(-4); George Washington: Bryan Evans 34-169, Jeremias Marroquin 14-87, Daniel Bush 1-3, Adedoyin Jibowu 3-2, Nathaniel Mitchell 7-(-8).
PASSING (comp-att-int-yards) — Boulder Levi Chandler 5-18-3 61; Malcolm Patterson 4-5-0 99; George Washington: Nathaniel Mitchell 4-13-1 61.
RECEIVING — Boulder: River Addison 4-130, Connor Stowe 2-17, Jack Hooson 1-11, Collin Heimbach 2-2; George Washington Adeoyin Jibowu 2-37, Brandon Krier 1-18, Daniel Bush 1-6.