September 15th - at Fresno Fresno State 69, Colorado 14
Colorado sent their fans scurrying for their remotes, and the media relations office for the record books, as the Buffs were humiliated by Fresno State, 69-14. Colorado fell behind 35-0 in the first quarter, and 55-7 at halftime, as records fell throughout the game … records which Buff fans would have just as soon left in the past.
At the outset, the only record which was known to be at risk was for the hottest game in which Colorado was a participant. The temperature at kickoff was 102-degrees, tying the record for the warmest Buff game on record with a game against Arizona State in Tempe in 2007. The crowd was only 27,513, but the number of Bulldog faithful who will have claimed to be on hand for the massacre will certainly climb as the years go by.
The game started ominously enough, as Fresno State returned the opening kickoff out to the 35-yard line. A three-yard stop on first down by defensive back Parker Orms was negated by a personal foul call on the Buffs. Instead of second-and-13, Fresno State had a first-and-ten near midfield. The Bulldogs then marched smartly down the field, facing only one third down in the drive, culminated by a Robbie Roush four yard touchdown run.
7-0, Fresno State. 12:06 to play in the first quarter.
The Colorado offense managed one first down, on a 12-yard pass from quarterback Jordan Webb to tight end Kyle Slavin. On Webb’s next pass, though, the junior threw his first interception of the year. Fresno State was in business again at the CU 45-yard line.
This drive only took the Bulldogs five plays, with quarterback Derek Carr hitting Robbie Rouse for a nine-yard touchdown.
14-0, Fresno State, 9:08 to play in the first quarter.
A quick three-and-out by the Colorado offense concluded with a fourth-and-21 at the Buffs’ own two yard line. A short punt combined with a decent return set up the Fresno State offense at the Buff 12-yard line. On the first play from scrimmage, Carr and Rouse hooked up again, this time from 12 yards out, and the rout was on.
21-0, Fresno State, 7:17 to play in the first quarter.
Red-shirt freshman quarterback Connor Wood then took over for Jordan Webb, but the results were no better. Another three-and-out by the Colorado offense gave Fresno State another opportunity for a quick score. The Buff defense was put in much better position by a 53-yard punt by Darragh O’Neill, which was downed at the Fresno State six yard line. A false start penalty moved the ball back to the three. No matter. Carr, on the next play, hit wide receiver Isaiah Burse for a 97-yard touchdown.
28-0, Fresno State, 5:34 to play in the first quarter.
Three penalties against the offensive unit pushed the Buffs so far back on their next drive that a 22-yard completion from Wood to Nelson Spruce still wasn’t enough for a first down. The ensuing punt return was fumbled, giving Colorado just its second turnover of the season. But, as had been the case when the Buffs earned a turnover against Colorado State, no points resulted, as the Colorado offense failed to gain a yard in three plays. An O’Niell punt was downed at the Fresno State three yard line, but by now the punch line had already been written. Robbie Rouse became the Fresno State all-time leading rusher, and put a stake in the hearts of Buff fans everywhere, with a 94-yard touchdown run.
35-0, Fresno State, 2:39 to play in the first quarter.
Colorado again went three-and-out, but the quarter mercifully ended before Fresno State could score again.
The first quarter was epic, at least in terms of history. Records set in the first stanza:
Most points allowed, first quarter - 35; the old record, 29 by Oregon in 2011;
Most total yards allowed, quarter – 322; the old record, 312 by Oklahoma in the legendary 82-42 game in 1980;
Longest rush against CU – 94; the old record, 90, by Walter Mack of Kansas, also in 1980; and
Fresno State had two plays from scrimmage of over 80 yards in the first quarter. Never before in the history of the program had a Colorado defense allowed two plays from scrimmage of over 80 yards in the same game.
If there had been any sort of mercy rule in college football, the game would have been called after the first fifteen minutes. But, as there was no such rule, the officials were obliged to make the teams play on …
Fresno State continued on with its drive started at the end of the first quarter, culminating in yet another touchdown. That Jon Major blocked the extra point, to leave the score at 41-0, was of little consolation. The fumbled punt notwithstanding, Fresno State scored touchdowns on its first six drives of the game.
With the game well in hand, the second quarter was more mundane. Freshman defensive back Marques Mosley intercepted the first pass of his career, but, once again, the Colorado offense could do nothing with the favor. On the Bulldogs’ next possession – on the first play from scrimmage – Derek Carr hit Davante Adams for a 60-yard touchdown and a 48-0 lead.
Colorado scored its first points of the game on its next drive. Jordan Webb was back behind center, with the drive beginning and ending on passes to wide receiver Tyler McCulloch. A 33-yard completion to open the drive almost doubled the Colorado offensive output to that point in the game, with Webb hitting McCulloch for a 23-yard touchdown to complete a seven-play, 69-yard drive.
Any spark of momentum was quickly quashed when, on the Buffs’ very next offensive play from scrimmage, Webb’s pass was intercepted by Phillip Thomas, who returned the pick for a 16-yard touchdown.
Halftime score: Fresno State 55; Colorado 7.
It was only halftime, and Colorado had already given up 516 yards of total offense (another record). Fresno State was averaging a ridiculous 12 yards per play, while the Colorado offense mustered all of 127 yards of total offense and two turnovers. The Buffs, who had been fairly good about penalties in the first two games (12 for 110 yards), committed ten penalties for 74 yards in the first 30 minutes of play in Fresno.
Colorado opened the second half with – what else? – an inspired three-and-out. The Buff defense then held, but that was not good enough for the Colorado offense. Connor Wood, who would go 5-for-14 for 47 yards in his first action as a Buff, matched Jordan Webb’s feat of throwing an interception for a touchdown, with Phillip Thomas doing the honors again, this time from 43 yards out. Without trying on offense, the Bulldogs had still managed to score 14 more points.
Fresno State 62, Colorado 7.
The remainder of the third quarter was a wash, with the two teams trying to figure out a way to shorten the game. In five combined possessions, the teams managed only two first downs, with one coming by way of a facemask penalty.
A 50-yard pass on Fresno State’s first possession of the fourth quarter, by third-string quarterback Greg Watson, led to a one-yard touchdown run by Marteze Waller. Colorado countered with a “Josh Ford” drive. With Nick Hirschman now at quarterback, the junior running back carried the ball on nine of the ten plays in the drive, ending the scoring with a one-yard touchdown run with 2:58 to play.
Final score: Fresno State 69, Colorado 14.
“We ran into a buzz saw,” head coach Jon Embree said after the debacle. “We gave up too many big plays early. We didn’t sustain drives and it seemed like every time we threw an interception it was a touchdown.”
Embree said the Buffs must “keep grinding, keep fighting, keep competing . . . I don’t know what else to tell you. We have to find a way to come out and take what we do on the practice field and transfer it on Saturday.”
He said he still believes in his coaching staff and believes his players will show “a lot of resolve, a lot of fight to figure out how to do it on the road again next week in our first conference game.”
Junior tackle David Bakhtiari, not noted for his speeches, felt compelled to speak up in the locker room after the game. “So I told the guys, ‘I’m not a guy that usually talks, but what do you guys play (the game) for?’ I told them what I play for, and I went into detail about that.
“I told them that these coaches know how to win. They’re the best coaches I’ve ever played for. I was completely distraught that we cannot execute what they set out for us. I told them, ‘Look. If you’re not willing to give 100 percent, to do exactly what they tell you, buy into this program, be a Buffalo, then I don’t want you coming to practice, I don’t want you suiting up, I don’t want any of that.’”
If the numbers were any indication, though, Monday’s practice after the Fresno State embarrassment was to be a lonely one. Fresno State finished with 665 yards of total offense, to just 278 for Colorado. The 9.9 yards per play gained by the Bulldogs, trimmed down from 12.0 per play at halftime, were still within a yard of the 10.9 the Buffs allowed in the 82-42 Oklahoma game in 1980.
Colorado played three quarterbacks, but none were effective. Jordan Webb went 5-of-13 for 85 yards, a touchdown, and two interceptions (including one returned for a touchdown). Connor Wood, who was slated to see “some reps” regarless of the game situation, finished 5-of-14 for 47 yards and two interceptions (including one returned for a touchdown). Nick Hirschman, in garbage time, completed one-of-three passes for 41 yards. Overall, Colorado quarterbacks threw for only 173 yards, threw four interceptions, and were sacked four times.
Injury update …
- If there was any good news in one of the worst losses in Colorado history, it was there there were no new long-term injuries. Linebacker Woodson Greer did suffer a neck injury, but returned to action.
Game Notes -
Records aplently fell in the 69-14 rout. Including:
- Most points allowed, First Quarter – 35; old record, 29 by Oregon in 2011;
- Most total yards allowed, Quarter – 322; old record 312 by Oklahoma in 1980 (third quarter of the 82-42 thriller);
- Most total yards allowed, Half – 516; old record 486, by Oklahoma, 1980;
- Most passing yards allowed, Half – 300; old record, 285, by Kansas in a 34-23 victory over the Jayhawks; and
- Longest rush against Colorado – 94 yards; old record, 90, by Walter Mack, Kansas, in 1980.
Several other records almost fell:
- Most points allowed, Half – 56, against UCLA in 1980. The Buffs only allowed 55, thanks to Jon Major’s extra point block in the second quarter.
- Longest pass against Colorado – 98 yards, by Kansas in 1987. Derek Carr’s 97 yard touchdown pass to Isaiah Burse was just not quite good enough to set a new standard.
But wait, there’s more …
- The loss was the worst since Missouri hammered Colorado, 58-0, in 2008, to end the Buffs streak of consecutive games without being shutout, which had dated back to 1988.
- The 69 points were the most given up by Colorado since the 70-3 loss to Texas in the 2005 Big 12 championship game, in Gary Barnett’s last game as head coach.
- Center Brad Cotner and tight end Vincent Hobbs both started their first games as Buffs against Fresno State.
- Colorado is 0-3 for just the 12th time in the 123-year history of the program. The last two times the Buffs started out 0-3 came in 2000 (a 3-8 finish) and in 2006 (a 2-10 season).