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2016 – No. 9 Colorado 27, No. 21 Utah 22 – No Conflict, No Story

// Nov 26 -

Colorado relied upon its defense to bring home the school’s first ten win season since 2001, downing No. 21 Utah, 27-22. With the victory, the “worst-to-first” dream season was completed, with the Buffs going from 1-8 in Pac-12 play in 2015 to 8-1 in 2016, claiming CU’s first Pac-12 South title, and first division title since winning the Big 12 North in 2005.

The Buffs were held to 378 yards of total offense, but the CU defense held the Utes to 339 yards of total offense, forcing four turnovers along the way. A forced fumble from Utah running back Joe Williams was returned by Buff linebacker Kenneth Olugbode ten yards for a game-clinching score early in the fourth quarter. Olugbode’s score made it 27-16, and the Buff defense made it hold up.

Special teams almost cost the Buffs the game, with Utah scoring on a punt return for a touchdown early in the game, and almost scoring on a kickoff return early in the fourth quarter.

“I’m very excited to grind one out,” said Colorado quarterback Sefo Liufau, who had 270 yards passing and a team-leading 59 yards rushing, but fumbled twice. “The defense got my back.”

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Worst. To. First.

Last season, Colorado finished 1-8 in Pac-12 play. This year, the Buffs went 8-1 in Pac-12 play.

This past August, in the Pac-12 preseason media poll, the Buffs were pegged as the 11th-best team in the Pac-12 conference. This past week, the Buffs were ranked as the ninth-best team … in the entire nation.

With a 27-22 victory over No. 21 Utah, the Buffs completed a regular season journey absolutely no one saw coming. The statistical “best since” accolades are cascading through the record books like an avalanche:

— First ten-win season since 2001, and first eight-win conference season in school history (the Buffs only played seven conference games in the Big Eight, and went 7-1 three times in Big 12 conference play);

— First six-game winning streak since 1996, and first back-to-back wins over ranked teams since 2002;

— First undefeated home slate since 1994, going 6-0 at home for just the sixth time in school history.

Et cetera … et cetera … et cetera.

But the Buffs’ tenth victory of the 2016 season did not come easily. Colorado trailed Utah for nine minutes in the first quarter, and did not take a two-score lead over the Utes until the fourth.

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Neill Woelk’s tribute to senior class … Drew Litton’s take on Utah game … Bios of CU’s 27 seniors … Report: Sefo Liufau’s NFL draft stock improving

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CU leads the all-time series, but the Utes have won four straight … Buffs seek seventh-ever 10-win season

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Can the first sell-out in years carry the Buffs to the division title? … Your “T.I.P.S.” for CU v. Utah …

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CU up to No. 9 in College Football Playoff Rankings … Mike MacIntyre No. 1 in Coach-of-the-Year rankings

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