November 17th – Boulder           Washington 38, Colorado 3

Colorado gave up five turnovers, spoiling its best defensive first half effort of the season, falling at home to Washington, 38-3. The Buffs, out-scored 302-96 in the first half in the first ten games of the season, trailed only 7-0 at halftime, before turnovers helped Washington turn a close game into a rout.

Washington quarterback Keith Price threw five touchdown passes to five different receivers on the afternoon, while Colorado tried three different quarterbacks, who finished a combined 10-for-23 for 51 yards and two interceptions.

Connor Wood was the first Buff quarterback to take a shot at the Washington defense. Wood, a sophomore, in the first start of his career, led the Buffs to a three-and-out on the first drive of the game, including a sack on third-and-nine. The Colorado defense, burned for 574 yards and 56 points by Arizona the week before, started out well, holding the Washington offense (thanks to a personal foul penalty) to a three-and-out as well.

Another three-and-out by the Colorado offense was then followed by a four-and-out by Washington – this time aided by an offensive pass interference penalty. Washington started its drive at the CU 39-yard line, but, on fourth-and-eight at the CU 37, a Keith Price fell incomplete.

On the Buffs’ third possession, the Colorado offense generated the first first down of the game, coming on a ten yard pass from Wood to wide receiver Gerald Thomas. The era of good feeling, though, lasted all of one more play, as on second-and-ten Wood through an ill-advised pass up for grabs, intercepted by Washington linebacker Shaq Thompson.

This time, the Washington offense responded, needing only two plays to move from their 46 to the CU 13. There, however, the drive stalled, with Washington kicker Travis Coons called on for a 31-yard field goal. The kick, though, clanged off the left upright, and the game remained scoreless.

Buoyed by the defensive stand (and afraid of what Connor Wood might do if sent back to pass), the Colorado offense turned to running back Christian Powell. The freshman back, who would lead the Buffs with 66 yards rushing on the day, ran the ball on five consecutive plays. The fifth play, though, was a rush for no gain on fourth-and-one at the CU 41 yard line.

The first quarter ended scoreless – the first time an opponent failed to score against the Buffs all season – but with the sparse home crowd nervous, with the Huskies at the CU 31-yard line.

Three plays into the second quarter, though, Washington faced a second-and-one at the CU nine yard line. Husky running back Bishop Sankey looked like he was heading for the CU end zone, but the ball was stripped by senior linebacker Doug Rippy, with the ball recovered by fellow senior Jon Major.

Given new life, the Colorado offense responded … with another turnover. Another ill-advised pass by Connor Wood was easily intercepted by Sean Parker at the Washington 49 yard line.

The Buff defense, though, again refused to fold. A sack by Chidera Uzo-Diribe, his team-leading seventh of the season, forcing another Washington punt.

Two interceptions in six passes (to go with three completions for 11 yards) was enough for the Buff coaches to pull Wood, inserting former starter Jordan Webb. Starter for the first eight games of the season, Webb came into the game … and the Buffs went three-and-out.

Taking over with 5:56 left in the second quarter, the Washington offense put together the only decent drive for either team in the first half. A ten-play, 65-yard drive was finished off by a three yard touchdown pass from Keith Price to Cody Burns with 1:02 left.

Halftime score: Washington 7, Colorado 0.

The opening drive of the second half had not been a friend to the Buffs all season, and three of the past four opponents scoring to open the third quarter (only Oregon, which was already up 56-0 at half, failed to score in its opening third quarter drive … and that was due to a turnover).

Still, the Colorado defense had put together a more than acceptable first half, limiting the Washington offense to 190 total yards, and, more importantly, seven points.

So, it was of great inspiration to the 38,600 Buff fans on hand (43,148 paid) that the Colorado defense, once again aided by an offensive pass interference penalty, held the Washington offense to a three-and-out. Perhaps, just perhaps, the Buffs could make a game of it.

Then, the play of the game

The Washington punt landed at the CU 37-yard line, hit Nelson Spruce, with the ball recovered by the Huskies.

Three plays later, the game was over.

Keith Price hit Kasen Williams for a 17-yard touchdown, upping the Washington lead to 14-0.

It may have well as been 140-0.

Six plays into the ensuing Colorado drive, Jordan Webb fumbled as he was being sacked, giving the ball back to Washington at the CU 23 yard line. Two plays later, Washington was on the board again, with Price hitting Kendyl Taylor for a 23-yard touchdown. 21-0, Washington, with 9:37 still to play in the third quarter.

Marques Mosley returned the Washington kickoff 59 yards to the Husky 40, giving the Buffs their best field position of the afternoon. Bailed out on a fourth-and-six incomplete pass with an interference call, the Buffs then mustered their only “drive” of the game, gaining 20 yards in eight plays. A Will Oliver field goal from 37 yards out gave the Buffs their first score at Folsom Field since the second quarter of the Arizona State game, a span of over eight quarters. Washington 21, Colorado 3.

Any hopes of a Colorado comeback were quashed by a methodical 11-play, 68-yard drive by the Washington offense, chewing up most of the rest of the third quarter. A 25-yard field goal was more than sufficient to put the Buffs back in their place. Washington 24, Colorado 3, at the start of the fourth quarter.

The fourth quarters of routs are usually reserved for the losing team to put together some face-saving drives, making the final score more respectable. However, for Colorado – as had been the case most of the season – the final stanza provided the winning team with an opportunity to pad the rout.

Two three-and-outs by the Colorado offense were met with two touchdown drives by the Washington offense. The first first down by the Colorado offense did not come until the score had been raised to 38-3, and the clock down below three minutes. With the Buffs’ third quarterback of the game, John Schrock, at the helm, the Colorado offense finally gained enough yards to push the total for the game over 100 … before Malcolm Creer fumbled at the Washington 27 yard line.

Final score: Washington 38, Colorado 3

For the day, Washington gained 476 yards – below the CU average of 505 yards per game – but had their way in the second half. Keith Price went 22-for-29 for 248 yards and a career-high five touchdowns. Colorado quarterbacks, though, were a combined 10-for-23 for all of 51 yards. Connor Wood, in his first career start, went 3-of-6 for 11 yards, with two interceptions. Jordan Webb fared little better, going 6-for-16 for a grand total of 33 yards, with four sacks and a fumble.

The lone bright spot for the Colorado offense, which was held to 141 total yards, was freshman Christian Powell, who rushed for 66 yards on 17 carries. Powell’s efforts raised his total to 691 yrad for the season, the second-highest total for a freshman in school history, trailing only Lamont Warren, who went for 830 yards in 1991.

“Our defense gave us opportunities in the game,” said Jon Embree, who fell to 4-20 as CU head coach. “I know that our numbers offensively were not good enough.” As to the Buffs’ pitiful performances at quarterback, Embree repeated a phrase he uttered much of the fall of 2012, “I don’t know”, going on to say, “obviously, we didn’t play well, and we are struggling at that position, so we have to find a way to fix it.”

There remained precious little time left in the 2012 season to fix the quarterback problem. Colorado fell to 1-10 with the loss, only the fifth time in school history that a ten-loss season had been put upon the Buffs … and the first time it had taken place in successive seasons.

“We didn’t make enough plays,” understated Jordan Webb. “When you don’t throw for even 60 yards in Division I football you don’t give yourselves a chance to win. We are not running the wishbone and running for 200 yards so we have to pass the ball more efficiently.”

The wishbone?

Hmm, that’s what Bill McCartney went to after the 1984 season, another one of those 1-10 campaigns …

Game Notes –

– With the 38-3 loss to Washington following a 48-0 home loss to Stanford, the Buffs failed to score a touchdown in successive home games for the first time since 1935-36.

– Colorado’s total points allowed moved past 500 (510) for the first time in school history.

– Defensive lineman Will Pericak started his 48th consecutive game, setting a new school record. Pericak came into the Washington game tied with offensive lineman Ryan Miller (2007-11) for the record at 47 straight games.

– Marques Mosley’s 59 yard kickoff return was the longest for the Buffs since Arthur Jaffee went for 89 yards in 2010.

– Defensive end Chidera Uzo-Diribe had one sack against Washington, giving him seven for the season and 16 for his career, 12th on the all-time list

– Quarterback Connor Wood and defensive tackle Tyler Henington each earned their first career starts against Washington.

Injury Update –

– Neither cornerback Yuri Wright (ankle) nor defensive tackle (neck strain) dressed for the game.

– Defensive end Chidera Uzo-Diribe and safety Ray Polk suffered “stingers” during the game, but both returned to action.

– Running back Christian Powell suffered a concussion during the game. His status for the Utah game is uncertain.

– Quarterback Nick Hirschman (concussion) will resume practices this week.

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