October 26th – Boulder          Arizona 44, Colorado 20

Ka’Deem Carey rushed for four touchdowns and Arizona extended Colorado’s Pac-12 losing streak to a dozen games with a 44-20 win over the Buffaloes at CU’s Homecoming.

Carey, the nation’s leading rusher, ran for 119 yards on 23 carries. But it was his quarterback, B.J. Denker, who surprised the Buffs on the ground with a career-best 192 yards on 15 keepers.

Colorado was held to 349 yards of total offense, with freshman quarterback Sefo Liufau going 17-for-32 for 212 yards, a touchdown and an interception. No Colorado runner had more than 54 yards, while Paul Richardson had seven catches for 132 yards, including a 75-yard touchdown reception in the first quarter.

The Buffs, who lost the coin toss for the seventh time in as many games, opened the game with a pair of first downs, with the first coming on a six-yard pass from Sefo Liufau to tight end Scott Fernandez; the second on an 11-yard pass to Paul Richardson. Thereafter the drive stalled, however, and the Buffs had to punt the ball away from midfield.

Arizona took over at their own 12, and the Wildcats soon had the Colorado homecoming crowd of 38,679 wondering if they were in for a long night. Arizona moved smartly down the field, going 88 yards in 14 plays. Arizona faced only two third downs on the drive – a third-and-one and a third-and-three – both of which were easily converted. Ka’Deem Carey was given the honors of finishing off the drive, scoring from a yard out with 7:55 to play in the quarter.

Colorado quickly responded. On a mass-protect play (only two receivers on the pattern, with the tight end and both backs kept in to block), Liufau hit a streaking Paul Richardson near midfield, with the junior wide receiver out-racing the Arizona secondary for a 75-yard score and a tie game.

The Wildcats, though, were undeterred, answering with another long drive. Arizona took 12 plays to get to the CU redzone, but there the Wildcats were stalled, having to settle for a 37-yard Jake Smith field goal. Arizona 10, Colorado 7.

A three-and-out by the Colorado offense gave the Wildcats a chance to extend their lead, but on the third play of the drive, Jered Bell forced a fumble by Arizona wide receiver Garic Wharton. Linebacker Woodson Greer won the scramble for the ball, and the Buffs were back in business at the own 45-yard line.

In a seven-play, 19-yard drive which included an 11-yard pass to D.D. Goodson as its only highlight, the Buffs moved to the Wildcat 35-yard line. From there, CU kicker Will Oliver connected on a career-best 53-yard field goal to tie the game in the first minute of the second quarter.

The Buffs had a chance for their first lead of the game on their next two possession, taking over in good field possession after a shanked punt and a three-and-out by the Arizona offense, but were unable to capitalize. A punt and a missed 52-yard field goal attempt by Will Oliver kept the score tied at 10-10.

On Arizona’s next possession, a hurried B.J. Denker threw an ill-advised pass downfield, which was intercepted by Jered Bell, who returned the pick 26 yards to midfield. An eight-yard pass from Liufau to Nelson Spruce on third-and-five at the Arizona 44-yard line kept the Buffs’ drive alive, moving Colorado into position for a third field goal attempt of the quarter by Will Oliver. The junior’s 48-yarder was true, and Colorado had its first lead of the game.

Colorado 13, Arizona 10. With 5:12 to play in the first half.

But the Buffs could not stand prosperity.

The last five minutes of the second quarter were played out like many such periods in recent CU history.

With the ball, but trailing for the first time, B.J. Denker orchestrated a quick response. Completions of 25 and 22 yards put Arizona into the CU redzone, with Ka’Deem Carey scoring his second touchdown of the game on a seven yard run with 2:28 to play in the half. Arizona 17, Colorado 13.

A three-and-out by the Buff offense gave the Wildcats yet another opportunity to score right before the break. It took all of two plays – a 30-yard run by Carey followed by a 44-yard touchdown pass from Denker to Nate Phillips – and all of 27 seconds to take the momentum away from the Buffs.

Halftime score: Arizona 24, Colorado 13.

Arizona quarterback B.J. Denker began to assert himself early in the third quarter. Taking the second half kickoff, runs by Denker of 11 yards and 54 yards gave Arizona a first-and-goal at the CU ten yard line before most CU fans had the chance to find their seats.

The CU defense stiffened, though, forcing Arizona to settle for a 26-yard field goal and a 27-13 lead.

Colorado responded with a rushing attack of its own with its first possession of the second half. Michael Adkins had runs of five and 12 yards, followed by two more runs of eight yards apiece. Liufau contributed 11 yards with a run of his own, and threw an eight yard completion to Nelson Spruce to set the Buffs up at the Arizona four yard line. Two plays later, Adkins scored from a yard out, and, with 9:53 to play in the third quarter, it was a game again.

Arizona 27, Colorado 20.

But that was the end of the Buff comeback.

The next Arizona offensive series included the play of the game.

Facing a fourth-and-two at the Colorado 44-yard line, Arizona decided to go for a first down. A stop by the Colorado defense, and the Buffs would have a short field to drive and tie the game. Instead, Denker hit Terrence Miller for 43 yards down to the CU one-yard line. Carey took it in from there, and instead of a chance at a tie game, the Buffs were again behind by two scores, 34-20.

The last best chance for the Buffs came on their next drive. In eight plays, highlighted by a 16-yard completion from Liufau to Goodson, the Buffs had a first-and-goal at the Arizona seven yard line. Three runs netted three yards. On fourth-and-goal at the four, Liufau went back to pass, but was chased out of the pocket. His heave to the endzone fell incomplete, and the Buffs turned the ball over on downs.

Two fourth down plays … Arizona’s pass on fourth down went for 43 yards to set up a score; Colorado’s pass fell incomplete and ended the Buffs’ threat.

Any hopes of pinning Arizona deep in their own end after the turnover on downs were dashed on the Wildcats’ next play, a 46-yard run by B.J. Denker. Though the Buffs held, there was no punch left in the Colorado offense.

A three-and-out by the Buff offense turned into a four-and-out on the first play of the fourth quarter. A fake punt on fourth-and-five at the Buffs’ 17-yard line failed, with punter Darragh O’Neill stumbling for a one yard gain.

Arizona quickly turned the miscue into points, with Ka’Deem Carey needing two carries to cover the 18 yards. His six-yard scoring run made the new score 41-20, and sent many of the CU faithful towards the exits. A Sefo Liufau interception on CU’s next possession led to a field goal by the Wildcats, and a 44-20 score with nine minutes still left to play.

On the Buffs’ next possession, even a positive result – a 20-yard completion from Liufau to Paul Richardson – had negative implications. Richardson twisted his ankle on the play (but only badly enough to be listed as “day-to-day” on the injury report).

Colorado eventually punted the ball back to Arizona, with the Wildcats taking up most of the rest of the fourth quarter on their final drive of the game, content to run out the clock and head back to Tucson with a vitory.

Final score: Arizona 44, Colorado 20.

“We didn’t tackle them”, lamented CU coach Mike MacIntyre. “We couldn’t tackle the quarterback. We must have missed him seven times. Probably 200 yards of offense off of missed tackles on the quarterback. We got to work on tackling better.”

Arizona went for 670 yards of total offense on the evening, including 405 yards rushing. The Wildcats had two 100-yard rushers, with quarterback B.J. Denker going for 195 yards on only 15 carries, with Ka’Deem Carey “held” to 119 yards … but four touchdowns.

For the Buffs, the relatively paltry total of 349 yards of total offense was well distributed. Sefo Liufau had his first 200-yard game as a Buff, going 17-for-32 for 212 yards. Michael Adkins, who left the game with a concussion in the fourth quarter (day-to-day), led the Buffs running backs with 54 yards on 16 carries.

While the final score was typical of the 12 straight losses in conference play, MacIntyre was not ready to concede that Colorado was unable to compete in the conference.

When asked whether the loss to Arizona hurt more than the other conference losses, MacIntyre responded, “Definitely. 100 percent”. When asked why, MacIntyre replied, “Because we can beat that team”.

Perhaps offensive lineman Alex Kelley best summed up the state of the 2013 Colorado Buffaloes (3-4, 0-4 in Pac-12 play). “After the after-game speech, Coach MacIntyre was telling us how much he loved our effort,” said Kelley. “The game kind of got away from us, but we never took our foot off the pedal, we just kept going. I think that will be symbolic for how we are going to finish out this season.”

Game Notes –

–  Will Oliver’s 53- yard field goal was a career best. Previously, Oliver had two 52-yard field goals (against Cal in 2011; against CSU in the 2013 opener). The two field goals on the night gave Oliver 11-of-13 for the season, with both misses coming from beyond 50 yards.

Paul Richardson … The junior wide receiver had seven catches for 132 yards against Arizona, including a 75-yard touchdown. Richardson now has 50 catches for 914 yards, and is poised to become only the 7th Buffs – and the first since D.J. Hackett in 2003 – to go over 1,000 yards in a season. The season yardage record of 1,149, set by Charles E. Johnson in 1992, is also well within Richardson’s range.

– Richardson’s 75-yard touchdown tied the school record of six plays of over 50 yards in a season, and his 5th 100-yard game of the year (and 8th of his career), are closing in on both of those records (six 100-yard games in a season, set by Charles E. Johnson in 1993, and 12 100-yard games in a career, a record also held by Johnson).

– Defensive lineman Samson Kafovalu, in the CU doghouse for violating team rules, has returned to regular action. Kafovalu had two tackles in the game against Arizona, including a tackle for a loss.




4 Replies to “Arizona 44, Colorado 20”

  1. Stuart,

    It’s gonna be tough for awhile yet. Against conference foes, the Buffs are younger all around, not nearly as strong in the trenches, and not as fast across the board in the defensive backfield.

    That’s why it so important that our guys listen to the coaches and make sure they are in the right position to make plays. One step in the wrong direction and the result is a big play by the opposing offense.

    As for our own offense, our line is still learning to play as a group. That’s why it is feast or famine. Instead of a steady 3-4 yards a crack, it’s 7-10 or less than one.

    As for passing, part of the blame can be laid on the QB’s but… Brian Lindgren is calling the plays and the propensity for throwing more than 80% of the passes within 40 feet of the sidelines and leaving the middle 80 feet free and clear does not seem to differ as to who is throwing the ball.

    Look at the chart on my blog. 28 of the 33 Buff passes were out wide. That means the ball is in the air for a long time going sideways instead of up the field. It’s only a matter of time before one of those is picked off and taken to the house. It almost happened against Arizona.

    A “spread” offense means you have to spread the ball all around, not just to the farthest part of the field away from the quarterback. When you throw 33 passes and only 3 are inside the wide college hashmarks, the Buffs are really missing out on the “sweet spot” of the opposing defense. It will also cause opposing defenses to keep their linebackers and safeties away from the line and open up some bigger holes for our running backs.

    The clock is ticking, and every defensive coordinator knows the Buffs tendencies. It’s time we shook them up a bit, eh?


  2. He’s walked with a limp after the last three games, he might have to only catch 80% of the balls next week.

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