October 12th – @ Arizona State          Arizona State 54, Colorado 13

Arizona State romped to a first quarter lead of 25-0 and a halftime bulge of 47-6 before settling for a 54-13 rout of Colorado.

The Sun Devils ran up 532 yards of total offense, including an impressive 276 yards on the ground, in sending the Buffs to their third straight defeat – and second straight 41-point mauling.

True freshman quarterback Sefo Liufau played his first snaps at quarterback for Colorado, replacing the ineffective Connor Wood. Liufau went 18-for-26 for 169 yards in his debut, but also threw two interceptions.

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Colorado regressed to its 2012 form against Arizona State, falling behind the Sun Devils 25-0 before posting its first first down of the game. Even the infusion of true freshman quarterback Sefo Liufau could not stem the tide, as the Buffs were completely outplayed in the desert.

The Buffs were 24-point underdogs coming into the game, but that was supposed to be for the full game … not the first quarter.

Arizona State struck quickly to open the game, needing only five plays and 92 seconds to score. Quarterback Taylor Kelly hit wide receiver Jaelen Strong on a short pass which turned into a 69-yard touchdown.

Colorado responded with … three plays for zero yards.

The Sun Devils, after an 18-yard punt return set up the offense at the CU 37-yard line, again needed only five plays to score, with running back Marion Grice scoring from eight yards out. A two-point conversion was unnecessary, but was there for the taking, giving Arizona State a 15-0 lead with 10:26 still to play in the first quarter.

Colorado responded with … three plays for minus-three yards.

Arizona State then quickly drove inside the Colorado ten yard line, but then apparently got tired, settling for a 26-yard field goal and an 18-0 lead.

Colorado responded with … three plays for minus-three yards, with quarterback Connor Wood throwing back late over the middle for an interception on third-and-13. The interception was returned to the CU 15-yard line, and three plays later, Marion Grice had his second touchdown, and Arizona State had a 25-0 lead.

Colorado then responded with … a new quarterback.

True freshman Sefo Liufau tore off his redshirt, and trotted onto the Tempe turf. With his first pass as a Colorado Buffalo, Liufau completed a six-yard pass to Nelson Spruce on third-and-four, giving Colorado its first first down of the game, and its first third down conversion in 18 attempts (after going 0-for-15 against Oregon, and 0-for-2 to open the Arizona State game).

Liufau then proceeded to lead Colorado on its first touchdown drive in four quarters, with the Buffs covering 80 yards in 11 plays. The drive included a 22-yard completion from Liufau to Christian Powell on fourth-and-six near midfield, and a 17-yard completion to D.D. Goodson. On the first play of the second quarter, Liufau hit Nelson Spruce for a touchdown (the two-point conversion pass by punter Darragh O’Neill fell incomplete).

Arizona State was unfazed, however, again needing only five plays to score a touchdown. This time, Davon Coleman was the recipient of a one-yard touchdown pass from Kelly. Arizona State 32, Colorado 6.

Two possessions later, Liufau was rudely introduced to Pac-12 football, being called for intentional grounding in the endzone, giving Arizona State a safety and the ball back. The Sun Devils’ next drive resulted in a field goal and a 37-6 lead.

With the next opportunity, Liufau posted his first interception as a Colorado quarterback, with that possession also resulting in a field goal for the Sun Devils.

Adding the final insult to first half injury, Arizona State scored again just before halftime, with Kelly running the ball in from 17 yards out with 16 seconds left before the break.

Halftime score: Arizona State 47, Colorado 6.

The halftime stats were as ridiculous as the score. Arizona State had 392 yards of total offense, while Colorado had 83. Connor Wood was 1-for-6 for minus-one yard and an interception before being yanked, and the Buffs’ playmaker, Paul Richardson, was shutout of the proceedings.

The second half was a slower version of the first, with both teams ready to move on to their next game.

Sefo Liufau led the Buffs on an impressive drive to open the third quarter. Mostly on the ground, with Christian Powell and Michael Adkins taking turns posting good runs, the Colorado offense moved to the Arizona State seven yard line.

Would Colorado post its first rushing touchdown of the season? Nope. A personal foul call on offensive lineman Jack Harris pushed the Buffs back, with Liufau throwing an interception in the endzone to halt the drive.

Against backups, the Colorado defense stopped the Sun Devil offense, but had to trot right back onto the field after cornerback Kenneth Crawley was called for roughing the ASU punter. Given back the ball, the Sun Devils went on to complete a 14-play, 80-yard drive which took up almost half of the third quarter. A one-yard run by R.J. Robinson pushed the scored to 54-6.

The Buffs second possession of the second half ended the same way the first did … with a turnover. This time, it was a fumble near midfield, again giving the ball back to Arizona State.

A rare three-and-out for Arizona State led to another lengthy drive by the Colorado offense. Liufau found Paul Richardson for the junior wideouts first his first double digit catches of the game, going for 17 and 13 yards. Completions to Tyler McCulloch for 17 and 15 yards set up the Buffs in the redzone. After two runs by Michael Adkins, sophomore running back Christian Powell posted the Buffs’ first rushing touchdown of the Mike MacIntyre era, going in from eight yards out.

Arizona State 54, Colorado 13, with 11 minutes left in the game.

The Sun Devils then ran out the clock … all 11 minutes of it. Never throwing the ball, Arizona State nonetheless was able to march down the field against the Buff defense. The first 15 plays of the drive got the ball to the Colorado two yard line, but, rather than punch the ball in for yet another touchdown, Arizona State took a knee for the game’s final two plays.

Final score: Arizona State 54, Colorado 13.

“I told the young men in the locker room, we’ve got to keep battling, keep fighting, keep working,” said Mike MacIntyre after the game. “The one thing I told them, and I truly believe this, you’ve got to give me your effort and you’ve also got to give me your heart. Sometimes you can give effort but you don’t give your heart. It’s kind of like you put your heart out there and get it stomped on, it hurts and you don’t want to do it again. Well, you’ve got to put your heart out there . . . I see them doing that.

“I did see progress this week in practice, I promise you I did. I was hoping we’d play a little better and we didn’t. But I have seen progress.”

The numbers did not suggest progress. In falling to a conference opponent for a school-record 11th straight game, the Buffs once again failed to be competitive in a Pac-12 game. Other than a 42-35 loss to Utah to close out the 2012 campaign, the Buffs had now lost the other ten games by a minimum of 25 points.

One potential shift came in the tearing off of the red-shirt of true freshman quarterback Sefo Liufau. And the move was not made as a one-time attempt to charge up the CU offense. “I’d like to look at the rest of the year (like) we took the redshirt off a young man that we think is very talented, very bright and is an excellent leader,” MacIntyre said of Liufau. “So we feel like we’d hopefully play him the rest of the year – if he plays good.”

Up next: the makeup game for the lost Fresno State contest. Instead of the Bulldogs, who were supposed to play in Boulder on September 14th, the Buffs were now slated to play Charleston-Southern from the Big South Conference. Trading a top 25 FBS team for a top 25 FCS team was seemingly a great trade for the Buffs, but, after losing – and losing badly – to Arizona State, absolutely nothing could be taken for granted.

Game Notes –

– Sefo Liufau became the ninth true freshman to play for the Buffs at quarterback, the last true freshman to take a snap being Tyler Hansen, a 14-13 winner over Kansas State in 2008.

– In just five games, true freshman linebacker Addison Gillam already has 55 tackles. Gillam is already 8th on the all-time list for tackles by a freshman, with the freshman record of 85, set by Matt Russell in 1993, well within his sights.

– Christian Powell’s eight-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter was the first rushing touchdown of the season for Colorado.

– Despite being held to a season low four catches for 39 yards against Arizona State, wide receiver Paul Richardson remained in the top three nationally in reception yards per game, with an average of 132.0 per contest.

– A week after setting a school record for futility on third downs (0-for-15 v. Oregon), the Buffs went 7-for-14 against Arizona State. Of course, the first conversion didn’t occur until the game was already 25-0 …

 

7 Replies to “Arizona State 54, Colorado 13”

  1. Stuart,

    Gotta admit that the only reason I kept watching was because Sefo came in and burned his redshirt. It was perhaps the only smart move by MacIntyre.

    Sefo certainly has some potential and in the future should become quite good at this level. He was bound to make some freshman mistakes and he did, but better to do that when the game is not on the line. I wonder who will be starting next week?

    By and large, the CU coaches were totally outclassed. If they had some sort of plan, it was pretty damn bad. Richardson was shut out by ASU in the first half because their coaches made sure he was double and tripled. On the other hand, ASU’s Grice (quite the scoring machine that guy is) often seemed to be running so free as if no one on the CU defensive team had ever heard of him or the need to cover him. Blame that on the coaches.

    One plus side is that our kick coverage units finally seem to know how to tackle.

    Another plus is that no one has to worry about Jordan Webb playing any more, although he could not have done any worse than Wood.

    C’est la vie. I hope the coaches have a better plan against an undefeated Charleston Southern next week. Or maybe they don’t need a plan when playing against inferior talent. We will see…

    1. While I like most of what you wrote I have to disagree with burning Sefos redshirt. They should have at least looked at Gehrke and or Dorman. We aren’t going any where this year is my opinion leave Sefo on the becnh and we would have had him for another year.

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