November 30th – at Salt Lake City           Utah 24, Colorado 17

Colorado spotted Utah a 21-0 lead early, but then fought back to get within a touchdown late before falling, 24-17.

Sefo Liufau fumbled twice in the first quarter, with both turnovers leading to Utah touchdowns. Liufau, who was harassed all game long, completed 23-of-46 passes for 241 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. Nelson Spruce led the receivers, with six receptions for 66 yards and a touchdown – and also contributed a 32-yard completion to Sefo Liufau on a trick play in the second quarter.

Colorado posted 321 total yards, with only 48 coming on the ground. After surrendering yards and points early, the CU defense held up its end for most of the remainder of the game, giving up 388 total yards to the Utes.

Game Story … With two teams facing off with 4-7 records and no hope of a bowl bid, there was reason to question as to how either team, when faced with adversity early, would respond.

Would they continue to fight? Or would they start watching the clock, waiting for the season to mercifully come to an end?

It was Colorado which faced adversity early against Utah.

Taking the opening kickoff, quarterback Sefo Liufau hit Paul Richardson for 20 yards on the first play from scrimmage. On the second play, however, Liufau was sacked, fumbling the ball in the process. Taking over at the CU 34-yard line, the Utes needed eight plays to score (including a conversion on fourth-and-one at the CU 15 yard line), with Adam Schulz hitting tight end Jake Murphy for a 16-yard touchdown. Less than four minutes into the season finale, the Buffs were behind, 7-0.

After the teams traded three-and-outs, the Buffs took over at their 20-yard line. Three runs by Michael Adkins totaling 20 yards helped push the ball out near midfield, but a holding penalty on right tackle Jack Harris nullified a pass completion to the Utah 35-yard line, forcing a CU punt. Utah then put together an 11-play, 64-yard drive, taking the ball inside the CU red-zone. There, freshman defensive back Chidobe Awuzie forced a fumble from Utah wide receiver Dres Anderson, with Jimmie Gilbert recovering at the CU 21-yard line.

Instead of taking advantage of the turnover, the Buffs gift-wrapped another Utah touchdown. On the third play of the ensuing drive, Sefo Liufau was again hurried, with the ball coming out as Liufau tried the pass. The play was ruled a fumble, with Utah returning the ball to the CU six-yard line. On the next play, Kelvin York scored, making the score 14-0 as the first quarter came to a close.

Though there was 45 minutes of game time left, it appeared that the Buffs were ready for the 2013 season to be over. A three-and-out by the Colorado offense was countered by a quick drive down the field by the Utah offense. A 49-yard pass from Schulz to Dres Anderson set the Utes up in scoring position, with Kelvin York scoring from a yard out to make it 21-0 with 11:06 still to play in the second quarter.

The Colorado offense was finally able to push the ball into Utah territory on its next drive, thanks to a 32-yard gain on a trick play. Wide receiver Nelson Spruce hit Sefo Liufau for a 32-yard gain to the Utah 32-yard line. Two pass incompletions and a sack later, though, and the Buffs punted again.

Then the CU defense created its second turnover of the game. Freshman Addison Gillam intercepted a Adam Schulz offering, with the Buffs taking over at the Utah five yard line. Two Christian Powell runs and one by Sefo Liufau got the Buffs to the one yard line. On fourth-and-goal, Tony Jones was taken down for a four yard loss, giving the ball back to the Utes.

The Buff defense was able to force a punt from the Utah offense, but the Colorado offense was not able to move the ball any closer than the Utah 37-yard line before punting the ball back. Utah made it to midfield on their next drive, but settled for a punt as the second half clock ran out.

Halftime score: Utah 21, Colorado 0

The halftime stats showed that CU quarterback Sefo Liufau was 6-for-17 for 55 yards and two fumbles. That Liufau had as many or more receiving yards – 32 – as any other CU player, was indicative of how the first half went for the Buffs.

The only real stat that mattered … both teams had two turnovers. Utah scored off of both of CU’s fumbles; Colorado was unable to convert either of Utah’s turnovers into points.

When you are playing the last half of the last game of a losing season, why not pull out all of the stops? The Buffs did just that with an onside kick to open the third quarter. The surprise kick was successful, giving the Buff offense the ball at the Utah 48-yard line.

Three plays later and 48 seconds later, after a one yard run and two incomplete passes, the Buffs punted the ball away.

The Colorado defense, though, held on Utah’s first possession of the second half, with the Ute punt giving the Buffs the ball back at their own 22-yard line. The Buffs then put together a seven-play, 78-yard drive to get on the board. A 12-yard pass from Liufau to D.D. Goodson got the drive started, with a five-yard run by Michael Adkins on third-and-one keeping the drive alive a few plays later. Liufau then hit Nelson Spuce for 18 yards before connecting with tight end Scott Fernandez for a 34-yard touchdown. Utah 21, Colorado 7, with nine minutes to play in the third quarter.

Utah drove as far as the CU 40 on their next drive, but punted the ball back to the Buffs. Starting at their one yard line, the CU offense made it out to its own 20 before giving the ball back to the Utes. Darragh O’Neill’s punt was fumbled by the Utes, but the Buffs were unable to recover.

The Utes then marched smartly down the field, with every intention of putting an end to any remaining drama. A 17-yard completion to Dres Anderson was followed by a 26-yard run by Kelvin York. With a first-and-goal at the CU five yard line, Adam Schulz hit Jake Murphy. Instead of scoring, Murphy fumbled. The fumble was caused by Marques Mosley, with Jeffrey Hall picking up the fumble and returning it to the CU 43-yard line.

A pair of completions covering 19 yards pushed the ball deep into Utah territory as the third quarter came to an end. A 13-yard completion from Liufau to Nelson Spruce gave CU a first-and-goal at the nine. The Buffs were unable to punch the ball in, however, settling for a 19-yard field goal by Will Oliver. Utah 21, Colorado 10, with 12:17 still to play.

Utah’s Kelvin York went over 100 yards for the afternoon, going for 22 yards on the Utes next play from scrimmage. This drive also showed promise for the Utes, with the Utah offense taking the ball to the CU 32-yard line on an 14-yard run by Adam Schulz. It appeared that the Utah quarterback fumbled on the play, however, with Tedric Thompson forcing the fumble, and Derrick Webb recovering for the Buffs, but Utah was awarded possession. The Utes progressed no further, but were able to restore a 14-point lead with a 46-yard field goal. Utah 24, Colorado 10, with 8:39 to play.

The Colorado offense did punt the ball away on its next drive, but did get to midfield before doing so, giving punter Darragh O’Neill the chance to pin the Utes down at their one yard line. Three runs by the Utes netted only four yards, with the Utah punt giving CU the ball back at the Buff 48-yard line.

The Buffs then put together an eight-play scoring drive, all passes. Liufau hit Christian Powell for three completions totaling 23 yards, and another to Nelson Spruce for 12 yards to the Utah 14 yard line. Three incompletions followed, with the Buffs’ season riding on a fourth down with under three minutes to play. Under a heavy rush, Liufau hit Nelson Spruce in the corner of the Utah end zone. Utah 24, Colorado 17, with 2:30 left to play.

The onside kick by Darragh O’Neill went out of bounds, giving Utah the ball near midfield. The Buff defense held, forcing a three-and-out. The Utes punted the ball back to the Buffs. Colorado had one last chance. Ninety yards to go; 2:10 remaining.

On the first play from scrimmage, though, Sefo Liufau gave the ball back to Utah. The Utes, who had only two interceptions on the entire season coming into the game, intercepted Liufau, with Trevor Reilly doing the honors.

Final Score: Utah 24, Colorado 17.

“I thought our kids had fought extremely hard, and I believe in the last two Pac-12 games that we outplayed our opponents decidedly in the second half and just came up short”, said Mike MacIntyre, who finished his first season at Colorado with a 4-8 record. “Today was a good example of that. I’ve got to do a better job of getting us started. We had a couple of plays there we could have made and didn’t. But I thought we played really hard. I thought we made some plays, could have made a few more, and I’m very—I don’t know if ‘pleased’ is the word—but I have a lot of hope in our fight, our focus and our intensity.

“The seniors were phenomenal. At halftime, they were like ‘we have one half left.’ At the end of the third quarter, they were saying ‘we have one quarter left.’ They just kept fighting and fighting, and the seniors were a big part of that with their leadership. I appreciate the attitude they had, because when the seniors buy in the other guys follow. They did buy in they did a lot of things.”

On the stats sheet, it was a tale of two halves. In the first half, Utah out-gained Colorado 230 yards of total offense to 112. In the second half, the Buffs out-gained the Utes, 209 yards to 158. Both teams had three turnovers, with the difference being that Utah converted two first half fumbles by Sefo Liufau into touchdowns, while Colorado was unable to take advantage of Utah turnovers. The Buffs also did not help themselves by going 2-for-14 on third down attempts.

Game Notes –

–  The Buffs were shut out in the first half for the second weekend in a row, which happened against Stanford and Washington in consecutive games in 2012.

– The successful onside kick was the first for the Buffs in four seasons (2009 v. Toledo). The Buffs had been 0-for-their-last-8 on onside kick tries.

Paul Richardson … Had four catches for 54 yards to close out the 2013 season … For 2013, Richardson finished with 83 catches for 1,343, both new single season records. His ten touchdowns were second only to the 11 posted by Derek McCoy in 2003 … Richardson’s new career totals hit 156 catches (3rd all-time) for 2,412 yards (5th all-time) and 21 touchdowns (2nd behind Scotty McKnight’s 22).

– Richardson also had 50 first downs receiving for 2013, setting a new record (47 by Scotty McKnight in 2009).

Sefo Liufau … had 241 yards passing against Utah, giving him 1,779 yards for the season, the most by any true freshman in CU history (the record for a red-shirt freshman: 2,693 by Cody Hawkins in 2007). Liufau also set true freshman marks for attempts (251), completions (149) and touchdown passes (12).

Michael Adkins … with ten rushes for 38 yards, finished the season with 535 yards rushing, becoming just the sixth freshman in CU history to rush for over 500 yards (fifth true freshman).

Addison Gillam … was credited with 14 tackles against Utah. Gillam destroyed the previous record for tackles by a freshman (85 by Jon Major), with 118 on the season. Gillam also set a new mark for plays by a freshman. Greg Henderson set the mark with 823 defensive plays in 2011. Gillam finished the season with 838.

– Senior tight end Scott Fernandez had four catches for 61 yards and a touchdown, after coming into the game with only five catches all season. His 34-yard touchdown was the second of his career (the other being a 71-yarder against Arizona in 2012).

– Senior defensive end Chidera Uzo-Diribe had his sixth forced fumble on the season, tying for the nation’s leader in that category. The 11 career forced fumbles tied him with Brian Cabral for the career mark in that category.

– Junior punter Darragh O’Neill tied the school record for career punts (216, tied with Matt DiLallo, 2006-2009). With 68 punts inside the 20, O’Neill now holds the record in that category (65, Jon Torp). O’Neill also set a single season record with ten punts inside the ten yard line (nine, by Mark Mariscal in 2002).

– Junior kicker Will Oliver finished the season 30-for-30 in PAT’s, giving him 60 in a row (six short of the school record). With 81 points on the season, Oliver led the team in scoring, doing so for the third consecutive season (just the fourth player to do so).

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One Reply to “Utah 24, Colorado 17”

  1. we’re moving the right direction with HCMM. all we need is some players with speed and on all skill positions on both sides of the ball. 1 year under HCMM’s system, and i believe that sefo will be better, stronger, smarter, and more athletic on the field.

    it’s been a great and wonderful year recovering from 1-11 last year and major fails from the hawkins era. i know the buffs can be better, and WILL get better as the year passes by.

    i’ve enjoyed watching all of the CU games, and i definitely cannot wait til next season. GB2!!!

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