Learning What It Takes


Learning What It Takes

//posted 9.28.2014

It won’t be long before the missed opportunities from the 59-56 double-overtime loss to Cal will begin to fade from memory. A made field goal here, a made tackle there … they are fresh wounds today, but those frustrations will soon give way to the anticipation for the next game and the game after that.

In 2017, when the Buffs and Bears meet up again after a two year hiatus (Colorado takes on Stanford in 2015 and 2016), there will be a regurgitation of all of the records set in the 2014 contest. Stories will be written and numbers laid out in neat columns as writers look to fill space in their pregame write-ups.

But, more than anything, the 59-56 outcome will be remembered as a California victory … and a Colorado loss.

The Buff Nation has become numb to losses over the past few years, but some losses hurt more than others.

And this one hurt, because it was a game Colorado should have won.

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Sefo Liufau crushed his previous career bests with 449 yards passing and seven touchdowns, but it was not enough, as Colorado fell in two overtimes to California, 59-56. Liufau hit Nelson Spruce 19 times – a week after Spruce set the all-time record for catches in a game with 13 – for 176 yards and three touchdowns, while also rushing for a team-best 79 yards.

The offensive fireworks, which led to leads of 14-0, 21-7, and 28-14, though, were not enough to stop the offensive onslaught from the Bears. The Colorado secondary surrendered touchdown passes of 92, 26, 10, five, 40, and 25 yards as Jared Goff duplicated Liufau’s 449 yards passing and seven touchdowns. Three missed field goals by Will Oliver figured into a game in which Colorado ran a school-record 110 offensive plays.

The loss left the 2-3 Buffs (0-2 in Pac-12 play) wondering what might have been … and what was still to come in the 2014 season.

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The Cal game represents one of CU’s best chances at a Pac-12 road victory this season …

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Cal picked by the experts to beat CU (though some believe Buffs will cover the double-digit spread) …

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Colorado 21, Hawai’i 12

//posted 9.21.2014

Colorado jumped out to a 21-6 second quarter lead against visiting Hawai’i, but then almost spoiled a record-setting afternoon by wide receiver Nelson Spruce, hanging on to defeat the Rainbow Warriors, 21-12, before 39,478 sunbaked fans at Folsom Field.

Nelson Spruce had 13 catches on the afternoon, breaking the school-record of 11 (done nine times previously, including three times by Paul Richardson), going for a personal-best 172 yards. Spruce also set a school-record by collecting a touchdown reception in his sixth straight game.

But it was almost all for naught, as the Buffs were shutout in the second half by the Rainbow Warriors. It took an exceptional effort from the Colorado defense – which held an opponent out of the end zone for the first time since 2010 (a 24-3 win over Colorado State) to preserve the win. The Buffs held the Rainbow Warriors to only 286 yards of total offense, the best for the CU defense since holding Utah to 274 yards in the 2011 finale.

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It wasn’t pretty.

In fact, at times it was quite ugly.

Colorado, for the second time in three weeks, allowed a team which won only one game last season to hang around and have a chance to win.

Two weeks ago, the Buffs not only allowed the Minutemen of Massachusetts (1-11 in 2013) to stay in the game, they fell behind 31-20 before rallying for a 41-38 win.

Against Hawai’i (1-11 in 2013), the Buffs methodically rebounded from an early 3-0 deficit to build a 21-6 halftime lead, but needed to rely on its defense for stop after stop to preserve a 21-12 victory.

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Drew Litton’s take on the game … Discounted tickets available for Saturday … CU hosting five-star BB recruit

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CU played well vs. Arizona State for three quarters – Can CU dominate Hawai’i for four? …

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No. 16 ASU 38, Colorado 24

//posted 9.14.2014

Colorado out-gained No. 16 Arizona State, 545 yards to 426 yards, but three turnovers doomed the Buffs to a 38-24 loss to the Sun Devils in Boulder.

Sefo Liufau went 31-for-46 for 278 yards and three touchdowns, but also had two interceptions. Christian Powell, thanks to two long runs, became the first Buff to rush for over 100 yards in 2014, with 11 carries good enough for 118 yards. Nelson Spruce had a pair of touchdowns for his third consecutive game, collecting seven catches for 97 yards.

After being out-gained by the Sun Devils, 222-22 in the first quarter, the Buffs had 523 yards of total offense to 205 for the Sun Devils in the final three quarters, but were never able to get closer than two touchdowns in the second half.

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