October 24th – at Corvallis           Colorado 17, Oregon State 13

Colorado quarterback Sefo Liufau threw for one touchdown and ran for another, and the Buff defense made that stand up in a 17-13 win over Oregon State. The victory allowed the Buffs to snap school-record losing streaks, both in conference games (14) and conference road games (13).

Liufau threw for only 140 yards, and the Buffs were out-gained by the Beavers, 401 yards to 328, but after Liufau scored on a four yard run early in the fourth quarter to give Colorado a 17-10 lead, the Buff defense delivered. The Oregon State offense had its chances, but was held to three points in their final four drives of the game.

Donovan Lee led the Buffs in rushing, with 55 yards on eight carries, while Phillip Lindsay had 51 yards in nine attempts. Nelson Spruce collected his first touchdown of the season – and 21st of his career – in leading Buff receivers with six catches for 60 yards.

The first drive of the game was an anomaly for the Pac-12 and the Buffs. Colorado took the opening kickoff and held the ball for the 8:41 of game clock – a unique feat in the fast-paced offensive world of the Pac-12. The Buffs also finished the drive by putting up the first points of the game, a first for Colorado in Pac-12 play in 2015.

The drive covered 13 plays, with the Buffs picking up 88 yards of total offense … and still not scoring a touchdown. The Buffs committed a holding penalty on the game’s first play from scrimmage, and were guilty of a false start and another holding penalty along the way. Still, with the aid of a 17-yard run by Donovan Lee and a 19-yard completion from Sefo Liufau to Devin Ross, the Buffs were able to keep the drive alive.

The Buffs finally stalled inside the Beavers 10-yard line, with a Sefo Liufau scramble of five yards on a third-and-goal at the seven keeping CU two yards from a touchdown. Diego Gonzalez was called upon for the chip shot field goal, with the 21-yarder giving Colorado a 3-0 lead with over half of the first quarter in the books.

The Beavers were much more efficient in their first drive of the game. With a run of 27 yards and a completion for 24 more, Oregon State finished off an eight-play, 74-yard drive with a one-yard run by Ryan Nall, giving the Beavers a 7-3 advantage late in the first quarter.

After a three-and-out by the Buff offense, which included a chop block call against Stephane Nembot on a play which would have resulted in a first down, the 36,977 on hand at Reser Stadium was primed for the home team to pull away from the visiting Buffs.

Instead, the Colorado defense came up with the first key play of the contest.

Oregon State quarterback went for four yards on a third-and-five at the Buff 35-yard line, setting up a fourth-and-one at the 31. Rather than go for the long field goal, OSU head coach Gary Andersen opted to go for the first down, but Ryan Nall was stopped by Justin Solis for no gain, giving the ball – and some momentum – back to the Buffs.

The Colorado offense responded. Highlighted by 10-yard completions to Nelson Spruce and Phillip Lindsay, coupled with a 24-yard run by Lindsay, the Buffs moved smartly down the field. Another penalty inside the red zone put the Buffs behind the sticks, but, on third-and-12 at the OSU 15 yard line, Sefo Liufau hit Nelson Spruce in the corner of the end zone, giving Colorado a 10-7 lead early in the second quarter.

Again, however, Oregon State answered. The Beavers quickly drove to the CU 20-yard line, but a sack of Oregon State quarterback Nick Mitchell by Buff linebacker Kenneth Olugbode halted the drive. The Beavers had to settle for a field goal attempt, but the 42-yarder by Garrett Owens was good, tying the game at 10-10 midway through the second quarter.

The teams traded punts the remainder of the half, with neither team mounting a serious scoring threat.

Halftime score: Colorado 10, Oregon State 10

Colorado had been tied at halftime against Oregon and Arizona in the previous three weeks, and lost both games.

The second half of the Oregon State game began ominously as well, with the Beavers utilizing a long kickoff return and a 35-yard pass completion to march quickly into Colorado territory. The drive stalled, though, at the CU 26-yard line, with the 44-yard field goal attempt going well left.

The Colorado offense took its first possession of the second half as far as the Oregon State 19-yard line, but a sack of Sefo Liufau ended the drive. Diego Gonzalez was called upon for a 45-yard field goal attempt, but his kick went as far right as his OSU counterparts kick had gone left.

The score remained knotted at 10-10 through the end of the third quarter, with the final stanza opening with two plays which may have decided the contest. On the first play of the fourth quarter, Sefo Liufau was hit as he tried to throw. The pass floated innocently toward the middle of the field, where Oregon State linebacker Johnathan Willis was all alone. Instead of fielding the Liufau offering, Willis dropped the ball, giving the Buffs new life.

On the next play, Liufau hit tight end Sean Irwin for a 22-yard gain, up the Buffs at the Oregon State 41-yard line. A ten yard completion to Nelson Spruce and a pair of six yard Donovan Lee runs set up the Buffs with a first-and-goal at the OSU four yard line. There, Sefo Liufau scored on a keeper, making it a 17-10 game with 12:31 to play.

As had been the case with CU’s first two scores of the game, Oregon State responded with a score of its own. It took the Beavers only five plays to get deep into Buff territory, but a holding call on first-and-goal at the CU ten yard line set the Beavers back. Oregon State was unable to gain the 20 yards in three plays, settling for a 34-yard field goal. Colorado 17, Oregon State 13, with 9:12 still to be played.

Colorado took the ensuing kickoff, and, with the ball and the lead for the first time in the game. With a chance to put the game away with a long drive and a score, the Buff offense … went three-and-out.

The Beavers then drove to the Colorado 31 yard line, but four straight incompletions turned the ball over on downs.

With 4:39 to play, the Colorado offense took the field. The Buffs, with a chance to put the game away with two or three first downs … went three-and-out.

The Beavers then responded with their first three-and-out of the game, giving the ball back to the Buffs.

With 2:28 to play, the Colorado offense took the field. The Buffs, needing just one first down to put the game away … went three-and-out.

Given one last chance to win the game, the Oregon State offense took over at its own 34 yard line. A pass interference call against Chidobe Awuzie gave the ball on the CU side of the field. There, however, the OSU drive stalled. On fourth-and-six at the Colorado 40-yard line, Beaver quarterback Nick Mitchell was intercepted by Awuzie.

Only 24 seconds remained. One knell down, and the Buffs had their first Pac-12 road victory since 2012.

Final score: Colorado 17, Oregon State 13

“The kids just kept coming back and coming back,” an emotional Mike MacIntyre said after the game. “They just kept believing. It’s really, really special.”

The game wasn’t pretty, befitting of the two teams in the basements of their respective Pac-12 divisions. The Beavers had 401 yards of total offense; Colorado only 328. The Buffs committed nine penalties for 80 yards; the Beavers eight for 64.

“I love seeing us grow,” MacIntyre said. “I love coaching at Colorado and I love coaching these kids. We still have the goal of going to a bowl game and we still believe we can. This is just one. We have to build on this and get some more.”

Game Notes –

– The win for Colorado was the first Pac-12 road victory since 2012 against Washington State, a span of 13 games. The win was also the first conference victory overall in 14 games for the Buffs, dating back to a 2013 win over California (also a school-record streak);

– The 13 points represented the fewest allowed by the Buffs in a Pac-12 game, besting the 17-14 win over Utah in 2011;

– The game represented the first time in six Pac-12 games in which the Buffs traveled to the Northwest coast (games at Washington, Oregon, and Oregon State) in which the teams (and their fans) didn’t get rained on at some point during the contest;

– Offensive guard Shane Callahan and tailback Patrick Carr were on the field for the first starts of their careers.

– Sefo Liufau, who entered the 2015 season with no rushing touchdowns, scored his fifth rushing touchdown of the year against Oregon State, the most since Bernard Jackson had seven rushing touchdowns during the 2006 season.

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4 Replies to “Colorado 17, Oregon State 13”

  1. 1. A defensive victory is not an ugly victory. I am hopeful that this is the sign of things to come.
    2. We ran the spread zone read offense almost the entire game. We scored 17 points. I know we lost a good chunk of the offensive line but still when are we going to try and run a pro style with sefo under center the whole game. We are just so much better both in the run and pass from that formation set.

    I’ll take it.

    Go Buffs!

    1. I don’t doubt what you are saying, but have you reviewed stats to verify that they play better from a pro style set? I’m just curious what the numbers look like (if there are any), because I get the same sense. Also(especially in Boulder), I would like to see them run more hurry-up run game type of offense to utilize both the altitude and the fact that our line seems to be better at run blocking than pass blocking. Get the defense on its heels a bit, sucking wind and unable to sub in effectively.

  2. The heading for the article on this game in the Buff Zone should read, “Offensive Coordinator’s Poor Play Calling Almost Cost The Buffs Another Loss.”

    Period…….end of story.

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