September 19th – at Denver           Colorado 27, Colorado State 24 OT

Buff kicker Diego Gonzalez, who had missed a 48-yarder a few minutes earlier which would have won the game in regulation, got a shot at redemption in overtime. The 32-yarder in the extra period was perfect, giving Colorado an unlikely come-from-behind 27-24 overtime win over Colorado State in the Rocky Mountain Showdown.

The Buffs spotted the Rams a 14-0 first quarter lead, and were out-gained 500 yards to 345 on the game, but were able to stay in the game with decent offense and timely plays on defense. Sefo Liufau hit on 15-of-28 passes for 220 yards and two touchdowns, while linebacker Ken Olugbode (a 60-yard interception return for a touchdown) and safety Tedric Thompson (a blocked field goal in overtime) were the defensive heroes.

The fourth quarter of 2014 Rocky Mountain Showdown witnessed a 17-0 Colorado State run, with the Rams turning a 17-14 deficit into a 31-17 victory.

The first quarter of the 2015 Rocky Mountain Showdown continued the trend, with the Rams posting 14 first quarter points … much to dismay of the Buff half of the 66,253 on hand at Invesco Field in Denver.

The game opened ominously enough, with Ram Deionte Gaines returning the opening kickoff 51 yards to the CU 44-yard line. The Buff defense forced a three-and-out, but the Buff offense, pinned deep inside their own ten, could not pick up a first down, giving the ball back to the Rams near midfield.

Colorado State’s second drive resulted in points, with the Rams going 52 yards in ten plays, with Dalyn Dawkins scoring on a 13-yard run to give CSU a 7-0 lead midway through the first quarter.

The Buffs’ ensuing drive went nowhere, with the Rams piecing together a seven-play, 72-yard drive on their next possession. When Nick Stevens hit All-American candidate Rashard Higgins for 25-yard touchdown, Colorado State had a 14-0 lead, and a 31-0 run dating back to the 2014 game.

Instead of folding, though, the Buffs responded.

Aided by a pair of third down conversions (Sefo Liufau to Nelson Spruce for six yards on third-and-six; Phillip Lindsay with a ten yard run on third-and-four), the Buffs fought their way into Ram territory. Diego Gonzalez was then called upon for a 52-yard field goal attempt, connecting on his fifth straight to open the season, pulling the Buffs to within 14-3 early in the second quarter.

The Rams looked to extend their lead on the next drive, but, on fourth-and-one at the Colorado 24-yard line, Dalyn Dawkins was stopped by Buff defensive linemen Jimmie Gilbert and Justin Solis for no gain and a turnover on downs.

After a three-and-out by the Buffs, the Rams drove into CU territory once again. Once again, though, CSU came up empty, with Ram kicker Wyatt Bryan missing a 52-yard field goal attempt.

On the very next play, the momentum – finally – shifted to the Buffs.

Sefo Liufau hit Shay Fields in stride down the CSU sideline, with the sophomore wide receiver covering 65 yards for a touchdown. With just under five minutes to play in the first half, it was a new game, at 14-10, Colorado State.

The Buffs had a chance to pull closer just before halftime, but came up empty. A Ken Crawley interception set up the Buffs in Ram territory, but a 36-yard attempt by Gonzalez was blocked.

Halftime score: Colorado State 14, Colorado 10

The Buffs opened the second half with their best drive of the night, covering 75 yards in nine plays. Completions from Liufau to Shay Fields and Nelson Spruce quickly moved the ball down the field to open the drive.  Later, on third-and-eight at the CSU 24, Liufau hit Devin Ross for the sophomore’s first career touchdown. The score gave the Buffs a 17-0 run of their own in the game, and their first lead of the night, at 17-14, with less than four minutes gone in the second half.

The Ram offense stopped the Buff surge with a scoring drive on their first possession of the third quarter. Colorado State went on a 68-yard drive, but couldn’t cash in on a first-and-goal at the CU ten yard line, settling for a 24-yard field goal after Ken Crawley broke up a potential go-ahead touchdown pass to Rashard Higgins on third down.

The only other scoring opportunity in the third quarter came on CSU’s next drive, with kicker Wyatt Bryant missing from 47 yards out. The third quarter then came to a close with the teams knotted at 17-17.

Early in the fourth quarter, the Rams again drove into Buff territory. On a third-and-nine at the CU 38, the Rams tried a screen pass. Ram quarterback Nick Stevens was hurried, however, and the pass was tipped. Buff linebacker Kenneth Olugbode plucked the ball out of the air, covering 60 yards on his way to a Colorado touchdown. It was the Buffs’ first interception for a score since Jered Bell had a pick-six against Central Arkansas in 2013, and gave Colorado a 24-17 lead with nine minutes to play.

Once again, however, the Buffs couldn’t stand prosperity. The Rams smartly marched down the field, with Jasen Oden capping off a ten-play, 75-yard drive with a one-yard touchdown run. The teams were tied once again, this time at 24-24.

Both teams had long pass completions on their next drives, but both drives still ended in punts.

With one last chance at a victory in regulation, Colorado took over possession at their own 20 with 1:02 to play. A roughing the passer call against the Rams kept the drive alive, with a Liufau rush for nine yards on third-and-ten presenting the Buffs with a dilemma late. Less than a half minute remained, but it was fourth-and-one at the CSU 48-yard line. A failure by the Buffs to gain a yard on their next play would give the ball back to the Rams. Conversely, a punt all but guaranteed overtime.

With nine seconds remaining in regulation, the Buffs went for it.

Sefo Liufau connected with Nelson Spruce a clutch 18-yard completion, putting the ball at the CSU 30-yard line. Timeout, Colorado, with two seconds remaining.

After more timeouts by both teams, Diego Gonzalez came on for a 48-yard field goal to win the game. The attempt was missed badly, however, and regulation came to a close with the teams still tied.

End of Regulation: Colorado 24, Colorado State 24

The Buffs won the toss of the coin to open the overtime period, electing to go on defense. Matters did not look good for the Buffs after Jimmie Gilbert was called for roughing the passer on the Rams’ first offensive play.

Set up with a first-and-ten at the CU 12 yard line, the Rams were in good shape. A three-yard run, a one-yard run, and a pass completion for a negative two yards, however, left Colorado State with a fourth-and-eight at the Buff ten yard line. Wyatt Bryant was called upon to give the Rams the lead, but Buff safety Tedric Thompson blocked the 27-yard offering.

Taking over on offense at the 25-yard line, all the Buffs needed was a field goal to win the game.

A pair of six yard runs by Christian Powell gave CU a first down at the Ram 12 yard line. After a one yard run by Phillip Lindsay, CU head coach Mike MacIntyre had seen enough. On the next play, quarterback Sefo Liufau took a knee at the center of the field at the Ram 15-yard line. On third down, Diego Gonzalez was called upon for the second time in a few minutes to win the game.

This time, the junior’s kick was true. The 32-yarder was all the Buffs needed to secure the overtime victory.

Final Score: Colorado 27, Colorado State 24

A YouTube video of the final play aimed at the CU student section:

 

The stats sheet indicated that Colorado State had the better of the 2015 Rocky Mountain Showdown. The Rams out-gained the Buffs, 500 yards to 345, had 27 first downs to 18 for CU, and held the ball for over 36 minutes of game clock. Two interceptions, missed field goals and a turnover on downs, however, cost Colorado State the game.

“Every time you lose a ball game you’re goingto go back and say we would’ve done this if we had the chance and we would’ve done that, but you’ve got to give those guys credit”, said CSU head coach Mike Bobo, who lost in his first RMS. “They played hard and made more plays in the right time than we did.”

Colorado, which came into the game averaging 302 yards rushing per game, was held to 125 yards rushing as a team. The Buffs failed to score a touchdown in two trips to the red zone, and were only 3-of-13 in third down attempts.

Unlike previous games in which the Buffs owned the stats sheet but lost the game, this time it was Colorado which had the all-important “W”.

“Last year we fought and fought but couldn’t find a way to win it,” said CU head coach Mike MacIntyre, who raised his record against CSU to 2-1. “Tonight we found a way to win it; we found a way to block a field goal, found a way to make a kick, found a way to make a play. We got down, kept battling. I think it shows you a young group of men, we are still a young team, but we are not babies anymore, we are growing into men. So I think you are seeing us grow up in front of your faces”.

Buff sophomore running back Phillip Lindsay, held to 27 yards on eight carries, had the best summation for the game. “It feels good, it feels great,” said Lindsay. “Especially being a Colorado kid you know it feels good bringing the trophy back home. Coach Mac deserves it, we deserve it, and our fans deserve it.”

Here are some of the You Tube highlights from the game, courtesy of CU at the Gamer Paul:

And an hour’s worth of highlights, also from CU at the Gamer Paul:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Um4xQwH6yo0

Game Notes –

– The win gave Colorado a 63-22-2 advantage in the all-time series, with a 9-6 advantage in games played in Denver;

– In the end, Colorado sold more tickets to the game than did Colorado State. With CU season ticket holders given the choice of “opting out” of buying CSU tickets, there was concern that this would be the first year the Rams sold more tickets than did the Buffs. Even without 30% (or around 6,000 tickets) of the season ticket base, CU still sold 31,796 tickets to the game, to 31,601 (the Denver Broncos sold 2,856). Of the CU total, 7,145 were to students;

– The win gave the Buffs a two game winning streak, a first for the team since Colorado opened the Mike MacIntyre era with two wins to open the 2013 season;

– The overtime win raised CU’s record in such games to 6-7 all-time, with a 2-0 record against CSU in overtime games;

– The Buffs did not have a turnover or surrender a sack. It was the second straight game neither occurred, but only the 18th time in school history (CU upped its record to 16-2 in such games;

– Ken Crawley and Kenneth Olugbode posted interceptions in the game, giving CU five picks in three games … after collecting only five in all of 2014. Olugbode’s interception for a touchdown was a nice birthday present, as the junior linebacker turned 20 on gameday;

– Diego Gonzalez became the fourth Buff kicker to win a game for Colorado in overtime, joining Mason Crosby (v. Kansas, 2003); Kevin Eberhart (CSU; 2007); and Aric Goodman (West Virginia, 2008);

– Tedric Thompson’s blocked field goal attempt was the first for a Buff since 2010, when Will Pericak blocked a field goal attempt against … Colorado State.

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7 Replies to “Colorado 27, CSU 24 – OT”

  1. Student tickets: 7,145 ? Well, that’s darned good.

    Just wait until the program really turns the corner and we have gotten to a bowl game.

    When the announcers declared that there were 66K at the game, I was amazed. Big crowds…. they are ‘a returnin’. Can’t wait to have sellouts at Folsom.

  2. Stuart,

    I am so glad for you that you don’t have to wear your “shirt of shame” home. Two weeks in a row, hopefully three after next week. GO BUFFS!

  3. I said it sucks…to be…a csu ram! Buffs finally did what they couldn’t, which was to finish the game. Still a lot of things to work on, but they are getting better. Go Buffs! Beat Nicholls and bring some momentum into conference play!

  4. Good win for the Buffs. Doesn’t matter how it looks this team just needs to get as many W’s as it can because of the heartbreakers last year. Cal, Oregon State, CSU. Minor correction it is Sports Authority now not Invesco. Go Buffs!

  5. Hey Stuart,
    I know it’s hard to believe,but the CBS Sports broadcast had the wrong year for CU’s last INT for a TD. It was in the 2013 season, not 2009.
    Go Buffs

    1. Actually, CBS (and I) were going off of the CU media release for the game – See page 47 of the “Game Notes” here – but you are right. The Central Arkansas game was 2013, not 2009.

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