September 12, 2015 – Boulder           Colorado 48, UMass 14

Colorado rushed for 390 yards, dominating the final three quarters in pulling away from Massachusetts for a 48-14 victory. Michael Adkins rushed for 125 yards and a touchdown, with Christian Powell making the most of his eight carries, collecting 105 yards (a 13.1 yard average) and two scores, as the Buffs finished with a pair of 100-yard rushers for the first time in a game since 2010.

“I almost don’t know what to say it’s been so long (since a win),” said third-year CU coach Mike MacIntyre, whose team had lost nine consecutive games before Saturday.

MacIntyre’s quarterback, Sefo Liufau, did know what to say. “We had a chip on our shoulder and finally came out and played like we can,” said Liufau, who went 15-for-24 for 168 yards and a touchdown. “Our main objective was to get a win . . . we did and we’re excited.”

A week after opening the game in the worst way imaginable (three-and-out, blocked punt, opposition touchdown), the UMass game opened about as well as any Buff fan could hope. The Colorado defense forced a three-and-out (aided by an overthrow on the game’s first play which could have gone for a Minuteman touchdown), with the Buff offense responding with nine-play, 60-yard scoring drive.

After getting the drive going with a 13-yard completion from Liufau to Bryce Bobo, running back Michael Adkins took over with three runs covering 20 yards getting the Buffs to the redzone. Two plays later, Christian Powell bulled his way in from 15 yards out, and it was 7-0, Colorado, less than four minutes into the game.

A second three-and-out by the Buff defense had the 35,094 fans on hand thinking rout. Instead, the Buffs went three-and-out themselves, with UMass countering with a 56-yard scoring drive in only four plays. A two-yard run by Jamal Wilson tied the score at 7-7 at the midway point of the first quarter.

The Colorado offense, backed up after a blocking penalty on the ensuing kickoff, then put together one of its best drives of the afternoon. The Buffs pieced together a 14-play, 91-yard drive, taking 7:30 of game clock to retake the lead. A roughing the passer call got the ball out from the shadow of the CU goalposts, with a 34-yard completion from Liufau to Phillip Lindsay on a third-and-seven play the spark. This time, Liufau did the honors, taking the ball in from seven yards out to give CU a 14-7 lead on the last play of the first quarter.

Rather than fold, the Minutemen responded. UMass posted a 79-yard touchdown drive of its own. An 18-yard touchdown pass from Brian Frohnapfel to Matt Michel tied the score again, at 14-14, early in the second quarter.

The blow-for-blow continued on CU’s next series, with the Buffs again answering the bell. Michael Adkins carried the ball for the final three plays of the six-play drive, with the final carry covering 21 yards. Colorado 21, UMass 14.

Finally, UMass was not able to match CU’s score. A sack of Frohnapfel by Chidobe Awuzie got the Minutemen off schedule, forcing a punt …

Except it wasn’t a punt.

A low snap sent UMass punter Logan Laurent to his knees, counting as a 14-yard loss instead of a punt, giving the Buffs the ball at the Minuteman 28-yard line.

Poised to take advantage of the UMass miscue, the Buffs were only able to drive as far as the 14-yard line. Diego Gonzalez was then called upon to give the Buffs a two score lead. Gonzalez was good from 31 yards out, and the Buffs were up, 24-14, midway through the second quarter.

Undeterred, the UMass offense quickly hit passes of 22 and 41 yards, taking the ball to the CU 17 yard line. Two plays later, the momentum of the game turned for good on two big plays. The first, a pass from Frohnapfel near the Buff goal line was broken up by safety Afolabi Laguda. Instead of an incomplete pass, Laguda was called for a targeting penalty, not only giving the Minutemen a first-and-goal at the CU ten yard line, but also disqualifying Laguda for the remainder of the game.

With an incensed Folsom Field crowd behind them, the Buff defense forced two incompletions. Then, on third-and-ten, Frohnapfel was hurried, with his pass being intercepted by safety Ryan Moeller. Instead of getting back to within a score, UMass was denied in the redzone, giving the Buffs a lift which affected both teams the remainder of the game.

Buoyed by the defensive stand, the CU offense set off on a back-breaking drive. A 37-yard run by Phillip Lindsay was the highlight, with Lindsay getting to finish off the drive with a two yard run right before halftime.

Halftime score: Colorado 31, Massachusetts 14

Despite the 17-point halftime lead, Buff fans were still nervous as the second half opened, as, after all, Colorado was not used to protecting, much less enhancing, leads.

As it turned out, the Buff Nation had nothing to worry about.

The Buff offense took the second half kickoff and completely dominated the line of scrimmage. Passing only twice on an 11-play drive, the CU offensive line took control. The Buffs settled for a 30-yard field goal by Diego Gonzalez, but the tone had been set. Colorado 34, Massachusetts 14.

Any chance of a Minuteman comeback ended two plays later, when a UMass fumble was forced by John Walker was recovered by Ken Crawley at the CU 47 yard line.

Eight plays later, the score was officially out of hand. Three passes from Liufau to Nelson Spruce, including an 18-yard scoring strike, made the score 41-14 midway through the third quarter.

The last gasp for the Minutemen came on a failed fourth down conversion at the CU 20 yard line. The Buffs the marched 79 yards in ten plays, capped by a 35-yard touchdown run by Christian Powell. Colorado 48, Massachusetts 14.

Though there was still 18 minutes of game clock remaining, the game was now officially over. Both teams substituted liberally, with Jordan Gehrke taking over at quarterback for the Buffs. True freshman Patrick Carr received some meaningful playing time – including an impressive 36-yard run – by neither team seriously threatened to score in a quick and painless (at least for the Buff Nation) fourth quarter.

Final Score: Colorado 48, Massachusetts 14

Colorado went for 558 total yards in the big win over Massachusetts, the second-highest total of the Mike MacIntyre era (630 against Cal, in a double overtime loss in 2014). The margin of victory, though, was the best in MacIntyre’s three seasons, besting the 43-10 win over Charleston Southern in 2013.

“I would have taken a one-point win, of course,” said MacIntyre. “But doing what we did showed, I think it showed (the kids), they just kept believing, kept believing. When you get them down, put them away … I think that they are starting to learn how to do that. And we have more depth; we’re more physical; we’re stronger; we don’t wear out as quick. And they’ve been there before, so they don’t let up at all they keep the pedal down.”

As might be expected with the score, the Buffs dominated the stats sheet. Colorado had 390 yards rushing to 147 for Massachusetts, had 32 first downs to 20 for the Minutemen, and held the ball for 35:57 of game clock (including 11:57 in the first quarter).

On a day with many stars, the hero of the game was likely Ryan Moeller, whose interception in the endzone late in the second quarter kept the Buffs ahead by two scores, halting what turned out to be the Minutemen’s last serious threat. “I think it definitely helped boast our morale,” said Moeller of his interception, “but as an entire team we are expected to make plays, offensively, defensively, and on special teams, so when we can make that happen it definitely swings the momentum our way and gives everyone else a boost so that they can do what they need to do to get their job done. A couple plays before they tried to hit me on a similar route and when they came out in the empty set, I just expected to play man and a specific coverage and stick with them and it turned out to be the best thing for us.”

Game Notes …

– The game was the 1,200th in CU history, with the Buffs also posting wins in games 100, 200, 300, 400, 500, 700, 800, 900 and 1,000;

– The last time CU ran for over 300 yards in a game came in 2007. The 390 total was the most since the Buffs went for 427 against Kansas in 2002;

– Nelson Spruce had six catches for 64 yards and a touchdown. With his third catch, Spruce passed Scotty McKnight for the most pass receptions in school history. McKnight had 215 (2007-10). Spruce finished the game with 219, with his 20th touchdown catch putting him two behind McKnight’s record in that category;

– The game marked the 45th time (and first since 2010) with two 100-yard rushers. In addition to the 125 yards by Michael Adkins and 105 by Christian Powell, Phillip Lindsay had 73 yards. Had Lindsay gotten to 100 yards, it would have marked just the third time (and first since 1970) with three 100-yard rushers;

– Some firsts … first rushing touchdowns for both Sefo Liufau and Phillip Lindsay … first career interception for Ryan Moeller … first career carries for Patrick Carr and Kyle Evans;

– Ten Buffs hit the field for the first time against Massachusetts: OLB Jaleel Awini, C Vincent Arvia, OL Ed Caldwell, TB Kyle Evans, ILB Nick Fal0, TE Hayden Jones, WR Joey Hall, OL John Lisella, WR Robert Orban and C Sully Wiefels.

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7 Replies to “Colorado 48, UMass 14”

  1. great game guys . good to see you come out mad and on a mission. the mission continues know stay mad you have a job to take care the Rams are next and they think you guys are a joke .pruve them wrong and kick some as@# . Go Buffs

  2. Fantastic to see the Buffs trust their running game. The OL really battered UMass, and all RBs ran hard and seemed to see the holes today. Really hope they can keep this up throughout the year.

  3. It is clear we are a running team. In the previous predictions I said the OC would channel Mac1 and we would run for 350 and pull away for a 3 touchdown lead. The OC was more committed to the run than I predicted so the score was even better. The test is now will we stay committed to the run. I love the pro set we ran out of. I think it gives the runners so many more choices and I think it can really help the play action pass. I didn’t become a fan until the 90’s but I believe that the Mac1 teams started to win when they transitioned to the option. I have a sneaky suspicion that if we transition to a run orientated pro style o we may be able to repeat the trend. The question is will the OC stay committed and creative in the run game.
    Other observation. Is that the new dc is really good at adjustments. Umass threw up 14 points and it looked like we had no answers. I haven’t re watched the game yet but whatever adjustments he put in were really effective. Yes umass missed some wide open td’s at the beginning but those got closed down by the second quarter. I think Crowley got pulled at one point during the game but when he came back in I thought he did much better. The one big catch was a perfect throw and catch against very solid coverage.

    Buying my tickets for csu tonight.

  4. Targeting call was imaginary. Watching Nebraska playing a cream puff again and the safety just put a lick on the South Alabama kid that was unmistakenly targeting but was only called for roughness. Pathetic.

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