September 3rd – at Hawai’i          Hawai’i 28, Colorado 20

In a game witnessed by few nationally (an 11:09 p.m., MT start), and few locally (the announced attendance was 19,511), Colorado fell to Hawai’i on the road, 28-20. Suffering their ninth straight defeat overall, the Buffs squandered a decent effort by their defense, with three turnovers and a blocked punt keeping the Buffs from ever taking the lead.

Sefo Liufau went 23-for-40 for 157 yards and an interception, but was unable to lead a final charge, with the game ending with CU inside the Hawai’i ten yard line. Michael Adkins led the Buffs in rushing, with 22 carries for 90 yards and two touchdowns, but did not see the ball often in the second half as the Buffs turned more to the passing game.

“I still believe in this team,” MacIntyre said after witnessing his overall record at Colorado fall to 6-19. “I’m still excited about this team. They fought their hearts out. I still think this team is going to win a lot of football games.”

The Buffs did do some things well. They finished with more total yards offense (373-302), more rushing yards (215-100)  and a dominating edge in time of possession (33:16 to 26:44).

“When you do those things, you should win the game,” MacIntyre said.

Indeed.

The off-season for Colorado had been all about improvement across the board. Better facilities, better conditioning, better attitude.

Unfortunately for the Buffs and their fans, however, the 2015 season opened in a similar manner to previous campaigns. Christian Powell, who had the first carry of the year in 2013 (for four yards) and in 2014 (for two yards), had the first carry of the 2015 season, going for two yards.

The more things change, the more they stay the same.

After going three-and-out to open the season, the Buffs … failed to go three-and-out, with the first punt of true freshman Alex Kinney’s career being blocked. Hawai’i recovered at the CU 16 yard line, and three plays later, the Hawai’i was in the lead. The Rainbow Warriors scored on an 11-yard pass from Max Wittek to Quinton Pedroza, with the pair teaming up seconds later for a two-point conversion.

Six plays and 2:25 into the new season, Hawai’i was up 8-0.

The Colorado offense continued to struggle throughout the rest of the first quarter, punting the ball away on its next three possessions. The first positive play of the game for the Buffs came late in the quarter, when defensive end/linebacker Derek McCartney became the first Buff with an interception in almost a full calendar year, picking off a Max Wittek offering, returning the pick 33 yards to the Hawai’i 23 yard line.

This time, it was the Buffs’ turn to take advantage of good field position. Runs by Christian Powell (six yards) and Michael Adkins (12 yards) set up Colorado with a first-and-goal at the Hawai’i five yard line, with Adkins scoring the first points of the season with 9:21 left in the second quarter, making it an 8-7 game.

Momentum, though, quickly returned to the Rainbow Warrior sideline, as Hawai’i answered three plays later with a 79-yard touchdown pass from Wittek to Marcus Kemp. Midway through the second quarter, the new score was 15-7.

A 41-yard return on the ensuing kickoff by Phillip Lindsay set the Buffs up at their 43-yard line. From there, it was the Michael Adkins show, with the junior running back carrying the ball seven times in the nine play drive. Adkins finished off the drive with a three yard run, pulling the Buffs back to within a point once again, at 15-14, with just under five minutes remaining in the half.

The Buffs had a chance to take a lead into the break late, but a Christian Powell fumble near midfield gave the ball back to the Rainbow Warriors. Hawai’i drove to the CU ten yard line before settling for a 27-yard field goal at the gun.

Halftime score: Hawai’i 18, Colorado 14

The second half opened with much more promise for the Buffs, with the CU defense forcing a three-and-out. Taking over at their 30, the Buff offense pieced together a 12-play drive. Driving for a go-ahead score, the Buffs were stymied by a chop block penalty in the red zone, settling for a 40-yard field goal attempt by Diego Gonzalez. The junior kicker made the first attempt of his career with 8:44 left in the third quarter, pulling the Buffs back to within one, at 18-17.

The Buffs had two more opportunities in the third quarter to take the lead, but failed to produce any points. A shanked punt by Alex Kinney late in the quarter gave Hawai’i the ball on CU’s side of the field, and the Rainbow Warriors, who had posted three three-and-outs to open the half, took advantage. A one-yard touchdown pass from Wittek to Isaiah Bernard gave Hawai’i a 25-17 lead with 1:17 remaining in the quarter.

Momentum back on the Hawai’i side of the field, a quick three-and-out by the Buffs was followed by a Rainbow Warrior drive which culminated in a 34-yard field goal. Early in the fourth quarter, Hawai’i was now up by two scores, at 28-17.

The Colorado defense continued to give the Colorado offense opportunities, including a fourth down stop at the Buff 34, but the offense couldn’t take advantage, with Sefo Liufau at one point throwing six straight incomplete passes. Midway through the fourth, the Buffs did manage an eight-play, 42-yard drive, ending with the second 40-yard field goal of the night by Diego Gonzalez. The Buffs were back to within a touchdown, at 28-20, but now only 3:48 remained to be played.

One final three-and-out forced by the CU defense gave the Buffs one last chance. The Buffs took over at their 34-yard line, but only 1:56 remained, and the Buffs were out of time outs. A nine yard completion to Nelson Spruce and an 11-yard run by Sefo Liufau set the Buffs up at the Hawai’i 41 yard line. Faced with a fourth-and-12 at the Hawai’i 43, Liufau hit Shay Fields for the longest play of the night by the CU offense, a 26-yard completion down to the Hawai’i 17.

A few seconds remained, as did hope for a miracle CU comeback. A five yard penalty on the Rainbow Warriors put the ball at the 12, but the Buffs were unable to score. A four yard completion from Liufau to Phillip Lindsay got the ball inside the ten, but the scoreboard clock said 0:00 before the Buffs could get off another play.

Final score: Hawai’i 28, Colorado 20

Here is a YouTube video of the final drive (if you can take it) … 

 

“We had some areas where we thought we could start dominating the game, and then we’d have some miscues,” MacIntyre said. “We just made some bad mistakes.”

Same song. New year.

“We just didn’t get the job done,” said quarterback Sefo Liufau, who struggled all night in the passing game. “I always thought we were going to get it going, but every time we thought we had a little momentum, we shot ourselves in the foot.”

Once again, before the rest of the nation celebrated Labor Day, the Buff Nation was left to ponder the probability of yet another long season. Of course, with twelve games still left to be played, the CU players had no choice but to remain upbeat.

“We’ve just got to go back to work,” Liufau said. “We’ve faced a lot of adversity and never put our heads down. This team has always had fight and that’s not going to stop now.”

There were some positives to be taken from the game … at least statistically.

The Colorado defense, which gave up 461 yards (111th nationally) and 39 points (116th) in 2014, gave up 302 yards and 28 points to Hawai’i. The Buffs also had their first interceptions in eight games, with both Derek McCartney and Chidobe Awuzie getting picks. Kicker Diego Gonzalez, an unknown quantity coming into the game, went two-for-two on field goal attempts, hitting twice from 40 yards out.

But that was about it on the positive side.

On the reality side, Colorado was 0-1, leaving even the most optimistic of Buff fans discouraged about the Buffs finding their way to seven wins and a bowl bid in 2015.

Game Notes –

– With the win, Hawai’i took a 3-2 edge in the all-time series against Colorado (with both teams winning their home games). The Rainbow Warriors also got bragging rights as the only team in the Mountain West with an overall winning record against Colorado.

– Four Buffs made their first career starts: offensive guard Jonathan Huckins, wide receiver Devin Ross, and two transfer defensive linemen, Jordan Carrell and Leo Jackson.

– Four true freshmen saw their first action (though primarily on special teams): punter Alex Kinney; running back Patrick Carr; defensive back Nick Fisher; and defensive back Isaiah Oliver.

– With his 90 yards rushing, Michael Adkins became the 52nd player in Colorado history to post over 1,000 career rushing yards (finishing the game with 1,023).

– The game ended at 2:57 mountain time, the latest ever for a CU sporting event (four hour time difference between Colorado and Hawai’i).

– Chidobe Awuzie’s interception was the first by a Colorado cornerback in two years (Greg Henderson v. Oregon in 2013), while Derek McCartney’s pick was the first by a Buff defensive lineman since 2010 (Josh Hartigan v. Missouri).

Injury report … Guard Gerrad Kough left the game in the third quarter with a sprained ankle, while linebacker Jaleel Awini did not play after suffering an undisclosed leg injury late last week. Both are considered “day-to-day” for the Massachusetts game.

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19 Replies to “Hawai’i 28, Colorado 20”

    1. what else could the Buffs do to lose the game ? they played like they did give a damn . why they stopped running the ball with more then enough time and started passing the ball was a goof by the coaches . the turn overs beat the Buffs more then the other team. thay also need to learn to get over fumbles and other mistakes that happen ,they beat themselves with thier own attiudes of poor me then the other team did beating them . time to get over this game and get mad and play like they can ,no more excuses just play ball

  1. My mistake just noticed it at 3:02PM as i was looking at the box score.Hawaii had 202 passing yards and 100 yards rushing for a total of 302 yards.Maybe the defense is the strongest part of the this team?

  2. Um was this a rerun of any number of games from last year?How could there be no change from last year.It was an unbelievably pathetic performance from players to the coaches.Apparently this coaching staff can not recruit a quality back up quarterback.I know the o-line wasn’t great but Sefo wasn’t either and he is still making the same mistakes from last year.I realize this is just the first game but there was no change what so ever in Sefo.Should have been a noticeable difference in game one and gradually get better.I just don’t see that happening.I fear these young mens confident is shot.To many mistakes that should not have been made.Why stop feeding the run game when that was the only thing working?Cant understand why they put in a cold Christian Powell only to fumble?Does it seem like that happened last year with negative result then as well?Crawleys play was horrible most of the night.That holding call on that KO return was a killer nowhere near the runner.The clock management more of the same.Sefo needs to know by know if you need i think it was one yard he needs to be a leader and take charge and line up his guys and get the yard.No instead he waits to be told what to do and two Time outs later nothing.The Defense was ok but still gave up 300 + passing yards to Hawaii what do you think the PAC-12 will do to them.Really the only bright spots were Adkins and Diego!!The UMASS game could be more of the same i am sure the feel they can play with the Buffs.The Rams are still a good football team even with a new head coach and the Buffs are no longer a dominate force in that rivalry.I believe they are only 8-6 in games played in Denver.Don’t know anything about Nichols State hopefully not another UMASS?PAC-12 season gonna be another bust if this is the way they are going to play.Sorry to say this season is probable over and Coach MacIntyre is probable in his last year.Mark Johnson , Neil and B.G. said this team is better and different and have a good chance to change things?Did they not spend time with this team over the past few months?They really need to start telling it how it is in Boulder.Can’t understand we they did not recruit a graduate transfer at the QB position.Needs to be a change a QB Sefo just cant get it done.Hope i am wrong about things but when you see the exact same thing as last year what else can you come up with.They are still my favorite CFB team and will continue to support but it is gonna be a long year.GO BUFFS!

  3. The offense has no imagination. Watch the Montana/NDSU game for some innovative offensive game calls. Offensive line is is so over-matched. The Offensive Coordinator needs to try something different. As much as I would like to blame Liafau, he was under constant pressure. Why are the CU receivers always covered? Because they run the same routes.

    Defense is much better. They can actually stop the run. Secondary negated a pick and gave up a 79 yard TD. Got to do better.

    I hope there is improvement or CSU will roll.

  4. Get over it guys,
    Yes, this was an ugly game but so was CSU last year. Overcoming jet lag, playing a game a couple days later in the wee hours of the morning, dealing with heat and humidity and finally having to deal with the infamous ref with glasses on top of this all factored into a road game from hell.
    My only complaint other than several phantom call by the ref again was the lack of Sefo to see any wide receiver without a #22 on his chest. Devon Ross was open often and Sefo never even gave him a look. Where the hell was Bobo? If Colorado is gonna be able to sneak up on teams, its not gonna be with Nelson Spruce getting targeted on every pass.
    Christian Powell was not a problem. Teams no the instant he takes the field that he is gonna carry the ball. Powell will be back and will probably lead this team in rushing again.
    I was amazed at the conditioning of the Buffs compared to Hawaii. The Buffs did not seem to poop out until the fourth quarter whereas Hawaii was gasping before halftime.
    The Defensive line and Linebackers were much improved. Both corners were pathetic however. I think I am the only one who voted twice for the Buffs to drop this one on the poll predicting the headlines after the game. This is not because i’m used to the Buffs losing but because of the hostile conditions such as kickoff time, humidity etc…etc… Its hard to win on the Rock, Oregon got out of there last year against a much worse team by only eight points! 38-30. The Buffs lost 28-20 against a much better team than the mighty ducks faced.
    There is a lot of football left this season and anybody who thought this team was gonna start 4-0 has not been following the Buffs the past 35 years.
    I will say this……Run the football! All that size was exposed on the O-line. Big does not mean athletic. We do not have very many options at CB but the O-lines strengths can be utilized in a very positive way.

    Go Buffs!

    1. Rob-
      Your insight is about as good as Crawley’s coverage-IT’S NOT!!!
      Powell didn’t break tackles, fumbled, doesn’t have burst. Give it to the other RBS, they can get it down the field.
      And BTW, The Ducks did not go to Hawaii and only win 38-30.
      That would have been the Oregon ST Beavers, who if I recall beat the Buffs in Boulder. They are a garbage team, Hawaii is a garbage team, and I hate to say it, so are my beloved Buffs!!!

  5. Sefo appears to be the same turnover machine he was last year but this time around he wasn’t put in a hole by the defense. Christain Powell should no longer start at RB. There are no more “moral victories” for losing games this year which makes this all the more painful with a L to lowly MWC competition.

  6. This one really hurt. I honestly thought the Buffs were going to rip the cover off of this one. The good thing is they were the more talented team overall, but can they make any more mistakes? (Don’t answer that!)

    Coaches positives – Team seems better overall. Defense playing much better (except CBs) and more aggressively.
    Coaches negatives – Abandoned running game too early. OL scheme seemed terrible. Some questionable play calls. Special teams still awful. Many kids still making mental errors/sloppy play.

    Player positives – Sefo hung in despite taking a beating. Adkins and Lindsay ran hard and run blocking was good. Defensive line, particularly McCartney and Franke, looked much better. Olugbode, Awuzie also looked good. Hopefully, Awini plays next week. New kicker and punter looked surprisingly solid.
    Player negatives – Sefo with his typical mental errors. Powell looks done as a back. OL pass protection was abysmal. Receivers, in large part, seemed to get swallowed up and disappear (though Spruce had some great catches and lack of line protection meant they had to get open within 5-10 yards). Crawley was awful.

    I still think they will beat UMass and Nichols, but they cannot beat anyone else on the schedule playing like this. I don’t know how they are going to eliminate the mental errors overnight, but that is what is needed if they even want to win 3-4 games this year.

  7. I watched every second and was left heart broken. A couple things I noticed:

    1. I didn’t see any players on the sideline getting their team amped up during either the good or the bad times. Football is an emotional game and I am not seeing vocal leadership from the sidelines.
    2. Why didn’t they stick with the run in the 3rd Qtr. Sure you got stopped on the first drive. That happens in the run game. Despite the improving numbers on the offensive side I think we may need to look to a new OC. And don’t even get me started about the 4th qtr. at 11 minutes left and 10 minutes left they should have been running. Lindgren failed this team, failed to adapt when his o-line was acting like a sieve.
    3. I have one thought which may make this not a complete disaster. We know these kids and coaches can do better, we have seen nearly all of them play at a much higher level. So what went wrong (except as above)? My one hopeful though is that Mac and the coaching staff do an outstanding job of scouting opposing teams and getting their team ready to play those teams. The players didn’t get that with Hawaii. They will get it for UMASS with about the same level of talent as Hawaii. Lets see what good prep will lead to at UMASS and CSU before we give up on the season.

  8. Bright spot….Awuzie. Dark spot….player mentality. We never seem to get smart corners. Always getting beat. It is like teams just toy with us. When they need points they just go long and bingo, long gainer or a score. Year after year after year. Get some scholars to play.

  9. The sad part is, it seems all the offseason hope and optimism was ripped away the moment that punt was blocked. The season is over, you get beat like that by a 4-7 mountain West team! What do you think Oregon, Stanford, USC, ucla, heck even Utah will do to them? It ought to be against the law for CU to charge people for season tickets.

  10. It’s hard to imagine a game where more things could have gone wrong but these kids worked way to hard over the off season for any off us to pull our support. Shoulder to shoulder!

  11. Great comments. Comforting to know I’m not alone. the team’s “positive takeaways” are not acceptable. These guys need to get pissed. I’m done until next year and don’t think I’m alone. Im the only one I know from my class anyways who tries (tried) to watch or go to games. No mas. I’m finally done. I can only imagine later classes don’t even bother and why would they. We get nothing, nothing in return for support, barely even any effort.

    Re game, we plug one leak and three other leaks spring open, even some we thought we plugged..that’s bad coaching. Toby Nienas’ hole has never been plugged. If someone’s head should roll, he’s my pick. Does this team really deserve a $150m facility… No. give the facility to some winners: cross country, ski and wvb; and maybe let ralphie graze on the field, a big petting zoo. Same amount of bs.

  12. Too many mistakes for a team that has been playing under this coaching staff for three years(defense excluded and actually was prepared).
    OL – Sieve on passes, decent in run blocking
    DL – fairly steady
    WR – nothing special
    DB – fairly good with Crawley getting burned again….and again…. and again….
    LB – fairly steady
    RB – no need to see Powell fumble anymore at key times, bench time for him
    Sefo – stares down receivers and can’t complete a pass over 15 yards. Ran effectively, but we need a downfield pass completed once a game or so
    Neinas – the sooner he is gone, the better CU will be, ST killed this team

  13. The psychology of losing runs deep. This team, regardless of talk, new facilities, and new uniforms, simply suffers from the disease of losing. I was concerned before the game when I saw a quote from Liufau that said “We really believe we are ready.” If there is confidence, then one simply says “We are ready” with no need for qualifiers. This is a team that fights and is competitive, but still expects the other shoe to drop and in the end, to come up short. This was an important game to help snap the losing mentality, a game where they were favored to win. There needs to be a huge wake up call for the next game or we face another long season and Macintyre may be gone. Liufau seems to be a great kid but he is not a gamer.

  14. That game was over as soon as that punt was blocked. You could see it in the players’ eyes, they had that deer in the headlights look. There was a lot of talk from the coaches and players about how much better they would be. Talk is cheap. They need to STFU and get to work. UMass will not be a cakewalk, remember we were down by 11 in the 4th quarter last year. UMass knows they can win, they will be fired up. We better be ready. Go Buffs.

  15. Thank you Stuart
    what a heartbreaker. The team was not ready to play.
    A few observations:
    Powell is not a good RB. Atkins, yes
    The D is much improved
    Neinas (ST coach) needs to go away forever
    Liufau… I’m over him
    Crawley… smh
    McCartney, bravo
    CBS – why was it not televised on Comcast locally, and no livestream through cbs.com even when I paid (bars closed after 3rd Q)
    The team was overly eager, ie Field’s muffed punt
    CU is the better team, but cannot get even remotely close to out of their own way
    Not going bowling
    Refs were terrible
    Lindsay was impressive
    Positive takeaway: the D is looking much improved. If the O can stop the mistakes and at least perform like last year, we can still win some games.
    so much for 4th Q dominance
    Gonna wretch and sleep now.. if I can. Sickening.

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