November 7th – Boulder           No. 9 Stanford 42, Colorado 10

Christian McCaffrey had a successful homecoming to the state of Colorado, going for over 200 all-purpose yards in leading No. 9 Stanford to a 42-10 win over Colorado. McCaffrey had 23 carries for 147 yards, and added a 28-yard touchdown pass as the Cardinal held the ball for over 38 minutes of game clock in defeating the Buffs for the fifth straight time in the series.

Colorado stayed in the game for most of the first half, but a missed field goal, an interception, and converted opportunities by the Stanford offense turned a 14-7 game midway in the second quarter into a 28-7 lead for the Cardinal at halftime. Sefo Liufau went 10-of-18 for 125 yards, and was also the Buffs’ leading rusher, with 43 yards on seven carries.

“First of all, I have to say this: not enough credit is given to Mike MacIntyre and the job he’s done here at Colorado,” said Stanford head coach David Shaw. “They’re fighting everybody, they’re really close. You can see it by the way we played offense today. They made a lot of things very difficult. The score doesn’t look like it, but we had to come with reverses and trick plays because we thought they were very sound, fought very hard, and were very physical. They have a tough offense to stop with a running quarterback, a really tough (running) back, and a receiver that makes all kinds of plays. The score is what it is, but I think coach MacIntyre has done a phenomenal job here”.

The game plan for Stanford coming into its game against Colorado was clear.

The No. 9 team in the nation came to Boulder with the 17th-ranked rushing offense, and was going up against the 102nd-ranked rush defense. Christian McCaffrey came into the game leading the nation in all-purpose yards, and it was up to the Colorado defense to find a way to contain him.

On the opening drive of the game, Stanford did exactly what it came to Boulder to do, marching 81 yards for a score. The Cardinal needed 15 plays to get to the end zone, and had to convert a third-and-one, a fourth-and-one, and a third-and-seven along the way. The end result, though, was still a score, with Remound Wright taking the ball in from a yard out.

The Colorado offense, on the sideline for the first 7:11 of the first quarter, needed to respond … and did.

The Buffs countered with a touchdown drive of their own, covering 75 yards in only six plays. After Patrick Carr picked up 11 yards on a third-and-one, Sefo Liufau scrambled for 15 yards to the Stanford 40 yard line. Liufau then hit Nelson Spruce in stride, with Spruce going 36 yards to the Stanford four. On the next play, Donovan Lee took it in over the left side, tying the score at 7-7.

A short kickoff and a 27-yard return by Christian McCaffrey set the Cardinal up near midfield for their next drive, but this time, the Buff defense stiffened. On a third-and-three at the CU 31-yard line, Stanford quarterback Kevin Hogan was sacked by Jimmie Gilbert for a six yard loss, forcing a punt.

The Colorado offense then took the field for the first time in the with a chance to take the lead … and went three-and-out.

A second consecutive stop of the Stanford offense by the Buff defense was there for the taking early in the second quarter. A sack by Derek McCartney and a delay of game penalty against the Cardinal had the Stanford offense facing a third-and-18 at the Colorado 43 yard line.

Not a problem.

Kevin Hogan calmly found Michael Rector, who had badly beaten Buff cornerback Kenneth Crawley, for a 43-yard touchdown and a 14-7 Stanford lead.

Down a touchdown once again, the Colorado offense again responded. A pair of Liufau completions to Nelson Spruce, the first for 14 yards, the second for ten, set the Buffs up in Cardinal territory. A 23-yard completion to Devin Ross put the ball at the Stanford 25, but the Buffs could not muster another first down. Diego Gonzalez was called upon for a 37-yard field goal attempt, but the effort was left of the mark, leaving it a 14-7 game.

The missed field goal was – and should not have been – not a huge setback.

It was still a one score game midway through the second quarter. For the Buffs, however, the failed scoring attempt put an effective end to any hopes of an upset.

Stanford took the ball back at their 20, and, after a 40-yard run by Christian McCaffrey, were immediately back on CU’s side of the field. The Cardinal methodically moved the ball inside the CU ten yard line, where the Stanford offense faced a fourth-and-two at the Colorado six yard line. Kevin Hogan faked a handoff into the center of the Buff defensive line, pulling the ball out to find Dalton Schultz alone in the end zone. Stanford 21, Colorado 7.

With less than two minutes before the half, the Buff offense still had a chance to regain some momentum. A quick score to end the half, then a score to open the second half, and the Buffs could make a game of it once again. Instead, Sefo Liufau badly overthrew a wide open Nelson Spruce, with the ball intercepted by Dallas Lloyd for the Cardinal.

Kevin Hogan and the Stanford offense quickly took advantage, rolling down inside the Buff ten yard line once again. On third-and-goal at the one yard line, Stanford coach David Shaw rolled the dice. A stop by the CU offense in the field of play, and Stanford would not have been able to kick a field goal. The gamble paid off, however, with Kevin Hogan scrambling in for a touchdown with one second left before the half.

Halftime score: No. 9 Stanford 28, Colorado 7

The score indicated a lopsided game, and the first half stats showed the Cardinal in control. Stanford had 16 first downs and 285 yards of total offense, to seven first downs and 147 yards of total offense for Colorado. The Cardinal held the ball for 22:21 of first half game clock, and the Buffs, who had a school-record 60 plays in the first half the week before against UCLA, had only 22 plays from scrimmage in the first half against Stanford.

The Buffs tried to show some life after taking the second half kickoff. A Sefo Liufau pass to Nelson Spruce for 12 yards, followed by a Liufau runs of 17 and 11 yards, once again put the ball inside the Stanford red zone.

And then, as had been the case for most of the 2015 season, the Colorado offense stalled.

The Buffs got inside the Cardinal ten, but could not finish, with Diego Gonzalez hitting a 29-yard field goal to make it a 28-10 game.

The ensuing kickoff was an onsides kick, recovered by Stanford at the CU 47-yard line. The Cardinal, who had made a point of posting time-consuming drives, needed only one play to up the lead, with Bryce Love scoring on a 47-yard run on Stanford’s first play from scrimmage.

Stanford 35, Colorado 10, still early in the third quarter.

After a three-and-out from the Colorado offense, Stanford looked to turn the game into a rout. Instead, Kevin Hogan was intercepted by Buff safety Tedric Thompson, who returned the ball 71 yards to the Stanford three yard line.

Any hopes of a Colorado comeback, however, were quickly dashed as the Buff offense could not get the ball into the end zone. A loss of two yards by Patrick Carr, followed by three straight incompletions by Sefo Liufau, gave the ball right back to Stanford with no harm done.

It was then “add insult to injury” time.

Stanford took the ball at their own five yard line with over six minutes remaining in the third quarter. The Cardinal offense then erased the remainder of the period, using 11 plays to get to the Buff 34-yard line. On the second play of the fourth quarter, Christian McCaffrey was allowed to pad his Heisman trophy resume, throwing a halfback option pass to Austin Hooper for a 28-yard touchdown to make it a 42-10 game.

The remaining 14 minutes of the fourth quarter witnessed the exodus of the Folsom Field crowd and the entrance of numerous backups on both sides of the ball. Cade Apsay came in at quarterback for the Buffs, and was ineffective on his first two drives, going three-and-out on his first effort, then throwing an interception on his second. Apsay’s third and fourth drives: a three-and-out and a game-ending drive which concluded with Apsay being sacked twice. The game ended with Colorado facing a fourth-and-22.

A fitting end to the day for the Buffs.

Final score: No. 9 Stanford 42, Colorado 10

“The difference in the game – you can look at it every way you want – but the difference in the game was them making third downs and us not”, said CU head coach Mike MacIntyre. “If we could have got them out on a few third downs there (in the first quarter) and we could have made a few, it would have been a little bit different. But they are a heck of a football team; they did a good job today.”

For the game, Stanford was 10-of-16 on third down attempts – and two-for-two on fourth down, in essence making the Cardinal 12-for-16 in maintaining possession (and 9-of-12 in the first half, when it was still a game). Colorado, conversely, went 2-for-11 on third downs.

Stanford finished with 472 yards of total offense, to just 231 for Colorado. Possession time was also lopsided, with Stanford holding the ball for 38:01 of game clock.

“It’s demoralizing”, said Tedric Thompson of the loss.  “Every team we’ve lost to doesn’t have any more talent than we do on their team.  They aren’t doing anything we aren’t preparing for, I’m not sure what it is but it hurts to keep losing these games.  I’m tired of hearing people say that we’re this close and if we had made this play or that play it would be different.  It’s happening week after week and we need to come together as men and really figure it out.  It’s out of the coaches hands at this point.  They are doing everything right, making the right calls and preparing us.  We just need to buckle down as men and accomplish our goals and then we can turn things around.”

The loss dropped Colorado to 4-5 on the season, with the Buffs still needing three more wins to become bowl eligible. “The way I see it, we have three games to win three and become bowl eligible”, said center Alex Kelley. “That was our goal from the beginning of the season. It’s still attainable. No matter how hard it may be, that’s our goal and it’s attainable. We’re going to come out tomorrow and keep fighting to reach our goal.”

Here is the YouTube video of the game (unfortunately picking up the game after CU’s lone touchdown), courtesy of CU at the Gamer Paul:


Game Notes –

– The loss was the fifth in a row to Stanford in the series (three as members of the Pac-12), giving the Cardinal a 6-3 overall edge in the all-time series.

– A week after running a school-record 114 plays against UCLA, the Colorado offense was held to a season-low 53 plays by Stanford.

– With five catches for 75 yards, Nelson Spruce became the first Buff in school history to go over 3,000 yards (3,022) receiving.

– Sefo Liufau led the Buffs in rushing, with 43 yards, becoming the first quarterback to lead the Buffs in rushing in a game since 2008 (Tyler Hansen v. Texas A&M).

– Offensive lineman Sully Wiefels earned the first start of his career.


10 Replies to “No. 9 Stanford 42, Colorado 10”

  1. not much to say here only that Stanford is a team of good players and well coached ,not to say coach Mac is not trying but things need to change some how ,Sefo seem to be trying but he just can`t do it by himself he needs help from all the others ,its a team sport , we need to get more of the top four player from colorado and then better players from all around us.Come on coach Mac you can do this and things have gottn better since you got here , keep up the hard work and I am sure you will be rewarded with a team that will win games like this.

  2. We can complain about coaching all we want, I actually think these kids are coached pretty well, certainly better than embree or Hawkins. I prefer more of a power run game like Stanford but I also recognize that it’s 2015 and not many coaches ar going to run thqt. The ONLY way to fix this misery is to figure out someway to recruit! That is it. If anything, our coaches should be celebrated for competing so closely with ucla and Oregon. This team (in particular at the line of scrimmage) is lacking BIG time. Until that is fixed we will lose. And what makes me worry is that the line (on either side) has given me no reason to believe next year will be better. Recruit, recruit, recruit. The elephant in the room that very few media (I always listen to the postgame) is the the reason we are losing isnt because we had a bad play call here, or a missed tackle there… etc. It is because our opponents have BETTER football players, and in the case of a team like Stanford, by a wide margin. I respect and commend the players we have fighting for us now, they are doing what they can, but until we get better recruits, none of this will change.

  3. This is obviously the last year for Lindgren, he will be fired at the end of the season, just as the DC was last year. I agree that the PAC 12 is weaker this year, just look at Oregon. ASU has now lost three in a row. I was hoping for one more win but now unlikely. We lost to a bad Hawaii team and beat three bad teams. Yes CSU is weak this year as well. We hung on against Oregon State with the offense finishing with three punts at the end. Sefo needs to be benched or at least share QB time with the first string. Why not? We have nothing to lose. Coach Mac seems like a good man but not a in the heat of the moment coach. Have you read Lindsay’s comments about running back by committee? That’s not working either. I would like a strong OC and have Mac abdicate power to him. Oh well, GO BUFFS!.

  4. This was the worst-coached game in the Mac 2.0 era. The OC play calling was atrocious. Not knowing your kicker can’t kick across his body, when any simple fan that has followed this team knows it, is unacceptable. Not seeing that Sefo is sailing balls because he’s hurt and the coach needs to sit him, is unacceptable. Playing tight-man on 3rd and 18 is plain dumb. The continued issues in the RZ have to addressed – we need an OC that is the real deal when it comes to situational football. Way too many blown chances this year to accept. Accepting that was last year, it’s now about being the difference and getting over the hump.

    1. I agree. Sefo hasn’t been the same since the injury in the CSU game. Ever since then he’s releasing his passes too early, missing wide open receivers. I shudder to think of how many scoring plays/drives have been missed because of this. The OC play-calling in short yardage situations has been EVERYTHING short of bad. A team cannot get over the “hump” when it only converts 38% (+/-) of its third downs or gets comes away with nothing after getting the ball in a goal-to-go situation. This was an issue last year and has not improved this year. Special teams coordinator calling an onside kick early in the third quarter when you’re down by 18pts? Terrible decision. This year more than any year since the Barnett era, CU has the physical talent to compete with the teams they face. But regardless of how much better CU stacks up against other teams talent-wise, the players can only be as successful as the play calling will allow them to be.

  5. Two situations epitomize what I feel are the key issues with this team: first, the overthrow/pick near the end of the first half which I view as the turning point in the game when the Buffs still had a chance to stay in it. (My head did not expect a win but I was hoping for a competitive game). Second, any lingering chance of competitiveness was extinguished after the long interception return to the 3 yard line where the team had 4 tries to score and came away with nothing. Apsay, like Gehrke last year, was thrown into a situation with a top opponent. This, like Gehrke’s situation, is not a good judge of what he might be able to do. Macintyre has hitched his fate, or at least Lindgren’s, to the Liufau “wagon”. Backup QBs have had no meaningful repetitions during Macintyre’s tenure. This game was just a disappointment. It will be interesting to see what changes are made at the end of this season (which will be another bowl less season). Next year is an arguably more difficult schedule and 6 wins would be hard to come by and not even imaginable with the current offensive play and inability to make plays when it counts.

    1. I agree. Mcintyre put Aspy and Gehrke in a baptism by fire on purpose to silence the critics. Unfair to both. Gehrke has never had a turnover on his limited play. One would think something you could build on. There is something going on behind the scenes with this McIntyre Lufaui relationship. Has to be. No one is foolish enough to start a 2-18 starter who just set the 100 year old Pac record of loss percentage of starter with 20 or more starts. It amazes me Rick George does or says nothing. But he’s the one who gave McIntyre a raise months after he was hired and after we beat an NAIA team. Hmmmm

  6. I never thought CU would upset Stanford. But I think an objective look at where this team is, and It is difficult to say CU is a better team this year. The only reason they have been close in Pac-12 games is because the other teams have not been as good as last year. Stanford is though, and the result is the same as it has been in recent years.

    Also, not that it would have given CU a victory, but it is fair to say that 21 points can be pinned on Crawley and Liufau. As a senior, it is not acceptable how Crawley gets beat every time on a double-move, and is unable to close on the ball. His angles and ability to get off a block to tackle is also poor. Liufau has hit his limit. The unforced errors are costly. Why the OC would roll him out on a bootleg on a 4th and goal is bizarre, he is too slow and never rotates his hips to get an accurate through when running side-to-side. I thought the O-line did enough to protect him last week and this week, and he has no excuses anymore.

    I know Apsay didn’t look all that great, but was glad to see him if for nothing else that Liufau could get a break and maybe be fresh next week against USC.

  7. Well, the calling to try out Aspy will stop now obviously. Our team is regressing. We didn’t even try the fourth quarter.

    1. Aspy has not had the benefit of a full week of prep and the opportunity to start and play with all of the starters.It is time for a change and others deserve the opportunity to play.At i believe 2-19 as a PAC12 quarterback it is time to sit Sefo and go with the guys that could be our starters next year.Hopefully they have someone redshirting our this or the next coaching staff can recruit a quarterback.Of course what we’ve seen so far this coaching staff can’t recruit the QB position very well.I will always appreciate and love the effort Sefo has given this program. I wish him nothing but the best.GO BUFFS !!!!!!!!

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