October 3, 2015 – Boulder          Oregon 41, Colorado 24

In a game delayed over an hour due to lightning concerns, Oregon ran for 361 yards in pulling away from Colorado late, winning 38-24 in a game which ended after midnight. Two Ducks ran for over 100 yards, with Royce Freeman going for 163 yards and two touchdowns and Taj Griffin adding 109 yards and a score.

The Colorado offense, which struggled to run the ball all night (77 yards) relied on its passing game to stay with the Ducks. Quarterback Sefo Liufau went 25-for-42 for 230 yards and a score, but he also threw an interception and had a crucial third quarter fumble which led to Oregon’s first two-score of the night in the third quarter.

The Buffs (3-2,0-1), who had been out-scored by an average score of 54-10 in their four previous Pac-12 encounters with the Ducks, held leads of 14-7 and 17-14, and were tied at 17-all at the break, but were not able to keep up with the Oregon offense in the second half. For the game, Oregon posted 537 yards of total offense, to just 307 for the Buffs.

After waiting out a lightning storm, both teams – and a crowd of 46,222 – were anxious to get the game underway (the 9:08 p.m. kickoff becoming the latest in Folsom Field history).

Both teams wanted the ball to start the game, but Oregon won the coin toss, and got to put their better unit, their offense, on the field first. The Ducks, though, were only able to muster one first down before punting the ball away, with a sack of Oregon quarterback Jeff Lockie by defensive tackle Justin Solis throwing the Ducks off schedule.

The Buffs’ first possession, though, was also not what was expected. After missing a wide open Donovan Lee on his second pass of the night, CU quarterback Sefo Liufau threw an interception, setting up the Oregon offense at the Colorado 17-yard line.

Same song, different year.

Instead of giving up a quick touchdown, though, the Colorado defense responded. On a third-and-goal at the CU five yard line, Lockie threw an interception of his own, with Ahkello Witherspoon collecting his first career interception.

CU’s next possession also ended in a turnover, with Phillip Lindsay fumbling the ball away at the Buff 34-yard line. This time, the Ducks were not to be denied. Oregon running back Royce Freeman scored on a 29-yard run, giving Oregon a 7-0 lead six minutes into the game.

Matters looked bleak for the Buffs a few moments later after the CU offense went three-and-out on its third possession, losing 13 yards in the process. Instead of taking advantage, though, Oregon responded with a three-and-out of its own.

The Colorado offense, with two turnovers and a three-and-out to start the game, then put together its first scoring drive of the night. Taking over after a short punt, the Buffs went 65 yards in 11 plays to tie the score. The big play of the drive was a 21-yard pass from Liufau to Phillip Lindsay taking the ball to the Oregon 15 yard line. Three Christian Powell runs, the final coming from two yards out, made it a 7-7 game late in the first quarter.

The Buff defense then forced a three-and-out (aided by a pair of penalties), giving Colorado the ball back with momentum. A 42-yard pass from Liufau to Nelson Spruce for 42 yards gave the Buffs a first-and-goal at the Oregon nine. Two plays later, Liufau hit Shay Fields for an eight yard touchdown, giving CU its first second quarter lead over Oregon as a member of the Pac-12. Colorado 14, Oregon 7.

The quick-strike Oregon offense, then, well, struck quickly. It took the Ducks only three plays to tie the score, with wide receiver Bralon Addison hitting fellow receiver Charles Nelson for a 39-yard touchdown to make it a 14-14 game early in the second quarter.

Then it was CU’s turn to score. A pair of Phillip Lindsay runs netted 16 yards before Liufau hit tight end Sean Irwin for 14 yards. The drive stalled at the Oregon 35 yard line, with Diego Gonzalez called upon to try a 52-yard field goal. The kick was good, giving the Buffs a 17-14 lead midway through the quarter.

The teams traded punts before Oregon put together a field goal drive of their own, with Aidan Schneider connecting on a 39-yard field goal with just under two minutes remaining before the break.

Halftime score: Oregon 17, Colorado 17

The second half did not begin well for the Buffs, with a three-and-out from their offense. Oregon responded with a ten-play drive covering 74 yards, with Royce Freeman taking it in from three yards out to make it a 24-17 game five minutes into the third quarter.

Colorado’s next drive made it as far as the Oregon 35-yard line before Sefo Liufau was stripped of the ball on a sack. The Ducks marched down the field once again, scoring on a two-yard run by Taj Griffin. Oregon 31, Colorado 17.

Down two scores for the first time on the night, the Colorado offense responded with … a three-and-out. Instead of folding, the Buff defense rose to the occasion. On a fourth-and-one at the Oregon 45, Royce Freeman was stopped for no gain, giving Colorado new life with the ball in plus-territory.

A 14-yard run by Sefo Liufau on a scramble set up the CU offense at the Oregon 18-yard line. A Christian Powell 11-yard run was followed by completion to Devin Ross which would have brought about a fourth-and-one, but it turned out to be a fumble, recovered by center Alex Kelley for a first-and-goal at the seven yard line. Two plays later, Sefo Liufau ran the ball in from the seven, and it was a game again, Oregon 31, Colorado 24, with still ten minutes to be played.

Six plays later, the hopes of the Folsom faithful were dashed as backup quarterback Taylor Alie hit Jalen Brown for a 43-yard touchdown. Oregon’s two touchdown lead was back, at 38-24, with just under minutes remaining.

The Buffs would not threaten again, not picking up a first down the remainder of the game, with the Oregon offense chewing up much of the remaining game clock with a field goal drive to ice the contest.

Final score: Oregon 41, Colorado 24

“Our kids definitely believe they can win,” said CU coach Mike MacIntyre, who fell to 1-18 in Pac-12 games. “I don’t know when the last time it was 17-17 at the half with Colorado and Oregon; but in no way shape or form do we take any kind of moral victory. But I do believe our program is growing and I do believe we are going to win our fair share of Pac-12 games this year but we have to take care of the football.”

Oregon was able to run the ball, going for 360 yards on 61 carries. The Ducks’ success on the ground was not a huge surprise, as Oregon came into the game ranked 11th in the nation in rushing. What was a surprise was that Colorado was not able to take advantage of Oregon’s 114th-ranked pass defense, going for only 231 yards and one touchdown.

The talk in the locker room after the game was whether the 17-point loss could still be considered as a “moral victory”. After all, the 24 points were the most Colorado had scored against Oregon in Pac-12 play, and the 41 points by the Ducks was their lowest point total in those same five games.

Moral victory? Perhaps. Perhaps not. A sampling of quotes from the players:

– Center Alex Kelley: “I still think Oregon is a top tier team. We can hang with top tier Pac-12 teams. That’s what I take from this. Every single team in the Pac-12 is good. We didn’t play as well as we can but I think some of the young guys are starting to build confidence”.

– Running back Christian Powell: “If this was two years ago, I would say this was a moral victory. But we felt like we were capable. We just had too many mistakes. We can’t take this as a moral victory. We lost the game and that’s what it is. We just have to work at it and keep moving forward”.

– Running back Phillip Lindsay: “It’s going to be like that every game because it’s a different breed of people now. We’re here to win. We’re not here to just compete anymore. We’re here to win. We need to put big plays together. We’re a team. We have to stay close to each other. That’s giving everybody props when they’re doing well because that’s only going to make our team stronger. It’s about team building”.

While Colorado, which hadn’t been within 34 points of Oregon in its previous four games against the Ducks in Pac-12 play, had cut the margin of defeat in half, the only numbers which mattered were the numbers on the scoreboard, and they read Oregon 41, Colorado 24.

Up next was Arizona State on the road. The Sun Devils were returning home after taking down No. 7 UCLA, 38-23.

More bad numbers for the Buffs … the first two games CU played in Tempe as members of the Pac-12: 48-14 and 54-13.

More bad history, and bad karma, to be overcome.

 

Game Notes –

– With the hour delay due to lightning in the area, the game became the latest start (9:08 p.m.) and latest finish (12:31 a.m.) in Folsom Field history. The previous latest start was against Florida State in 2007 (also an ESPN game), which kicked off at 8:15 p.m. and finished at 11:46 p.m.)

– The light rain which fell during the game was the first actual rain during the contest in Boulder since 2006 (Texas Tech);

– The game was tied 17-17 at the half. In the previous four games between the two teams in Pac-12 play, Oregon held a combined lead of 164-19;

– Ahkello Witherspoon’s interception was the first of his career. He also became the seventh Buff with an interception in the first five games of the season. The last time CU had seven different players with interceptions was in 2010;

 

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10 Replies to “Oregon 41, Colorado 24”

  1. damn close game and it showed how much has changed since the days of the Hawks . I really hope things are changing for the better . just hang in there Buff fans

  2. I agree with Mark about the ineptitude on offense and it took all momentum from the Buffs in the 2nd half. I can’t figure out if this goes to Lindgren or the QB. Against a quality opponent, I don’t see the run game being good enough to spur the passing attack, which seems to be the philosophy at the moment. After 5 games, it looks like a dynamic, quick hitting passing game opens up the run game. I see the Buffs executing on this theme about one quarter per game. The rest of the time it is taking Sefo far too much time to get through the reads and make a decision. I wonder if this is from an overcompensation of too many interceptions last year? I hope to see this part of the game progress, although after 5 games was hoping they would be there already.

    Still confident the Buffs can win a few Pac-12 games this season.

  3. Yo Stuart,

    The Buffs proved that they can play with a top tier team. But they are not far enough along in the process to turn over the ball again and again against good teams and expect to win.

    Also, we know Liufau has been hurting and it effects his passes. They are better (overthrow by 3-4 feet instead of 15 feet) but not where they need to be yet. By next week Sefo should be fine.

    Once again, our Offensive Coordinator Brian Lindgren fails to call plays that get the Buffs in a rhythm. The 2nd half play calling was atrocious. After the long strike to Spruce in the first half, the Buffs failed to take advantage of the Ducks’ secondary by stretching the field and opening things up for the running game. Sometimes Lindgren does well, and other times he is like a deer in the headlights. Methinks that the QB coach should not call the plays. He can stay as coordinator since I think the “planning” is good, I just think he cannot adjust on the fly or react to defensive adjustments. MacIntyre has a few choices: Himself, Line Coach Gary Bernardi, or Troy Walters. Any of them would be better than Lindgren.

    Lastly, I was very disappointed when the Buffs opted to punt on 4th and short when they were down by 14 and only had 7+ minutes left to play. That call basically was the “we give up” from the coaching staff. If they had gone for it and got the first down, the Buffs could have pulled within 7 with five minutes left to play and various options. By giving up the ball to a team we could not stop on the ground in the 2nd half, the coaches abandoned any chance for a comeback. The Buffs still might have lost, but they would have at least fought until the last whistle.

    Mark
    Boulderdevil

  4. Just a quick observation. I was 4 rows behind the Oregon bench and CU looked just a big as OU. I can remember the last time Stanford came to town, the difference in size was obvious. That gap has been closed.

  5. Same song. Same dance different year. 7 points in second half. No way should lose a tied game at at half at home. Mcintire and Sefo comedy hour needs to be cancelled show is getting stale. And no reruns please.

    1. If you are going to bash the coach with every post … you could at least learn how to spell his name correctly.

      1. He is 1-18 in Pac 12 play. Realize it and deal with it. Worst record in Power 5 in last three years. Low 13 straight Pac12 games. Drops Parcels name on a dime. Parcels I’m sure has no idea who he is. Bash? You bet

        1. scott, you are acting as if MacIntyre arrived and took over a Colorado team that had good players and had been winning ball games. He didn’t. It takes time, just as it took Bill McCartney time back in the 80’s to get them ready for prime time.

          And if you thought CU was magically going to be dominant over an Oregon team who has a decade of Top 5 success, you need to pick a different game to watch, because you clearly aren’t watching this game with good sense. Oregon has way better players and we are just now starting to match up. But we are starting to match up. Instead of the 17-17 tie last night, you prefer the 30+ point 1st quarter blow outs in our other match-ups with Oregon?

          1. Thomas,
            You are correct. Those of us who were around back when McCartney turned the program around know what it takes to turn a program around.

            The statement by Scott that we should never lose at home if we are tied at the half, especially when you consider that the Ducks won 13 games last year and played for the National Championship, while we limped home with two wins is ludicrous.

            Methinks that “Scott” may just be a frustrated Cornholer fan who is ticked off that the Fuskers are only 2-3. After all, there ain’t nothing to do in Nebraska except whine about the teams they hate.

            All things considered, five games into the season and the Buffs have as many wins as Nebraska and Texas combined. I take that as a good sign.

            Mark
            Boulderdevil

  6. That was a great game! Going into the fourth I thought CU was going to pitch the upset. Too much hamburger on that Duck O-line though.

    Go Buffs!

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