November 19th – Boulder          No. 12 Colorado 38, No. 20 Washington State 24

Sefo Liufau passed for 345 yards, rushing for another 108 yards and three touchdowns, leading No. 12 Colorado to a 38-24 victory over No. 20 Washington State. The victory, the first for head coach Mike MacIntyre against a ranked team, witnessed 603 yards of total offense from the Buffs, while holding the Cougars to a season-low 24 points.

“He’s the poster boy of our team,” Buff cornerback Chidobe Awuzie said of Liufau. “Everyone from the outside looking in, that’s what Colorado football looks like. He never quits.

“On the interior, in the locker room, we look at him like the guy who’s going to lead us to the promised land. He goes down, but he always comes back. That tough mindset, that gritty mindset — that’s what this team is built on because that’s who he is and that’s who we are.”

Phillip Lindsay had 31 carries for 144 yards and two touchdowns, with the receiving corps being led by Devin Ross, who had eight catches for 121 yards.

Luke Falk went 26-for-53 for 325 yards and three touchdowns for the Cougars, but was held at bay for most of the final three quarters despite the fact that the Buffs were without defensive backs Afodabi Laguda (ejected for targeting in the first quarter) and Ryan Moeller, out with an injury for all of the second half.

It wasn’t exactly a three-and-out, but, after absorbing a pass interference penalty, the Colorado defense forced a punt from the Washington State offense after only five plays on the game’s opening possession.

Taking over at its 19-yard line, the Buff offense engineered a drive which brought smiles to the Folsom Field crowd of 48,658. Converting a pair of third downs along the way, the Colorado offense pieced together a 12-play drive to take the early lead. A pair of completions from quarterback Sefo Liufau to wide receiver Jay MacIntyre took the ball into Cougar territory. A 22-yard run by Phillip Lindsay put the ball at the nine, with Lindsay taking it in on the next play, giving CU a 7-0 lead less than five minutes into the game.

Any hopes that the game would turn into a Colorado rout were quickly dispelled on Washington State’s next drive. The Cougars needed only nine plays to cover 78 yards to tie the score. A 32-yard run by running back Jake Morrow set the Cougars up at the Buff 14, with quarterback Luke Falk hitting wide receiver Robert Lewis for a 14-yard touchdown to tie the score at 7-7 midway through the first quarter.

Momentum was all with Washington State when, on the third play of CU’s next drive, Phillip Lindsay fumbled, setting the Cougars up at the Buff 38-yard line.

Instead of folding, the Buff defense made a stand. Three plays by the WSU offense generated only four yards, and, when Cougar kicker Erik Powell missed a 51-yard field goal, the threat had been averted.

On CU’s ensuing drive, the Buffs quickly found themselves on the Cougars’ side of the field thanks to a 29-yard completion from Liufau to Bryce Bobo. The drive then stalled, however, with the Buffs turning the ball over on downs when a fourth-and-two pass from Liufau to tight end Sean Irwin at the WSU 28-yard line fell incomplete.

Three plays later … Washington State had its first lead of the game.

After an incompletion, Falk hit Taveres Martin for 26 yards before connecting with Jamal Morrow for a 46-yard touchdown. The 38-second drive gave Washington State a 14-7 lead late in the first quarter.

The Buffs tried to respond, with a 31-yard completion from Liufau to Devin Ross again giving the Buffs a possession in enemy territory. There, however, the drive fizzled, with Alex Kinney called upon for CU’s first punt of the game.

The Cougars, with their first opportunity to take a two-score lead, again quickly marched into Colorado territory. A 42-yard pass from Falk to Martin made the Buff fans nervous, but the Buff defense again rose to the occasion. On fourth-and-seven at the CU 26-yard line, Washington State opted to eschew the field goal attempt, with the Buffs taking the ball back after Falk’s fourth down pass fell incomplete.

The Buff offense then put together its second long drive of the first half, taking ten plays to cover 74 yards to tie the score. A pair of completions from Liufau to Devin Ross, the first covering nine yards, the second 21, put the ball in plus territory. A 12-yard completion from Liufau to Jay MacIntyre kept the drive alive on a third down, with three straight runs by Liufau in the red zone, the final one for three yards and a score, made it 14-14 midway through the second quarter.

Washington State then launched its third long drive of the first half. The Cougars went 65 yards in 13 plays, but could not finish the drive with a touchdown. Kicker Erik Powell, called upon for the second time in the half, was true on this opportunity, hitting from 28 yards out to make it a 17-14 game.

After a three-and-out from the CU offense, including a sack of Sefo Liufau, the Cougars had yet another opportunity to take a two-score lead. Instead, the Buff defense held the Cougars to a three-and-out. After a one-yard punt – yes, a one-yard punt – by WSU punter Kyle Sweet, the Buffs had a chance late in the half to tie the score.

A 23-yard pass from Liufau to MacIntyre got the ball inside the red zone, but three incomplete passes later, kicker Nick Price was called upon to tie the score with eight seconds remaining before the break. The 38-yard effort, though, was no good, leaving the Cougars in the lead.

Halftime score: No. 20 Washington State 17, No. 12 Colorado 14

The Colorado offense, which scored on its first drive of the first half, scored on its first drive of the second half to re-claim the lead.

An 11-play, 71-yard drive was almost a three-and-out, but Sefo Liufau hit Devin Ross for a ten-yard gain on third-and-nine. The remainder of the drive was largely left to Liufau, who had runs of five, eight and 16 yards before finishing off the drive with a seven yard scoring run. Four minutes into the second half, and CU was back on top, 21-17.

After forcing a punt out of the Cougars, the Buffs had their first chance to take a two-score lead. The Buffs gained 50 yards of ground, but the drive ended on a fourth-and-seven at the WSU 38-yard line, with a Liufau-to-Ross completion gaining only five yards.

The Cougars then launched their third long touchdown drive of the game, covering 67 yards in seven plays (CU had only given up three touchdown drives in their first four home games, none longer than 40 yards). The drive was completed on a seven-yard touchdown pass from Luke Falk to John Thompson. Washington State 24, Colorado 21, late in the third quarter.

Down a field goal, the Buffs put the ball into Phillip Lindsay’s hands. Lindsay took off on a 12-yard run to open the drive, then went 27 yards on a pass from Sefo Liufau. The drive was kept alive when Liufau hit Jay MacIntyre for 15 yards on third-and-five, with Liufau completing the series with his third touchdown rushing of the afternoon. The 11-yard run completed an eight-play, 75-yard drive, giving the Buffs the lead back, at 28-24, in the final minute of the third quarter.

Washington State responded with yet another long drive, but came up empty in the red zone. Faced with a four-point deficit and a fourth-and-four at the CU 18-yard line, WSU head coach Mike Leach again eschewed the field goal attempt. Luke Falk’s pass to Kyle Sweet was complete, but defensive back Nick Fisher held Sweet to a three yard gain, giving the ball back to the Buffs.

The Colorado offense, which went over 600 yards on the night, put together another long drive. A 17-yard completion to Jay MacIntyre on third-and-seven at the CU 18, followed by an 18-yard completion to Shay Fields on third-and-seven at midfield, kept the drive alive. The drive stalled at the WSU 27, however, when quarterback Sefo Liufau went out with an injury. With the Buff Nation holding its collective breath, kicker Chris Graham entered the game, and calmly hit a 46-yard field goal, giving CU a 31-24 lead with nine minutes to play.

Then the Buff defense, which had held the Cougars to ten points over the previous two quarters, rose to the occasion. The Cougars were held to a three-and-out, with Luke Falk, who had evaded the Buffs all night, being sacked by Addison Gillam to force a punt.

Smelling blood, the Buff offense went in for the kill. An eight-play, 63-yard scoring drive included a highlight trick play which ended with Sefo Liufau completing a 23-yard pass to Devin Ross. A 13-yard scoring run up the middle by Phillip Lindsay, carrying Cougar defenders along for the ride, gave CU a two-touchdown lead, at 38-24, with four minutes to play.

In the final moments, the Buff defense, which hadn’t forced a turnover all game, forced two.

The first, a fumble forced by Jimmie Gilbert and recovered by Addison Gillam, effectively ended the game with less than three minutes remaining. The second, a Tedric Thompson interception with 26 seconds remaining, was the icing on the cake.

Final score: No. 12 Colorado 38, No. 20 Washington State 24

“That fourth down stand at the beginning of the fourth quarter was the turning point in the game,” said coach Mike MacIntyre, “when Nick Fisher made the tackle there. Nick had to come in and play a lot tonight after we lost Afolabi [Laguda] and Ryan Moeller. I’m very proud of him. We talk all the time about – you have to start in your role, whatever your role is, and everybody’s dreams can come true. We’re marching to try to get our dreams to come true.”

Colorado posted a season-high 603 yards of total offense, with Sefo Liufau passing for 345 yards and rushing for 108 more. The Buffs rushing attack was led by Phillip Lindsay, who went over 2,000 yards rushing for his career, and 1,000 yards rushing for the season, with a 31-carry, 144-yard effort. The Buffs had no passing touchdowns, but five scores on the ground, with Liufau scoring three times; Lindsay twice.

“It was a big win,” said Lindsay. “We have something called the gold games and we have gold bricks. So any time we beat a ranked team we get a gold brick. This is our first time since we’ve been ranked that we get a gold brick so it’s a pretty big deal for us. We’re excited and we’re happy and we have to continue to ride this wave and get ready for the next game.”

Here are the YouTube video highlights of the game …

Game Notes … 

— The 400th all-time home victory for the Colorado program left the Buffs with a 9-2 record, the 14th nine-win season in school history … and the first nine-win season since 2002;

— The 2002 season was also the last time the Buffs had a five-game winning streak … and a five-game winning streak in conference play;

— The victory gave the Buffs a 5-0 home record, the first such start (with one home game remaining) since the 1994 team also opened 5-0 at home;

— Attendance was the largest of the Mike MacIntyre era, 48,658, with 70 more in attendance than for the Arizona State game earlier in the season;

— The victory snapped a 23-game losing streak to ranked teams, dating back to a 34-30 over No. 17 Kansas in 2009. It was also the first win over a ranked team for Mike MacIntyre (1-12 at CU; 1-19 overall);

— The two created turnovers extended the Buffs’ streak of games with at least one turnover to 24 straight games, the nation’s longest current streak;

— Nick Fisher, subbing for the ejected Afolabi Laguda, had six tackles (he had five for his career coming into the game), including the game-turning stop on fourth down in the fourth quarter;

— Jay MacIntyre had seven catches for 90 yards and five first downs … all career highs;

— Linebacker Jimmie Gilbert had his sixth forced fumble of the season, tying him for the nation’s lead;

— Sefo Liufau had 453 yards of total offense, the sixth-highest single game total in school history. Liufau had career highs in carries (23), rushing yards (108); and rushing touchdowns (3);

— Phillip Lindsay (31 carries for 144 yards; five catches for 50 yards) … became the first 1,000-yard rusher (1,081) for the Buffs since 2010 (Rodney Stewart). Lindsay also became the 19th Buff with over 2,000 career rushing yards (2,125).

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23 Replies to “No. 12 Colorado 38, No. 20 Washington State 24”

  1. Last year I was all over Sefo like cake on a fat brides face.But i stand here a humbled man. Sefo is as fine a QB as I have seen don a Buffs uniform. Never quit never say die. I apologize
    for doubting you young man. GO BUFFS

  2. For sheer “will to win” this is as big a game as CU has played in decades. Sefo was all you could ask for in a leader and this team loves him. My favorite memory of this game will be Lindsey meeting the defensive back at the 4 and the DB going backwards into the end zone. CU was simply stronger body and mind in the 4th quarter.

  3. No complaints about this one. Most satisfying win in probably the last 10 years considering what was at stake. Total team effort, but probably a play that exemplified a team victory as much as many great plays was the play by Nick Fisher in the 4th Qtr.

    Looks like UCLA didn’t give us any help tonight, but who cares? The way this season has gone the Buffs just need to go out and earn the Div. Title the hard way and beat the Utes. That is as it should be with this team. When these guys get together years from now they can revel in the memory that nothing came cheap and that all the hard work paid off to finally transform this program.

  4. The crowd chanting sefo’s name when he went down with an injury (what happened there?) almost brought a tear to my eye. Sefo has been amazing for this program. You can’t ask more of a four year starter than cu has asked of him. What a warrior he is

    1. You nailed it Chirality. Sitting in the West stand s and hearing Sefo’s schoolmates chanting his name was immensely moving. He has been the face of “The Rise”, taken the abuse when the team struggled, and made a miraculous recovery this year. So glad that Davis Webb didn’t end up here, it couldn’t have worked out better with Sefo making the comeback that he has.

  5. I just want to say, that as a 82 Buff, I still hate Bugahaw worse than dog sh*t on my shoes…wish we could meet them in the Rose bowl and wipe up the field with um. Glad to see the Buffs back on top.

  6. Awesome win! Great to see the Buffs take over the game in the second half. What an atmosphere at Folsom! Looking forward to the Utes. Wittingham is a good coach and will have them ready to play.

    Go Buffs!!!

  7. play calling wasnt a factor as the Buff O line seem to have the edge. Still the flea flicker dropped my jaw. Utah is a jekyll and hyde team. I hope Lingering has a couple of plan Bs if they come in to play

    1. The play calling was nice. Only uttered a lingering word once or twice. Yup that flea flicker “screen pass”………..what it turned into a screen pass? Holy Moly. Sefo said they been practicing it for two weeks and didn’t even know why they called it.

      The running game was awesome. Calling those deep passes out of the chute was great. Even though Sefo missed a few of em early (and late) that approach really helped the running game going forward. The oline blocking was very very good. Lots of good comments just about everywhere.

      Stadium was fantabulous.

      So we know

      Total defense pac 12 conference games
      2013 #11
      2014 #11
      2015 #7
      2016 #1

      Defense scoring pac 12 conference games

      2013 #11
      2014 #11
      2015 #7
      2016 #1

      Total offense pac 12 conference games

      2013 #12
      2014 #5
      2015 #11
      2016 #6

      Total scoring pac 12 conference games
      2013 #11
      2014 #8
      2015 #11
      2016 #7

      What a great defense and the New O is back on track too

      3 games to go eh?

  8. I was a Sefo hater until Michigan. He won me over that day. Not sure I’ve watched a tougher Buff in my lifetime and I started in 1980.

  9. Last year the Buffs lost to WSU 27 to 3
    The Buffs had 30 rushing plays and 41 passing plays. Lindgrening
    Falk was 27 of 35. Leavitt year 1

    This year the Buffs won 38 to 24
    The Buffs had 41 passing plays and 59 rushing plays. Chev
    Falk was 26 of 53. Leavitt year 2

    Buffalo Up

      1. Vk tends to see things through his own lense.

        Mine? Depth. Mac and co have found and developed depth.

        Playoffs?! We talkin’ bout playoffs?!

        Maybe. Just maybe.

        Go Buffs!

        1. I couldn’t agree more with the depth comment. The players in the secondary that stepped up, in what has been an injury free area of the team, gave me more joy than almost anything I’ve seen from this team. All year we’ve heard about the (deserving) senior class and what they’ve gone through to now be playing with this much experience, but for the younger kids to fill in so nicely proves these coaches are truly teaching. Of coarse the hire of Leavitt can’t be understated just as much, if not more than the hiring of Chev.

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