November 12th – at Arizona           No. 16 Colorado 49, Arizona 24

Colorado ran its record to 8-2 with a harder-than-it-looked 49-24 victory on the road against Arizona. The Buffs were out-gained by the Wildcats, 412 yards to 388, but costly penalties (13 for 138 yards) and three missed field goals kept the Wildcats from making it a game.

The Colorado offense did produce a 100-yard rusher (Phillip Lindsay, 25 carries for 119 yards and three touchdowns), and a 100-yard receiver (Shay Fields, six catches for 108 yards and two touchdowns), but the Buff offense seemed out of sync for much of the evening. Sefo Liufau had his first three-touchdown pass game since the Michigan contest in September, finishing with 19-of-27 passing for 213 yards.

The Colorado defense struggled at times as well. The Buffs came into the game surrendering only 117.6 yards per game rushing (17th in the nation), but gave up 186 yards rushing to the Wildcats in the first half alone (and 262 yards for the game). The 412 total yards surrendered were over 100 yards over the 296.9 yards per game the Buffs had posted in the first nine games of the season.

The victory gave the Buffs an 8-2 overall record, 6-1 in Pac-12 play. The eight wins represented the highest total since 2004, with the team’s first four game winning streak the longest since 2002.

“It was a good win for us”, said Mike MacIntyre. “Rich Rod(riguez) does a heck of a job and they’ve beat us three years in a row now and we finally got them. The last time we were here, we got beat pretty good, so I am excited about what we have done and we are going to get some In-n-Out Burger after this.”

 

On the opening kickoff, which went for a touchback, Arizona was called for a personal foul … setting the tone for the rest of the game. The Wildcats’ first possession, after a holding call, quickly stalled, giving the Colorado offense its first opportunity.

The Buffs then pieced together a 16-play, 81-yard drive to take the lead. The Buffs converted four third down conversions on the drive … a five-yard pass from Sefo Liufau to Jay MacIntyre on third-and-four; a 16-yard pass from Liufau to Devin Ross on third-and-six; a Liufau run for seven yards on third-and-one; and a Liufau run for four yards on third-and-two.

The final Liufau run gave the Buffs a first-and-goal at the one, with Phillip Lindsay taking it in from there. The methodical drive took over five minutes off the clock, giving CU a 7-0 lead midway through the first quarter.

Instead of laying down, however, the 2-7 Wildcats responded. The Arizona offense launched an 11-play drive of their own, but the drive stalled when the Wildcats were called for a leg whip at the Buff 20-yard line, pushing the ball back 15 yards. Arizona kicker Josh Pollack was called upon three plays later for a 44-yard field goal attempt, but Pollack hooked the attempt, keeping it a 7-0 game.

After a Colorado punt, Arizona put together its first scoring drive of the half. A 20-yard run by quarterback Brandon Dawkins was quickly followed by a 50-yard completion from Brandon Dawkins to wide receiver Shun Brown. The eight-play, 85-yard drive was culminated by three-yard touchdown run by Samajie Grant, tying the score at 7-7 early in the second quarter.

The game didn’t remain tied for long.

On the third play of CU’s ensuing drive, Sefo Liufau hit Shay Fields for a 47-yard gain down to the Arizona four yard line. Phillip Lindsay scored on the next play, and, after just 53 seconds of game clock, the Buffs were back in the lead, at 14-7.

Presented with a second opportunity to fold, the Wildcats instead responded with another long drive. A 45-yard run by Samajie Grant was the highlight of a 69-yard effort. The Arizona offense, though, ranked 112th in the nation in red zone offense, stalled inside the CU ten yard line. Pollack connected this time, from 23 yards out, to make it a 14-10 game midway through the second quarter.

On CU’s next drive, a 22-yard run by Phillip Lindsay put the Buffs inside Wildcat territory. The drive appeared to come to an end on a completion from Liufau to Bryce Bobo for no gain on third-and-six at the Arizona 31 yards line … but … the Wildcats were called for a late hit on the play, keeping the drive alive. Two plays later, Liufau hit Shay Fields for a 15-yard touchdown. With 5:45 to play before the break, the Buffs had their first two-score lead, at 21-10.

When the Buff defense forced a fumble on Arizona’s next possession (fumble forced by Ryan Moeller, recovered by Rick Gamboa), the opportunity for the Buffs to make the game into a rout again presented itself. Instead, the Buff offense went three-and-out.

The Wildcat offense responded with a three-and-out of its own, and, this time, the Colorado offense took advantage. On the fourth play of the CU drive, Sefo Liufau hit Jay MacIntyre for a 40-yard touchdown. MacIntyre’s first career score finally gave the Buffs some breathing room, at 28-10, with less than 90 seconds before the break.

Instead of folding, the Arizona offense put together yet another drive. A 20-yard run by Brandon Dawkins put the ball at the CU 17-yard line with 44 seconds still left on the clock. There, the Buff defense stiffened, with Dawkins called for intentional grounding on third-and-10. The resulting 16-yard loss pushed the ball back to the 33-yard line, with kicker Josh Pollack missing a 50-yarder to end the threat.

Halftime score: No. 16 Colorado 28, Arizona 10

 

The Buffs had a three-score lead at the break, but were far from comfortable. Arizona had out-gained Colorado, 271 yards to 228, and the Buff defense, giving up 117.6 rushing yards per game coming into the contest, had surrendered 186 yards in the first half. If not for nine penalties (for 87 yards) and two missed field goals, it would have been a game.

The Wildcats looked primed to make it interesting as the third quarter opened.

After forcing a quick three-and-out from the Colorado offense, Arizona launched a methodical 14-play drive. Once again the Wildcats made into the Buff red zone … and once again came up empty.

On third-and-three at the CU 18, quarterback Brandon Dawkins was sacked by linebacker Jimmie Gilbert. The loss of nine yards brought Josh Pollack in for a 44-yard attempt. Pollack’s third miss of the night, though, left the Wildcats with nothing other than more an additional accumulation of yards on the stats sheet.

On CU’s second drive of the third quarter, the offense clicked. Aided by a pass interference penalty on a third-and-seven, the Buffs put together a seven-play, 73-yard scoring drive. The drive was culminated on a 27-yard touchdown pass from Sefo Liufau to Shay Fields, pushing the lead to 35-10 with five minutes remaining in the third quarter.

After a quick three-and-out from the Arizona offense, the Buffs looked to put the game away. Three runs by Phillip Lindsay went for 26 yards, setting the Buffs up inside Wildcat territory.

Later, on third-and-six at the Arizona 13, Liufau hit Bryce Bobo for ten yards and a first-and-goal at the three. Two plays later, Sefo Liufau did the honors himself, scoring from two yards out.

Colorado 42, Arizona 10, with less than a minute remaining in the third quarter.

The Arizona players would have been forgiven for giving up with a 32-point deficit and a quarter to play before a mostly empty home stadium. Instead, the Wildcats continued to fight. Anu Solomon came in at quarterback, and sparked the Arizona offense.

It took the Wildcats only seven plays – and only 2:10 of game clock – to score. Samajie Grant scored his second touchdown of the game, this time from three yards out, to make it a 42-17 game early in the fourth quarter.

Instead of back onto the field to restore order, the Colorado offense instead fueled the Arizona fire. On the second play of the drive, a Sefo Liufau pass attempt was tipped, with the ball intercepted by Brandon Rutt at the CU 33-yard line.

Three plays later, Arizona was on the board again.

A 29-yard run by Shun Brown on a reverse gave the Wildcats a first-and-goal at the four. Two plays later, Zach Green took it in from two yards out. Colorado 42, Arizona 24 … with still over 12 minutes remaining.

The Buff offense responded … with a three-and-out, giving the Wildcats new life.

The Arizona offense, though, could not move the ball, also going three-and-out.

The Buff offense, with another opportunity to close the door on the contest … went three-and-out once again.

The Wildcat offense, with one last chance to make it a game … went three-and-out again.

The Buffs offense, again, went three-and-out … except that the Wildcats were called for a personal foul after Sefo Liufau was stopped on third down. Given a second chance, the Buffs finally capitalized, with Phillip Lindsay taking it in from 34 yards out. The run put Lindsay over 100 yards for the night, and finally put the game to bed, with CU taking a 49-24 lead with 3:34 to play.

Final score: No. 16 Colorado 49, Arizona 24

 

The Wildcats had the better of it on the stats sheet, out-gaining the Buffs, 412-388. Several stats were telling, however. Arizona committed 13 penalties for 138 yards, with several penalties keeping alive Colorado scoring drives.

Then there was the red zone.

Arizona had six opportunities in the redzone against Colorado, while the Buffs had only four. The Wildcats, though, scored only three touchdowns in those six chances inside the 20, while the Colorado offense scored touchdowns on all four trips.

“I think it was really important for us as an offense to get back on track, and go out there and put up points on the board, because we’ve really been leaving our defense out to dry these past couple of weeks,” said Sefo Liufau, who had 213 yards passing (19-of-27, three touchdowns and one interception) to go with 56 yards rushing and a fourth touchdown. “And so I think for the most part we did very well in terms of scoring points. There’s a couple things we could have done better, and that all falls back on me. So I’ll look at those mistakes and make sure we’re better for Washington State.”

 

Here is the YouTube video of the game, courtesy of CU at the Gamer Paul:

… Game Notes … 

— Sefo Liufau made his 36th career start at quarterback for the Buffs, another CU record for the senior quarterback (his 82nd). Liufau eclipsed the old record of 35, set by Darian Hagan;

— The Buffs forced one turnover against the Wildcats, extending the nation’s best streak to 23 straight games;

— Jay MacIntyre posted his first career touchdown with his 40-yard reception in the second quarter;

— Phillip Lindsay had 119 yards rushing on 25 carries, with three touchdowns. His 119 yards gave him 937 for the season, edging him closer to becoming the first 1,000-yard rusher for the Buffs since Rodney Stewart in 2010. With 1,981 career rushing yards, Lindsay moved to within 19 yards of becoming CU’s 20th player with over 2,000 career rushing yards;

— The loss dropped Arizona to 2-8, 0-7 in Pac-12 play. The Buffs improved to 8-2 against the Wildcats in games played in Tucson, with a 14-5 overall lead in the series.

 

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14 Replies to “No. 16 Colorado 49, Arizona 24”

  1. Looking forward to next year and beyond, I hope the Buffs can get some speed in the front 7 of the defense.

    Last night when AU had their mobile QB in the game, he and the wide receiver now runner made the CU front seven look like sumo wrestlers chasing Jamaican sprinters.

    Also needed: more tackles made by line backers. Gillam had 3, and Gamboa had 3. How can a line backer play a whole game and make just 3 tackles?

  2. Mein Gott, is this next game gonna be pressured packed. The Co-Oc’s are going up against the Pirate.

    I hate that logo. Burn it.

  3. Looks to me like our Buffs are still looking to play a complete game, in all phases, during their Gold Games; the games they’ll remember, being played in November.

    That’s not altogether surprising, really. It’s hard to be great every week.

    I’m sure they will get there in these last four (or, dare I say five?) games. I don’t think Leavitt and Co forgot how to coach stopping the ground game, and a mobile QB. In fact, they did it a bit, at least, in the Red Zone, if not entirely in the other 80 yards of the field.

    Definitely need to contain both Wazzu and UT’s newfound rushing attacks. I believe they will. I really do (to paraphrase a great coach).

    Similarly, I don’t think Lindgren and Chev have forgotten what’s been effective on offense. Yes, even sans Tight Ends in the passing game (they’re there, just blocking, not catching; allows them to go power, or spread, and keep the opposing D’s covering more of the field; I’m sure the TE’s have been catching everything thrown their way in practice, and the staff is just too stubborn to use them that way in a game. Yeah, that’s it – yes, sarcasm).

    CU can win out. They really can. It starts w/ Wazzu next week. Doesn’t look like the Cougs are in “Couging it” mode, so… it’ll definitely come down to some complete play in all phases.

    But, I’ll give the edge to our Buffs in all those phases, as well. I don’t know that Wazzu has seen a defense as well-rounded as our Buffs’.

    Should be a great game. Another one. In a historic season, as our Buffs continue putting the lost decade of CU football further behind us.

    Go Buffs!

    PS- how ’bout this for some symmetry: It’s possible – granted, not too likely, but possible – that CU wins out, and is a 2-loss Pac 12 Champ. Earns a bid in the playoff. Plays Bama. The last team they faced in a bowl, with opposite trajectories since. Symmetry.

    Go Buffs!

  4. When the game time was announced a few weeks back, I was very concerned. Then, UofA gets destroyed the week before and I got even more nervous. I was at the game and must say that was one of the oddest games (as far as atmosphere) that I’ve ever attended in my life. It was so quiet and lifeless in that stadium and the tv timeouts felt like they went on forever. It was so quiet at times that you could hear individuals remarks from the other side of the stadium. The fact that the O was able to come up with some big plays when they needed to calmed my nerves. I’m a bit concerned at how slow we looked on D, but UofA does have some unbelievable speed and played to their strengths.

    I don’t believe the Buffs took that one for granted, but I truly believe the atmosphere in that stadium really had an effect. The fact that we were able to come out with a win was huge. Not sure if we do in previous seasons. The fact the last two games are at home is HUGE! Folsom will be rocking and the boys will respond! They have found ways to win in so many different ways this season and just need to focus and prepare for these last two like they have each week this season. Go Buffs!!

  5. The Buffs have played down to their competition the last 3 weeks. Sefo looked a little better than against Stanford and UCLA but he still missed some open receivers. I have a feeling the team will play lights out this week as they can see that WSU is playing at a high level.

    USC is going to win out so the Buffs cannot afford a loss next Saturday. Fully expected USC to expose UW last night. The only unfortunate thing is CU needed Washington to remain undefeated to have any chance (outside as it may have been) at the top 4 playoff slots.

    Regardless, I’ll take this version of the Buffs over any of the last 10 years worth of teams!
    Fire up boys, Leach’s legions are coming to town with a powerful balanced attack!

    The Buffs are back!

  6. I didn’t think I would feel this way after the Buffs have finally turned this program around, even at 8-2 I am somewhat disappointed at last nights win. While the score was in the area it should have been the game just should not have been as close as it got for a time in the fourth quarter.

    AZ is just a devastated and very poor team, just as the Buffs were at the end of the Embree era and the beginning of the Mac II regime.

    There were times on offense when our running game never seemed to really get going with much more then a 3 or so yard gain, and at times Sefo again held the ball way to long on many of the passing plays. Those aspects just should not have been so prevalent in the game against this team.

    On the defense I was very disappointed in how they allowed the Wildcats to run against them. If AZ had truly had their running backs that they started the season with and Anu Solomon was not as damaged as he is and the D had played like they did this would have been the trap game that we all worried about. The DLine really got gashed a lot and there was really a lack of strong pass rush against a really inferior team.

    This sounds depressing, and yes we are 8-2 but we better get ready to play like we played early in the year as this coming Sat we will be in a shoot out with a team that will be coming at us relentlessly.

    1. I agree. Though I am pumped about 8-2, first place in the Pac 12 South with two big home games coming up, and happy about beating the Wildcats, I felt, at the end of the game, that the Buffs sure better play better come next Saturday or they will get beat. There were way too many running yards and gashers and Sefo held onto the ball too long sometimes. In some way though, perhaps this will motivate the coaches and players to bring their A game and it is good timing. The team has been focused much of the year but this did not seem to be one of their best from the standpoint of having their heads in the game. Time to put it all together next Saturday. Go Buffs!!!

  7. Once again, the only conservatives in Colorado are the Oc’s. What the hell is this play calling about? Chevarini was on fire early in the year. Did he concede his Texas Tech type of offense to the Lindgren retread. Mac, you must dump Lindgren. Turn it over to The Real Buff!
    A little concerned over the lack of execution at times by Sefo. Didn’t seem focused. Stood in the pocket way to long at times. It better improve by next week or C.U. will be losing out to the Trojans.

  8. Go Buffs.

    Excellent win.

    AZ looked like the Buffs the last ten years.

    Three pretty sloppy games in a row. But all wins. Nice.

    Efficiency ratings from ESPN:

    Offense……………#20
    Defense……………#7
    Special teams………#110
    Overall……………#7

    WSU is 16, 36, 62 and 19 respectively.

    Should be a great game between the two division leaders.

    Buffs are gonna have to play the A game in all areas.

    % chance to win the game

    WSU vs CU
    WSU 40.8 %
    CU 52.9 %

    Utah vs CU
    Utah 24.8 %
    CU 75.2 %

    This has to be the best week of preparation yet.
    This has to be the week the D gets back on track in a total manner.
    This has to be the week the offense goes from Lindgrening back to Chev/Lindy
    This has to be the week the ST, with Price back has its very best week.
    This has to be the week there are no coaching errors in preparation, in-game, and in-game adjustments.

    Bowl bound. Historic season on the brink.

    Buffs are now the hunted. Turn on those hunters and smash em down hard.

  9. Sloppy sloppy tackling. Lot less lockdown in the secondary. The Buff D under performed for a change. If it wasnt for the missed field goals and AZ penalties this could have been a lot closer. I voted for the bottom question in the poll.
    I do love the bombs away approach of the O however. Still, all the other receivers besides Fields were pretty quiet and seems like the already thin play book shrank even more pages. The run game appears to need some more diverse blocking schemes and misdirection. Its a good thing Sefo is as tough as he is or we would be down to Jay as the QB.
    Almost feel bad for Rich Rod with his injuries and lack of talent. The Buff’s skill position talent won this game for them.
    We are going to need a complete game from all positions including the coaches to win the next 2. You can bet Whittingham and Leach have the Buff’s offense figured out. If MM, BL and DC are ever going to put some new wrinkles into the O including resurrecting the TE now is the time to do it.

  10. It seems allot of the kids have this crud going around and were playing ill. The announcer said that many of the players have a virus that is going around campus. If it is what I came down with this week, then they must have been miserable. Hopefully they didn’t catch Mono from Price. Wouldn’t that be terrible?

  11. Yo Stuart,

    Ugly win. Looked the Buffs were taking this one for granted. Next week, though, it’s the #1 teams from the Pac-12 North and South facing off in Folsom Field. How exciting is that? Let’s hope the house is packed and rocking. We need to reward these guys with an SELLOUT!

    Go BUFFS!

    Mark
    Boulderdevil

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