September 17th – at Michigan          No. 4 Michigan 45, Colorado 28

Colorado jumped out a to a 14-0 lead on Michigan in the first five minutes, but special teams mistakes and an injured quarterback prevented the Buffs from coming up with an upset, falling on the road to the 4th-ranked Wolverines, 45-28.

Sefo Liufau went 16-for-25 for 246 yards and three touchdowns, but left the game in the third quarter with a right leg injury. After Liufau left the game, the Buff offense faltered, allowing the Wolverines to turn an close game into a 17-point victory.

Shay Fields had seven catches for 99 yards and a score, with Devin Ross collecting seven receptions for 77 yards and two scores. The Buffs, though, were held to just 64 total yards rushing on 33 carries, a 1.9 yard average. Overall, Colorado had 325 yards, holding Michigan to 397. The Buffs, who were 4th in the nation in third down conversion offense coming into the game (66.2%), were held to 1-of-13 in third down conversions by the Wolverine defense.

“The message to our team was that we got a good football team”, said Mike MacIntyre, who fell to 0-19 against ranked teams (0-12 at Colorado). “We have to correct a few things. When you are playing another good football team, you have to do some of those things better so we will go back and correct them and move forward to the next game.”

In the first half of its first two games of the 2016 season, Colorado out-scored its opponents 80-0.

In the first half of its first two games of the 2016 season, No. 4 Michigan out-scored its opponents 69-7.

Clearly, something had to give in the first half of the game pitting the Buffs against the Wolverines.

Much to the surprise of the 110,042 on hand in Ann Arbor, it was Colorado which jumped out to the early lead.

After former Michigan assistant coach Bill McCartney was honored at the opening kickoff, the Buff defense held the Michigan offense to one first down before forcing a punt. Jay MacIntyre returned the punt 32 yards to set the Buffs up at the Michigan 49-yard line.

On the Buffs’ first play from scrimmage, CU used a trick play. A direct snap to Donovan Lee, a pitch to Jay MacIntyre, and a toss to Sefo Liufau netted 14 yards. After a three-yard loss on a run by Phillip Lindsay, Sefo Liufau’s first pass of the day was a 37-yard touchdown pass to Devin Ross. Colorado 7, Michigan 0, just 2:23 into the game.

Three plays later, the Buffs were on the board again. On third-and-seven at the Michigan 28, senior cornerback Chidobe Awuzie blitzed, sacking Wolverine quarterback Wilton Speight and forcing a fumble. Defensive end Derek McCartney scooped up the ball at the Michigan 18, taking the ball in for a Colorado touchdown and a 14-0 Buff lead with 11:48 still remaining in the first quarter.

The Buff defense forced another punt out of the Wolverine offense, but this time, the Colorado offense could not capitalize. Back to punt for first time in the game, special teams failed the Buffs. Sophomore punter Alex Kinney had his punt blocked, with the punt recovered by Wolverine Grant Perry for a Michigan touchdown.

A 30-yard kickoff return to Tony Julmisse gave the Buffs back some momentum, setting up a ten-play, 67-yard drive. A ten-yard run by Phillip Lindsay, an 18-yard pass to Shay Fields and a 16-yard pass to Kabion Ento set the Buffs up inside the Michigan ten-yard line. A six-yard touchdown pass from Liufau to Devin Ross upped CU’s lead to 21-7 with 3:49 remaining in the first quarter.

The Buff defense forced another punt on the Wolverines’ next possession, with CU taking over at its 20-yard line. On the first play of the possession, Liufau hit Bryce Bobo for a career-long 50-yard gain, with the first quarter coming to an end with the Buffs in the Michigan red zone.

A pretty nice first quarter … nine plays of ten yards or longer for the Buff offense, and a 21-7 lead.

Then … the second quarter.

The Colorado drive stalled at the Michigan 19-yard line, with Diego Gonzalez shanking a 36-yard field goal attempt.

The teams then traded punts – well, almost.

Alex Kinney’s second punt of the afternoon went about as well as the first. He got it off … right into the backside of one of his upmen, with Michigan taking over at the CU 38-yard line. Two plays later, Michigan was on the board, with Jehu Chesson scoring on a 17-yard sweep. Colorado 21, Michigan 14, still early in the second quarter.

A three-and-out from the Buffs brought Alex Kinney back onto the field. This time he got the punt off, but the 44 yard punt was returned 19 yards, setting the Wolverines up at the CU 38-yard line.

With a short field (and momentum), the Wolverines got into the CU red zone before stalling. There, Michigan kicker Kenny Allen mimicked Diego Gonzalez, shanking a 37-yard field goal attempt.

After another short punt from Kinney and another decent 13-yard return, the Wolverines took over at their 37-yard line. Aided by a 15-yard penalty on CU defensive coordinator Jim Leavitt for getting too close to the field of play, Michigan drove inside the Buff 20 before stalling. This time, Kenny Allen was true, hitting a 39-yard field goal to make it a 21-17 game with two minutes before the break.

A lead of any sort at the break would have been welcome news to the Buff Nation, but the Colorado offense couldn’t make it happen. A three-and-out and another short punt and return (25 yards net) gave Michigan the ball with under a minute to play. There, Speight hit Amara Darboh on a short pass, which, with the help of a few missed tackles, turned into a 45-yard touchdown with 33 seconds before halftime.

Halftime score: No. 4 Michigan 24, Colorado 21

For the Buffs, the second half started out as well as the first. After two plays netted ten yards, Sefo Liufau hit Shay Fields for a 70-yard touchdown.

But it came at a cost.

On the play before, Liufau was tackled on a four-yard run, injuring his right leg.

Back in the lead, 28-24, it was up to the Buffs special teams and defense to deliver … and they didn’t.

A 55-yard kickoff return put the ball in Colorado territory, with De’Veon Smith scoring on a 42-yard run to give the Wolverines the lead right back, at 31-28, less than two minutes into the third quarter.

Sefo Liufau returned for the next series … but it was three-and-out, including a sack on third down.

The Colorado defense rose to the occasion, giving the ball back to the Buff offense at the Michigan 44-yard line after a 16-yard punt return by Jay MacIntyre. With red-shirt freshman Steven Montez under center, the Buffs got as far as the Michigan 29-yard line before a sack of Montez forced a CU punt.

This time, the Michigan offense was not to be denied. A ten-play, 80-yard drive ensued, capped by a one-yard run by Ty Isaac. Late in the third, the Wolverines had their first double-digit lead of the game, at 38-28.

The teams traded punts before the CU special teams made yet another mistake.

After two blocked punts (one by a CU upback), the Buffs were understandably gun shy about protection. That left return game vulnerable, with Michigan All-American candidate taking an Alex Kinney offering back 54 yards for a touchdown.

What was once a game was now a rout. Michigan 45, Colorado 28, with 11:27 left to play.

The remainder of the game went as quickly – and mercifully – as could have been hoped. Colorado beat the spread (the Buffs were 20-point underdogs), but still left Michigan with thoughts of what might have been.

Final score: No. 4 Michigan 45, Colorado 28

“We’re better than we were,” defensive coordinator Jim Leavitt said of his unit. “But that don’t cut it. As a football team, we have to play better — defense, offense, special teams, everywhere. We all have to play well together and that didn’t happen today.”

Colorado scored 28 points in 34 minutes with Sefo Liufau on the field, but went scoreless in the final 26 minutes with Liufau on the bench with a high ankle sprain. His replacement, redshirt freshman quarterback Steven Montez, went 0-of-7 passing, with the Buff offense gaining two first downs in five possessions in the second half (one by penalty, one with less than a minute remaining and the game out of hand).

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

 

Game Notes … 

— The 110,042 in attendance represented the largest crowd to ever watch Colorado play football. The previous two highs were also Michigan games (106,427 in 1994; 106,474 in 1997). On two other occasions, the Buffs had played before crowds in excess of 100,000 (105,096 v. Ohio State, 2011; 101,152 v. Texas, 2009);

— The loss to the No. 4 Wolverines represented CU’s 23rd straight loss to a ranked team; the 27th consecutive loss to  a ranked team on the road (v. Kansas, 2009; v. UCLA, 2002);

— The 28 points scored against the Wolverines exceeded the total for the Buffs in their first three tries in Ann Arbor (0-31 in 1974; 27-26 in 1994; 3-27 in 1997);

— Offensive lineman Aaron Haigler made his first career start;

— Derek McCartney’s fumble return for a touchdown was the first for the Buffs since Samson Kafovalu returned a fumble 33 yards for a score against UCLA in 2015;

— Before he left the game, Sefo Liufau (16-for-25, 246 yards, three touchdowns) became the first Buff in school history to pass for over 8,000 yards (8,165)

 

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39 Replies to “No. 4 Michigan 45, Colorado 28”

  1. Bowl game or get outta town. $6,000,000 over 3 years means he is getting paid $3,000,000 per pac 12 win.

    Not a bad gig if you can get it.

    Bowl game or leave.

  2. While we all can point to the ST’s I posted another comment on one of Stuart’s other topics and feel that it was still easy to see yesterday. CU is still lacking in the number of big time and I mean really big time players that the teams like the Michigan’s and others have. We have more now then in the past but CU does not yet have an over abundance of these type players. During the Mac I years he finally had teams with those type guys and the results are in the record book. Hopefully CU will be able to recruit more as this is a good team, probably the best we’ve had in 10 years or more but the whole level of the program still needs another step up to stay in a game like yesterday’s.

    I hope that Mac isn’t becoming like Hawkins, as he sure doesn’t communicate well when put on the spot. “Couple of little things to fix,” etc. etc. Never seems to want to come out and state the obvious like Leavitt along with some of the other coaches did yesterday and today. I guess he is the type of coach that doesn’t want to criticize his players in public as he always acts surprised by many of the questions.
    We see it I imagine other teams and coaches see it but Mac always seems surprised by it…….I’m talking about things that happen during the game. Is he totally in control? Just wondering.

    1. “I’m telling you, Colorado can win. There’s no excuses. I’m just telling you. I don’t want to hear excuses. We have to coach better. It’s hard on us. Players don’t go out and make mistakes because they just want to make mistakes. We have to do a better job of coaching.”

      That is not Hawkins or Mac speaking.

      It is a real head coach

  3. I was at the game, incredible first quarter and we were high-fiving each other and we thought we were going up 35-7 at the half. What struck all of us was the poor special teams but also the relentlessness of the Michigan D line, the CU running game was horrible and no one seems to point that out. If we can’t run the ball (save Sefo on his keepers) than the Michigan D (or any other D) will sit back and play the pass. Montez looked scared out there, was rushing his passes and the Michigan D line was getting so much penetration it was scary. Same reason for the blocked punts, they just crashed over our line like waves at Malibu. We’re getting there and we’ll win a bunch if Sefo is around so don’t give up guys, it was an amazing day at the Big House despite us losing. Nothing better than shutting up 110,000 people and we did it a bunch today. A lot of Michigan folks were pretty quiet leaving the game today, we sobered them up a bit and not to look past “mediocre” teams like CU…

    1. GunbarrelBuff, I have to tell you that Montez started out well. He even drove the team down to the Michigan 29 yardline. Then, on a trick play, he threw the ball on a dime to Frazier who was standing with 3 defenders surrounding him… but like I said, Montez threw the ball on a dime!.. and Frazier dropped a completely catchable ball that hit him in the hands.

      Shortly after that play, on 3rd and long, Montez threw the ball to a diving Fields for what would have been a 1st down. The pass hit Fields in the hands, bounced up into his facemask and then dropped to the ground. Both of those should have been caught. After that, Michigan started bringing the house against Montez to neutralize what Michigan realized was a real threat. Annoyingly, our play-calling never adjusted well for that.

      Anyway, if you can catch a TV replay, you might find Montez was much better than you think.

      However, with all of that said, Special Teams lost this game for us, pure and simple. It was bigger than the O-line issues. Bigger than Liufau’s injury. Bigger than Michigan’s Jabril Peppers. Special Teams lost us that game.

      1. Good points, I do want to watch the game from a tv perspective since I was seeing it from the end zone and somewhat on the jumbotron. I think Montez can be the real deal but needs some confidence and rhythm in a few drives. He will probably start this week and perhaps the next 2 while Sefo gets ready for USC so we’ll see. I think we can be 4-1 going to L.A. in Oct.

  4. Lets just be blunt here. This is the best the Buffs have played in decades.

    What part of we have sucked at football for 20 years don’t you all understand?

    Mac2 is the best coach we could get and with you bunch of whiners he is better than we deserve.

    All you commentators somehow think we need to fire Mac2 or make radical coaching changes??!?! Who on earth would come to CU? Name one great coach who would be remotely interested. Even if they were then we are back to “rebuilding”. For the first time we actually have built something and you want to go knock it down?

    Get a grip guys remember Hawkins? Remember Embree? Remember the joke of a program we were? You really want to go back to getting blown out by the likes of Fresno St?

    Yes, changes need to be made, but we are making them. We have shown more progresss in the past 3 years than the previous 13.

    We just hung in there with a top 5 program loaded with 4 star recruits while we have 2 star recruits. Look at the heart.

    Keep the Faith… seriously guys.

    ps. I can’t wait to tell you all “I told you so” when we are ranked and in a bowl game.

    1. Well Peter.

      One may consider that the HC and the Ol OC and the TE coach have reached their “Peter Principle” and reached it some time ago.

      Or as others would say, The learning curve has become to steep for those three and they have hit their ceiling.

      I really believe that I really do

      The program has improved. But perhaps the plateau has been reached.

      Win 6 games, which means win 4 pac12 games (twice as many as the 3 previous years combined) then perhaps there is more upside for this staff (Those three)
      than some (me) would say.

      Bowl game or call the moving van

    2. Won’t need to tell me anything. Totally agreed. CU has not looked like this in at least 10 years. It is well past time for the CU fan base to stop shooting us in the foot by trying to change coaches every 3 or 4 years. Mac2 is putting together a solid program. Other than possibly Stanford, Michigan is the toughest team we will see this season.

      I’m sorry, but we can’t expect to go from a 4-9 season in which we lost to Hawaii and WSU to an 8 or 10 win season with a Michigan win. We are all sick and tired of the way things have been. I get the frustration, the fire, the hunger for times to get better. Those days are coming, but it takes living through games like these. It takes recognizing reasonable progress. It takes not making the perfect into the enemy of the good.

      And, finally, if the CU faithful insist on changing coaches this year, they damn well better make it Jim Leavitt.

      1. This is the 4th year. He has everything he wanted and needed

        Upperclassman led team
        Experience, plenty of starters return
        Stronger and faster
        New coaches (He may not have wanted them but he needed them)
        Plenty of “almost, so close, just a few things to correct” games
        New facilities
        2 easy non con games
        FIVE CONFERENCE HOME GAMES all of which he should/could/better win
        ONE CONFERENCE ROAD GAME he should/could win

        No excuses injuries or otherwise. Every team has them.

        Bowl game.

        “He has a dream”

        MAKE IT A REALITY FOR ONCE.

        And if the change is required, Leavitt is the man as you suggest.

  5. Not to hang our heads too low. The Buffs hung with a deeper, more talented team.

    We never had an answer for their big TE on under-coverage passes. That’s on our DC….. right Leavitt ?

    Where were our TE’s ? Did they even get to suit up ?

    LINDGREN, listen, “Tight ends are an integral part of the offense…. ask Coach Harbaugh.” We were told that the TE’s were going to start being utilized more this year. How many passes have been thrown their direction in 3 games ?

    Forget trying to recruit big TE’s….. they AIN’T COMIN’ TO CU.

    Offense: Montez has a long learning curve to climb. Nerves really bit him big time. With a high ankle sprain, Sefo has lost most of his mobility when he comes back…..but, hope it’s soon.

  6. I have not had an overall issue with MacII, as he did take a program that was a train wreck and at least get it back on the track. But, all aspects of the FOOTBALL program ARE ON THE HC and game time coaching is a big part of that.

    We knew (hopefully, we did) that Michigan would be coming after our punter and they did. That we could and did not correct this, during the game, after it happened is on us; let alone take care of the issue before the game even started. Everyone has enough film on some of our special team issues to make that an emphasis of attack in every game.

    ALL ASPECTS of the FOOTBALL PROGRAM are on the HC and FIXING THEM, especially in REAL TIME are a part of the deal.

    Stuff Happens, but you don’t have to stand around in it and hope no one will notice.

    1. Game management has been weak the last 10 years. This year and the last 3 are no different. But never forget it is all on the players. That is What Mac always says.

      Leavitt says something else.

      “We weren’t good enough there, but we weren’t good enough anywhere. We have to be better on defense; special teams certainly, everybody saw that; that was glaring. But also offensively. We all have to be better. Coaches have to be better.

      If there is no bowl there is a new head coach. And he is right here and now.

      Dreams are for dreamers.

  7. Apparently Lindgren IS calling the plays. 2 Points in case:

    1). On 3rd and 20 deep on our side of the field, Sefo runs into the line. Gains 3 yds.

    2). Now it’s 3rd and 17 yds. Sefo again runs into the talented, big defensive line.

    Knew it was going to happen sooner or later. Let Chevy call the plays.

  8. As far as special teams…… Supposedly Mac2 is in charge of the “coaching team” that is responsible for the special teams. Well there ya have it. Cost 21 points.

    Go Buffs.

    Note: Time for Mac2 to put Chev in charge of play calling. Some won’t like it, but it has to be done.

    1. Agree. I see some weak comments from Mac2. He needs to own these special teams gaffes. The 21 points lost in that area account for our margin of defeat. Own it. Fix it. It is year 4 of the Mac2 era. Should not look like this. Leavitts comments show more ownership overall. Give the special teams to him as well. Regarding the O play calling, I made the same comment during the game. Have Chiaverini more involved or take over. Though the O was better, u could see when things started cramping up like they have over the last couple of years. Buffs r getting there, competing at the highest level. Need to fix the self inflicted wounds at this level, those are controllable.

  9. I can’t believe the comments on here. The Buffs should have won this game. Five horrible ST plays killed our dream. We just went and hung with the #4 team in the nation, in their house. Yes, we lost, but get real folks, if Sefo is healthy, this team is making noise this year.

    1. “I’m telling you, Colorado can win. There’s no excuses. I’m just telling you. I don’t want to hear excuses. We have to coach better. It’s hard on us. Players don’t go out and make mistakes because they just want to make mistakes. We have to do a better job of coaching.”

      It is always about the coaching

  10. Three reasons they lost.

    Peppers

    Kinney

    Sefo getting injured.

    In that order.

    If you change any one of those three, the Buffs have a chance to win. Someone who knows more about Xs & Os tell me why can’t they put in a full back and tell him to “knock that M Fer out if he come across the the line of scrimmage”? that should be he sole job for a few plays; nothing dirty, just smash mouth.

    I was worried about special teams seeing as how UM blocked 2 early against UCF, but to see two plays result in scores that kept UM in the game early really sucks.

    Sefo is a stud to come back in and throw that 70 yard pass on the injured leg.

    Fields dropped one of Montez’s that would have resulted in a first down and might have given him some confidence. He also rushed another pass he should have made and just missed it, you could see him cussing at himself and Sefo trying to calm him down; kid was trying.

    But ultimately, if the Buffs could have stopped Pepper, they still could have won, but they didn’t.

    Those below that think the season is over need to calm down and wait for the final report on Sefo. And, Montez will grow into a better QB, that was a tough situation at a very tough place to play.

    It sucks they couldn’t pull off the upset, but if Sefo is able to come back soon the season is not lost.

    1. This is the best coaching staff since Mac1. We took a bunch of 2 star recruits and went punch for punch with one of the biggest and best football programs that is absolutely loaded with NFL prospects for 3 quarters and you want to blame coaching?

      1. Coaching is the issue.

        Poor game management which is a Mac2 trademark

        Poor play calling again

        Poor coaching of the special teams.

        Here is a coach who knows. You do not.

        “I’m telling you, Colorado can win. There’s no excuses. I’m just telling you. I don’t want to hear excuses. We have to coach better. It’s hard on us. Players don’t go out and make mistakes because they just want to make mistakes. We have to do a better job of coaching.” Jim Leavitt.

  11. Another season ends in September. This year a punter. Macintyre kneeing at end of half and if game makes him look on the take. 2-10 likely, not that it matters. One would think humiliation would cease at some point. 3 mil should buy you that.

  12. I don’t know who he is but if I were Mac2, I would’ve given the special teams coach a pink slip and and a handful of change (to help with his bus ticket home) and told him to not look back and not come back at half time.

      1. That’s not the problem.

        They have a “team of coaches” each doing their part. Mac2 is in charge of this activity.

        Well there ya go.

  13. I like to be balanced in my comments but can’t this time. Special teams absolutely sucked. Buffs handed points on a platter to the Wolverines. Simply awful. Missing a reasonable FG while having momentum. Awful. These took away from a motivated, inspired performance in the first quarter. Can’t have these self inflicted wounds on the road against #4 team. I’m eager to hear from Macintyre how these will be fixed. It’s not that we lost that bothers me, it’s how it happened. Punting a ball into the butt of one of your own linemen.

  14. What was the oc thinking by having Sefo try to run the clock down just before the end of the first half? At least try to move the ball further down the field. As it turns out, Mich got the ball and scored just before the half. Really dumb. Special teams was abyssmal. Kinney is a joke. I believe the size and strength of the Mich line was too much….period.
    Hats off to the spirit and excitement provided in the first half. I’m afraid Montez is a deer in the headlights. Hopefully Sefo will return soon. Otherwise, no bowl.

    1. Couldn’t agree more. Lame conservative play calling at the end of the first half cost us any momentum we might have had going into the locker room. Calling the special teams abysmal is an insult to abysmal special teams. Without Sefo it’s looking like another lost season…

  15. Well special teams was not all that special. However still woulda coulda shoulda. If Sefo stays healthy we would’ve been in a position to win the game. But for some reason the Football Gods hate him and he can’t stay healthy.

    1. I’m really proud of Sefo. He is a killer QB. As for Montez…anybody remember Kordells 92 campaign? Deer in the headlights against NU.

  16. Bring on the negative nellies. Moral victories suck, but after the lost decade of CU football? I will take it. Montez clearly has room to grow. They can beat UO, if Sefo can play.

    Go Buffs!

  17. We can beat the teams we are supposed to beat but the one that had more depth and talent slowly and metodically beat us pretty handily.montez will need to grow up know for us to have bowl game aspirations ,

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