December 2nd – Pac-12 Championship Game     Washington 41, Colorado 10

An injured Sefo Liufau completed as many passes to Washington defenders as to his own teammates, with three third quarter interceptions allowing No. 4 Washington to turn a 14-7 halftime lead into a 41-10 rout in the Pac-12 championship game in Santa Clara, California.

The Huskies dominated the line of scrimmage, rushing for 265 yards while holding the ball for 38:34 of game clock. The Colorado offense, averaging 469.9 yards of total offense per game, was held to 163 total yards … with only 45 yards of total offense in the second half.

Sefo Liufau went just 3-for-13 for 16 yards, with three third quarter interceptions setting up 13 Washington points. Liufau left early in the first quarter with an ankle injury, but returned to start the second half. “I didn’t do a good job of preparing us and being able to get us quality drives,” Liufau said. “We really left our defense and everyone else out to dry tonight.”

Steven Montez, who played most of the first half after Liufau left the game, led the Buffs on their only touchdown drive of the night, going 5-for-12 for 60 yards. Phillip Lindsay contributed 53 yards on 19 carries, scoring CU’s lone touchdown on a three yard run in the first quarter.

“We hurt. We lost and we lost to a good team,” CU head coach Mike MacIntyre said. “We made some mistakes that gave them a chance to pull away from us.”

A week after going an entire game without a penalty (for only the fifth time in school history), Colorado opened the Pac-12 championship game with two infractions. A kickoff out-of-bounds to start the game, followed by a pass interference penalty on the Huskies’ first play from scrimmage, set the Washington offense up at midfield six seconds into the game.

Six plays later, Washington became the first team in 2016 to score on its first drive of the game against the Colorado defense. Running back Lavon Coleman scored on a one-yard run, making it 7-0, Washington, four minutes in to the contest.

On CU’s first possession, Sefo Liufau took off on a 25-yard run on a third-and-two at the CU 33-yard line to get the Buff offense into plus territory. Two plays later, though, Liufau was sacked, taking him out of the game with an ankle injury. The drive came to an end shortly thereafter when a Steven Montez pass fell incomplete on a fourth-and-four at the Washington 36 yard line.

On the ensuing drive, Washington also faced a fourth down decision, also at the 36-yard line of the opposition. The Huskies came up empty as well on their fourth down attempt, with Washington quarterback Jake Browning being sacked by Jimmie Gilbert and Timothy Coleman to end the threat.

The nine-yard loss on fourth down gave the ball back to the Buffs at their own 45-yard line. With Montez still in the game at quarterback, the Buff offense put together a seven-play drive to tie the score. A 13-yard completion to running back Kyle Evans on third-and-eight at the Washington 42 kept the drive alive. On the next play, Montez hit Shay Fields for 21 yards to the Husky eight yard line. Two plays later, Phillip Lindsay scored on a three-yard run to make it 7-7 in the final minute of the first quarter.

The teams then traded punts, with the Huskies getting the better of it after the Buff offense went three-and-out from inside their ten yard line. Taking over at their own 44-yard line, the Washington offense stuck to the ground, gaining all but 15 yards of a seven-play, 56-yard scoring drive on the ground.

The final 15 yards, though, did come through the air, with quarterback Jake Browning hitting tight end Darrell Daniels for a touchdown to give the lead back to Washington, 14-7, midway through the second quarter.

The Buff offense, on its next possession, was able to get out near midfield before being forced to punt. The rest of the quarter was controlled by the defenses, with the half coming to a close with three-and-outs from both offenses.

Halftime score: No. 4 Washington 14, No. 8 Colorado 7

The Colorado offense was held to just 118 yards of total offense in the first half, but the Buffs were still in the game due to the Buff defense holding the Washington offense to 186 total yards.

The second half began with Sefo Liufau back in the game, but the excitement for Buff fans was short-lived.

On the first play from scrimmage, Liufau’s pass to Jay MacIntyre was high. The tipped pass was picked off by Taylor Rapp, with the freshman defensive Player-of-the-Year in the Pac-12 returning the interception 35 yards for a score.

Sixteen seconds into the second half, the Buffs were down by two scores, at 21-7.

On the fourth play of the Buffs’ next drive, Sefo Liufau threw his second pass of the half … and threw his second interception. This pick, also by Taylor Rapp, was returned 23 yards to the Buff 25 yard line.

It took the Washington offense only three plays to get to the CU two yard line, but there the Buff defense held, forcing a 24-yard field goal from Husky kicker Cameron Van Winkle. A small victory for the Buffs, but the lead was now three scores, at 24-7, just four minutes into the third quarter.

The teams then traded punts, but the deficiencies in the CU punting game put the Buffs in a hole. An Alex Kinney punt went only 26 yards, but the punt from the Huskies’ Tristan Vizcaino traveled 62 yards, pinning the Buff offense back at its ten yard line.

Alex Kinney’s next punt, for 36 yards, gave him two punts to equal that of the one from Vizcaino. Set up at their 40 yard line, Washington went in for the kill. A pair of runs netted 17 yards before Jake Browning connected with running back Myles Gaskin for a 23-yard gain.

On the next play, linebacker Jimmie Gilbert had Browning dead to rights in the Washington backfield. Browning threw a pass to the sideline which could have been an interception for a touchdown in most games, but, on this night, went exactly the other way. John Ross out-jumped Chidobe Awuzie for the ball, going untouched down the sideline for the remaining 19 yards.

What could have been a pick six to get the Buffs back into the game instead turned the game into a rout. Washington 31, Colorado 7, with still over five minutes remaining in the third quarter.

A pair of 48-yard kickoff returns – on the same play – gave Colorado some hope. Anthony Julmisse returning the kickoff 48 yards to near midfield, where he fumbled. Phillip Lindsay scooped up the ball, taking it another 48 yards down to the Washington two yard line.

With a first-and-goal at the Huskies’ two yard line … the CU offense was unable to punch it in. A holding penalty pushed the ball back outside the ten, with the Buffs ultimately settling for a 24-yard field goal from Chris Graham. Washington 31, Colorado 10, late in the third quarter.

The Buff defense did force a punt out of the Husky offense on its next drive, but the Vizcaino punt went out of bounds at the Colorado two yard line. Three plays later, Sefo Liufau finished off the worst quarter of his CU career, throwing his third interception on the final play of the third stanza. This pick, again intended for Jay MacIntyre, was intercepted by Ezekiel Turner at the Buff 11-yard line.

Liufau’s stat line through three quarters … ten passes … two completions for 16 yards … three interceptions.

The drive chart for the Colorado offense in the third quarter … one play, interception … three plays, interception … four plays, punt … four plays, punt … four plays (for minus-five yards), field goal … three plays, interception.

The Washington offense opened the fourth quarter at point blank range – at the CU 11-yard line. The Colorado defense, though, continued to fight, forcing the Huskies to settle for a 20-yard Van Winkle field goal. Washington 34, Colorado 10.

After yet another three-and-out from the Colorado offense, the Huskies commenced a Sherman-to-the-sea march. Taking 8:46 off of the fourth quarter clock, Washington went 65 yards in 13 plays to help bring the rout to a close. Chico McClatcher finished the drive with an eight-yard scoring run, making it 41-10, Washington, with 4:23 left to play.

The Buff offense then went three-and-out again – though Sefo Liufau did complete his third pass of the game, matching his interception total – before yet another short punt from Alex Kinney, this one of 26 yards, gave the ball back to the Huskies at the CU 45-yard line.

Fortunately for the Buffs, head coach Chris Petersen took pity on the opposition, feeling comfortable running out the remaining three minutes of game clock.

Final score: No. 4 Washington 41, No. 8 Colorado 10

The stats sheet reflected the domination. Washington had 383 yards of total offense, to just 163 by Colorado. The Huskies had 22 first downs and 265 rushing yards. The Buffs, meanwhile, were held to nine total first downs, with 82 yards rushing and 81 yards passing.

The loss left the 10-3 Buffs without a sure destination for a bowl game. The national championship playoffs were out, but a Rose Bowl bid was still a possibility, as were the Alamo and Cotton bowls.

“No. 1, a bowl game is a reward for what you did during the season and these young men deserve that reward,” CU head coach Mike MacIntyre said. “They earned it. No. 2, it’s the last game you play and your last game always stays with you, especially if you’re a senior. Winning that bowl game will be the right way to send them out.”

Here is the YouTube video of the game …

Game Notes … 

— A crowd of 47,118 was on hand for the game, played in Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, California;

— The loss snapped a six-game winning streak for Colorado, the longest streak since 1996;

— Colorado dropped to 1-4 in conference championship games. The Buffs won a Big 12 title against Texas in 2001, but then lost title games in 2002, 2004, and 2005;

— The Buffs’ time of possession for the game, 21:26, the lowest total since having only 20:30 of possession time against Nebraska in 2010. In the fourth quarter, Washington held the ball for 12:43; Colorado for 2:17;

— Colorado only had nine first downs against Washington, but the total for the season, 310, set a new school record (old record: 296 in 2014);

— Sefo Liufau finished his CU career (Colorado doesn’t count bowl stats in career statistics) with 9,568 passing yards and 10,509 in total offense. The previous all-time bests at Colorado? Career passing yards – Cody Hawkins: 7,409 yards … Career total offense – Kordell Stewart: 7,770 yards;

— Phillip Lindsay had three catches against Washington, giving him 47 for the season, passing the old mark of 45 catches for a running back, set by Rodney Stewart in 2011. Lindsay’s 102 points tied for the sixth-most for a single season in school history, and were the most since Chris Brown had 108 in 2002;

— Jimmie Gilbert set the record for most games by a defensive player, with 50. Three other players had shared the record of 49 games – Will Pericak (2009-12); Chidera Uzo-Diribe (2010-13); and Derrick Webb (2010-13)

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29 Replies to “No. 4 Washington 41, No. 8 Colorado 10”

  1. Quote from Mac2….”Yeah, we hurt. We lost.” Mike MacIntyre said following Colorado’s 41-10 loss to Washington. “We lost to a good team and made some mistakes that kind of gave them a chance to pull away from us.”
    I cant help feeling this really sounded like a Dan Hawkins response. Typical. Hey Mike, did everyone get a trophy just the same?

  2. Post Mortem: I’m feeling a lot like everyone else.

    The Huskies’ OL and DL were dominating us from the get-go when Sefo went down in the 1st Qtr. Sad to say, but even if Sefo hadn’t gone down with his bum ankle/foot/lower leg, the Huskies’ dominance would have eventually prevailed.

    Our play calling was (again) dismal to say the least. The end-around running plays NEVER did gain anything and they were called repeatedly, over and over.

    When Montez was in, he was more effective with slants and curl routes to the middle of the field (and moving the pocket) than in-pocket, timing-passes to the boundaries. Even the announcers pointed that out and they aren’t OC’s.

    Washington’s OL were creating lanes an elephant could have run through and the RB’s were hitting us for 5-8 yds. at a time. They were as effective just like Christian McCaffrey utilizing patience to allow lanes to develop before smashing through.

    Additionally, why did Sefo continue playing during the 2nd half ….. especially when it became obvious he couldn’t throw accurately with his bum ankle ? 3 for 13 ? …..that’s not the Sefo we know and love, even though he would want to continue even if you cut one of his legs off at the knee.

    Our “O” hasn’t produced in the last 3-4 games. Sad to say but the CO-OC plan hasn’t produced. We were never in an UP-TEMPO mode…. Where did that go ? It worked against Michigan and in our earlier games. If it hadn’t been for Leavitt’s Legions in the latter half of the season, we wouldn’t have been in the championship game, however they were out-classed in this game.

    Enuff said. Something has to change on our “O” next year. Lindgren calling plays hasn’t worked, even with the positive effects and changes Coach Chev has pioneered. I hope I hear San Diego or San Jose calling for a new HC.

    Then, what are we going to do without Coach Leavitt because we know he’s headed elsewhere. Heaven forbid if he goes to Oregon. Guess we should be thankful to be headed to a bowl. I am, and I love what this team has produced. Love the players, their grit and effort.

    Coach MM, go out and get some brawny beef for the trenches !!

  3. The comments here are overly harsh and unwarranted, in my opinion. This season has been an unqualified success. UW is a better team and exposed the Buffs, but that doesn’t diminish anything. The problem is, as it almost always is, the O and D lines. Still not enough depth and heft, but it is getting there. I’d also like to see one offensive coordinator and a dedicated special teams coach for next year. As far as the QB position for next year, I’m not convinced Montez will be the starter. It could be Noyer or Lytle or Montez. It is a good problem to have. As for now, let’s go get a bowl win, an 11 win season, and continued momentum for The RISE.

    BTW, thank you Stuart for maintaining this web site and providing a forum for respectful and thoughtful Buff talk.

    1. Yes, thank you Stuart. I, too, enjoy reading the interesting pieces and the comments. Good insights all around. Yes, QB will be interesting next year. Montez has the physical tools… I was reminded of this on a particular 20 yard pass last night, quick release and some real juice on it… we’ll see about the mental side. Sefo obviously had the system down this year, his fourth.

  4. Totally agree with CUBUFF2004, putting Liufau before the team was really disappointing. This game was a big mess because of it. Watching the game on TV, I couldn’t believe when the sideline reporter said that the coaching staff had told her it would be Liufau’s decision to come back into the game. WHAT?!! The kid is a GREAT competitor and a warrior… so of course he is going to opt to come back into the game! But when he threw that 2nd INT, they needed to tell him he was done on the field and told him they needed him to be in Montez’s ear after each series and help Montez try and win this game. Just baffling the coaching staff would leave Liufau in there.

    Further, after Liufau’s injury, the Buff sidelines and coaches looked like we were already in the hole 28 to 7. Come on! The team was very much in the game, so fire up guys! Show you can deal with a bit of adversity. And the play calling… sheesh, San Jose State, please take Lindgren off our hands!!!

    Eventually this game won’t eclipse what a great season this team put together, but right now it is tough to swallow how completely uninspiring that performance was last night. Sure, hats off to Washington who played so well, but we sure did make them look great.

  5. I don’t like all the finger pointing at Sefo at this point in time. Sefo probably shouldn’t have been in there in the second half but there was no way CU was going to win this game against Udub anyway. The better team with the better football players won this game. Udub decided they were going to run at the start of the game and the Buff D never was able to stop it for four Qtrs.

    The CU O has really not looked that sharp for quite awhile except in the ASU game. We couldn’t protect Sefo, we couldn’t protect Montez we would not have been able to protect Lamar Jackson had he been at the helm.

    Is this an over achieving team????? Probably, but it has been a great year from a bunch that was given no chance at the beginning, and everything they garnered they deserve, due to sweat, blood and tears, and yes some smoke and mirrors at times. Let’s be thankful for the turnaround, get another win at some bowl game and pinch ourselves with a 11 win season.

    1. Agree. For me the o-line was the weak link. No protection and unable to create holes. Our defense played well enough to keep us alive. But with no offensive support they eventually broke down.

      Over achieving? Probably a little. But still look at what Washington did to everyone else. So we are right in the mix for the top half of the Pac 12. Considering the last ten years I will take it all day long.

  6. Great season, disappointing game. To win last night, the Buffs needed to play well, get some breaks, and make some big plays. That didn’t happen.

    I thought the Buff defense was very interesting – Leavitt clearly decided to not get beat by the pass and came out in a sort of umbrella zone with two safeties back. That’s the first time they played that way all year and I’m sure it wasn’t on film. It was a good idea. If the offense could have got something going that defensive plan could have kept them in the game.

    1. It was a great season and got one more to go.

      You are right about Leavitt and his defense. Boy that Husky running game is great. Really good. Some pretty weak tackling by the front 7. But overall quite good even with the yards given up.

      Now if only the offensive geniuses could be as creative. That was the offense we have seen over the last 4 years. It just keeps lingrening on. Yup Sefo was hurt, and the Oline looked weak, very, against the UW dl guys. Real weak. Regardless creativity is not a word familiar to the offensive leaders on the Buffs.

      Heaven help, if Leavitt leaves. And no Tumpkin is not Leavitt nor can he probably be.

      Someone said this. The head coaching job should be given to Lindgren. A win win. Oh wait it was me. And yup I will howl it to the moon just like I did to get rid of the “Ol Baer-trap” defense. And all you “continuty” naysayers whined like crazy. I was right then and I am right now.

      Time for Mac2 to move off of the lindgering offense. Gotta get up the mountain.

      Go Buffs and what a great year. 5 extra practices already, 15 more to come and then the Bowl Win that baby.

      The rise has been birthed. Time to grow up.

      Go Buffs

  7. Unfortunately the coaches felt Sefo gave Colorado the best chance to win. Montez looked hurt and and watching him hyperventilate during his first drive, it was obvious that he was not going to be effective. I was really surprised, however that Colorado did not bring in another running back to rest lindsey who was getting pummeled all night as Washington loaded the box knowing the Buffs were forced to run it. Its really sad that Colorado is so one dimensional when Sefo is injured. The Buffs looked like the same ol group from the past 4 or 5 years last night. Now what? Rematch with Michigan and another humiliating defeat?

    1. Now lets be honest here it was a blowout loss. Sefo completed 6 passes out of 13. 3 to the Buffs and 3 to the Huskies. With one touchdown. Which was to a Husky.

      I don’t put the heat on Sefo for that. The heat belongs on Mac2, lingering and Chev. They should be ashamed of themselves for leaving him in there. This wasn’t his last game. There is a bowl game coming up. But I gotta remind ya, this group is famous for making these goofball decisions and have been doing it since they got here. Think about it. Now what year hasn’t Sefo been hurt and they have put him back in there.

      I would bet all of AZ’s money that schools looking for coaches saw that last night and re-ordered their coach-want lists.

      I believe Mac2 is a turn around coach (just like there are turnaround guys in business) And they get hired to do just that, then they move on. It takes a good board of directors to see when that time is and get em move on.

      Sorry Stuart, but I don’t see it. Yup ya gotta build the foundation. Pour the cement. To make it beautiful (great) you don’t hire those foundation guys, you get the people who can finish the deal.

      Okay, dirtbag out

      Go Buffs

      Note: Never take a lout out with a history major

  8. Stuart

    That was a really bad loss, with plenty of blame to go around. Still a great season, and much to look forward to with the young players. Any recruiting updates for the diehard fan? Go Buffs!

  9. Yo Stuart,

    I agree completely with CUBUFF2004. The Buffs should have worked on being ready in the second half with Montez. Instead, even though Sefo was physically unable to do anything important like run or follow through on his throws, Mac chose to stay with him. You gotta love Sefo’s toughness and willingness to try, but it’s the guys making all the money who need to choose how to best help their team win. They failed.

    Mark
    Boulderdevil

    1. He certainly didn’t sound like that on the radio after the game as he sounded quite supportive of Sefo and the whole situation, and I don’t think he was just saying it to come across as a good soldier, but sounded honest and forthright.

    1. Billy, did you notice the offensive scheme for the running plays? They were creating holes I could have run through, however I know the point you’re trying to make. Those RB’s were patient and then, hitting the lanes when they opened up.

      The 2 RB’s were nothing short of spectacular however. Fast. Hard to bring down as they were getting 4-6 yards after the initial hit.

  10. Wow, what a game? NOT. Wow, Defense gave up 41 points. (Actually 34) And 265 yards rushing. What a disaster by the Legions. 5 TDs. Leavitt had no answer for the Husky offense. At least for the rushing game. But for the Husky Passing game it was shut down. 32% passing. Well as I been saying all along, the 2017 recruiting class is in need of D-tackles in a big way. Yup the Buff Defense was exposed. Washington has a really really good offense. Colorado does not.

    And therein lies the difference in the two teams. Colorado has no offense, despite all the records listed by some. The lingrening effect still lives. And until that is changed this is what will happen against the better teams.

    3 and out
    3 and out
    3 and out

    It can be denied, but the Buffs are an average team that got lucky and the breaks, and played way above their potential, and played with emotion, and played with pride and won some games. Made my fall. So proud of those players.

    They made the plays they won the games but as predicted, then the coaching staff tapped out, that was it, done, finished, whamo.

    Yup the talent level is up and on the way up.

    Now 15 more practices and some bowl game. Damn proud of that bowl game. Go win it. And play a real team not that Michigan low level team. Don’t care if they are 13-0. Nothing to gain by the Buffs playing them. Nothing. Give em to the holers

    Well been a hell of a year and The Rise is Real. Fourteener. Sitting at about 12,500 Gets steep now. That ol learning curve for the coaches does.

    Thanks Buffs.

    Note: Christmas coming up. All I want for Christmas is for Lindgren to get the San Jose State Head Coaching job. Perfect fit and match in all areas.

  11. Agreed. Tough end to Sefo’s career, but he was totally ineffective when he came back in… passing and running. Oh wait, there’s the bowl game. Love the guy. Montez had some good zip and accuracy. Tough call for coaching staff to make. BIG nod to UW… they dominated. Surprised by that. Kinzler’s column in Denver Post today re:MacIntyre’s possible extension? Salary bump, but no long term? I think I agree. Good players, maturity, great season. Can the Buffs keep it up??? I hope so. Love this year’s team… it’s been fun.

  12. Really disappointed in the coaching staff for putting Sefo ahead of the team. Also disappointed in Sefo putting Sefo ahead of the team. This game went off the rails on his turnovers and his inability to run. Both should have made the call to sit him seeing he couldn’t run or throw on that bad ankle.

    1. The Sefo hate endures.
      Without Sefo the Buffs don’t even get to play this game.
      The Lingrening issue has always be Lidgrening.
      Should they have taken Sefo out? Yep. But the lingrening issue has always been Lindgrening. Wouldn’t matter if they had taken him out. The Buff offense was a disaster. What a terrible game plan.

      Did anyone get to watch the Husky offense? That was an offense. The Buffs need to get to that level. And they never ever will with Lindgren in charge. Hasn’t happened won’t happen.

      And blame it on Sefo??? Hardly.

      Blame it where it belongs. On the coaching

      Yup Mac2 has this chant. “Players make plays, Players win Games.”

      Yup right yup, but only if the coaching staff puts them in position to win games.

      The Buff HC and the Offensive coaches grad out as a D-. This was truely the all talk no walk effort by this offensive staff. Peter was in the building.

      And if Mac2 can’t see that this offense even with Chev is not going anywhere, then he is capped as well.

    2. Absolutely agree. The play calling was also abysmal. To keep feeding the ball to Lindsay in hopes of finding holes was lunacy. Sefo’s lack of accuracy in the air didn’t help things. Every throw to Jay Mac was high. It also seemed wr’s never found any openings or just quit on plays. We will take a bowl game but not so sure we deserve the Rose Bowl. Still, a phenomenal season.
      As a side note, if Huskies play Alabama, it will be a blowout. Bama will show Browning what real pressure is.

    3. Agree. The buck stops at the top with Mac. I told family and friends right before second half started that Sefo should not go back in with sprained ankle as his throwing mechanics would be off and running ability hampered. Sefo would not be himself. What do we get? Three picks in one quarter. Maybe we would not have won the game with Montez since our D line was getting totally dominated but Mac’s decision to put Seto back in the game was probably the worst coaching decision of the season. Simply disappointing. It was a great season but this decision let down the team, the fans, and the athletic department. Mac needs to own this.

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