October 5th – Boulder          Arizona 35, Colorado 30

Buff killer Kahlil Tate did it one more time to the Buffs, passing for 404 yards and three touchdowns, leading Arizona to a 35-30 win over Colorado in Boulder. The lead changed hands nine times on the afternoon, with a Nathan Tedford five-yard touchdown run with 6:51 remaining being the deciding score. The Buffs mounted one final drive, but a Steven Montez pass intended for Dimitri Stanley on a fourth-and-four at the Arizona 46-yard line with 2:29 remaining ended CU’s final threat.

Steven Montez completed 28-of-42 passes for 299 yards and a touchdown, while K.D. Nixon added a 38-yard touchdown pass to Dimtri Stanley. Tony Brown, taking over as CU’s lead receiver for the second game in a row in the absence of Laviska Shenault, had 10 receptions for a career-high 141 yards, while Alex Fontenot added 94 yards on 21 carries to lead CU’s ground attack.

“We have a very disappointed locker room”, said CU head coach Mel Tucker. “We have to give Arizona a lot of credit. They made more plays than we made. They executed more often than we did. We felt like in the first half that we left some plays on the field on both sides of the ball”.

Game Story ... Colorado received the opening kickoff and set off on a drive in which the Buff offense did everything right … until the Buffs got to the red zone. Three completions during the drive from quarterback Steven Montez to wide receiver Tony Brown, totaling 23 yards, helped the Buffs get down to the Arizona 12-yard line. There, however, running back Alex Fontenot was thrown for an eight yard loss, setting the Buffs back. Kicker James Stefanou was then called upon to give the Buffs an early lead. Stefanou was good from 37 yards out, and it was a 3-0 game six minutes in.

The Arizona offense, led by Buff killer Kahlil Tate (who had missed the previous game against UCLA, but was healthy again to face Colorado), made it to midfield before punting the ball back to the Buffs. The next CU drive started with promise, with 20-yard completion from Montez to Brown, followed by a seven yard run by Alex Fontenot. Instead of second-and-three at the Arizona 48-yard line, however, the Buffs were set back 15 yards by an unsportsmanlike penalty. An unlikely 20-yard hookup between Montez and Brown, which would have given the Buffs a first down on third-and-18, was then called back by a holding call.

Taking over at their ten yard line on their second drive, the Wildcats moved quickly down the field to take the lead. A 49-yard completion from Tate to wide receiver Tayvian Cunningham for 49 yards – with a horsecollar tackle penalty added on – set the Arizona offense up at the CU nine yard line. On third-and-goal at the seven, Tate connected with Stephen Berryhill for a touchdown and a 7-3 lead for Arizona in the final minute of the first quarter.

The second quarter with both teams failing to maintain drives. The Buffs had a ten-play drive to open the second quarter, but netted only 34 yards before punting. The teams then exchanged punts for much of the remainder of the quarter, with the Buffs getting the better of the field position, taking over on the Arizona 49-yard line with five minutes to go before halftime.

Then the fun started.

The Buffs moved 27 yards in six plays, stalling at the Arizona 22-yard line. There James Stefanou hit a 39-yard field goal to make it a 7-6 game with 2:37 remaining.

But the teams were just getting started

On the ensuing drive, CU safety Mikial Onu intercepted Kahlil Tate at the Arizona 46-yard line, returning the pick eight yards to the Arizona 38-yard line. On the Buffs’ first play from scrimmage, wide receiver K.D. Nixon hit Dimitri Stanley on a trick play for a 38-yard touchdown. The Buffs were now back in the lead, 13-7, with 1:50 to play before halftime.

In what would become a theme on the day, the Buffs couldn’t hold the lead.

On Arizona’s first play from scrimmage, Kahlil Tate hit Cedric Peterson for a 75-yard touchdown. Ten seconds after CU had taken the lead, Arizona had it back, at 14-13, with 1:40 left on the second quarter clock.

But the Buffs weren’t done. Steven Montez hit Alex Fontenot for a 19-yard gain to get the Buffs near midfield as the first half clock wound down. A few plays later, Montez connected with tight end Brady Russell for 15 yards and a first down inside the red zone. Then, on third-and-three at the 12, Montez hit Russell again, this time for a 12-yard score with three seconds left on the clock.

Halftime score: Colorado 20, Arizona 14

For a team which was building a reputation for making good halftime adjustments, the Buffs came out in the third quarter against the Wildcats … and were outdone.

The Arizona offense needed only six plays to cover 65 yards to again erase a short-lived Colorado lead. A 33-yard touchdown pass from Kahlil Tate to Brian Casteel gave Arizona back the lead, at 21-20, less than two minutes of game clock from the time the Buffs had taken the advantage right before halftime.

The Colorado offense responded to the new deficit … with a three-and-out.

Fortunately for the sun-drenched 52,569 in attendance at Folsom Field, the Buff defense responded. The teams resumed a punting duel, with neither team able to sustain a drive of over 20 yards.

Taking over at their 32-yard line midway through the third, the CU offense was taken over by Tony Brown. After Montez hit Brown for a 49-yard completion down to the Arizona 15-yard line, Brown did the rest himself, taking it in from the 15 to give the Buffs the lead back, at 27-21, with 5:11 to play in the third quarter.

Once again, however, the Buffs were unable to hold the lead. It took the Wildcats only six plays to cover 85 yards to retake the lead. Two passes from Tate to Jamarye Joiner, covering 29 and 26 yards, set the Arizona offense up at the CU five yard line. From there, running back Nathan Tilford did the rest, with the five-yard scoring run making it a 28-27 game late in the third quarter.

The Buffs responded with an epic, 14-play drive. A 29-yard completion from Montez to Daniel Arias put the ball on the Arizona side of the field, and, as the quarter ended, the Buffs were in the red zone, poised to take the lead back with at the Arizona 18-yard line. The Buffs then ran seven plays in the Wildcat red zone to open the fourth quarter, but were unable to score a touchdown. The Buffs had to settle for another James Stefanou field goal, this time from 20 yards out. The Buffs had the lead back, at 30-28, but an opportunity had been missed.

The Colorado defense then – for the fourth and final time in the game – was unable to maintain the lead. It took Arizona 13 plays to cover 77 yards, but that the Wildcats did, with Nathan Tilford scoring on his second five-yard touchdown run of the second half, making it a 35-30 game with 6:5 left to play.

There was still plenty of time for the Buffs to pick up their third come-from-behind win of the season, but the CU drive made it only as far as the Arizona 46-yard line. There, a fourth-and-four pass from Montez to Dimitri Stanley fell incomplete, with the Arizona offense running out the clock from there.

Final score: Arizona 35, Colorado 30

“We felt good going into the game. I told the guys before the game, You did what we asked you to do in the bye and this week. Now what’s left is to perform.’ Our performance wasn’t good enough today”, Mel Tucker said. “You want to take care of home (field). You have your home fans. We had a great turnout. Our fans were great. There was an electric atmosphere. That is what we expect here in Boulder. There are a lot of folks who left disappointed, but there is no one more disappointed than us.”

“It honestly feels like we can go as far as we want right now,” said wide receiver Dimitri Stanley, who had four catches for 75 yards and a touchdown. “What limits us is the mistakes and the penalties. I feel like those plays were there.”

Game Notes … 

— The Arizona game was a sellout (52,569), giving the Buffs over 150,000 tickets sold for their first three home games in a season since 2011, and a second sellout in a season (Nebraska game being the other) for the first time since 2005;

— The offense did not turn the ball over, and the offensive line did not allow a sack. It was just the 23rd time since 1972 in which the Buffs were perfect in both statistics, but already the second time in five games under Mel Tucker (CSU game being the other);

— Cornerback K.J. Trujillo and offensive guard Casey Roddick earned their first career starts;

— Wide receiver Tony Brown had his second career 100-yard game, and his second in a row. For the Arizona game, Brown had 10 catches for 141 yards, also contributing a 15-yard touchdown run;

— Safety Mikial Onu’s interception was his fourth for the year, the best by any Buff since Tedric Thompson had seven interceptions in the 2016 season.


17 Replies to “Arizona 35, Colorado 30”

  1. My understanding is Trey is out of school for “personal reasons” and is not in the doghouse. He can return and play when his life issues clear up. Wish him the best and hope the issues get resolved soon in a good manner.

  2. It’s tough to see the player injury situation the team is having to deal with. Especially in the defensive backfield where we’ve had to really patch things with players lacking experience. Whatever came of Trey Udoffia? I know the pre-season plan was to convert him from DB to Safety. He played in the Spring game but was listed as out due to injury in the opener against CSU. I’ve missed any info as to the extent of his injury–but with 10 starts and action in 20 games previous to this season it seems that the team could use his past experience to help fill the big voids back there. Is his injury severe–is he in the dog house?

  3. Montez still doesn’t step up in the pocket enough…his first move is back and out…multiple times yesterday it appeared as if he was stepping into the pressure on the edges vs. climbing the pocket to find extra time. He played OK overall, but again I have no idea why anyone thinks he has a chance in the NFL.

    1. I think he’s doing fine. He wasn’t sacked one time yesterday, and it certainly was NOT his fault we lost that ball game.

    2. Same play (good Steven-bad Steven) and mistakes every year…13-16 record. Looks to me like help is on the way.

  4. Disappointed should be an understatement. Since Viska and Mustafa didn’t play maybe it would have been better had we played AZ last weekend. Not only was the O out of rhythm, some of the play calls at various times were curious and also didn’t seem consistent with down and distance.

    Living here in Tucson I obviously have watched Tate a lot. Even though he ran a little bit in the first Qtr. I truly didn’t think that he would be running that much coming off two problems to his legs,
    and even if he did I don’t think he was going to break any big ones like 2 years ago. I think the D spent too much time spying him and even though we obviously have a pretty weak Pass D we should have concentrated more on throwing caution to the wind and really emphasizing defending the pass.

    The last two plays by the O of the game made no sense,……..Tony Brown with single coverage and going for the big one with a young WR that had only seen the field and already dropped one. The final play was hard to figure also. Oh well this program will improve and be good eventually under this coach, but the thought of a Bowl Game is becoming iffy.

  5. Yo Stuart,
    Gotta ask you this… does Khalil Tate now own the most yards against Colorado ever for a career? In those three Arizona wins, his numbers are staggering. According to azdesertswarm.com, “Tate has thrown for 908 yards on 60-of-76 passing and 365 rushing yards with 13 total TDs” in his three games games against the Buffs.

    Can you think of any other single player who put up those kind of stats against Colorado in their careers?


    1. CU doesn’t track career numbers against an opponent, only single game records.
      Probably a safe bet that Tate would hold some records against the Buffs. You would probably have to go back to look at some of the 80’s Nebraska and Oklahoma games (OU had 758 yards rushing against CU in the 1980 82-42 track meet along) to find some players who have posted equal or better numbers rushing, or perhaps Marcus Mariota or some of the USC passers in the last ten years for passing numbers …

  6. Agree the secondary is the Achilles heel of this team, will dictate their success the rest of the season. Offense can move the ball, some bad drops and stupid penalties the first half, really unnecessary. But we will get back Mustafa, Viska and hopefully a couple of DBs for next week and we should be more competitive. I really liked our play against the run and our O was balanced, Fontenot looked solid. But we can’t just expect to out-score teams to win, we need to shut down people. In 2016 we gave up 20 points a game, we’re averaging 32 so that has to change or we only have a couple wins left in the tank.

  7. First, I am bullish about Tucker and feel that he will do good things for the program. My frustration is the discombobulation that has occurred in the first halves of both the Air Force and Arizona games. Penalties have been a killer. To me, the opportunities lost in those halves were the ultimate difference in the end results. Unsportsmanlike penalty today was an absolute, undisciplined brain meltdown. I’m not an X and O guy but the deep ball on 3rd and 4 was ridiculous. There are 4 yards to gain in two downs and still time on the clock. But should have never been in that situation anyway. At the beginning of the season, I felt the Buffs record would be 4-8 or 5-7 with an outside shot at 6-6. I don’t see 6-6 happening and have resigned myself to 5-7 or less. Disappointed in the last two home losses that are games that needed to be won but will continue to support and come to games as through all the years. Looking forward to the day when Buffs can be a consistent bowl participator.

  8. Injuries. So many injuries on defense. The best player in the secondary went down (onu, while giving up a momentum killer td). The best interior run stopper went down (Sami). Already missing multiple corners and safeties and the best defensive player (Mustafa). The team is just not deep enough to absorb losing almost, what, 6 of the guys who started on defense against csu?

    Offense… Had the chance to win it. Terrible spots and officiating and bad play calling and execution down the stretch. Have to be able to punch it in from first and goal from the two. On fourth down, Montez gets blasted by an obvious blitz that needs to get picked up better.

  9. I thought there were some good individual efforts, but a poor team game. Penalties. Offensive line looked confused and was outplayed all day. But the big disappointment was just how really terrible the defensive backfield play can be. Communication and missed assignments causing huge holes. I guess this has shown itself before but was hoping for improvement. I saw none. A team that could barely beat UCLA at home made us look silly.

    1. Let’s see. Offensive line…. was outplayed all day? We gained 160 yards on the ground (4.3 yards per carry), and didn’t give up a sack all day. What do you want? I do agree, they made some bonehead penalties that one could very easily argue were the reason for our loss, but I think you’re a little hard on them.

  10. Last two play calls didn’t make sense. Going for the long ball on 3rd was dumb, something more high percentage was needed. If Steven just leads the receiver a little bit on fourth it is first down and the game is still going. This one stings. I feel the buffs are a 7-5 team but this may make them 5-7

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