November 25th – at Utah          Utah 23, Colorado 17

Freshman CU quarterback Ryan Staub made his first career start, throwing for 195 yards and a touchdown, but it wasn’t enough, as the Utes held on for a 23-17 victory in the last regular season Pac-12 game for both teams. Utah senior backup quarterback Luke Bottari was held to 61 yards passing, but scored on two short runs to lead the Utes to the win.

Travis Hunter collected eight catches for 107 yards and a touchdown, but had two others called back. On one, Hunter stepped out of bounds; on the other, a catch in the end zone was reversed. The latter catch would have given CU a 14-13 halftime lead, but the Buffs instead had to settle for a 47-yards Alejandro Mata field goal and a 13-10 halftime score.

CU’s scores came on a 30-yard trick play pass from wide receiver Jimmy Horn to running back Dylan Edwards, and an 18-yard touchdown pass from Staub to Hunter. On the day, though, the Buffs were held to 262 yards of total offense. The defense held Utah to 329 yards of total offense, but were unable to get off the field in the final 7:26 of the fourth quarter, as the Utes were able to run out the clock after Hunter’s touchdown made it a one score game midway through the quarter.

“We’re certainly heading in the right direction,” Sanders said. “We’re certainly trending forward. We got our butt kicked twice this year in 12 games. There was no winning those two games but every other game we had a shot, and I think that’s progress.”

Game Story … In a battle of backup quarterbacks, CU’s backup, freshman Ryan Staub got the first opportunity with the ball. After a pair of three yard runs by Sy’veon Wilkerson, Staub hit on his first pass, a nine-yard completion to freshman wide receiver Kaleb Mathis. A pair of runs by Wilkerson netted 13 more yards, pushing the ball into Utah territory. An eight-yard completion to Jimmy Horn helped set up a fourth-and-one at the Utah 38. Going for it, running back Anthony Hankerson went for three yards and a first down. The promising drive came to an end on the next play, however, with Ryan Staub fumbling the ball away on a sack.

Senior Utah backup quarterback Luke Bottari wasn’t asked to throw the ball on the Utes’ first possession, and he didn’t need to. The Utah offense needed eight runs and five minutes of game clock to cover the 58 yards, but cover it they did, with Bottari finishing off the drive with a two-yard run.

A sack of Ryan Staub set the Buffs back eight yards to start CU’s next drive, but a nine-yard run by Sy’veon Wilkerson a nine-yard completion from Staub to Kaleb Mathis garnered a first down. The next three plays, however, gained only four yards, and the Buffs were forced to punt.

The Colorado defense did force quarterback Luke Bottari to throw his first pass of the game on the next series, but Bottari came through, with a 14-yard completion to wide receiver Mikey Matthews on third-and-three to keep the drive alive. From there, the Utes kept the ball on the ground, finally stopped in the CU red zone. There, former Buff kicker Cole Becker hit a 34-yard field goal to give Utah a 10-0 lead early in the second quarter.

On CU’s next possession, the Buffs started on their 40 after a long kickoff return by Jimmy Horn. The Buffs avoided a three-and-out with a 13-yard completion from Ryan Staub to tight end Michael Harrison on third-and-four. After a ten-yard completion to Jimmy Horn, the Buffs had a first-and-ten at the Utah 30-yard line. On the next play, Staub threw to Horn behind the line of scrimmage, with Horn hitting freshman running back Dylan Edwards for a 30-yard touchdown. Utah 10, Colorado 7, midway through the second.

Utah then marched smartly down the field, never facing a third down … until they hit the red zone. There, once again the CU defense stiffened. The Utes held the ball for over six minutes, and ran 11 plays, but still had to settle for a field goal. Cole Becker was again true, but the Buffs were still with one score – Utah 13, Colorado 7, after a 22-yard field goal with less than two minutes to play before halftime.

CU’s next drive became the Travis Hunter show. The Buff offense opened the drive with a 16-yard completion from Staub to Hunter. After a four-yard Anthony Hankerson run, two more completions to Hunter, going for 11 yards and 16 yards, gave the Buffs a first down at the Utah 32-yard line. A three-yard run by Hankerson put the ball at the Utah 29-yard line … where Staub appeared to hit Travis Hunter for a 29-yard touchdown … but the touchdown was reversed after a review, making the pass an incompletion. Kicker Alejandro Mata was then called upon, with Mata hitting a 47-yarder with 26 seconds remaining.

Halftime score: Utah 13, Colorado 10

After holding the Utah offense to its first three-and-out of the game, the Buffs, for the second time in as many touches, appeared to take the momentum of the game, if not the lead. A 60-yard punt return by Dylan Edwards was negated by a personal foul on Taijh Alston. Instead of taking over a the Utah 30-yard line, the Buffs took over at their 14-yard line … and quickly went three-and-out.

Taking over at their 38-yard line, Utah took to the air to move the ball. Quarterback Luke Bottari connected on passes going for 18 and 16 yards, with the latter coming on a fourth-and-four at the CU 38-yard line. From there, it was back to the ground, with Luke Bottari scoring his second touchdown of the game on a one-yard run, making it a 20-10 game midway through the third quarter.

CU’s second possession of the second half was just as ineffective as its first, with the Buffs going three-and-out once again. Again taking over at its 38-yard line, the Utah offense set off to put the game away. Fourteen plays and eight minutes of game clock, the Utes were again stopped in the red zone. The Utes had to settle for a 31-yard field goal by Cole Becker, but the damage was largely done, with the score now 23-10 four minutes into the fourth quarter.

Needing two scores, the Buff offense went into hurry-up mode. A 33-yard completion from Ryan Staub to Travis Hunter gave CU its first first down of the second half, and the ball near midfield. A 21-yard completion to Jimmy Horn seemed to bring the drive to a halt, but the Buffs didn’t quit. A pair of completions from Staub to Hunter, going for six and five yards, set up a fourth-and-four at the Utah 43. There, Staub hit tight end Michael Harrison 25 yards and a first down at the Utah 18-yard line. There, Staub hit Travis Hunter for a touchdown to complete the eight-play, 84-yard drive. Utah 23, Colorado 17, with 7:31 to play.

From there, it was up to the Colorado defense to make a stop or gain a turnover to give the Buff offense a chance to win the game. They almost did, with freshman safety Jaden Milliner-Jones having his hands on the ball on a first down pass. After that, the Utah coaches took the ball out of the hands of their backup quarterback, and stuck to the ground. From there, the Buff defense forced a third-and-one, a third-and-three, and a third-and-two … but couldn’t stop the Utes from posting first downs. Utah’s final drive … 12 plays, 44 yards … and the final 7:25 of the game clock.

Final score: Utah 23, Colorado 17

“We showed up and we played well,” Coach Prime said. “Staub did a great job of getting the ball to where it needed to go and getting it out of his hands … They ate up the clock. It was our thought process that we could  control the clock and keep them off the field but they kept the ball for  almost 40 minutes, which is astounding. Well coached, executed well and ran the ball down our durn throats. They did a great job.”


14 Replies to “Utah 23, Colorado 17”

  1. They ran the ball ok the first few drives and… Still finished with basically zero production rushing. Pretty baffling overall.

    Wilkerson and Hankerson are solid dudes that seem to fall forward. I just don’t get the lack of production. Edwards… Well, he should never get a hand-off unless it’s via heavy misdirection. Great as a receiver though.

  2. “We’re getting there,” he said. “We definitely need giving. You know what I mean. It’s unfortunate to say this, but some kids cost … I have not charted this yet, but I’ve asked for the numbers. But if you start thinking about the top several teams in the country, I see what was spent on assembling their teams. You know, we can sit here and talk about great coaching and great this and great that all we want, but it’s gonna be a credit card swipe in some kind of way with all these guys going to these places. And I understand that.”

    Go Buffs

  3. I think we found our back-up QB today and he played very well. I’m afraid that Hunter may be playing in the NFL next season – he looks like he is ready, at least, to me.

    1. Travis Hunter is a true sophomore. He is not eligible to go to the NFL.
      His choices: play for CU next year, or sit out a season and either apply for the NFL Draft in 2025, or play for another team in 2025.

  4. Good fight. Travis got robbed. Not sure that changes the outcome though. Looks like staub can play a bit. Hope he sticks around. Good season, relatively speaking.

    Prime knows the needs. Can he fill them? I believe so.

    Gonna be another interesting offseason. Curious to see who OSU can bring in and to see how smith does in the big fox, too.

    I’ll miss the pac 12 and especially 2pac.

    Go Buffs

    1. I wonder if our old buddy Brian lindgren gets promoted from OC to HC?

      He’s been there a long time now and called some great games. I always thought he got a raw deal at CU

      1. I said the same thing to my Coug nephew a few minutes ago. Would not be a bad move, in my opinion. Bigger question may be does he want the gig?

        I saw smith already bringing his o line guy.

        Go Buffs

          1. Hadn’t seen that yet. Probably not a bad call given the dicey landscape at osu these days.

            Also says something about what smith thinks of the Lindgren run offense. Also classic.

            Go Buffs

  5. Well I sure wish it would have ended differently but hey we showed good improvement this year. We have a long way to go so CP go get the Big Dawgs.

  6. They beat their rivals, they improved on the field, and they became relevant again. They also lost alot of games. I really hope next year is the year the program FINALLY stops losing. We have been enduring for two decades.

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