It was nearly meltdown time for Colorado fans as Colorado State jumped out to an early 14-0 lead in the Rocky Mountain Showdown, but if there's one thing we've learned from these Buffaloes over the past year, it's that they don't give up.
The Buffs got on the board with a Diego Gonzalez field goal, and the game turned eight minutes later, when Colorado followed a missed field goal from CSU's Wyatt Bryan, with a 65-yard touchdown strike (Liufau to Fields.) The Buffs added an interception before halftime, and although they weren't able to turn it into points, the momentum was clearly in the favor of the Buffs.
"Big Mo," stayed with the Colorado to start the half, as potentially their best drive of the game was capped off with an absolute dime from Liufau to Devin Ross gave the Buffs their first lead of the game.
Things went neutral for a long stretch after a CSU field goal tied the game, but the Buffs took the reins with one of the biggest plays in recent memory. As Nick Stevens attempted to drop a screen pass off to Dalyn Dawkins, Rick Gamboa sniffed it out, blowing up Dawkins right as the ball arrived, and sending the ball into the Fall air. Before it dropped, Kenneth Olugbode was underneath it, and aided by a block from Chidobe Awuzie, he took it 60 yards the other way to give Colorado the 24-17 lead.
The Rams weren't done, though, they answered back impressively, orchestrating a 10 play, 75 yard drive to tie the game at 24.
The two teams traded poses ion after possession, each blowing what seemed to be opportunities to go win the game, and eventually it was the Buffs who had the ball last. With nine second remaining Colorado executed a gutsy fourth down conversion to get the ball down to the 33 yard line, giving Diego Gonzalez a chance to win the game, but his 48 harder fell short.
Things started poorly in the extra period for the Buffs as they were assessed a 15 yard penalty on the first play, when Jimmie Gilbert was ejected from the game for targeting. But the Buffs defense would stand up, forcing the Rams to kick a field goal just three plays later, and even better. That's when Tedric Thomspon essentially won the game for the Buffaloes. His outstretched arms blocked the kick of Wyatt Bryan, to keep the game tied and give the Buffaloes a huge advantage.
Four plays later, it was Diego Gonzalez's attempt at redemption, the Buffaloes kicker stood up there with confidence and smashed through a 32 harder that gave the Buffaloes their triumphant victory.
STAR OF THE GAME
Sefo Liufau: It didn't involve goody numbers or anything like that, but in a week where out was obvious that the Buffaloes were going to have to throw the ball, Liufau came out and gave the Buffs a turnover-free, two touchdown performance that was good enough to get them their victory. Two touchdowns and no turnovers may not sound like much, but this is the first time Liufau had done that since, well, last year's game against Colorado State.
The Buffs QB had been criticized heavily for his performance thus far this season, and he came out on Saturdan night a played his heart out.
PLAY OF THE GAME
Kenneth Olugbode's 60-yard pick-six was sensational and pushed the Buffs back into the lead, 24-17 with 8:50 to play. It was highlighted by Chidobe Awuzie blowing up Colorado State's Nick Callender (6-foot-5, 315 lbs) to spring the play.
TURNING POINT OF THE GAME
In the second quarter, the Rams missed a 52-yard field goal and on the very next play, Liufau connected with Fields on the 65-yard touchdown throw. CSU could've taken the 17-3 lead but the TD made it 14-10 Rams.
BY THE NUMBERS
59: The number of yards Nelson Spruce needs to to set the all-time school record for career receiving yards at CU after his 63 yards tonight.
QUOTE OF THE GAME
Chidobe Awuzie on the game-changing pick-six from Kenneth Olubode and his block:
"I was blocking for my brother. It was his birthday and it's a perfect birthday present to get a pick-six. I saw them trying to get him and I just laid out. Hen ended up scoring. It was a beautiful play, and a beautiful moment and a beautiful day."
"It was a beautiful play, and a beautiful moment and a beautiful day."
Colorado avoids a second consecutive loss to Colorado State, and frankly keeps their bowl game hopes alive.
Colorado take on Nicholls State, who apparently doesn't like being called State, so they're are just Nicholls. Who knows where that is or who they are, but they lost to a team named Incarnate Word today, so yeah.