It's starting to become a script, the Buffs come out slow, they fight back in it, they seem to have control, they lose that control, they can't regain it and the game slips away.
It happened once again on Saturday night in Folsom Field. The Wildcats of Arizona stormed into Boulder and looked ready to run the Buffs into the ground, scoring on their first three drives of the game and jumping out to a 17-7 lead.
But as we come to learn, these Buffs don't quit, Jim leavitt made adjustments to the defense and suddenly the Buffs locked down, holding the Wildcats scoreless for the entire second and third quarters. This allowed the Buffs to score the next 17 points of the game, featuring two rushing touchdowns from Sefo Liufau who finished the night with 339 yards, four total touchdowns and no turnovers.
Unfortunately for the Buffs, that 24-17 lead would be the last lead they'd see. Late in the third quarter, Arizona made the switch to run-first quarterback Jerrard Randall and the Buffs didn't have the answers to stop the zone-read attack with Randall at the helm. The Cats scored 21 consecutive points to put the game out of reach for all intents and purposes.
The Buffs made a late rally that included a touchdown pass to Shay Fields, who finished with 8 catches for 168 yards and two touchdowns, but it was too little too late and the Buffs dropped yet another close one.
PLAYER OF THE GAME
The senior running back for the Wildcats had a career high 207 yards on 23 carries for an average of 9 yards per carry. His performance included two touchdowns on the ground and one in the air that regained the lead for the Wildcats in the fourth quarter.
The big game from Baker made the absence of Nick Wilson a non-factor in the game and powered the Cats to the road victory.
PLAY OF THE GAME
The Buffaloes were trailing 10-0 early in desperate need of a big play and Sefo Liufau and Shay Fields delivered on this 74 yard touchdown.
With 53 seconds remaining in third quarter and the Wildcats in full-on stall mode on offense, Rich Rodriguez made the call to put run-first quarterback Jerrard Randall in at quarterback. Randall instantly bit off two large chunks of yardage on zone-read keepers, and the new focus on accounting for the quarterback opened up the Buffs defense for the dive play which Jared Baker took 45 yards to the house.
The Cats stuck with Randall from there on out for the most part and he gave the Buffs fits.
BY THE NUMBERS
2 - The number of touchdowns Shay Fields caught in the game, a career high for the Sophomore
3 - Sefo Liufau moved into third place on CU's all time passing list, reaching 6,709 yards for his career and passing Kordell Steward on the charts.
4 - Nelson Spruce moved into 4th place on the all-time Pac-12 receptions list (250), passing his position coach, Troy Walters) in the process.
5 - Shay Fields now has five receptions of 50 yards or more at Colorado.
QUOTE OF THE GAME
MacIntyre talking about his guaranteeing of a victory at last night's Homecoming pep rally.
Mac's overall message was that he was simply trying to get a crowd fired up for the game, a very fair explanation. He also added - "If I don't believe in these kids, nobody will."
MacIntyre falls to 1-20 against the Pac-12 during his time at Colorado, including a current 14-game losing streak. As the games that look winnable on paper continue to go by without a win, the "hot seat" talk will continue to grow.
The Buffs head out to Corvallis, Oregon, for what is shaping up to be their most winnable game remaining on the schedule. The game will kickoff at 8:30 mountain time on Pac-12 Network.