Contact CU Independent football beat writer Justin Guerriero at email@example.com.
University of Colorado football head coach Mike MacIntyre can celebrate his first Pac-12 victory since 2013 today, as the Buffs dammed the Beavers 17-13 Saturday night in Corvallis.
The Buffaloes (4-4, 1-3 Pac-12) finally overcame their 14-game losing streak in Pac-12 road games by edging Oregon State (2-5, 0-4 Pac-12).
Colorado received the ball to start the game and the offense, perhaps hoping to redeem themselves from the punt-a-palooza that was the latter half of last week’s loss to Arizona, quickly got the Buffs on the board for three after junior kicker Diego Gonzalez made a 21-yard attempt to cap the 13 play, 73-yard drive.
But the Buffs’ defense had trouble with their first dose of the Beavers’ offense, as quarterback Seth Collins led Oregon State 74 yards downfield, where running back Ryan Nall ran the ball in to put the Beavers up 7-3. Collins left the game in the second quarter, and from there Nick Mitchell took over at quarterback.
Nall would have himself a night, finishing with 122 yards on 20 carries. Mitchell, on the other hand, struggled, completing only 9-24 attempted passes for 122 yards and no touchdowns in the losing effort.
After the Beavers scored, the Buffs got the ball and ran three plays for a grand total of -7 yards. But the defense stepped up on Oregon State’s ensuing drive, forcing a turnover on downs. This time, the offense rewarded their efforts with a touchdown when junior quarterback Sefo Liufau hit senior wide receiver Nelson Spruce for a 15-yard strike with 9:11 in the second quarter.
The Beavers would kick a field goal, and the Buffs punted on their last two possessions in the quarter with the game tied 10-10 heading into halftime.
Oregon State and Colorado would trade missed field goals to begin the third quarter of play, as Beavers’ kicker Garrett Owens missed a 44-yard attempt, and on the Buffs’ following drive, Gonzalez missed a 45-yard attempt.
After the miss, the Buffs’ defense again forced a quick punt from the Beavers’ offense. Liufau and the Buffs then marched down the field, covering 85 yards in 4:22. Liufau would score on a four yard rushing touchdown, his fifth of the year, to put the Buffs up 17-10.
On the Beavers’ next possession, they kicked a 34-yard field goal to make the score 17-13.
The Colorado offense got the ball back with 9:12 left in the game, and from that point onward, kept fans on the edge of their seats with their inability to close out the football game.
The Buffaloes punted on their last three possessions, repeatedly giving the Beavers’ offense a chance to win the game. Luckily, the CU defense picked up the slack, forcing a turnover on downs and a punt on Oregon State’s two corresponding drives.
The last possession of the game saw the Beavers with the ball, pushing their way into Colorado territory. But junior defensive back Chidobe Awuzie picked off Mitchell on fourth down at the Buffs’ 38-yard line, effectively sealing the game and handing MacIntyre his elusive second Pac-12 conference victory, and his first on the road.
Liufau would finish with 140 yards and a passing touchdown, to go along with the one he rushed in. He completed 16-of-23 attempted passes in the win.
The Buffs leave Corvallis with a rare conference win. But questions still remain regarding the efficiency and direction of the offense. Colorado was truly playing with fire as the game wound down with the offense’s inability to chew up the clock.
Needless to say, that is the last situation the Buffaloes would benefit from against their remaining opponents.
The first remaining opponent is UCLA, who will host Colorado next Saturday at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena. Kickoff is scheduled for 1 p.m. MST.