Contact CU Independent Sports Writer Jake Mauff at Jacob.Mauff@colorado.edu.
The University of Colorado football team held onto hope late in the fourth quarter against UCLA, but hope wasn’t enough to upset the Bruins in the Rose Bowl as they still won 35-31.
It was a heck of a day for the Buffaloes. There were many celebratory instances during the game, but mistakes riddled Colorado all day, and now the Buffs move to 4-5 on the year. They can only afford one more loss if they want to receive a bowl birth.
Sophomore wide receiver Devin Ross dropped two touchdown passes. On both plays, he was open and just couldn’t snag the ball. These types of drops always hurt a team, especially when the game is this close.
Junior quarterback Sefo Liufau threw a pick-six deep in the Colorado red-zone. It was six points the Buffs lost, and six points the Bruins gained. Including the kicks, that’s a 14-point difference in what Colorado wanted.
Junior kicker Diego Gonzalez missed a field goal with 2:06 left in the first quarter.
But overall, it was a better day for the Buffs than most expected. The Buffs had a three-point lead in the fourth quarter and had plenty of opportunities to come away with a victory.
Colorado had a school-record 114 plays during the game, keeping the UCLA on the field while also wearing out the defense. 114 plays is also a Pac-12 record.
Senior wide receiver Nelson Spruce set another conference record, compiling the most all-time receptions in conference history. He finished the day with 11 catches for 90 yards.
This game saw UCLA get on the board first with a 31-yard screen pass to red shirt junior running back Paul Perkins. It was his first receiving touchdown of the year. The Bruins capped a 91-yard drive with that play.
It was back and forth between Colorado and the Bruins until red shirt junior corner back Ishmael Adams took Liufau’s pass 96 yards for a touchdown.
Colorado came back to score a field goal with 3:29 left in the half. UCLA responded with an 82-yard touchdown run made by Perkins. The Buffs closed out the half with another field goal, bringing the score to 21-6.
Colorado received the second half kickoff. The ensuing possession saw the Buffs score a touchdown off of the one-yard touchdown run by Donovan Lee. Lee has successfully transitioned from a wide receiver to a running back.
UCLA returned the kick and got to midfield only to fumble the ball and have the Buffs recover it. Colorado was not able to take advantage of this and punted it away. The next score of the game came from sophomore running back Nate Starks. This 11-yard run was setup by a 51-yard completion to senior wide receiver Jordan Payton.
The Buffs scored a field goal with 1:06 left in the third. From there, Colorado turned it up a notch.
Junior defensive lineman Jordan Carrell forced a UCLA fumble which fellow junior defensive lineman Samson Kafovalu returned 33 yards for the touchdown. The extra point brought the Buffs within five points at 23-28.
Freshmen running back Patrick Carr ran the ball five yards for a touchdown after a 62-yard completion to Ross. The Buffs went for two and succeeded with a pass to Spruce.
UCLA rallied and scored another rushing touchdown with a two yard jaunt by freshmen running back Soso Jamabo.
Colorado deflated the rest of the game. It failed on a fourth down attempt of four yards with 3:37 left. The Buffs were able to get the ball back. Liufau appeared hurt with 1:23 left in the game. He stayed in, only to throw a game sealing interception with 51 seconds on the clock.
The Buffs will return to Folsom Field next Saturday to play Stanford. Kickoff is scheduled for 11 a.m. MST.