Contact CU Independent Staff Writer Jake Mauff at Jacob.Mauff@Colorado.edu
University of Colorado football played its last game of the season on Saturday, and the team didn’t go out with a bang. The Buffs lost to Utah, 20-14.
Defensively, it was an uphill battle for the Buffs. The team allowed a hundred yard rusher in the first half. Utes junior running back Joe Williams was helped by a 64-yard dash right before halftime. Utah ended the day with 216 yards on the ground.
Colorado held Utah’s senior quarterback Travis Wilson to 10-for-26 passing for 108 yards. The defense allowed a touchdown, while junior defensive back Tedric Thompson picked him off once.
Buffs redshirt freshmen quarterback Cade Apsay didn’t even make it to the end of the game in second start of the season.
He led two consecutive drives into the red zone that failed to score any points in the first quarter. The first drive of the game resulted in a blocked field goal; it was followed by a drive that ended in an interception. The pass was tipped on the line by a defensive lineman and grabbed by another Utah defender.
This was the first of three Colorado interceptions. Apsay threw two. His second came on another tipped pass, this one by junior tight end Sean Irwin.
Apsay left in the second quarter with a potential concussion after being hit in the head. He was ruled out the rest of the game.
Still, senior wide receiver Nelson Spruce continued to shine. He finished with five catches for 111 and a touchdown. This included a 50-yard pass from Apsay.
It was Spruce’s last game of his collegiate career. He leaves leading Colorado’s record books in almost every receiving category.
“It was tough,” Spruce said in a postgame radio interview on radio 850 KOA. “I said goodbye to a lot of teammates that I’m not going to be able to ever play with again.”
In the second half, Utah’s offense seemed to stagnate after a touchdown on its first drive. The Utes’ final score of the game came on a field goal with over six minutes left in the third quarter.
After Apsay left with his injury, junior quarterback Jordan Gehrke came in. He finished 11-for-20 passing with 113 yards, a touchdown and an interception.
When Gehrke proved ineffective, the Buffs brought in junior linebacker Jaleel Awini to run the offense. The former Air Force quarterback only came in for emergencies, and this seemed to count as one.
Awini switched with Gehrke between plays once he entered in the fourth quarter. Awini ran option run plays while Gehrke came in and passed. It led to a screen-pass touchdown to sophomore running back Phillip Lindsay that brought the game to 20-14 with 4:13 left.
“It got [Utah] on the ropes,” head coach Mike MacIntyre said to KOA. “Gave us a chance to win the football game.”
Colorado kicked off and forced a three-and-out.
With 2:28 left, only Gehrke played the final drive of the game. He made a few plays, including a fourth down conversion to sophomore wide receiver Shay Fields. Then Gehrke lost a fumble on a sack, which Utah recovered. It ended the chances of Colorado’s comeback.
With this loss, Colorado finishes the season 4-9 and has lost nine out of ten games decided by less than seven points in the past two seasons.