The No. 16 Colorado Buffaloes defeated the Arizona Wildcats, 49-24 on the road in Tucson.
Colorado was looking to have a rebound offensive performance tonight after two slow weeks moving the ball. Arizona proved to be the matchup the team needed.
Senior quarterback Sefo Liufau regained his composure after a tough week against UCLA. He finished the night with three touchdowns. This was the first time Liufau has recorded three in a game since the third game of this season against Michigan.
“I think I just let loose and decided to have fun,” Liufau said. “I was joking with the all the guys between drives.”
Liufau also opened up the offense on his legs, scoring one touchdown. While that meant taking more hits than desired, it added a creative side that the Wildcats had to defend. It helped kick-start the running game after junior running back Phillip Lindsay was contained at the beginning of the game. Lindsay started to find his stride in the second quarter, though, finishing with 119 yards and three touchdowns.
The Colorado defense did give up some yardage and a few big plays. But with a fumble recovery in the second quarter, the Buffs now have 23 consecutive games with a takeaway.
Arizona racked up 262 rushing yards. That is the most Colorado has given up all season. In fact, that mark was hit by the end of the third quarter alone, at 219 yards. It wasn’t just the total amount of yards. The Wildcats averaged 5 yards an attempt.
“I mean, [quarterback Brandon] Dawkins broke me off twice … My ankles are still on the field,” senior linebacker Jimmie Gilbert said. “Just the fact that they have a quarterback who has the ability to run the way he did — you really have to be very tight and very fundamental with your pass rush.”
Colorado also benefited from a sloppy kicking performance by Arizona. After allowing the Wildcats to march down the field a few times, the defense was able to make a stand and force Arizona to attempt field goals. The end result was poor for the home team, as the Wildcats missed three field goals.
Arizona did have a surge early in the fourth quarter. The team was down 42-10 and drove for a touchdown. On the ensuing possession for Colorado, Liufau’s pass was intercepted on a tipped pass early in the drive and the Wildcats capitalized, moving the score to 42-24.
With the win, Colorado is looking to jump into the single digits in both the AP Poll and the College Football Playoffs rankings. The Buffs entered the day ranked No. 12 in the latter poll, and the No 2, 3 and 4 teams lost this week.
“Our kids have been focused every game,” head coach Mike MacIntyre said. “We got the ball in the end zone like we said we would, and kind of got back in some rhythm.”
Colorado will return home next week to face the No. 23 Washington State Cougars. Kickoff will be from Folsom Field at a time to likely be determined this week.
Contact CU Independent Copy Editor Jake Mauff at firstname.lastname@example.org.