Colorado played well enough to win at times against Arizona.
Big plays by the Wildcats, especially Arizona’s Quarterback B.J. Denker, who according to Colorado Head Football Coach Mike MacIntyre played his best game of the year led Arizona to a 44-20 win over the Buffs.
“We couldn’t tackle their quarterback (B.J.) Denker,” said a disappointed MacIntyre. “We missed him at least seven times. He did a great job for them. He threw the ball better than he ever has, he ran the ball better than anything we saw on film of him.”
MacIntyre, who is usually somewhat laid back and easy going, was visibly upset about his teams lost to Arizona.
“Our guys played their hearts out,” MacIntyre said. “We can beat that team, we didn’t do the things we had to do. I’m very disappointed in the outcome. I think we have improved as a team, this loss is very frustrating for our kids. It’s very dis-concerning, we have to keep fighting, we have to keep moving forward and we have to keep battling.”
Colorado had their chances against the Wildcats, fighting toe to toe with Arizona for the first 27 and a half minutes of the contest.
Arizona led just 10-7 at the end for the first quarter, the Buffs tied the game 10-10 on a 53 yard career best field goal by Will Oliver in the second quarter and took a lead 13-10 with 5:07 left to go in the half on a 48 field goal by the steady kicker.
The final three minutes of the first half spelled doom for the Buffs.
The nation’s leading rusher, Ka’Deem Carey who finished the night with a season low 119 yards, scored on a seven yard run on a nine play, 75 yard drive to give the visiting team the lead back 17-13.
Colorado’s offense which showed promise at times, went a disappointing three and out on their next possession setting up what ended up being the major turning point of the game. Carey broke loose for 30 yards before Denker connected with Nate Phillips for a 44 yard touchdown pass with just :50 seconds remaining in the second quarter to put a damper on Colorado’s first half momentum.
Arizona, who won the opening toss but deferred to the second half, used runs by Denker of 11 yards and 54 yards to give the Wildcats a good start in the second half. They ended up having to settle for a 26 yard field goal after a good defensive stop by the Buffs making the score 27-13.
Colorado showed a lot of fight. The Buffs put together a six play, 66 yard drive that used 1:35 seconds of the clock and scored on a one yard run by true freshman running back Michael Adkins.
Adkins rushed for 34 yards on five carries during the possession to answer for the Buffs and make the score 27-20 with 9:53 remaining in the third quarter.
Arizona scored on their next two possessions to take a 14 point lead and take control of the ballgame.
True freshman quarterback Sefo Liufau turned in a solid performance in his first PAC 12 start, including a 75 yard strike to junior wideout Paul Richardson. He finished the night with 17 completions out of 32 attempts and one interception and one touchdown for 212 yards.
Adkins finished the night with 58 yards on 16 carries, Christian Powell added 35 yards on 13 carries.
With the win Arizona goes 5-2 on the year and 2-2 in Pac 12 play, while the Buffs fell to 3-4 overall and 0-4 in league action.
Colorado will now go on a tough two game road trip to UCLA next weekend, and traveling to Washington before returning home to host Cal and USC before closing out the season at Utah.