After beginning Saturday night's showdown in Tempe with three ineffective drives, Colorado head coach Mike MacIntyre pulled Connor Wood in favor of freshman Sefo Liufau, who would go on to complete 17-of-24 passes in his collegiate debut.
Other than that little piece of drama, CU's 54-13 loss at the hands of Arizona State was the most forgettable of their three losses this season. ASU took a lead just over a minute into the game, as Taylor Kelly found Jaelen Strong for a 69-yard touchdown. Three minutes later, the Sun Devils were celebrating another touchdown, this time off a Marion Grice 8-yard run. Not even five minutes after kickoff, the game was effectively over.
Liufau's first drive was a refreshing change of pace, as the Buffs moved forward, instead of backwards. CU's drive was aided by a personal foul against ASU's Will Sutton, who hit Liufau long after a play had been whistled dead. Liufau capped off the 11-play drive with a 10-yard touchdown pass to Nelson Spruce.
After the promise of Liufau's first drive, the offense would sputter, still looking more effective than the first three drives under Wood, but not really threatening to put any points on the board. Arizona State would take a 47-6 lead into the locker room. Much like the first road trip to Oregon State, Paul Richardson was not much of a factor in the first half. In fact, the only stat Richardson registered in the first half was a tackle after a Liufau interception.
In what was a sportsmanlike act of mercy, the Sun Devils sat their offensive first team for the duration of the second half. ASU head coach Todd Graham briefly ran out the defensive starters, but the second teamers saw the vast majority of defensive snaps for the Sun Devils.
One would assume that Liufau will get the start next week against Charleston Southern, and likely for the rest of the season. MacIntyre only needs to look back to the Dan Hawkins era to see how mismanaging a redshirt quarterback can impact divide a team - and less importantly - alienate a fan base.
Certainly, MacIntyre has a challenging task ahead of him. It's hard to see this team winning three more games, although Charleston Southern should be a win, and it's not entirely impossible for CU to pick up two Pac-12 wins. The question is, can MacIntyre keep the Buffs from quitting?