A battle of the Alamo turned out to be less than exciting.
A team that exceeded expectations by constructing one of the biggest regular season turnarounds in college football history rumbled into the postseason for the first time in nine seasons only to fall short, losing 38-8 against the Oklahoma State Cowboys.
The Alamo Bowl was expected to be an offensive shootout between two highly respected offenses, and what started out as a close but one-sided affair by Oklahoma State in the first half quickly turned into a blowout.
Nothing seemed to work on offense for the Buffs, who were held to just eight first downs before halftime. Sefo Liufau started the game moving the ball down the field, but couldn’t get into the red zone. The last collegiate game for the senior captain didn’t go as planned, with him re-injuring his ankle and backup Steven Montez coming into the game for a few series.
Cowboys’ quarterback Mason Rudolph completed his first six passes on the way to opening up a 17-0 lead going into halftime and the scoring attack couldn’t be stopped in the second half.
Colorado received the second half kickoff, only to be forced into a three and out. The momentum wouldn’t swing in CU’s direction following a missed field goal by Ben Grogan from 25-yards out on the next possession.
Oklahoma State increased their lead to 24-0 with a 6-yard touchdown pass from Rudolph to Blake Jarwin at the 5:24 mark in the third quarter. The Pokes would add another score right before the close of the quarter, with Rudolph’s 23-yard strike to Jhajuan Seales in the back of the end zone.
Colorado’s defense tried to hold up to the onslaught, but couldn’t find an answer for Rudolph.
The Cowboys scored on 6-of-11 drives with 527 yards of total offense, including 171 receiving yards from James Washington before he left the game in the third quarter with a hand injury.
Liufau willed his way off the sidelines and came back into the game to try and give the team a spark. He gave the Buffs a better shot, but it was too little too late for the offense. Liufau managed to score on a run from six yards out along with a two-point conversion to Phillip Lindsay with 5:28 left to go.
Rudolph won the quarterback battle and finished 22-of-32, with 314 yards passing and three touchdowns. Liufau accumulated 195 yards and no passing touchdowns in his final game.
Colorado finishes the season with losses in the last two games after winning six straight. Now we begin to look to next season and a top 20 recruiting class for 2017.