Phillip Lindsay deserves better than this.
The Colorado Buffaloes season is over after losing 34-13 to the Utah Utes in their season finale. The Buffs were fighting for bowl eligibility, but they finished at 5-7 after no-showing in Saturday night’s game.
Colorado was hoping for a quick start, but it was anything but. The Utes dominated from the very start and shredded the Buffs on the ground. Zack Moss has averaged 75 yards per game this season and he had 78 yards (plus 2 touchdowns!) in the first quarter on just 9 carries. At halftime, the FS1 halftime crew said Moss “looked like Marshawn Lynch combined with Earl Campbell” — that’s how awful CU’s defense was.
The offense wasn’t any better, unfortunately. The first drive was a three-and-out that didn’t even involve Phillip Lindsay. They did get something together on the next drive — Steven Montez and Lindsay had 42 rushing yards on just five carries — but the drive stalled out after CU started passing. It didn’t help that Montez struggled with accuracy and Bryce Bobo suddenly couldn’t catch a pass.
The second quarter was somehow worse, if you can believe it. Utah added the pass to their offensive attack as Troy Williams looked sharp in relief of the injured Tyler Huntley. His passing all over the field made it even easier for Moss to run wild. Moss finished the half with 138 yards and those two touchdowns on 16 carries. Williams added two rushing touchdowns to compliment his near perfect passing.
Colorado knew they had to score every possession to give them a hope of having a chance at making a comeback. This being CU’s 2017 offense, the pressure made things even worse. The Buffs abandoned the run, unless it was 2nd-and-23 or 3rd-and-43 and those were draw plays. CU was repeatedly in such awful position because the offensive line collapsed and Montez wilted under pressure. They could do absolutely nothing on offense and went into halftime down 28-0 and in need of a miracle to extend their season.
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Colorado’s offense finally showed up after the break. They got started with Montez finally finding consistency and he connected with Jay MacIntyre and Chris Bounds to move downfield. The Buffs got into the red zone for the first time and Lindsay quickly pounded it in for the score. That was Lindsay’s final touchdown, his 14th of the season and 36th of his career — he passed Chris Brown to have the second most in CU history. He also finishes his CU career 2nd all-time in rushing yards (3,775) and 1st in all-purpose yards (5,937).
Utah looked like they were going to run effortlessly down the field again, but CU got a few stops and forced the Utes into a long pass, which Isaiah Oliver defended brilliantly. Matt Gay hit the 37-yard field goal to make it 31-7, but stopping Utah gave hope to the Buffs defense.
CU followed up their last drive with another touchdown. Montez continued to look sharp and it certainly helped Juwann Winfree was there on the receiving end of the most crucial throws. Montez finished this drive off with a 6-yard rushing score. At 31-13, the Buffs went for 2 to make it a two-possession game, but Bobo dropped the pass, a sad way for his proud Colorado career to end.
CU’s defense stepped up to keep things interesting. Thanks to promising linebacker Nate Landman, the Buffs held Utah short to give CU excellent field position. It didn’t turn out, unfortunately, because even as the Buffs looked good as they drove inside the 10-yard line, Montez was strip-sacked and lost the ball. What chance the Buffs had at pulling off the comeback ended with that turnover.
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The Buffaloes are done for the season and this disappointing loss caps off a disappointing season. It was so great to see Phillip Lindsay in his incredible final season. and we’re so proud of him and the other seniors. Now it’s time to move on and look forward to a team that should be exciting in 2018.