The Colorado Buffaloes have been plagued by slow starts already this season and we'd see nothing different when they took the field for the Rocky Mountain Showdown.
CSU quarterback Nick Stevens came out firing in the first quarter, helped by the fact that he faced zero pressure and was aided by playcalling that made Colorado's look less than uninspiring. Two straight drives led to touchdowns for the Rams to give them an early 14-3 lead.
After the Buffaloes squandered multiple opportunities to get back in the game after Ram misqueues Sefo Liufau was finally able to connect with Shay Fields on a 65-yard touchdown that turned the tide of the game and gave the Buffs the momentum they had been lacking. A blocked field goal was the only thing that stopped Colorado from heading into the locker room only down a point, instead facing as 14-10 deficit at halftime.
The Buffaloes used that momentum and their opportunity to receive the kickoff to execute a 9-play, 75-yard drive that included four first downs and resulted in a 24-yard touchdown pass from Sefo Liufau to Devin Ross.
On the next drive Kenneth Crawley continued his big turn around from an ugly first quarter with a key third down pass breakup that kept the Rams out of the end zone and the Buffaloes tied.
Another methodical drive by the Buffaloes got the ball down to the CSU 40-yard line when Sefo Liufau threw another beautiful ball to Shay Field in the end zone that was juuuust broken up. It was a missed opportunity that many feared would haunt the suddenly resurgent Colorado team.
We didn't have to wait long for that worry to be proven legitimate when the Rams dinked and dunked and rode missed tackles down to the Colorado 30-yard line before missing their second field goal of the night. That led to back and forth drives that couldn't get either team in position to take the pole position in the contest until a Nick Stevens tipped pass at the Colorado 38 landed in the hands of Kenneth Olugbode (on his birthday no less) who returned it all the way for a touchdown.
With less than half a quarter remaining the Buffaloes defense was left to make their stand and bring home the victory and trophy back to Boulder. It wasn't to be. The Rams executed a nearly flawless 10-play, 75-yard drive and scored on a third down play that was helped significantly by what looked to be an illegal pick.
The final drive of regulation landed with the Colorado Buffaloes who, after being aided by a roughing the passer call, were facing a fourth and one on the Colorado State 48-yard line. A bullet from Sefo to Nelson Spruce gave the Buffaloes an opportunity to kick a 48-yard field goal for the win but Diego Gonzalez, who had been stellar, couldn't get close. To overtime they went.
Colorado State couldn't get anything going with the first possession and had to settle for a 27-yard field goal attempt that was blocked by Tedric Thompson. The Buffaloes wasted no time giving Diego Gonzalez the opportunity to atone for his earlier miss and he delivered, driving a spike through the heart of the Colorado State Rams with a 32-yard field goal. Game over.
BUFFS WIN!! #RockyMountainShowdown pic.twitter.com/bKh9DSEHyJ— Jeff Hauser (@radiohauser) September 20, 2015
Your Colorado Buffaloes are 2-1. The trophy has returned to Boulder
Rest assured, that was a very good Colorado State team that your Buffaloes just beat and another loss would have put this program behind the (for the time being) program from Fort Collins. But Sefo Liufau and Colorado showed a ton of heart in getting a huge win for Mike MacIntyre's team. The Buffs won't be entering conference play 4-0 as we hoped, but a win over Nicholls State next Saturday will leave them at 3-1, which isn't too bad either.