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Buffaloes' Hearts Broken By Beavers In 36-31 Loss

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Colorado drops second crushing game in a row, falling to 2-4

Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Before the beginning of the second half of Saturday afternoon's Pac-12 showdown between Oregon State and Colorado, Mike MacIntyre told Pac-12 Network sideline reporter Jill Savage that his team "needed to finish a second half, for once."

Long after the conclusion of the second half, MacIntyre lamented another unfinished second half in the bowels of the Dal Ward Athletic Center after a 36-31 loss.

After leading 21-20 at halftime, Colorado stalled in the third quarter and into the fourth quarter, letting the Beavers take a 12 point lead before rallying back. CU had a chance to take the lead in the waning moments of the game, but the Buffs turned the ball over on downs, effectively ending the game.

"There's no such thing as a moral victory," MacIntyre said. "I do know our team fights, and they do believe they can win. I think we've come a long way, we've just got to punch through and get some ‘Ws'."

One thing MacIntyre did not talk about in his postgame press conference was the officiating - a topic he was very vocal about throughout most of the second half.

Late in the third quarter, with the Beavers up by two and driving, OSU quarterback Sean Mannion overthrew a ball down the left sideline, resulting in an interception by Kenneth Crawley. But the pick was called back after a dubious pass interference call on Crawley. Three plays later Oregon State was celebrating a Mannion touchdown pass to Caleb Smith, while MacIntyre scratched his head, wondering how Crawley's interception could have been overturned.

On the ensuing Colorado possession, Sefo Liufau found Nelson Spruce over the middle, but Oregon State's Larry Scott appeared to be a little early contacting Spruce. No flag came, Will Oliver knocked home a 44-yard field goal, and MacIntyre's frustrations with the officiating crew continued.

Oregon State responded to the Oliver field goal by marching 85 yards to take a 12-point lead. The Beavers' two-point conversion attempt was broken up by Crawley, and the Buffs had five minutes to make up two scores.

The first score came quickly. It only took Liufau and company 2:11 to drive 75 yards and cut the lead to five. The drive was capped by a bruising 17-yard catch-and-run by Tyler McCulloch, who led Colorado in receiving yards with 76.

The Buffs' defense mounted an emotional stand to give CU the ball with starting field position inside OSU territory.

On the first play of the Buffs' final series, Liufau had Tony Jones open in the flat, but Jones dropped the pass - one of many drops from CU running backs. On 2nd-and-10, Liufau hit Jones who picked up four yards, but elected to fight for extra yards instead of getting out of bounds. MacIntyre called his final timeout.

MacIntyre's pass interference bugaboo reared its head again on third down. Liufau found Spruce along the right sideline, but the ball was a little underthrown, and OSU cornerback Steven Nelson might have been a little early getting to the star receiver. The following play, Liufau was hurried, escaped the pocket, and threw an incompletion looking for McCulloch.

After the final Oregon State snap from the victory formation, MacIntyre sprinted from his sideline, chasing the officiating crew off the field. MacIntyre had no comment when asked by Denver Post columnist Mark Kiszla if he had gone too far in his reaction.

"Coach Mac's definitely an emotional, fiery kind of coach," said Brady Daigh, who filled in for Addison Gillam after Gillam suffered a concussion on a kickoff. "When you that stuff you see how invested he is in us, and how much he cares about us as a program."

The Buffs will let the bitter taste of back-to-back crushing losses stick in their mouths a little longer, as a bye week awaits CU. Looming after the bye is a trip to Los Angeles to take on the USC Trojans.