For perhaps the first time during the 2015 season, Colorado looked truly overmatched, falling to No. 9 Stanford 42-10.
"To put in a week's worth of preparation and come out flat like that is really frustrating," said quarterback Sefo Liufau.
The Buffs found themselves down by seven early, after Stanford's initial 15 play, 81 yard drive ended with a 1-yard touchdown run by Remound Wright. CU responded with one of its most impressive drives of the season. Liufau delivered a quality pass to Nelson Spruce down the right sideline, and Donovan Lee punched through the Stanford defense and into the endzone from four yards out to knot the game at 7.
David Shaw conservatively elected to punt from the Colorado 37, giving the Buffs the chance to take the lead with a score. But Colorado was forced to punt after three plays, and Stanford never looked back.
If Saturday's game turned on a single play, it was likely Kevin Hogan's 43-yard touchdown pass to Michael Rector. Colorado had begun to slow Stanford's third drive of the game. Jimmie Gilbert stuffed Valor Christian product Christian McCaffrey for a 2-yard loss, the Cardinal got flagged for delay of game, and Derek McCartney sacked Hogan on second down, resulting in 3rd-and-18 from the CU 43.
On 3rd-and-18, Michael Rector beat Kenneth Crawley down the left sideline, and Hogan found him in stride to reclaim the lead.
Stanford took advantage of a Diego Gonzalez missed field goal from 37 yards out to build on the lead. The Card methodically worked their way down field after a 40-yard McCaffrey run down the right sideline. Hogan finished the drive on 4th-and-2, hitting an unmarked Dalton Schultz from six yards out with 1:51 to go in the first half.
Colorado looked to likely face a 21-7 halftime deficit, which would be manageable, as they would receive the ball to begin the second half. But Dallas Lloyd intercepted a sailing Liufau pass, and seven plays later, Hogan was in the endzone, and Colorado trailed by 21 going into the locker room.
Gonzalez capped Colorado's first drive of the second half with a 29-yard field goal, but the Buffs effectively conceded those three points by attempting an onside kick, giving Stanford the ball at the Colorado 47.
It took only one play for the Card to travel those 47 yards, as Bryce Love knifed his way through the Colorado defense to give Stanford a 35-10 lead.
Stanford would score one last time - a 28-yard touchdown pass from McCaffrey to Austin Hooper.
"Stanford's a heck of a team," said head coach Mike MacIntyre. "They're our Pac-12 shot at getting to the playoffs."
Colorado concludes a two-game homestand on Friday against Southern California.
Christian McCaffrey continued his stellar season in his home state, picking up 220 all-purpose yards in basically three quarters of action... Phillip Lindsay did not see any action during an offensive series in the first half, and only had five carries on the day... Stanford converted 10-of-16 third down attempts, compared to Colorado's 2-of-11.