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Rocky Mountain Horror Show: Colorado blows out Colorado State

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The idea of having a sacrificial lamb was too real for the Buffs in their big victory.

Colorado v Colorado State Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images

First off, hahahahaha.

Second off, that was one of the the most impressive CU victories in the last decade. Incredible defense and a balanced enough offense saw the Buffs annihilate the Colorado State Rams in the annual Rocky Mountain Showdown. The final score of 44-7 was somehow closer than the game entailed. To say these teams were truly separated by 37 points would be akin to saying the natural beauty of Ft. Collins is on the level of Boulder’s.

The game started as well as possible. Colorado State wasted no time getting their first three-and-out of the game. By the power invested in Phillip Lindsey’s legs the Buffs marched down the field with little resistance. Lindsey had 50 yards on this drive alone. With the ball at the CSU five-yard line, magic happened. Liufau rushed the ball, received a jarring hit and fumbled the ball into the end zone. Senior center Alex Kelley, as spry as a puma, lept onto the ball for the touchdown. His Piesman campaign is fully underway.

On the ensuing Colorado State possession, Chidobe Awuzie, champion of destruction, showed his might and forced a three-and-out almost entirely on his own. Back on offense, Sefo Liufau found Devin Ross on two huge plays: one being a fantastic catch on the sideline (Sefo underthrew him, but whatever) and the other being a 17-yard TD. Ross ended up with 8 catches for 97 yards. Whatever case of the dropsies he had last year seems to be gone.

Colorado State, surprise, surprise, sent their offense out and brought them back in only three plays. If there were any football neophytes watching, they must have thought CSU’s offensive strategy was to get off the field as quickly as possible. Lindsey scored on Colorado's next possession to give Colorado the 21-point first quarter lead.

CSU wasn’t able to continue their string of three-and-outs all thanks to Jimmie Gilbert, the senior defensive end. Gilbert, CU’s returning sack leader (9.5 last season), breached the protect and stripped the CSU quarterback (it doesn’t matter which one). Afolabi Laguda fell on the ball at the Colorado 11-yard-line.

All of this was only in the first quarter.

The Colorado offense slowed down a bit in the second quarter, though it would have been impossible to keep up that first quarter pace. Just as the Buffs were slumping, Bryce Bobo provided the jumpstart the offense needed with an incredible one-handed circus grab. Bobo finished with 99 yards on five catches in his first audition playing the role of Nelson Spruce.

Lindsey punched it in from a yard out on the next play. He finished with 95 rushing yards on 20 carries with those two short-yardage touchdowns.

* * *

Somewhere in between those CU touchdown drives, a few notable occurrences happened. For one, Tedric Thompson nearly killed a man. In my opinion, he should’ve been arrested then and there. In a miscarriage of justice, Thompson stayed on the field and ended the Rams’ drive with an interception in the red zone. Unfortunately, his magnificence was cut short by an injury in the third quarter. The seriousness of his injury is unknown at this point, but the widespread feeling is that he’s OK.

Also somewhere in there — it was so hard to keep track of which CSU three-and-out happened when — Chidobe Awuzie kicked off his Thorpe Award candidacy with a wonderful interception of his own. He finished with a million-bazillion tackles, too many pass deflections to count, and four pending assault and battery charges.

I highlight Awuzie and Thompson not because they were they had the only noteworthy defensive performances, but because of the way they did it. Though there were less highlight-type plays from the rest of the defense, their entire performance was admirable to say the least.

The defensive line -- a potentially weakness for the Buffs coming into the season -- looked terrific, and much (certainly not all) of that credit can go to Josh Tupou, the space-eating, soul-devouring behemoth who missed last season to suspension. The linebacker corps was fantastic as well. Gilbert had a massive play to end the first quarter, Kenneth Olugbode made plays all over the field, all while Rick Gamboa and Derek McCartney quietly did their jobs. And, of course, the secondary was incredible. Awuzie and Thompson made the highlight plays with Afolabi Laguda & Co. in support. There's certainly a reason CSU finished with only 62 passing yards, or, as one would put it, two yards more than Shay Fields had on one reception.

*  *  *

The second half was fun, too, but it shouldn’t have happened. The way the game was going, CSU should’ve taken the opportunity and gone home at halftime. They didn’t, and I’m sure they regret it.

CU only scored 13 points in the second half, but they still dominated their pesky little brother. Apart from a meaningless CSU touchdown in the fourth quarter, the defense was flawless. And apart from Liufau inexplicably staying on the field late and having an injury scare (he’s fine), the offense provided nothing to complain about.

Speaking of Liufau, he had a deceptively fantastic game. In between the usual overthrows and two-yard rushes we’re used to, the senior quarterback had one of the most efficient games of his career, even taking into account the, ahem, lackluster competition. He finished with 318 yards on 23-of-33 passing to go with 66 rushing yards. His touchdown pass to Ross was his only of the game, but he had two other long passes — one to Shay Fields and one to Bobo — that were within a yard or two of the end zone.

With the game all but over, Coach Mike MacIntyre finally — Sefo excepted, for whatever reason — put in the backups and they performed admirably. Kyle Evans, in particular, showed off his bowling ball-like running ability as he had 41 yards and a touchdown on a single drive. His score gave the Buffs their final points of the day.

When all was said and done, the Buffs, fumble troubles and all, won the turnover battle four to two and CU’s offense gained 578 yards to CSU’s 225. By the way, those 225 yards are somehow — somehow — deceptive of the Rams’ performance. They didn’t even get their first 1st down until 20 minutes into the game. CSU's punter, the magnanimous Hayden Hunt, had more punting yards (260) than his team had total. The Buffs didn’t just dominate, they absolutely destroyed the Rams.

And now, let the people chant: WE WANT IDAHO STATE.