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Buffaloes can't afford to lose Sefo Liufau

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Colorado comes limping out of Michigan with the most important position on the field hanging in the balance.

Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

It was evident that Mike MacIntyre was beside himself following Saturday's 45-28 loss to No. 4 Michigan. He walked through the doors to the press conference, sat down at the podium with a calm frustration and couldn't wait for it to be over. He knew coming into the game that his team could compete with the Wolverines, but things fell apart quickly for the Buffs in the second half. CU became their own worst enemies, allowing Michigan to capitalize on special teams. Michigan's first half from CU's punting blunders resulted in 24 points with an average starting field position at CU's 45 yard line and only one of Alex Kinney's punts sailed into Michigan territory before halftime.

Colorado's Punts Michigan's Starting Field Position Result of Drive
8:27- 1st Qtr Blocked Touchdown
9:11- 2nd Qtr COLO 38 Touchdown
5:30- 2nd Qtr COLO 37 Missed FG
4:28- 2nd Qtr MICH 37 Field Goal
0:43- 2nd Qtr  COLO 45 Touchdown

MacIntyre has lived through tough losses many times during his tenure at CU, except this was worse. The Buffs left Michigan with a botched sense of defeat and with the injuries that followed the plans for this season might be altered. Diego Gonzales (torn achilles) and Derek McCartney (Torn ACL) are both out for the season and Sefo Liufau's status is still unknown going into this week's game with Oregon.

The goal of returning to a bowl game hangs in the balance for the Buffs. Liufau was having an outstanding game against the Wolverines before leaving in the third quarter with an ankle injury. As a co-captain and leader on CU's offense, Liufau's prognosis is important for MacIntyre's game plan going forward. Backup Steven Montez has shown flashes of conducting the offense efficiently in the first two games this season. However, he would still need time to develop as a regular starter.

Liufau's ability to spread the field would be tough for the Buffs to replace. He has set or tied 78 school records during his four years as CU's starting quarterback and has played naerly flawless so far this season. Outside of the records, Liufau brings the experience to run a skilled offense under coordinators Brian Lindgren and Darrin Chiaverini. The Buffs need Liufau going into the bulk of their conference schedule and can't afford losing him to injury with postseason hopes.

There's no rest for Colorado this week as the team prepares for Oregon. The Ducks lost a close game last week in Nebraska by three points 35-32. Both teams are 2-1 on the season heading into the first game of their respective Pac-12 schedules. Like the Buffs, the Ducks are banged up coming into this match up at home after losing both Tyrell Crosby and Devon Allen to season-ending injuries. Allen competed in last month's Summer Olympics in Rio de Janerio, earning a fifth-place finish in the 110-meter hurdles.

The Buffs returned to Boulder and will head west later this week. The last time Colorado left Oregon with a victory was Sept. 23,1967. Macintyre and the Buffs hope to break the 49 years of misery at Autzen Stadium with their first conference win over the Ducks. Saturday's game time is scheduled for 3:30 p.m. MT on the Pac-12 Networks.