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Colorado keeps bowl hopes alive with thrilling win over Stanford

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The Buffaloes defeated the Cardinal 16-13 as time expired.

Stanford v Colorado Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

On a day when Fred Folsom was posthumously inducted into Colorado’s athletic Hall-of-Fame, the Buffaloes edged the Stanford Cardinal 16-13 on the field named after the program’s first football coach. With the win, Colorado improved to 4-6, (2-5 Pac-12) snapped a five-game losing streak, and kept their hopes of playing into the postseason alive.

The Buffaloes opened the scoring with a beautiful, nine-play, 75-yard drive capped off by a Steven Montez 13-yard touchdown run. With 41 yards (19 passing, 22 rushing) on the series, the senior from El Paso, Tex. became the second player in program history (Sefo Liufau the other) to account for 10,000-plus yards of total offense in his career. Stanford countered with an opening drive down to the Colorado 21-yard line. However, the Buffaloes defense, which had allowed 30-or-more points in their nine previous games, held the Cardinal to a field goal.

Following a Montez interception on the Buffaloes first drive of the second quarter, Tyson Summers’ unit came up big once again, holding the Cardinal to a second Ryan Sanborn field goal. Stanford made it into Colorado territory on their next drive, before Derrion Rakestraw intercepted a K.J. Costello pass with 3:42 remaining in the half. 12-plays and 63 yards later, the Buffaloes drive stalled at the Cardinal 17-yard line. Rather than risk coming away with no points, Evan Price connected on a 34-yard field goal on fourth-and-four to give the Buffaloes a 10-6 lead at halftime.

Stanford opened the second half with another drive that stalled inside Colorado’s red zone, however this time Sanborn’s 32-yard field goal attempt sailed wide right. Despite being on the field over 11 and a half minutes, the Buffaloes defense held strong throughout the third quarter. Mustafa Johnson recorded his first sack since the Nebraska game, and more importantly, Colorado held Stanford off the scoreboard.

It didn’t last long. On the second play of the fourth quarter, Costello connected with sophomore Simi Fehoko for a 79-yard score to give the Cardinal a 13-10 lead. Behind 36 rushing yards from Alex Fontenot, the Buffaloes answered on their ensuing possession. Facing a third and two from the Stanford six yard line, Montez’s pass to a wide open K.D. Nixon was slightly tipped at the line of scrimmage and fell incomplete. On the next play, Evan Price tied the game at 13 with a 23-yard field goal which capped off a six and a half minute drive. After holding Stanford to a three-and-out, the Buffaloes offense took over at their own 20 yard line with six minutes remaining. They would not give the ball back.

Montez converted a third and one from their own 29-yard line on a two yard rush. Colorado’s drive was extended when Stanford freshman Kyu Blu Kelly was flagged for pass interference on Tony Brown on third and nine from their own 42. And then facing a fourth and one from the Cardinal 34 yard line, Laviska Shenault, running out of the wildcat, absolutely TRUCKED a Stanford defender for five yards and a first down.

After a Montez 12-yard completion to K.D. Nixon, Evan Price, filling in for the injured James Stefanou, drilled a 37-yard field goal as time expired to seal the victory for the Buffaloes. Up next for Colorado is a date with the Washington Huskies in Boulder, Colo on Saturday November 23rd. Washington is coming off a 12-point win at Oregon State. The Buffaloes are 5-12-1 all-time against the Huskies, with their last victory coming in the 1996 Holiday Bowl.