The Buffs got off to a late start, but took a 4-point lead into halftime before putting another score on the board early in third quarter. A 61-yard catch and run off a bubble screen from Sam Noyer to freshman Brenden Rice gave the Buffs a 21-10 lead just nineteen seconds after the second half kickoff. It was the second TD for the son of Hall of Fame receiver Jerry Rice, who took an 81-yard punt return to the house in the second quarter.
On top of the injuries to Buffs linebacker Nate Landman, offensive lineman Will Sherman and Noyer, Utah took advantage of miscues and turnovers to render CU nearly scoreless in the second half.
A costly interception by Noyer set up Utah at midfield with 6:23 left in the third quarter and the Buffs down 24-21. It also led to a momentum shift for the Utes defense, who held Colorado to an average of 2.9 yards per attempt on their final four drives (26 plays). And the last two drives ending with a four and out. Noyer finished the game completing 16-of-34 (47.1 %) passes for 258 yards and two touchdowns.
Jarek Broussard fell short of the century mark in rushing yards for the first time this season. The Buffs tailback finished with 14 carries for 80 yards for a total of 813 yards and three touchdowns over the past five games, which is the best start to a season by an FBS rusher since 2005.
As for Utah, Jordan finished with 17 carries for 147 yards and two touchdowns, a mere 20 yards shy of his career best set last week vs. Oregon State. Jake Bentley had comparable stats to Noyer, throwing for a season high 240 yards with two touchdowns and an interception. Without Landman in the second half, the Utes offensive line allowed the South Carolina transfer to be sacked just once.
Colorado is now nearly out of the race for the Pac-12 South title. They needed a win over Utah, along with UCLA beating 16th-ranked USC tonight to capture the South. The Buffaloes haven’t won the South since 2016 when they last beat Utah in the “Rumble in the Rockies” series.
The Buffs suffered a huge blow with the loss of Landman. He was taken into the locker room before halftime and came back out to the sideline using a scooter and wearing a brace on his right leg. The senior standout linebacker has the option to return to Boulder next season with NCAA eligibility being frozen due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but will likely move on to the NFL.
Utah notched their fourth straight win over the Buffs. It was the first loss for Karl Dorrell as head coach as Colorado goes to 4-1 on the shortened season.