EUGENE, Ore. —  Colorado’s defense had no answer for Oregon’s offense and the Buffaloes’ offense never found a rhythm Saturday as No. 19 CU dropped a 42-6 decision to the No. 10 Ducks at Autzen Stadium.

Deion “Coach Prime” Sanders’ Buffs fell to 3-1 and 0-1 in Pac-12 play while Oregon improved to 4-0, 1-0.

Oregon scored on five of its first six possessions — including the first three — while Colorado punted eight consecutive times. CU trailed 35-0 at the half and the Ducks added one more score in the third quarter before the Buffs finally got on the board late in the game to avoid being shut out.

Oregon rang up 522 yards total offense while the Buffs finished with a season-low 199 yards while also committing 12 penalties for 103 yards.

Buffs quarterback Shedeur Sanders was sacked seven times but still finished with 159 yards passing and a touchdown. Oregon QB Bo Nix played three quarters and completed 28 of his 33 pass attempts for 276 yards, three touchdowns and his first interception of the season.

CU’s rushing game again failed to find solid footing. Even discounting the lost yardage in sacks (73), Colorado finished with only 113 yards on the ground while Oregon hammered out 240 to go with 282 passing.

The Buffs also no doubt missed two-way star Travis Hunter, who was injured last week and did not play.

But even Hunter’s presence wouldn’t have been enough to make a significant difference.

“First and foremost, that was awful,” Coach Prime said in his postgame press conference. “What  transpired was a good old-fashioned butt kicking. No excuses, no nothing. Their coach did a heck of a job preparing their team. Obviously we didn’t.”

But Sanders had a message for those who might be celebrating Colorado’s loss.

“One thing that I can say, honestly and candidly — you better get me right now,” he said. “This is the worst we’re gonna get beat. You better get me right now … because I like what I see. I love it. I can see the future and it looks really good so I’m excited about it.”

HOW IT HAPPENED: Virtually nothing went right for the Buffs as the Ducks scored touchdowns on five of their first six possessions to take a 35-0 lead at intermission.

Colorado’s offense, meanwhile, crossed midfield just once in the first half and never really threatened to score until late in the game, when Oregon held a 42-0 lead.

Oregon scored on its first two possessions, driving 72 yards and 53 yards for touchdowns. The Ducks converted a fourth-and-2 on their second drive and after a failed two-point conversion, held a 13-0 lead with 2:41 still to play in the first quarter.

The Buffs did manage to produce a first down on their second possession, a 15-yard Sanders completion to Javon Antonio. The drive stalled at midfield, but a Colorado punt pinned the Ducks on their own 11-yard line.

Then came what was perhaps the decisive series of the game.

Colorado’s defense held, pushing the Ducks into a fourth-and-4 situation from their own 17. Oregon lined up in punt formation, but short snapped the ball to 300-pound Casey Rogers, a 300-pound defensive lineman. Rogers 18 yards for a first down and nine plays later, Nix threw a 16-yard scoring pass to Troy Franklin. The two connected again on a two-point conversion and with 9:39 still to play in the half, Oregon led 21-0.

The Ducks then unleashed their pass rush on CU quarterback Shedeur Sanders in the second quarter, sacking him five times.

Colorado did force Oregon’s first turnover of the season when Jahquez Robinson intercepted Nix at the CU 33-yard line. But two sacks of Sanders forced another punt and Oregon quickly added its fourth touchdown of the game, an 82-yard march that took just 2:10 off the clock.

CU’s next drive ended with yet another sack of Sanders and Oregon needed just 1:16 to drive 70 yards for its fifth touchdown of the game and a 35-0 lead at the half.

After the game, Sanders said many of those sacks were caused by him holding the ball too long. But the Ducks far too often had a clear path to Colorado’s quarterback and he seldom had ample time in the pocket.

“We just didn’t execute well,” Shedeur said. “I missed a couple reads and we can’t continue to take sacks like that … We have to understand that the self-inflicted wounds can’t happen.”

Oregon bumped its lead to 42-0 early in the third quarter after forcing a CU punt on the Buffs’ opening possession of the half, going 76 yards in eight plays for the touchdown.

Oregon did miss a chance to add one more touchdown to its tally when  CU’s defense came up with a red zone stop. The Buffs halted the Ducks on a fourth-and-goal try from the Buffs’ 5-yard line near the end of the third quarter and that was the end of the day for Oregon’s No. 1 offense.

Colorado finally got on the board late in the fourth quarter to avert a shutout. Sanders completed seven passes for 63 yards on a 14-play, 93-yard drive, wrapping up the march with a 6-yard touchdown pass to tight end Michael Harrison with 2:51 left in the game.

The PAT was blocked to end the scoring at 42-6.

“Usually we are a  fundamentally sound team,” Coach Prime said. “We don’t make foolish mistakes and implement danger and harm on ourselves field-position wise. We just kept making mistakes and that’s not indicative of who we are … (But) it’s not just the kids. The coaches are accountable too. We are all accountable. Let’s start with me. We’re accountable for this.”

TURNING POINT: While Oregon was in control from the very start, the decisive moment may have been the Ducks’ fake punt from deep in their own territory. Colorado looked ready to get the ball near midfield trailing by just two touchdowns. Instead, Oregon kept a scoring drive alive and took a 21-0 lead.

KEY STATISTIC: The Buffs finished with just 199 yards total offense, including only 40 on the ground … Oregon racked up 30 first downs to CU’s 13 … Colorado committed 12 penalties for 103 yards.

WHAT IT MEANS: The Buffs will likely drop from the top 25, but they have bigger concerns, beginning with next Saturday’s game at home against Southern California.

NEXT UP: The Buffs return home next Saturday to play host to No. 5 Southern California in a 10 a.m. game at Folsom Field (Fox).


Story by Neill Woelk, Contributing Editor for Content courtesy of the University of Colorado at Boulder.