Buffs hang in through half, fall 30-7 to No. 19 Utah

Credit: Ron Chenoy, USA TODAY Sports.
Credit: Ron Chenoy, USA TODAY Sports.

Senior Day in Boulder and the Buffaloes brought their collective “A” game with the No. 19 Utah Utes in town.

Colorado started out great, going into halftime tied 7-7 with Utah, but 30 unanswered points by the Utes gave the road team a 30-7 victory and handed the Buffs their sixth straight loss.

The Buffs were plagued by poor offensive line play as Steven Montez was pressured and harassed all afternoon long until a sack finally sent the starting quarterback from the game in the fourth quarter.

CU struck pay dirt first in the game, running the ball with success near the end of the first quarter, when Travon MacMillian ran for 17 yards on the drive including a 13-yard touchdown scamper for the 7-0 lead.

But on the next drive, Steven Montez committed a crucial error, throwing an ill-timed interception and giving the momentum back to the Utes. Utah scored in only four plays, with the help of a 61-yard pass from Jason Shelley to Jaylen Dixon, to tie the game up 7-7 mid-way through the second quarter.

And that’s where the game was at halftime, with the reeling Buffs surprisingly tied against a much better Utes team.

CU continued riding that momentum in the second half, shutting down a Utah drive and forcing the Utes to kick a 33-yard field goal for the 10-7 lead.

That was, until the Buffs went 3-and-out and Utah answered with a 47-yard touchdown from Shelley to Dixon for the 17-7 advantage, 4:57 left in the third quarter. At that point, Dixon had 125 yards while CU as a team had totaled a mere 126 yards, showing how much the Buffs struggled on offense in the snow.

Utah made it 24 unanswered points when Armand Shane plowed in for a one-yard score, pushing the lead to 24-7 near the end of the third quarter.

A stop near the goal line for the Buffs defense forced a 31-yard field goal from the Utes, which was converted, extending the lead to 27-7 in the fourth quarter.

In that second half, Montez was continually under siege in the backfield, even coming up limping after a sack early in the fourth quarter, limiting his mobility a great deal. That forced Montez from the game and freshman Tyler Lytle came in for CU. Lytle completed a deep ball but was also sacked on his third play.

Under that constant pressure, Lytle fumbled the ball and Utah took over at Colorado’s 35 yard line. The Utes continued to push their lead, booting home a 51-yard field goal to make it 30-7. On the ensuing drive, Lytle threw an interception, basically ending the Buffs hopes of winning.

The sixth straight loss for Colorado means they now sit at 5-6 on the season, setting up a must-win game against Cal, on the road, next week to realize their bowl dreams.

Notes: 

Steven Montez, who’s interception early was crucial in helping to sink the Buffaloes, was sacked twice on the day, including the one which injured him late and forced Lytle into the contest. Montez finished going 13-22 for 84 yards and one interception.

CU finished with a mere 196 total yards, losing the turnover battle 3-0 to the Utes.

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