The Colorado Buffaloes (3-3, 0-3) fell at the hands of the Arizona Wildcats (3-2, 1-1) on Saturday night, 45-42. CU’s losing streak was extended to three and the defending Pac-12 South champs are now buried even further at the bottom of their division. Colorado is now 188-5 all-time when scoring 38 or more points.
Defense was at a premium in this Pac-12 matchup as the teams combined for 725 rushing yards (UA 425, CU 300) in one of the wildest college football games you’d ever see. The game got off to a normal start until Arizona’s sophomore quarterback Khalil Tate replaced redshirt-junior Brandon Dawkins just 11 plays into the game after Dawkins was injured. Tate was nothing short of sensational.
The 18 year-old from Gardena, California proceeded to dismantle the Buffaloes with a legendary performance. Tate averaged 23.4 yards per carry on just 14 attempts, totaling 327 yards and four touchdowns. He is now apart of history, as that mark is a new FBS record for rushing yards by a quarterback in a single game. Through the air, he also completed 11 of his 12 passes for 142 yards and another touchdown. He was brilliant on his way to 469 all-purpose yards leading the Wildcats to victory and almost assuredly capturing the starting quarterback job for the rest of the season.
The Buffaloes couldn’t stop Tate, so they had to try and keep up with him. Despite the fact that Colorado’s offense ran 90 plays, 34 more than Arizona’s 56, the Wildcats still managed to out gain CU, 567-551. The Buffs were led by a stellar performance from their redshirt-senior tailback Phil Lindsay, who also shattered his share of records in the loss.
Lindsay toted the ball 41 times (a new school record), gashing the Arizona defense for 281 yards on the ground and three rushing touchdowns. That wasn’t all for Lindsay, as he became a bigger factor in Colorado’s passing attack too. He added three catches for 39 yards and another touchdown to go along with his dominant performance on the ground. The Denver native compiled 320 all-purpose yards on the evening, making him the University of Colorado’s all-time leader in all-purpose yards. Lindsay surpassed former Buffs’ tailback Rodney Stewart, who played for the team from 2008-2011 and compiled 4,669 all-purpose yards. Phil’s career total with six games remaining in his senior season is 4,989.
The Buffaloes cut the Arizona lead to three with a little over five minutes left to play in the fourth quarter on Lindsay’s final touchdown of the night. Head Coach Mike MacIntyre said postgame that there was serious discussion among the coaching staff to attempt an onside kick on the ensuing kickoff even though there was ample time remaining in the game. However, he felt that since the Buffs were able to hold the Wildcats to a field goal on the previous possession that he would trust his defense at home. Tate and Arizona then led a clock-eating drive over the final minutes to secure Arizona’s first Pac-12 victory of the season.
After completing the largest single season turnaround in Pac-12 history in 2016, the Colorado Buffaloes have once again started conference play 0-3. Something they did in 2013, 2014 and 2015. They will next travel to Corvallis on Saturday, October 14th, in search of their first Pac-12 win of the season. The conference’s worst team in the Oregon State Beavers (1-5, 0-3) will play host with a 2pm MT kickoff.