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It has been a long season for the Buffs, and it’s not over yet.
The No. 25 University of Washington Huskies (6-5, 5-3 Pac-12) came into Boulder this weekend expecting a blowout to add to their bowl resume.
They got off to a slow start though, leading the Buffs (1-9, 1-7 Pac-12) by only seven at halftime. In the second half they turned it on and eventually got the big win they were looking for with a final score of 38-3.
“Losing hurts,” CU freshman tail back Donta Abron said after the game. “A lot of us are hurt right now.”
In front of a half-filled stadium, the Buffs came out strong in the first half. The nation’s worst-scoring defense, allowing an average of 47.2 points per game, allowed no points in the first quarter for the first time this season. The seven points the Buffs allowed in the first half are the fewest allowed since the University of Utah didn’t score in the first half of last season’s matchup.
Ultimately though, the team’s defense did not make up for its five turnovers.
“The defense gave us chances,” CU Head Coach John Embree said. “[It was a] poor showing by the offense.”
CU has scored just three points in their last 10 quarters at home, going back to the second quarter against Arizona State University.
The Buffs came out strong to begin the second half, forcing a three-and-out and a punt. The punt was fumbled and recovered by Washington, however, and the game was never the same.
“That’s just how it’s been,” Embree said of the play.
Three plays later, the Huskies scored, putting them up by two touchdowns.
On the Buffs’ first drive of the second half, down 14-0, junior quarterback Jordan Webb was sacked and stripped of the ball leading to a Washington drive starting on the CU 23. Two plays later, Washington quarterback Keith Price hooked up with Kendyl Taylor for a 23-yard touchdown pass.
With the offense struggling, the defense was on the field for most of the game. Washington led in time of possession by over nine minutes.
Embree said that with such a large difference in possession, the defense couldn’t help but get tired.
“If you are out there all the time … you are going to get worn down,” Embree said.
“I don’t feel like we get tired out there,” said junior defensive end Chidera Uzo-Diribe. “The defense played good today.”
The running game did its part too, producing 116 yards between seven ball carriers. The Buffs were led by freshman fullback Christian Powell, who had 66 yards on 17 carries.
The problems stemmed from the quarterback position.
Backup quarterback sophomore Connor Wood made his first start of the season but had a poor showing and was replaced in the second quarter by Webb. Wood was three of six for 11 yards with two interceptions.
Webb played better, going six of 16 for 33 yards, but he missed a couple of easy throws on big downs. One in particular came when the Buffs were down 21-0 in the third quarter. Senior tight end Nick Kasa was wide open in the left flat with room to run in front of him on third and six. Webb overthrew him, and the drive resulted in a field goal.
The drive was also hindered by a holding penalty called during a touchdown pass.
Embree said quarterback plays have been an ongoing problem for the Buffs this season.
“We struggle at that position,” Embree said. “We need to find a way to fix it.”
Overall, Washington had 476 yards of offense, while Colorado had only 141.
“We have to be better all the way around,” Embree said.
The Buffs need to improve in a hurry, as their final home game of the season is next week against the University of Utah. The defense can build on the performance of this week — but as for the offense, it is back to the drawing board, again.
The position of quarterback for next week’s game is as wide open “as the Grand Canyon,” Embree said.
See more photos from Saturday’s loss here.
Contact CU Independent Staff Writer Scott Annis at Robert.firstname.lastname@example.org.