Colorado football stomps Arizona to remain undefeated

Colorado football

Colorado football ran right through the Arizona defense on its way to a 24-13 victory to remain undefeated on the season. The Buffs find themselves in the AP Top 25 for the first time this season at No. 21 and are still in contention in the Pac-12 South with a 4-0 record (3-0 in Pac-12) under new head coach Karl Dorrell. Meanwhile, Arizona has now lost 11 straight games.

The game was ugly early for Colorado football as the slow start on both sides of the ball resulted in three punts and a fumble on offense and three straight scoring drives for the Wildcats, but Buffs were able to rally and pitched a shutout in the second half.

“It was the first time this year we’ve been down by at least two scores and there wasn’t any panic, there wasn’t any concern that we’re in trouble,” said Dorrell postgame. “There wasn’t that look that you get on players’ faces when they tend to lose confidence. This team has found a way to pull out wins, and it wasn’t easy being 13 down. I’m really encouraged by what they’ve done.”

Historic performance by Jarek Broussard

On paper, it looked like a matchup nightmare for Arizona, which came into the game allowing the most rushing yards per game in the conference. Still, not even Broussard could’ve predicted the performance he’d have against the Wildcats.

On a season-low 25 carries, Broussard rushed for an absurd 301 yards and changed the entire atmosphere of the game when he broke a 75-yard run with the Buffs down 13 in the second quarter. With runs of 75, 72 and 59 yards, he is the first player to have three-plus runs of over 50 yards in the same game. He did seem to run out of gas on his long runs as he was always caught from behind.

It was no problem for the Buffs that none of Broussard’s long runs ended in touchdowns, though, as true freshman Ashaad Clayton saw his first action of the season in goal-line situations and finished with four carries for 24 yards and two touchdowns.

Big hole after big hole was being opened up for Broussard by the offensive line as several of Broussard’s runs went almost 10 yards before contact. Unfortunately for the offensive line, left guard Chance Lytle went down with a gruesome injury and was carted off the field. The good news for the offensive line is that the group continued to excel even after the injury.

The incredible start to the season has placed Broussard in very good company, being the first Power 5 running back to rush for 100 yards in his first four career games since Adrian Peterson did for Oklahoma back in 2004.

Defense was dominant again

After a rocky start to the game, the Colorado defense was in full shutdown mode after halftime.

Led by Butkus Award nominee linebacker Nate Landman, the defense racked in five sacks and an interception at the goal line. Landman himself excelled once again to the tune of 16 tackles, four tackles for loss and one sack.

The Buffs were able to pretty much shut down true freshman Will Plummer and the Arizona passing game. With starter Grant Gunnell out with a shoulder injury, Plummer played like a freshman in his first start passing for only 154 yards and the one interception.

The trouble for the Colorado defense came against the run. The Buffs gave up a surprising 268 yards on the ground, and those struggles stayed consistent the entire game. The only way Arizona could move the ball down the field was behind the legs of running backs Gary Brightwell and Michael Wiley.

The defense was able to stand tall and get off the field when it needed to, holding Arizona to just 3 of 14 on third down attempts. A big part of the third-down success was thanks to linebacker Carson Wells, who had his best game of the season, going for 11 tackles, three tackles for loss and 1.5 sacks.

No passing game for CU

If it weren’t for Broussard’s historic performance, Colorado football would have surely lost due to a practically non-existent passing game. As great as the ground game was, the passing game was just as bad.

Colorado quarterback Sam Noyer had his worst game of the season by far, only completing 12 passes for 99 yards and two interceptions. Both interceptions were by Arizona linebacker Anthony Pandy, with one being a terrible pass inside the red zone late in the game. He was also unable to connect on any of his deep ball attempts, with most of the time his receiver not even having a chance at catching it.

“We threw a couple interceptions, which wasn’t characteristic of us,” Dorrell said. “Being down there in the red zone, you’ve got to be a little bit more cautious with the football.”

Noyer was able to make some plays with his legs rushing for 67 yards and a touchdown, including a huge 54-yard run in the third quarter.

There shouldn’t be too much cause for concern yet surrounding Noyer’s play, but it is worthy to note that this is two weeks in a row where the former safety threw the football poorly.

What’s next?

Colorado football is back in Boulder for its final game of the regular season for a Friday night game against the rival Utah Utes on Dec. 11. Since both teams joined the conference in 2011, the Utes lead the head to head matchup 7-2.

The Rumble in the Rockies will be televised on FOX Sports 1 at 9:30 p.m. ET.

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