The Colorado Buffaloes battled tooth and nail to try to put an end to a seven-game losing streak, but costly interceptions and a potent Utah rushing attack proved to be too much for them to overcome as they fell to the Utes, 42-35, at Folsom Field in Boulder on Friday afternoon.
Colorado go off to a rough start, when Utah linebacker Travis Reilly intercepted Buffaloes quarterback Nick Hirschman on the his first pass attempt of the game and returned it 13 yards to the Colorado 16. The Utes struck on their first play from scrimmage with a 16-yard touchdown pass from Travis Wilson to sophomore wide receiver Dres Anderson. An extra point from Coleman Petersen gave Utah an early 7-0 lead.
Colorado (1-11, 1-8 Pac 12) answered back with 8:58 remaining in the first quarter on an eight-yard touchdown pass from Hirschman to wide receiver Nelson Spruce, and an extra point by Will Oliver tied the game at 7. However, the Utes (5-7, 3-6 Pac 12) took back the lead with 13 seconds left in the first quarter on 21-yard field goal by Petersen to pull ahead 10-7.
The teams were stuck in a bit of a stalemate for most of the second quarter, until the Utes picked off Hirschman for the second time and broke the brief scoring drought with a four-yard touchdown scamper by running back Kelvin York. The score gave Utah a 10-point cushion with 3:43 remaining. Colorado counter-punched with 20 seconds left in the half on a one-yard touchdown sneak by Hirschman and an extra point from Oliver to pull within three points of the Utes at the intermission.
Petersen added a 37-yard field goal to cap an eight-play, 55-yard drive by the Utes and give them a 20-14 lead with 12:14 left in the third quarter. The Buffaloes answered back quickly and took 21-20 lead with 8:46 to go in the quarter on a three-yard touchdown run by sophomore running back Tony Jones. They padded their lead with 1:09 left in the third quarter, when freshman running back Donta Abron scored on a five-yard run to put the Buffs up 28-20.
Utah running back John White scored on an 11-yard run and the Utes added a two-point conversion to tie the game at 28 with 10:50 to go in the final quarter.
Hirschman threw yet another interception on Colorado's first play of the following drive, and Utah made the most of the sophomore signal caller's mistake, scoring on a nine-yard run by Wilson. An extra point by Petersen gave the Utes a 35-28 lead with 8:41 to play.
And that's when things got a little crazy.
Colorado fired right back on the ensuing kickoff as freshman Marques Mosley broke a 100-yard return for a touchdown to tie the game at 35. Not to be outdone, the Utes answered back with a 100-yard return for a touchdown of their own -- by senior wide receiver Reggie Dunn -- to put the Utes up 42-35.
Unfortunately, the Buffaloes weren't able to answer back, as Hirschman was intercepted for the fourth time on Colorado's final drive of the game.
Abron led all Buffaloes rushers with 14 carries for 84 yards and a touchdown, while Spruce led Colorado receivers with 10 catches for 98 yards and a score.
White paced the Utes' rushing attack with 20 carries for 168 yards and a touchdown.