TUCSON, Ariz. – During this year, the Colorado soccer team has faced a lot of setbacks off the field.
On Saturday evening, they faced their first setback on the field.
Overcoming a gloomy start, the Buffs rallied to knock out Arizona 24-13 at Arizona Stadium and remain in the pursuit of the Pac-12 South division title.
The unranked Buffs (4-0, 3-0 Pac-12) moved into a tie for first place with No. 17 Southern California (3-0, 3-0), which will play against Washington State on Sunday. CU and USC are the only undefeated teams in the Pac-12.
“If we continue to win games, I would think we should definitely get that attention,” Dorrell said of the Buffs who may have made it to the Top 25 rankings after the win. “If we continue to take care of our business, and we are 4-0, we have made the most of every opportunity we have had. … We do the factors that we can control, which is winning games, and we continue to take the next step in the process. We hope a 4-0 position would grab some attention. ”
Dorrell added that he didn’t know what happened around the Pac-12 on Saturday, as most of the games took place while the Buffs were playing. He was then told that Washington, first in the North Division, was upset by Stanford; and Oregon, second in the north, was upset with California.
“Oh, I didn’t know that,” he said, eyebrows raised. “So we’re in a pretty good position right now.”
Yes that are they. In fact, CU is 3-0 to start conference play for the first time since 2002, when it started 4-0 in the Big 12. Arizona (0-4, 0-4) lost its program-worst 11th consecutive game.
The road to this hot start goes back to Jarek Broussard, who was somehow much better against Arizona than he was in the first three games, with 301 yards on 25 carry. It’s the fourth-best single-game total in CU history, and he’s now the first player in the program annals to rush to over 100 yards in the first four games of a season.
“I’m so excited about what that kid is doing offensive to us,” Dorrell said. “He makes us such a spark plug.”
CU needed that spark from Broussard, who started a rally from an early 13-0 deficit. The Buffs, who were favorites in a conference road game for the first time since joining the Pac-12 in 2011, got off to a terrible start.
“It didn’t quite start as I hoped,” Dorrell said. “We had a bit of a slow start and I think they were really challenging from the start. They had some big runs and scored some runs. Before we knew it, it was 13-0. ”
Arizona running Gary Brightwell cut through the Buffs’ defense for a 26-yard touchdown run with 10 minutes and 26 seconds to play in the first quarter.
The Wildcats then added field goals of 38 and 42 yards to put CU in a 13-0 hole early in the second quarter.
At that point, the Buffs’ attack had four assets, resulting in three kicks and a fumble.
“It just tells me a lot about this team,” said Dorrell. “It was the first time so far this year that we have been at least two points behind, and there was no panic, there was no cause for concern that we were in trouble or that you are looking at players. “I didn’t feel that at all. It was more about solving problems, trying to find answers and solutions.”
And give the ball to the Broussard.
Trailing 13-0, CU was tied to its 5-yard line by a kick from Arizona. Then Broussard sprinted through the middle for a 75-yard gain. That was followed by three consecutive runs by freshman Ashaad Clayton, covering the last 20 yards of the drive, including a 1-yard touchdown run.
Another kick from Arizona gave the ball back to the Buffs and it was Broussard who started the attack again, with runs of 13 and 59 yards. That led to Clayton’s second touchdown run, from four yards out, to put the Buffs in the lead, 14-13.
Colorado would add another touchdown in the third quarter, on a 2-yard run by Noyer, to take a 21-13 lead. CU added a 19-yard field goal from Evan Price with 2:26 to play to increase the lead.
Apart from Broussard, it was an offensive battle for CU. Noyer completed only 12 of 19 passes for 92 yards and two interceptions, but added 67 yards and a touchdown to the ground.
Fortunately for Colorado, the defense got back into action.
After the initial wave of Arizona, the Buffs bowed to the defense. Arizona did have two 100-year-old rushers – Michael Wiley with 126 and Brightwell with 113 – but the Buffs played when it mattered most.
The CU defense registered five sacks, four of them on the third downs to finish Arizona discs. Another drive in Arizona ended when the Buffs’ Nigel Bethel Jr. late in the third quarter, Wildcats quarterback Will Plummer intercepted at the goal line.
“We knew our attack would click and we would settle for playing our basic defense,” said linebacker Nate Landman, who had 16 tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss and a sack. “Those first 20 plays are always scripted and always difficult plays. We were able to make those adjustments during half-time. That really turned out in the second half. ”
In total, the Buffs had 12 tackles for loss and held the Wildcats scoreless for the last 43 minutes to complete another win.
“We knew from the jump that we had to play for 60 minutes straight,” said Broussard. “If you are 13-0 down early in the game, you cannot bring yourself down. We just stuck to the script and kept chopping. ”
Colorado 24, Arizona 13
Playing the game: Jarek Broussard’s 75-yard run from the 5-yard line with 8:24 to play in the second quarter was the longest run by a CU player in more than two years, and it kick-started the Buffs attack.
Turning point: Early in the third quarter, Arizona intercepted a pass from Sam Noyer and had the ball in CU territory. However, the Buffs forced a kick, then went on an 80-yard touchdown drive to take a 21-13 lead.
Top 3 Buffs of the game
1. RB Jarek Broussard: The sophomore had had four great games, but this one was just as incredible as it rushed for 301 yards on 25 carriers. It’s only the fourth 300-yard game in CU history.
2. LB Nate Landman: He finished with 16 tackles, one sack and 3.5 tackles for loss.
3. OLB Carson Wells: One of the best games of his career, as he posted 11 tackles, 1.5 sack and four tackles for loss.
Colorado 24, Arizona 13
Colorado 0 14 7 3-24 Arizona 10 3 0 0 – 13
First quarter: ARI – Brightwell 26 run (Hawk-kick), 10:26. ARI – FG Havrisik 38, 4:37.Second quarter: ARI – FG Havrisik 42, 13:36. COL – Clayton 1 run (Price kick), 6:38. COL – Clayton 4 run (Price kick), 3:00.Third quarter: COL – Noyer 2 run (Price kick), 9:22. Fourth quarter: COL – FG Price 19, 2:26.
COL ARIFirst Downs 18 23 Passing 92 154 Return Yards 31 66 Fumbles-Lost 1-1 0-0 Possession Time 29:03 30:57
RUSHING – Colorado, Broussard 25-301, Noyer 6-67, Clayton 4-24, Mangham 5-12, Davis 4-6, (Team) 2- (min 3). Arizona, M. Wiley 7-122, Brightwell 22-117, Plummer 14-29.
TO FIT – Colorado, Stanley 0-1-0-0, Noyer 12-19-2-92. Arizona, Plummer 19-32-1-154.
RECEIVE – Colorado, Shenault 5-17, Nixon 3-15, Stanley 2-44, Schmanski 1-9, Arias 1-7. Arizona, M. Wiley 5-15, Casteel 3-71, Berryhill 3-13, Joiner 2-22, Wright 2-16, Curry 2-12, Brightwell 2-5.
MISSED FIELD TARGETS – None.