STANFORD, Calif. (AP) – Phillip Lindsay rushed for 131 yards despite being held out most of the second half and Colorado overcame a sloppy day offensively to beat Stanford 10-5 on Saturday to become bowl eligible for the first time in a decade.
Chris Graham kicked a 23-yard field goal with 2:13 remaining after being benched following two earlier misses, propelling the Buffaloes to their first win over the Cardinal since joining the Pac-12 in 2011.
“Our guys have been through so much, they don’t blink and that’s what we did today,” Colorado coach Mike MacIntyre said. “When you beat the Rose Bowl champ ugly and you haven’t won as many Pac-12 games as we have, to do that on the road is very, very special.”
Colorado (6-2, 4-1) went into the day tied with Utah for first place in the South division and inched one step closer toward a possible berth in the conference title game despite an off day by the offense.
The Buffaloes missed three field goals and had a touchdown called back by a pass interference penalty but held the Cardinal to three points while winning for the fourth time in five games. Quarterback Sefo Liufau passed for 135 yards with one touchdown despite being sacked six times.
“Our defense played extremely well,” Liufau said. “As an offense we really struggled to punch it in.”
Colorado hasn’t played in the postseason since 2007 when it lost to Alabama in the Independence Bowl.
Stanford (4-3, 2-3) failed to score a touchdown for the first time this season despite getting running back Christian McCaffrey back in the lineup. McCaffrey, a 2015 Heisman Trophy finalist, had 92 yards on 21 carries but was held in check most of the afternoon by Colorado’s opportunistic defense.
The Buffaloes intercepted Stanford quarterback Ryan Burns three times, twice on consecutive possessions in the fourth quarter to stall the Cardinal’s comeback hopes.
Lindsay, the Pac-12’s leading rusher, came out of the game midway through the third quarter and spent the remainder of the afternoon on Colorado’s sideline with his helmet in hand. Kyle Evans, who grew up in nearby San Jose, replaced Lindsay and rushed for 60 yards.
“Offensively we have to score more than three points,” Stanford coach David Shaw said. “There are a lot of things we have to do better, a lot of discussions we have to have this week. Our personnel doesn’t reflect our production.”
COLORADO: It wasn’t pretty by any stretch of the imagination but MacIntyre will take the Buffaloes first win against the Cardinal since 1990. Colorado continues to control its own destiny and has a Nov. 26 showdown with Utah looming that could decide which team goes to the Pac-12 title game.
STANFORD: The Cardinal have lost three of four and are in danger of missing out on the postseason. Losing to a beefed-up Colorado team shouldn’t hurt too much but this was a game Stanford needed to get back on track. Instead, it’s another loss and another week of pondering what went wrong for Shaw and his staff.
COLORADO: The Buffaloes will likely return to the Top 25 following the win over the Cardinal. Colorado was ranked 21st earlier this season but fell out after losing to USC on Oct. 8.
COLORADO: The Buffaloes host UCLA on Nov. 3 and have put up nearly 1,100 yards of offense combined in the last two meetings with the Bruins but lost both times.
STANFORD: The Cardinal play at Arizona next Saturday and have won four straight and nine of the last 11 games against the Wildcats. Arizona was idle this week and has lost four consecutive games going in while being outscored 164-89.
– By MICHAEL WAGAMAN, AP Sports Writer
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