BOULDER, Colo. (AP) — Ty Jordan scored twice, including a game-sealing 66-yard TD burst, and Utah’s revamped defense forced three turnovers to help the Utes rally past No. 21 Colorado 38-21 on a snowy Saturday to thwart the Buffaloes’ Pac-12 title hopes.
The soon-to-be-unseated Pac-12 South champion Utes (2-2, 2-2 Pac-12) found their footing on the frozen field in the second half, turning around 21-10 deficit by scoring 28 unanswered points.READ MORE: Snow, Rain A Welcome Sight In Colorado But Drought Still A Big Problem
Colorado freshman receiver/returner Brenden Rice, the son of Hall of Fame receiver Jerry Rice, showed off his speed by scoring twice — on an 81-yard punt return and on a 61-yard catch off a bubble screen. But it wasn’t enough as the Buffaloes (4-1, 3-1, No. 21 CFP) suffered their first loss under new coach Karl Dorrell during the earliest kickoff (10:05 a.m. local time) in Folsom Field history.
As things currently stand, it ends Colorado’s Pac-12 title aspirations. The Buffaloes needed a win along with UCLA beating No. 16 Southern California later Saturday to capture the South. There could be a modification by the league given the cancellation of Washington (3-1, 3-1) and Oregon (3-2, 3-2) due to COVID-19 cases in the Huskies’ program. That game was set to determine the North champion.
Colorado’s last appearance in the Pac-12 title game was 2016, when the team beat Utah in the regular season finale to wrap up a spot.
Trailing 21-10 moments into the third quarter, Utah began to take over. The Utes — who were penalty-free — had an 18-yard TD run from Jordan and a 20-yard TD catch from Britain Covey to take a 24-21 lead.
Jordan sealed the game with his long run with less than five minutes remaining. Just before that run, Utah’s defense came up big by deflecting Sam Noyer’s pass on fourth-and-5 at the Utes 34.
This may be a decision the Buffaloes long lament: A fumble on a conservative run play while trying to run out the clock with around 30 seconds remaining until halftime. The Utes turned Jarek Broussard’s fumble into a 43-yard field goal by Jadon Redding as time expired to give them some momentum.
Jordan shined in a matchup between two highly touted tailbacks. The freshman finished with 147 yards rushing.
His counterpart, Broussard, started slow but finished with 80 yards, which was well below his 183.3 average. It ended Broussard’s string of four straight 100-yard games.
The Buffaloes suffered a huge blow in the first half when they lost linebacker Nate Landman to what appeared to be a lower right leg injury. Using a scooter and wearing a leg brace, the emotional leader of the team returned to the sideline.
His absence was felt in the second half.
Rice gave the Buffaloes a 14-7 lead late in the first half with Colorado’s first punt return for a score since Sept. 9, 2017. He also scored on a bubble screen to put the Buffaloes up 21-10 moments in the the third quarter.
Jake Bentley turned in a solid showing. He threw 240 yards and two touchdowns.READ MORE: Colorado Community Uses 'The Social Dilemma' To Ignite Conversation About Unity, Change
Utah: The Utes notched their fourth straight win over the Buffaloes.
Colorado: After holding San Diego State and Arizona to no points in the second half, Colorado surrendered 28 against Utah.
It looks like a one-week stop in the poll for the Buffaloes.
RISE & GRIND
The game was moved from Friday night to Saturday morning to take the place on television of the Michigan-Ohio State contest, which was canceled due to COVID-19 issues within the Wolverines program. It marked the earliest kickoff in Folsom Field’s history.
Before that, the earliest was when Nebraska and Colorado began at 10:09 a.m. local time on Nov. 23, 2007.
Utah: Scheduled to play a crossover game against the North Division next weekend. The opponent and place has yet to be determined.
Colorado: To be determined. Could be a crossover game with a North opponent next weekend.
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