Junior quarterback Connor Wood was struggling, so coach Mike MacIntyre had a decision to make early in the game Saturday evening.
Late in the first quarter with ASU already up 25-0 and Wood 0 for 4 on pass attempts with one interception, MacIntyre pulled Wood out and put in freshman Sefo Liufau at quarterback.
In his first drive, Liufau created a spark as he drove Colorado 80 yards in 11 plays and capped the drive off with a 10-yard touchdown pass to sophomore wide receiver Nelson Spruce.
“It was a great drive,” said Liufau who finished 18 for 26 passing with 169 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions. “It felt great to go out there, get a touchdown and put points on the board.”
From there, though, any remaining hopes of winning went up in smoke for the Buffaloes and Colorado (2-3, 0-3 Pac-12) fell to the Sun Devils (4-2, 2-1 Pac-12) by a 54-13 margin.
Overall, Colorado coach Mike MacIntyre was happy with Liufau’s play despite the interceptions and a second-quarter safety. He said he expects Liufau to be the starter for Colorado moving forward.
“He had a couple mistakes but to me he looked pretty calm,” MacIntyre said. “He made some good third down plays, made some good throws, it didn’t look like it was too big for him to me. So to the naked eye, I thought it was good but he had a couple turnovers we don’t need to have”
After Liufau’s opening touchdown drive, the Buffaloes’ offense would slide back in to futility. Colorado wouldn’t score again until the fourth quarter when the Sun Devils had their second team in. Meanwhile, as a team, Colorado managed only 268 yards of offense.
One player who was remarkably quiet all night was junior wide receiver Paul Richardson. Coming into the game, Richardson ranked second in the country in receiving yards per game (155.3), but finished the game with four catches for only 39 yards.
MacIntyre said the team tried to get the ball to Richardson “early and often,” but that he was often double covered and that ASU had a difficult scheme in place to defend him.
After three consecutive blowout losses to Pac-12 teams, the Buffaloes will have a lot of work to do to salvage their season.
Spruce said the Buffaloes need to learn from the loss and begin preparing for next week.
“Coach Mac(Intyre) said it in the locker room, it can either go one of two ways,” Spruce said. “It’s up to each one of us to make the decision to learn from this game and move on. We’re facing a good opponent again next week so you take what you can from this week and build on it for next week.”
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