Colorado took a 7-0 lead 10 minutes into the game when quarterback Tyler Hansen plunged in from one yard out. Punt return man Travon Patterson set the Buffs up at the Texas Tech 38-yard line after returning a punt 45 yards.
Texas Tech struggled in the first quarter, making just two first downs and never crossing midfield.
The Red Raiders began moving the ball more effectively in the second quarter. Quarterback Taylor Potts led his team on an 11-play drive, covering 79 yards. Aaron Crawford scored a touchdown on a 1-yard run. The drive included two defensive penalties and a 25-yard run up the middle by tailback Eric Stephens.
Colorado responded with a marathon drive of 18 plays, ending in a 23-yard go-ahead field goal from Aric Goodman. Hansen was injured on the first play of the drive when he was exposed on an option play and hammered by a linebacker suffering bruised ribs. He did not return.
Cody Hawkins came on and completed six of nine passes for 77 yards on the drive. He became the third CU player in history to eclipse the 6,000-yard passing mark on the drive.
The Buffs surged to a 10-point lead in the second half behind a pair of touchdown passes from Hawkins to true freshman wide receiver Paul Richardson. The plays covered three and 60 yards.
Richardson became the first true freshman in CU history to catch two touchdowns passes in one game. He finished with four catches for 79 yards.
But Texas Tech began making plays, too.
Quarterback Taylor Potts led the Red Raiders on a touchdown drive in the third quarter and connected with wide receiver Alexander Torres from 15 yards out for the score. He directed his team into position for a 40-yard field goal later and hooked up with Lyle Leong on a 7-yard touchdown pass in the fourth quarter.
Potts finished the day with 286 yards passing.
Special teams mistakes once again foiled the Buffs. Place-kicker Aric Goodman missed a 35-yard field goal after the Buffs punt team recovered a fumble. Later redshirt freshman punter Zach Grossnickle managed only a 29-yard punt kicking rugby style and Texas Tech was in prime position to drive for the winning field goal.
Matt Williams booted it through the uprights with 2:08 remaining in the game.
Hawkins was unable to lead the Buffs on a drive in the 2-minute offense and the Buffs and their coach heard boos as they headed for the locker room after the loss.
Colorado travels to Oklahoma next week. The Buffs have a 13-game losing streak on the road. Oklahoma has won 34 consecutive home games.