Well, the Buffs now have six wins, and bowl eligibility, with four games left in the regular season. And it is likely Colorado will be favored in each of its remaining contests.
“I think it gets the monkey off the back of the University of Colorado,” head coach Mike MacIntyre said on Saturday afternoon. “It is really exciting for our fans, but our kids have one goal in mind: win a Pac-12 championship.
“That is what they were saying after the game, nobody was talking about a bowl game. Everybody was talking about the Pac-12 championship and this win is one more step toward our goal.”
Missed opportunities on offense, including three missed field-goals, made for an ugly game at Stanford. But Colorado's defense held serve and created four takeaways in a 10-5 victory for the Buffs.
The team's resolve was perhaps the most impressive part of the win.
“Our guys have been through so much, they don't blink,” MacIntyre said. “We have been through the fire. We rose from the ashes.
“We're not going to fold anymore. Now, we might make a mistake and lose a game, but we're not going to fold. You can see that in their eyes. You can see that in their temperament. They had more energy as the game went along. In the past we would have [gotten discouraged]. Not now, not these guys. Not these guys.”
Washington and Utah are currently the only other bowl eligible teams in the Pac-12. And the Buffs remain tied with the Utes for first place in the South division, now with a 4-1 conference record.
“We work so hard. To just kind of see it all come to fruition is a great feeling,” said senior quarterback Sefo Liufau. “There is no better feeling than winning with your brothers. I'll remember this season for the rest of my life.”
Lindsay wins battle of Colorado born backs
A week after earning Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Week honors for his standout performance against the Sun Devils, CU junior tailback Phillip Lindsay averaged an impressive 10.9 yards per carry on 12 attempts before a “tweaked” ankle sidelined him in the fourth quarter. It was Lindsay's fourth career 100-yard performance.
“It is big for Sefo to be able to check plays for us and our offensive line is moving people and I am making plays. I just have to continue that,” said Lindsay, before explaining his ankle injury is not serious and he plans to continue working out during the bye week.
Preseason Heisman Trophy candidate and Colorado native Christian McCaffrey had 92 yards rushing and 26 yards receiving. But because of his immense talent, it was viewed as a win for the Buffs' defense. McCaffrey also had negative yardage as a returner.
“Christian made us miss some, which we knew he would, but we kept rallying to him. That was impressive how we kept doing it,” MacIntyre said.
A year ago in Boulder, Stanford's offensive line dominated the Buffs in the trenches and McCaffrey accounted for 220 all-purpose yards against CU.
“We talked about that all week, that we got dominated last year and we couldn't let that happen again,” said senior inside linebacker Kenneth Olugbode. “It meant a lot for us to be able limit him.”
Additional notes -
*** Senior safety Tedric Thompson credited the leadership of Olugbode for the defense's ability to keep its composure throughout the game, especially when the offense failed to put points on the scoreboard.
“Whenever there was a three-and-out or a missed field-goal, you would hear K.O.'s voice. That would be the first voice you'd hear on defense to keep our heads up, that we gotta win this game ourselves,” said Thompson, who had two interceptions in the game.
Added MacIntyre: “[Olugbode] is from this area, his brother played at Stanford and he is really bright but Stanford didn't recruit him so it meant the world to him today. His mom was in the front row cheering as loud as she could.”
*** There was a heated exchange between MacIntyre and Liufau on the sideline at the conclusion of the third quarter. And there was an emotional embrace between the two after the game ended.
“I am going to do everything I can to get him going and he knows my heart is there with him with everything we've been through,” MacIntyre said. “If you have a great, great relationship and it goes really deep, then you can do those kind of things. He understands that and knows that and so do I. He is such a battler and it got the other guys riled up, too, which was good.”
*** While it was arguably Liufau's worst performance of the season, he set school records on Saturday for most career passing attempts with 1,228 and most consecutive passes without an interception with 148. He now owns or shares 80 school records.
*** Colorado rushed for 224 yards against the Cardinal, which included 29 lost yards to sacks. The Buffs had 122 rushing yards in their last three games against Stanford combined. The 359 yards of total offense was also a high for CU against the Cardinal since joining the Pac-12.
*** The reward for beating Stanford? In-N-Out...
*** The Buffaloes will have 12 days off before hosting UCLA on Thursday, November 3, a game that will be televised nationally on FS1.