Buffs Back On Track

BOULDER, Colo. - Colorado lost concussion-plagued quarterback Craig Ochs but found an able replacement Saturday.

Robert Hodge, who logged only 10 offensive plays last season, subbed for Ochs in the second half and helped lead the 17th-ranked Buffaloes past San Diego State 34-14.

Ochs left at halftime with his third concussion in 14 months, but Hodge didn't miss a beat, guiding Colorado (1-1) to a pair of second-half scores - both by Chris Brown, who ran for 185 yards.

"We went right to Robert and he was ready to go," coach Gary Barnett said. "He wasn't nervous at all. He's been waiting for this opportunity." More of a runner than Ochs, Hodge "brings a different dimension to the game," Barnett said. "I felt comfortable out there," Hodge said. "I was happy I didn't make any big mistakes. I knew we had the lead, and I couldn't do anything to jeopardize that lead. I had to manage our offense and play within myself. I'm sure a lot of things were sloppy, but I'll get better." ,p> Adam Hall had a career night throwing the ball for San Diego State, completing 39 of 59 passes for 359 yards. But the Aztecs (0-2) came up empty on all five of their trips into Colorado territory in the second half. One possession ended with a missed field goal, while another was stopped by a sack on fourth down.

Rebounding from last week's loss to Colorado State, the Buffaloes extended their lead to 28-14 late in the third quarter after Jeremy Bloom returned a punt 31 yards to the San Diego State 44-yard line. Bobby Purify promptly broke off the left side on a 43-yard run, and Brown went the final yard on the next play.

With 51 seconds left, Brown bolted 38 yards up the middle for another score.

"Colorado was physical, and we were overmatched," Aztecs coach Tom Craft said. "I thought we really played hard, and we stayed in the game all the way up to the fourth quarter. We just ran out of gas. Where we got exposed tonight was our lack of depth. We just don't have enough numbers."

Ochs threw two touchdown passes as Colorado took a 21-14 halftime lead. The Buffs scored on their first two possessions for a 14-7 first-quarter advantage.

Brown carried five times for 46 yards, and Ochs hit wide-open tight end Beau Williams on a 22-yard touchdown pass for the game's first score. Making liberal use of the no-huddle offense, San Diego State countered with an 80-yard, 15-play scoring drive. Hall converted four third-down plays, including a 17-yard pass to Kassim Osgood on third-and-16, and Garric Simmons ran the final 4 yards for a 7-7 tie.,p> Colorado needed just three plays to reclaim the lead. Ochs avoided a sack and hit Derek McCoy down the left sideline at the 50. With blocking by receiver Jeremy Bloom, McCoy finished the 75-yard scoring play.

The Aztecs got a tying touchdown early in the second quarter after Heath Farwell downed a punt at the Colorado 1 and the Buffs couldn't get a first down. Freshman Michael Franklin ran 31 yards off the left side for the TD.

Midway through the period, Colorado scored on a fumble recovery. Franklin, who had never before returned punts, retreated under Mark Mariscal's 66-yard punt and grabbed the ball as it bounced into the end zone. Instead of downing it for a touchback, he picked it up and returned to the 8-yard line, where he was hit by Marcus Moore and fumbled. Akarika Dawn picked up the ball and scored with 7:43 left in the half.

"Michael is young; he's a freshman," Craft said. "He made a mistake, and it was a costly one. But that's what we're going to have to live with right now." ,p> After missed field goals by each team early in the third quarter, Bloom - whose 75-yard punt return for a touchdown ignited a second-half surge against Colorado State last week - had a 31-yarder to set up Brown's first score with 3:34 left in the period.

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