Buffs Hit Low In Loss To Tigers

Dan Hawkins is fond of coaching his players to stay off the mountaintops and out of the valleys. It's sage advice, intended to keep his team at a steady emotional level. Don't get too high when you win, don't get depressed when you lose. But if you're looking at how the Buffs played Saturday vs. Missouri, it was a trip to the low part of the valley.

Missouri beat the Buffs every which way en route to a 55-10 victory at Folsom Field Saturday. It was the Buffs' worst loss at home, in terms of margin of victory, since 1962, and the third-worst of all time at Folsom.

The Tigers offense, led by junior quarterback Chase Daniel, appeared to be the most talented and best offense CU has faced this season.

The Tigers beat Colorado over the top and underneath. And when he needed to, Daniel made the Buffs pay with his legs.

On the other side of the ball, CU played its worst offensive game of the year.

While some tried to spin philosophical about why the Colorado offense sputtered after the game, senior wide out Dusty Sprague said the obvious: "We were out of sync."

In the first five minutes of the game, it seemed it was the other way around. Colorado defensive tackle George Hypolite intercepted a Daniel pass on MU's first series and rambled to the 11-yard line. Colorado scored a few plays later. At the end of the first quarter, Colorado led 10-7. Then the wheels started coming loose.

Plagued by dropped passes and bad passes, the Buffs never found an offensive rhythm. They couldn't establish the run, yet failed to take advantage of what had been a porous Missouri pass defense.

CU managed just 84 yards rushing, and 112 through the air. Cody Hawkins was 12 of 25 for 100 yards and an interception. He also fumbled twice. After the second fumble, late in the third quarter, junior Nick Nelson replaced Hawkins, but Nelson failed to move the Buffs in the fourth in any significant way.

Meanwhile, Missouri exploded for 598 offensive yards. It seemed Missouri wide receivers could get behind the CU secondary at will. MU converted a handful of explosion plays, including one where Jeremy Maclin raced past Terrence Wheatley and softly hauled in a Chase Daniel bomb. The play went for 72 yards and set up Missouri's first score.

"We can't let the ball be thrown over our heads like that," said CU junior cornerback Ben Burney.

Penalties also plagued the Buffs. They committed 12 for 94 yards, including two personal fouls and a rash of false starts.

"We're a good football team that played an awful game today," Cody Hawkins said.

CU players and coaches also credited Missouri, too. Dan Hawkins said the Tigers run a unique offensive system stocked with players who run it very well.

As for the CU players, the even-keel ideal was coming out of their mouths, even if their eyes showed their pain.

"We can't get too high with Oklahoma (who CU beat in September) and we can't get too low with Kansas State (a loss) or Missouri," Burney said.

Speaking of even, CU is now 5-5 on the season with the loss. Missouri, ranked 9th coming into the game, moved to 9-1.

• Junior safety Ryan Walters suffered an injury at one point in the third quarter. No official word on what it was, but teammates thought it was a concussion. He started getting woozy and either passed out, or began to pass out, on the sidelines and was taken by stretcher to an ambulance, where he was taken to a hospital to be checked out. No further word on his condition.

• The announced attendance figure was 51,483. But an exodus began before the fourth quarter. Couldn't blame the crowd that thinned by at least half, then dwindled even further as the quarter wore on. Entering the final 15 minutes, the Tigers had a commanding (dulling, numbing, befuddling) 48-10 lead. (Those 48 points were already more points than CU had given up at home since the 1983 season.) The warmth of a living room suddenly became irresistible.

• Rox skipper Clint Hurdle was at the game.

• As has been the tradition this season, students in the first few rows of the student section were showing love to the recruits visiting Boulder for the game when they walked past them prior to kickoff. Those visitors included CU commits Jon Major, Curtis Cunningham and Vince Ewing, and recruits Darrell Scott, Max Tuioti-Mariner, and another player.

• Dan Hawkins talked about the fact CU had yet to block a punt this season, adding he was used to coaching teams that blocked four to six punts a season. Alonzo Barrett came through with a punt block in the first quarter. (It was the first punt block by a Buff since Vance Washington got one in the 2005 Champs Sports Bowl vs. Clemson.) It led to Kevin Eberhart's 24-yard field goal.

• Terrence Wheatley tweaked an ankle and Hugh Charles replaced him at kick returner. Wheatley continued to play cornerback, though.

• Dusty Sprague caught four passes Saturday. That gives him 98 for his career, and moves him to 10th all-time on the CU career receptions chart.

• Buffs went three plays and punt six consecutive series in the second and third quarters. They stopped the trend when Cody Hawkins hit Riar Geer for a completion on a third and 2 play, which Geer turned in to a first down. Hawkins threw an interception on the next play, though.

Jordon Dizon was dinged up in the third quarter and wasn't expected to return. Yeah, right. Dizon's status went from OUT to QUESTIONABLE to YOU'LL HAVE TO BREAK MY LEG TO KEEP ME OFF THE FIELD in two series. He returned to the game and ended the day with nine tackles. That moved him into 4th all-time on the CU career tackles chart with 412. He's among legendary company. Dizon passed Ted Johnson, and now sits behind Barry Remington (493), Matt Russell (446) and Greg Biekert (441) on the list.

• Sophomore punter Matt DiLallo left his long ball at home Saturday. He punted 11 times — most he'd ever punted in a single game — but none of his punts eclipsed 40 yards.

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