Colorado was blown out of the Glass Bowl on Friday night in front of a national television audience as the Toledo Rockets hammered them in a 54-38 final that set a new record for points scored in one game at the stadium.
The Colorado defense was unable to stop the Rockets, who unleashed 624 yards of total offense on the Buffs.
It started on the first drive of the game when quarterback Aaron Opelt connected with true freshman wide receiver Eric Page for 60 yards. That was merely the first in an onslaught of big-yardage plays.
Toledo finished the game with 11 plays of 20 yards or more and a gawdy average of nearly 10 yards per play.Colorado coach Dan Hawkins looked at the box score afterward and was asked what is wrong with his defense.
"Wooo, man, we'll just have to look at it," he said. "Too many big plays. That's for sure."
The Buffs' inability to stop opponents keeps taking the offense out of its game plan. The Buffs started relatively well offensively, sticking to the run and allowing sophomore tailback Darrell Scott to carry the ball 12 times for 85 yards in the first half.
But the Buffs fell behind 23-3 at halftime and Toledo extended the advantage to 30-3 early in the third quarter. The Buffs then began throwing on nearly every play.
Quarterback Cody Hawkins led a third-quarter rally, with three touchdowns as the Buffs trimmed the lead to 14 points. Then the defense got torched once again by Toledo quarterback Aaron Opelt and the game was essentially over.
Opelt finished the game 319 passing yards and 109 rushing yards and was a part of six touchdowns.
Cody Hawkins, meanwhile, threw a school record 64 passes, completing 30 of them for 356 yards and four touchdowns. He was knocked out late in the game as he scored on a 12-yard touchdown run. The helmet-to-helmet hit drew flags and Hawkins was able to get up and walk off the field with help from trainers. His status for the Buffs next game a week from today is uncertain.
Hawkins' big day also led to a pair of wide receivers eclipsing the century mark in receiving yards. Scotty McKnight had a career best 11 catches for 114 yards and a touchdown and Jason Espinoza caught a career best eight passes for 109 yards and a score.
Just a week ago, the Buffs were a team being asked about trying to match their head coach's preseason challenge of winning 10 games. Now they are a team being asked about their head coach's job security.
Dan Hawkins said Friday he is not worried about his future in Boulder. His boss, athletic director Mike Bohn, also called for patience as the team prepares for Wyoming next week. Bohn said two weeks into the season is much too soon to begin talking about any possible coaching change.
"This is a time for keeping our poise as a program," Bohn said. "It's a time to ensure recruits and let people around the program know that we need to keep our poise and focus our passion on getting after the Wyoming Cowboys."