Colorado let a winnable game slip through its grasp here Thursday, failing to make the most of four Mountaineer turnovers and missing a pair of field goals.
It's not a formula for success for a team that has such a small margin for error if it hopes to beat opponents of this caliber.
While the Buffs were bitterly disappointed once again, they also might have started to turn the corner in terms of confidence as they head into Big 12 play next week at No. 2 Texas. They left Milan Puskar Stadium feeling like they can play at a high level with quality football teams.
"Athletically, I think those guys can matchup with a lot of the teams on our schedule," CU coach Dan Hawkins said. "So I think our guys are starting to figure out what it takes to compete at that level and understand that they can, but it has to be a little cleaner."
Hawkins said he is encouraged that his team is consistently getting better with each outing this season, but there is still a long way to go. He called the Thursday's performance "our best effort by far."
Colorado came out of the game relatively injury free.
Wide receiver Scotty McKnigth had another big game with nine catches for 98 yards and a touchdown. Tight end Riar Geer was credited with eight catches for 113 yards.
Cody Hawkins did become the program's third all-time leader in passing yards, passing former Buff Koy Detmer in the record books.