Big plays bust Buffs

MORGANTOWN, W.V. --- Colorado gave up three big plays and couldn't produce enough of its own in a 35-24 loss to West Virginia here Thursday night, dropping to 1-3. The Buffs allowed tailback Noel Devine to rush for a career best 220 yards and quarterback Cody Hawkins threw three interceptions. Get inside for more from players and coaches.

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.

Quarterback Cody Hawkins didn't play his best game, throwing for 292 yards and two scores with three interceptions. Place-kicker Aric Goodman also missed field goals of 40 and 45 yards.

Cody Hawkins did become the program's third all-time leader in passing yards, passing former Buff Koy Detmer in the record books.

The Buffs allowed West Virginia tailback Noel Devine to rush for a career best 220 yards and surrendered three big plays of 77, 56 and 48 yards, each of which led to scores.

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