Bowled over Buffs

AMES, Iowa --- Colorado coach Dan Hawkins targeted 10 wins this season, but his team has fallen well short of that mark and won't play in a bowl game for the third time in four years. The ramifications might include the coach losing his job. Get inside for more.

The Buffs dropped another winnable game 17-10 at Iowa State on Saturday, with a slew of errors costing them four possible touchdowns on possessions inside the ISU 10-yard line.

The Buffs (3-7, 2-4) started slow, committed 11 penalties and failed to take advantage of multiple opportunities to win for the first time on the road since October 2007.

"It's OK to hurt," Hawkins said. "That's part of it and you want that, but you've got to push that hurt in the right direction."

Colorado athletic director Mike Bohn refused to comment on the coach or the game after the loss. The difference in Bohn's demeanor and tone when talking about his head coach has changed in recent weeks and the fact he wasn't willing to talk at all Saturday doesn't appear to be good for the future of the staff.

The Buffs have lost 12 consecutive games outside the state of Colorado, including 10 straight true road games. They are 16-31 overall under Hawkins and don't appear to have made much progress offensively all season.

Saturday's performance was reminescent of an ugly outing three weeks ago at Kansas State. Players were unable to put their fingers on why they couldn't build on momentum of a big home win last week over Texas A&M.

When asked if he saw better focus in this road game compared with previous trips this season, wide receiver Scotty McKnight answered flatly and honestly, "No."

"I mean, obviously not," he said. "We had three turnovers, a couple of drive-killing penalties. Too many penalties, too many turnovers to win a football game. The focus leading up to the game seemed better, but during the game, it just wasn't there."

The Buffs have two games left and the outcome of those contests could decide the fate of the coaching staff, if it hasn't already been determined by the unacceptable results through the first 10 games.

CU has a short turnaround with a trip to No. 17 Oklahoma State on tap this Thursday night on national television once again. Then the annual grudge match with Nebraska comes 13 days from now in Boulder.

"Our guys will go, they will," Hawkins said. "We got a chance to play a great team this week. Another great opportunity to show what we're about. So those guys will rise. They're fighters."

Iowa State and first-year coach Paul Rhoads became bowl eligible behind a big day from tailback Alexander Robinson, who rushed 30 times for 138 yards. It is the first time the Cyclones have qualified for the post season since the 2005 season.

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