Brendan Scarlett late hit which didn't need to happen sets Colorado off on a nice sequence. A Spruce catch plus a defensive holding, and then two QB runs, and the Buffs are at the Card 15 before you know it. However, the Stanford D does what it does best, and holds in the red zone. Colorado settles for three, and that's a big victory for the Cardinal D. With Stanford's offense slowly squeezing the life out of this one, Colorado isn't going to have enough possessions to come back at three points per drive – they needed seven there to have a hope.
Stanford 28, Colorado 10, 11:36 remaining, third quarter
Bryce Love makes me drop my jaw with what could be the most athletic play for the Cardinal this year. Fake to Christian McCaffrey, but then an end around to the freshman out of North Carolina, a great call against a team that has been selling out at the point of attack. There's an unblocked defender in the backfield though, and Love ought to send that guy a thank you card, because he's forced to cut upfield, instead of continue to the periphery. Once Love cuts straight up the gut, there's a huge hole, and Love's acceleration whips him past any defenders who might fill it. Jaw-dropping stuff.
Stanford 35, Colorado 10, 11:23 remaining, third quarter
Stanford D, as is its wont, bends on the first drive of the half, but quickly adjusts. Kevin Anderson with a second-down sack on the edge rush to kill the CU drive, and McCaffrey returns a punt to the Card 43. Brandon Simmons injured on the play, however.
Early-down McCaffrey runs are bottled up well (though McCaffrey still somehow gets six on a play blocked for two). But it's the passing plays on second down that bring the biggest action. First, Michael Rector catches short of the sticks, but dives for the left sideline to pick up exactly what he needs for the first down. Then, Hogan with one of his worst throws of the year, failing to see a safety who undercuts a post route to Trent Irwin and easily intercepts. Irwin shows great tenacity to stick with the play and eventually chase down the return and make the touchdown-saving tackle at the CU 4. Devon Cajuste runs full speed into a blocking receiver and is down for several minutes before walking off on his own power, but with a protective neck brace in place.
Can the Irwin tackle stand up? Yes! A four-play goal-line stand salts this one away. Patrick Carr loses two on a first down rush, and then Sefo Liufau fires incomplete three straight times. On fourth down, nice job by the Stanford defense to pursue to the periphery and force Liufau to throw, as he was looking to scramble. Elsewhere, Florida 9, Vandy 7 with a minute left.
McCaffrey runs three times for 21 yards, despite CU loading up the box. What more can you say? Then, Francis Owusu hasn't heard his name called much today, with Trent Irwin's star shining brightest among the young wideouts, but five-yard out here gets him into the stat sheet and moves the sticks. Nice graphic on the Pac-12 Net broadcast, showing McCaffrey on pace to shatter Reggie Bush's Heisman-winning 2005 season marks. Back to live action, Hogan makes a man miss on a third-and-seven scramble after stepping up in the pocket to avoid another rusher. He picks up 11 to move the chains, and it's a different offense when he can run. Two snaps later, he again runs, gaining four on a well-covered second and seven to set up a third and short. McCaffrey has mastered the art of waiting behind his blocks and then exploding at just the right time, and here he gains five to move the chains on a play that the Buffalo defense had strung out pretty well.
Stanford 35, Colorado 10, end third quarter
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