Christian McCaffrey and Alijah Holder returned to action this week against Colorado but penalties, stalled drives, quarterback switches, and a struggling offensive line continued to plague the Stanford offense all game. Stanford’s offense was bad and we all felt bad. Yet, thanks to several missed field goals by Colorado and a solid bend but don’t break effort by the Stanford defense the Cardinal was able to hang around in the game.
On Stanford’s second possession of the game the Cardinal offense was able to put together a 14-play, 66 yard drive that resulted in a field goal. The remaining Stanford possessions, however, were woeful. The most telling sequence for the Stanford offense came with just over 2 minutes left in the second quarter Shaw swapped quarterbacks on each of 8 straight plays. Holding, and delay of game penalties forced a 3rd and 27 when the Stanford quarterback was hit and the ball was knocked loose. The Cardinal was able to recover but it was 4th and 46. No rhythm, no discipline, no offense.
The injury bug returned once again when Alijah Holder left the game with a shoulder injury, he was kept on the sidelines with a bag of ice. Safety Justin Reid also left the game for Stanford. Solomon Thomas required treatment for a bloody cut by his left eye but he returned to action.
The Stanford defensive front played well applying plenty of pressure on Colorado QB Sefo Liufau. The secondary also did a decent job keeping things mostly in front of them. The linebackers did not have a major impact on the game leaving the middle of the field open for Colorado to take advantage. Stanford contained the Colorado offense playing bend but don’t break.
Colorado still had plenty of opportunities to put points on the board and leave Stanford without a chance to come back given the Cardinal’s offensive struggles. The Buffs, however, could not seem to hit a field goal. Miss, after miss, after miss continued to give Stanford life. At one point Colorado brought in the punter to attempt a field which, he too, missed.
In the fourth Stanford finally was able to put together a drive (with a little help from Colorado penalties). The Cardinal drove the ball all the way down to the Colorado 5. With 10:34 left to go in the game, Stanford was 15 feet away from taking a lead when tragedy struck. Stanford fumbled the ball on the snap, Colorado recovered.
The Stanford defense was once again able to hold Colorado but the Buffs pinned Stanford all the back on their own 5 yardline with about 8 and half left in the game and the Stanford offense showing little chance of moving the ball 95 yards for a touchdown.
Stanford was able to move the ball on the ensuing drive out to their own 30. Ryan Burns then, on third and 15th with about 6 and a half minutes left, threw into double coverage for an interception that was returned to the Stanford 19. The Buffs then proceeded to drain the clock all the way down to 2:13 left in the game before finally hitting a field goal. Stanford would need a touchdown with just over 2 minutes to make it happen with a QB that has thrown 2 interceptions and a fumble and 255 total yards of offense up to that point.
The Buffs kicked the ball out of bounds after the field goal which gave Stanford the ball on the 35. The drive ended without much suspense, however, as Stanford ran three plays and the drive ended in another interception from Burns. The Buffs would kill most of the rest of the clock in victory formation.
With 8 seconds left in the game, in a 4th and 21 situation and Colorado inside their own 5 (after 3 deep knee downs) David Shaw used his final timeout. Rather than punt from the back of their own end zone Colorado burned an extra 4 seconds and intentionally took a safety. On the ensuing free kick Michael Rector fielded it but fell down at the Stanford 18.
Stanford had 4 seconds left to pull off a miracle and they could not do it.
Colorado wins 10-5.
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