After Colorado`s offensive line produced two 100-yard rushers (Brian Lockridge and Rodney Stewart) in a 31-13 victory over Hawaii on Sept. 18, starting right guard Ryan Miller begged the coaching staff to implement a similar strategy throughout the season.
"It`s always nice when you have a game plan to actually come out and follow the game plan," Miller said after the Buffs piled up 252 net yards rushing against the Warriors. "We wanted to really come out and show we could run the ball and that`s what we did. We ran the ball. ...
"So next week I think we should come out and run the ball."
After a bye week, offensive coordinator Eric Kiesau had his unit ready to run the football.
In fact, the Buffs opened the game with 10 consecutive running plays, including seven by Lockridge for 21 yards and a 39-yard tone-setter by quarterback Tyler Hansen.
"It was great," Lockridge said of a CU attack that included 47 running plays and 20 passing plays. "It goes down to the linemen. If they`re doing well, the whole team is doing well. If we get the running game going it opens up a lot for the pass game, and that`s what we did."
After getting the Buffs off to a strong start, Lockridge suffered an ankle injury and finished with 16 carries for 36 net yards and a 1-yard touchdown that gave the Buffs a 14-3 lead.
Stewart came off the bench and gashed the Bulldogs for 149 yards and a touchdown on 19 carries (7.8 per).
"I`m always motivated," Stewart said when asked about Lockridge getting the start. "I just wait for my chance to get in and I showed the people what I can do."
Four of Hansen`s 13 completions were to his versatile running backs. Stewart had three catches for 31 yards, and Lockridge added one catch for 35 yards.
"We go into the game thinking about making plays," Lockridge said. "We were given an opportunity and excelled in that."
Hansen burned the visitors for 68 yards on 10 carries. He credited the running game for his key 46-yard play-action pass to Will Jefferson.
"He was a big problem," Georgia head coach Mark Richt said. "His ability to run, break tackles and keep plays alive helped them."
Stewart burst through a huge hole and completed a career-long 65-yard run in the third quarter to set up a 2-yard touchdown run by Hansen. A 2-point conversion pass from Cody Hawkins to Ryan Deehan cut CU`s deficit to 24-22 with 7:46 remaining in the third quarter.
Stewart`s 11-yard touchdown run with 4:39 remaining in the third quarter completed the comeback, giving the Buffs a 29-24 lead.
"I think the defense wanted to stop us too much," said Stewart, who posted the 10th 100-yard running game of his career. "So when we went to a run, they would jump over the top, and I was able to cut it back."
In the fourth quarter, Lockridge fumbled at his own 31-yard line with 11:59 remaining. He recovered the loose ball after an anxious moment without it in his possession.
Stewart made a 24-yard reception on third-and-13, converted a fourth-and-1 and moved the chains again on a third-and-1 to set up Aric Goodman`s 52-yard field goal attempt.
The kick went wide left, but Georgia running back Caleb King -- who had 12 carries for 100 yards -- lost a fumble to seal the Bulldogs` fate.
CU finished with 235 net yards rushing on 47 attempts (5.0 per) while Georgia had 188 net yards rushing on 32 attempts (5.9 per).
"We wanted to pound the rock early and kind of establish the run game early," Hansen said. "And I think that`s our identity. We`re going to run the football and pass when they load up the box."