Colorado quarterback Cody Hawkins is sacked by Missouri defensive back Kip Edwards in Saturday night’s game.
Colorado quarterback Cody Hawkins is sacked by Missouri defensive back Kip Edwards in Saturday night's game. ( L.G. Patterson )
COLUMBIA, Mo. -- Tyler Hansen`s career as Colorado`s starting quarterback nearly ended in the same fashion as it began after he was replaced late in the third quarter of Saturday`s 26-0 loss to Missouri.

It was during the fifth game of last season that Hansen stepped in for Cody Hawkins, and now, in Colorado`s final scheduled game against the Tigers, the roles were reversed.

"I didn`t understand it," Hansen said of being pulled from the game. "I was confused at first. I guess they wanted a spark. So we`ll see."

But before Colorado fans could get into a tizzy about yet another quarterback controversy, coach Dan Hawkins assuaged any fears that his starting quarterback was in doubt.

"I don`t think it was so much what (Tyler Hansen) was not doing, but I was trying to get something going," Hawkins said.

Hawkins was grappling for an offensive spark he`s spent five years trying to find against Missouri. The Tigers have outscored the Buffs 203-40 in Hawkins` tenure, a mark that could stand for a while with Colorado moving to the Pac-12 next year.

And during the fourth quarter, Cody Hawkins was that spark. All three of his drives put the Buffs inside the Missouri 30-yard line, but penalties stalled momentum and he failed to convert three fourth-down conversions.

"There was some inconsistency there and we really shot ourselves in the foot a couple times whether it was a penalty or there was a misplay here and there," Cody Hawkins said. "We need to look at the film and learn from our mistakes because we are a good football team and they are going to crucify you when you play like this."

Putting Colorado`s offensive woes on Hansen wasn`t entirely fair. Hansen completed 71.4 percent of his passes for 117 yards, but two missed field goals and inopportune penalties stunted potential scoring drives.

Even though he didn`t play poorly, Hansen wasn`t the same aggressive offensive catalyst he was in the win against Georgia last week. In that game, he used his mobility to make plays, which also opened up some gaps in the passing defense.

However, Hansen`s pocket presence wasn`t nearly as keen against the Tigers. He was sacked three times and the chances he had to take off he hesitated or threw the ball into traffic.

"One player can`t make the whole difference in the game," Hansen said. "You`ve just got to keep your head up, but I know there are certain things that we killed ourselves on drives. There were penalties and we`ve got to clean penalties. This is dumb stuff that we keep doing that especially on the road. We`ve got to clean up."