The Colorado football program has another streak going. It's not quite as significant as 19 consecutive road losses, but it's nothing the Buffs are bragging about either.

It has been 21 quarters of football since a Buffs running back scored a rushing touchdown.

The last time a CU running back found the end zone on a running play was in a win over Kansas State in November at Folsom Field.

Both of CU's rushing touchdowns this season have come from quarterback Tyler Hansen.

The Buffs are 105th in the nation running the football, averaging 86.5 yards per game. They are averaging 3.2 yards per carry and they lack a bigger back to complement the jitterbug style of senior Rodney Stewart.

CU vs. CSU002.JPG University of Colorado quarterback Tyler Hansen hands the ball off to Rodney Stewart during a football game against Colorado State
CU vs. CSU002.JPG University of Colorado quarterback Tyler Hansen hands the ball off to Rodney Stewart during a football game against Colorado State University on Saturday, Sept. 17, at Sports Authority Field in Denver. For more photos of the game go to www.dailycamera.com Jeremy Papasso/ Camera ( JEREMY PAPASSO )

But who carries the football isn't the biggest problem holding up the run in Boulder right now.

CU coaches have had to piece together the offensive line each week so far this season.

They entered the season opener at Hawaii relatively healthy, but seven plays into the game bodies started falling with left tackle David Bakhtiari suffering a sprained knee that kept him out until last week.

The Buffs haven't used the same five starters for any two games this season. They lost starting right tackle Jack Harris for the season to a broken ankle and have used a total of nine offensive linemen.


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"It's played a role," Embree said. "It has, but we got to go. You know what I mean? We have to keep working on it and keep improving. The good thing is it's providing some playing time for some guys who will be players for us in the future. So that is the positive out of it."

This wasn't exactly what Embree and Eric Bieniemy had in mind when they came to Colorado to take over the stagnant program they had helped to build into a national champion 20 years ago.

Both men believe in a physical approach to football with a strong running game leading the way.

The first four games with Embree at the helm of the program and Bieniemy calling the shots on offense has produced nothing close to their ultimate vision.

In fact, when the Buffs have been at their best this season, it has been when quarterback Tyler Hansen has had time to throw to Paul Richardson, Toney Clemons, tight end Ryan Deehan or running back Rodney Stewart coming out of the backfield.

Running game?

The truth is the Buffs just don't have much of one.

It's not comforting thought considering the portion of the schedule most considered to be the easier month of the year in the preseason is now behind them.

Bieniemy said the Buffs have to get better at running the football. He said one factor that has played a part in low rushing totals is CU falling behind in three of their four games by at least 10 points and needing to throw the ball more.

"Do we want to be better in the run game? Yes, we do," Bieniemy said. "The bottom line is it doesn't make a difference who is up front. That guy needs to step up front, and I've got to put us in the right position to have success in the run game."

Stewart played with a bad shoulder at Ohio State and coaches said they need to get him more rest going into conference play. Bieniemy said he has taken Stewart out of the game and replaced him with redshirt freshman Tony Jones, but Stewart puts himself back in the game.

"I'm up in the booth like, 'What is he doing in the game?' But that's just the type of kid he is," Bieniemy said. "You got to drag him off the field."

Bieniemy said he has talked with Stewart about allowing other backs to give him some rest and get some experience.

"I told him, 'Let us worry about doing this job, you worry about the job you have to do when we put you in there,'" Bieniemy said.

Jones and Brian Lockridge are expected to see more playing time in coming weeks.