Sean Irwin has no visions of breaking Nelson Spruce's receiving records.

The Colorado tight end is, however, becoming more of a threat in the passing game lately.

Irwin has 12 catches for 205 yards this season, giving him the best statistical season for a tight end since Nick Kasa in 2012.

"Since the season has progressed, the coaches have noticed that I've been able to catch balls and do some things, so they've just been giving me more opportunities to catch some passes," Irwin said.

A 6-foot-3, 245-pound junior, Irwin had just eight catches for 74 yards during his first two seasons combined.

"I still have a long ways to go," he said. "I dropped one last game, which is not good, but it's fun. I like it."

In general, the tight ends appear to be more of a target for quarterback Cade Apsay than they were for junior Sefo Liufau.

Before a season-ending foot injury on Nov. 13, Liufau completed 14 passes, with no touchdowns, to the tight end trio of Irwin, George Frazier and Dylan Keeney.

In just seven quarters since taking over at quarterback, Apsay has nine completions to tight ends, including a touchdown to Frazier.

Sputtering Utes

In recent weeks, Utah has gone from No. 3 in the country to unranked. The Utes (8-3, 5-3 Pac-12) have lost three of five games, but MacIntyre said that speaks more about the Pac-12's strength than Utah's struggles.


"The Pac-12's a good football league," MacIntyre said. "When you play nine games in the Pac-12 and other leagues only play eight, this is going to keep happening for a while, I think, because there's so much parity in our league.

"I still see (Utah as) a very, very good football team."


Backup quarterback Jordan Gehrke has dealt with some hip and knee injuries in recent weeks, but MacIntyre said Gehrke is available to play if needed. "He's definitely ready to go," MacIntyre said. "He's been able to go all week in practice." ... CU has held opponents to 8-for-25 on third downs the past two weeks, including 1-for-12 in the first half. ... Apsay said he needs to be louder at the line of scrimmage. "There were a few times when the linemen didn't hear the call or couldn't hear the cadence," he said.

Contact staff writer Brian Howell at or