EUGENE, Ore. — Although he didn't throw a pass or take a snap, Sefo Liufau still managed to play a role in Colorado's 41-38 win over Oregon on Saturday.
The Buffaloes' senior quarterback missed the game with a sprained right ankle and instead watched his backup, Steven Montez, play a sensational game.
After Montez threw a second interception late in the third quarter, however, Liufau played the role of psychologist.
"I just told him, 'Take it one play at a time,'" said Liufau, who was injured during the third quarter at Michigan on Sept. 17. "I think it's easy to be hung up on mistakes that you made. It's a tough second pick. It was kind of 50-50 on the ball. I just told him to battle back and keep playing because there's going to be another opportunity."
Liufau has been in that situation before and knew how to handle his teammate.
"I told just told everyone to leave him alone and let me handle it," Liufau said. "Whenever I throw a pick or do a mistake, it's not always the best when everyone comes to you."
The pep talk helped Montez bounce back and lead the Buffs to the win.
"I talked to Sefo and I talked to my teammates and I knew they said they believed in me and the coaches believed in me," he said. "That just pushed me forward to just keep going and finish the game and finish strong."
Liufau was impressed, as he watched Montez rack up 468 yards in total offense - the most ever by a CU quarterback in a debut performance.
"What a frickin' game, man," Liufau said. "What a guy. I've been working with him all week and I've been talking with him on the sidelines the whole time, but I can only do so much. He went out there and he played a hell of a game. He made a couple of mistakes, but the biggest thing is that he battled back from that and that's what I'm really proud of. He showed some real heart and some real character today."
As for Liufau, he spent all week trying to get healthy, and actually took part in warm-ups on Saturday. He was in uniform throughout the game with his ankle heavily taped.
"I had to see how it feels. It didn't feel the best," he said. "If you're not 100 percent it's not the best to go out there and play.
"I'm frustrated for it, but all week I helped to prepare Montez and (Jordan) Gehrke if he needed to go in. It's a team sport."