TUCSON, Ariz. — This week, Big Play Shay insisted the long passing plays would soon return to the Colorado offense.
On Saturday night, he made sure of it.
Shay Fields caught six passes for 108 yards and two touchdowns during Colorado's 49-24 win against Arizona, including a couple of big plays have been missing.
"It felt great, especially with the last two games we've had," Fields said. "The passing game has not been there."
CU (8-2, 6-1 Pac-12), which made a living on big plays early in the year, had not produced a passing play of 20 yards or more in its previous two games.
Against Arizona, Fields had catches of 47 and 27 yards and his first 100-yard effort since Oct. 1 against Oregon State.
Fields' 47-yard catch from Sefo Liufau took the ball to the Arizona 4-yard line early in the second quarter. One play later, Phillip Lindsay scored on a 4-yard run.
On CU's next possession, Fields caught a 15-yard touchdown pass. Then, with 5:01 to go in the third quarter, he hauled in a 27-yard touchdown pass, catching the ball near the 5, and making a move to get past a defender and into the end zone.
Fields wasn't the only receiver with a big play. Jay MacIntyre hauled in a 40-yard touchdown pass from Liufau in the second quarter. For the sophomore, it was the longest reception of his career.
"To be able to go out there and finally complete a deep ball is great to see," Liufau said.
Callahan steps up
Left tackle Jeromy Irwin was sidelined on Saturday because of an illness and in his place, the Buffs called upon Shane Callahan. The senior made his first start of the season and his first at tackle.
"My hat's off to Shane Callahan," head coach Mike MacIntyre said. "I love all our kid and a tremendous amount, but it's really special. He went in there at left tackle and played awesome. You have to guys step up that are unselfish and ready to go when their number is called. That was special to see that."
Callahan, who is from Parker, made five starts at right guard last season, but has had a backup role this season. A valuable part of the special teams, he enjoyed his first extensive action of the season.
"It's always fun to get a start and get to come in and play," he said. "I love playing and it was just fun. It was a win and another step towards our goal, which is Pac-12 champs. It was great to be a part of.
"Whatever you chance you can get you just go in there and you play as hard as you can. It's so much fun to get in there."
MacIntyre said Irwin lost 12 pounds during the week because of his illness. He was in uniform and available for an emergency. Right tackle Sam Kronshage was also in uniform, but did not play because of a sore AC joint in his shoulder.
During the game, the Buffs lost left guard Gerrad Kough to a sprained ankle. Backup Jonathan Huckins went down for a bit, too, but returned in the second half.
"(Offensive line coach) Klayton (Adams) did an unbelievable job with them tonight," MacIntyre said.
Cats run wild
Arizona found a way to bust through Colorado's run defense on Saturday.
The last-place Wildcats racked up 262 yards on the ground, the most allowed by CU this season.
CU came into the game having allowed just 168 yards in the ground in the previous three games combined (56.0 per game).
Converted receiver Samajie Grant had 113 yards and his first two rushing touchdowns, while quarterback Brandon Dawkins had 81 yards.
Takeaway streak continues
With a fumble recovery by Rick Gamboa in the second quarter, the Buffs extended their streak to 23 consecutive games with a takeaway.
The streak, which is the longest in the country, covers every game of the past two seasons for the Buffs.
Liufau made his 36th career start, a school record for a quarterback. He broke the mark of 35 previously held by Darian Hagan, who is currently the Buffs' running backs coach. ... CU registered four sacks on the night (two by Jimmie Gilbert), and now has 29 on the season. That's the best single-season sack total for the Buffs since 2011. ... Gilbert has 8.5 sacks on the season, the best individual total since Abraham Wright had 11.5 in 2006. ... CU sports information director David Plati worked his 400th consecutive Buffs game on Saturday. His streak began with the season finale in 1983. Overall, it was Plati's 442nd game at CU. ... CU won the coin toss again, improving to 9-1 on the toss this season.
Brian Howell: firstname.lastname@example.org, on Twitter: @BrianHowell33.