In 1998, four friends and Colorado fans came up with an idea to honor the senior that best demonstrated the determination, toughness and spirit of a Buffalo.

It was an award tailor-made for players like quarterback Sefo Liufau.

On Saturday, following CU's 27-22 win against Utah, Liufau was honored as the latest recipient of the Buffalo Heart Award. It is voted upon by the fans who sit behind the CU bench at Folsom Field.

"It's a great honor to receive award," Liufau said after the game. "Nothing but thanks, praise, blessings. I couldn't have done it without these teammates, pushing me, getting me through these years. It's been a grind to go through all the bad to finally get to the good.

"In my mind, it's not just my award, because sometimes when I'm really down, those guys pick me up and they keep me going."

Liufau is the 19th winner of the award, which was started in 1998. The first winner was receiver Darrin Chiaverini, now CU's co-offensive coordinator and receivers coach.

CU's senior class is filled with exceptional candidates for the award, but Liufau stood out above the rest. A four-year starter at quarterback, his career has been defined by the toughness and spirit he has possessed from day one.

Liufau has played through countless bumps, bruises and injuries through his career. Head coach Mike MacIntyre has often said Liufau is the toughest quarterback he's ever coached, and several Buffs have commented that Liufau is the toughest player they've ever played with on the field.


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"I think the legacy he'll leave behind was one of the toughest competitors that we've seen at this school," senior center Alex Kelley said earlier this week. "I've been a fan a long time and I've seen a lot of different people come through here and in my eyes, that's the legacy he'll leave behind."

Liufau will also leave CU with more than 80 school records, including most of the program's passing records. He is CU's all-time leader in passing yards and total offense.

More than anything, Liufau has been the emotional leader of a team that has risen from the depth of the Pac-12 to bring winning football back to Boulder.

"Everything," MacIntyre said. "He's meant everything."

Contact staff writer Brian Howell at howellb@dailycamera.com or twitter.com/BrianHowell33.