Utah 30, Colorado 7
Play of the game: Utah's Samson Nacua had a one-handed grab in the back of the end zone to tie the game at 7-7 in the second quarter.
Turning point: After Utah took a 10-7 lead in the third quarter, CU went three-and-out. The series that included an offensive pass interference penalty and a sideline warning against CU head coach Mike MacIntyre. Two plays after the Buffs' punt, Utah's Jason Shelley hit Jaylen Dixon for a 47-yard touchdown and a 17-7 lead.
Top 3 Buffs of the game
1. LB Nate Landman: Finished with 14 tackles (11 solo), 1.5 tackles for loss and a sack.
2. BUFF Davion Taylor: Had a solid day all around with nine tackles, one tackle for loss and a QB hurry.
3. P Alex Kinney: Returned after missing eight games with a broken collarbone and punted seven times for 289 yards (41.3 average), with three punts landing inside the 20-yard line.
The slide continued for the Buffs, who have now lost six in a row. They go into next week — at California — knowing they need a win to get to a bowl game and a loss to go home.
Mike MacIntyre isn't making excuses anymore.
Following yet another defeat, Colorado's head football coach didn't mention the lengthy injury list that the Buffaloes have dealt with this season.
Instead, following Saturday's 30-7 loss to No. 21 Utah in the 500th game in Folsom Field history, MacIntyre once again reminded everybody that it was he who turned the CU program around. He also pointed out that he's had other coaching options, but his love for CU has kept him here.
"I had plenty of opportunities to leave," MacIntyre said following his team's sixth consecutive loss. "A lot of people told me to leave, just like a lot of people told me not to come here, and I wanted to come here. My family loves it here, we love it here. I definitely feel like this program ... well, I know and you all know — you saw it before I got here — it was abysmal."
While true, the Buffs are enduring an abysmal end to the season, and quite possibly to MacIntyre's tenure as head coach.
Just six weeks ago, the Buffs were ranked No. 19 in the country and the lone undefeated team in the Pac-12, at 5-0.
They haven't won since, and after UCLA finished off an upset of cross-town rival USC on Saturday, the Buffs (5-6, 2-6 Pac-12) are now alone in the South division cellar.
A week away from perhaps a fifth last-place finish in MacIntyre's six seasons, just 16,627 fans elected to show up to Folsom Field on a cold, snowy Saturday afternoon.
As Utah dominated the second half, many of them left — well, except for the vocal Utes fans who celebrated to the end in the northwest corner of the stadium. Washington State's fans did the same a week earlier after a 31-7 win against the Buffs.
CU is now 0-9 in the last two seasons with bowl eligibility on the line and when asked why his team hasn't figured out how to get the job done, MacIntyre said, "If I had the answer to that, then we would have won."
Because they didn't, it's fair to wonder if MacIntyre will get another opportunity to get it done. He is now 30-44 at CU, including 14-39 in conference games.
In the moments after Saturday's loss, he maintained confidence that he'll be on the sidelines against California next weekend.
"No I don't feel like it was my last game," he said. "We've got one more; hopefully we can win that and go to a bowl game. Going to a bowl game would be big for this program — two out of the last three years when they hadn't done it around here in a long, long time.
"Hopefully I get to coach another one. I'd like to, I want to. Nobody has said anything to me, except to just keep going. That's what I plan on doing."
Earlier in the week, Denver Channel 7 reported that MacIntyre would be fired after the season. He and CU refuted the report, and MacIntyre talked about it again Saturday.
"There's always rumors in this business," he said. "The thing about this business that's tough is when you do good, everybody is asking you why you're leaving. I could have left — three good places — and stayed. When you're losing, they want to get rid of you. So, you never can win as a head coach on that and I understand that. That's the way it goes.
"The way I see it, I'm here, we're going to find a way. We just have to find a way."
They couldn't find a way against the Utes, who spotted the Buffs the first touchdown and then went on a 30-0 run to close it out.
CU, in fact, has scored first in every game during its losing streak, but hasn't been able to get much going after halftime.
On Saturday, Utah outscored the Buffs 23-0 in the final two quarters. The Buffs have been outscored 118-33 during the second half of the last six games.
Freshman quarterback Jason Shelley — making his second career start in place of injured Tyler Huntley — threw for 221 yards and two touchdowns to lead the Utes, who played like a team eager to win their first-ever Pac-12 South title. They took a step toward that with the win at Folsom.
The Buffs, meanwhile, managed just 196 yards in total offense, only 86 of those during a listless second half.
The day began on a bad note when Ralphie, the Buffs' famous live mascot who leads the team on the field before games, didn't run on the snow-covered turf.
It ended with the Buffaloes walking off the field with yet another defeat and more uncertainty for a team running out of chances to end this season on a positive note.
"You never get used to losing," senior receiver Kabion Ento said. "In the locker room, we just have to keep making sure we stay together. We know that we have one more in order to get one more (win). That's the goal, to be honest."
No. 21 Utah 30, Colorado 7Utah 0 7 17 6 — 30
Colorado 7 0 0 0 — 7
First quarter: COL — McMillian 13 run (Stefanou kick), 2:04Second quarter: UTH — Nacua 10 pass from Shelley (Gay kick), 9:54 Third quarter: UTH — FG Gay 33, 7:37 UTH — J.Dixon 47 pass from Shelley (Gay kick), 4:57 UTH — Shyne 1 run (Gay kick), :50 Fourth quarter: UTH — FG Gay 31, 12:43 UTH — FG Gay 51, 8:09 A — 39,360.UTH COL
First downs 19 14
Rushes-yards 47-169 34-34
Passing 221 162
Comp-Att-Int 11-23-0 21-33-2
Return Yards 40 24
Punts-Avg. 6-35.33 7-39.71
Fumbles-Lost 2-0 3-1
Penalties-Yards 5-64 4-38
Time of Possession 30:49 29:11
RUSHING — Utah, Shyne 17-55, Green 9-43, Covey 4-35, Shelley 9-29, Brumfield 4-7, Woodward 1-3, Lisk 1-(minus 1), Wood 2-(minus 2). Colorado, McMillian 13-41, Lee 2-9, Evans 4-2, Shenault 1-0, Russell 1-0, (Team) 2-(minus 2), Montez 7-(minus 2), T.Lytle 4-(minus 14).
PASSING — Utah, Shelley 11-23-0-221. Colorado, Noyer 4-6-0-23, T.Lytle 4-5-1-55, Montez 13-22-1-84.
RECEIVING — Utah, J.Dixon 4-125, Fotheringham 2-37, Covey 1-19, Mariner 1-15, Nacua 1-10, Simpkins 1-8, Brumfield 1-7. Colorado, Shenault 9-64, Winfree 3-54, Nixon 3-19, Ento 2-10, MacIntyre 2-8, McMillian 2-7.
MISSED FIELD GOALS — Utah, Gay 56.