ANN ARBOR, Mich. — During his postgame press conference on Saturday evening in Ann Arbor, Colorado head coach Mike MacIntyre announced that kicker Diego Gonzalez will miss the remainder of the season with a torn left Achilles tendon.
Leaving the stadium on crutches and with his foot in a boot, Gonzalez maintained hope that wasn't true.
"Doctors told me they want to get a second opinion," Gonzalez said. "I'm just trying to stay positive to see what the doctors back in Boulder tell me."
Gonzalez, who has been off to a great start this season, was injured after a kickoff early in the third quarter.
"I was sprinting and I felt like I rolled my ankle or something," he said.
Gonzalez, a senior, added it was a feeling he's never felt before. He spent the rest of the game with ice on his left foot.
If he is done for the season, Gonzalez said, "It's football. Things happen. I'm a kicker and I guess it's a little bit safer, but I'm not free of injury."
CU did not need a kicker after Gonzalez's injury. If he is done for the year, junior Chris Graham, or possibly walk-on freshman Davis Price, could be in line to take over.
Special teams disaster
CU has had its share of struggles on special teams in recent years, and MacIntyre did something about it by dismissing special teams coordinator Toby Neinas in December.
On Saturday, however, special teams issues killed the Buffs.
CU's first punt of the day was blocked and returned for a touchdown by Michigan's Grant Perry. On their second attempt to punt, Alex Kinney drilled lineman Shane Callahan in the back with a low kick and resulted in a 7-yard loss.
The Buffs also couldn't contain Michigan's Jabrill Peppers, who had a 54-yard punt return for touchdown and a 55-yard kickoff return.
And, on top of all that, Gonzalez missed his only field goal of the day, pushing a 36-yard attempt wide right.
"We had some issues. I'll go see it on film (and fix it)," MacIntyre said. "It hurt the game, for sure. There's no doubt about it. It was a big part of the game for us not coming out on top."
Peppers burns Buffs
Peppers is one of the best players in the country, and he spent all afternoon proving that to the Buffs.
The junior finished with nine tackles, one sack and 3.5 tackles for loss on defense. On offense, he ran twice for 24 yards. And, on special teams, he racked up 180 yards, including his punt return for touchdown and long kickoff return.
"He's just a player that makes plays," CU quarterback Sefo Liufau said. "You respect a player like that, because he can play so many different positions and do so many great things for them, but we still had plays against him."
No question, Peppers got the best of this battle, though.
Not how they drew it up
CU got the ball back with 1:59 to play in the first half and clinging to a 21-17 lead. The Buffs tried to run the clock down and go into the locker room with the lead, but left too much time on the clock.
Michigan got the ball back with 43 seconds left and immediately hit Amara Darboh for a 45-yard touchdown on a screen pass. CU missed a pair of tackles on the play and went into intermission trailing 24-21.
"If we could have got him down in bounds right there ... it might have been a different story," MacIntyre said. "
Devin Ross has four touchdown receptions this season, and has at least one in each game. ... The announced crowd of 110,042 is the largest to ever see a CU game. ... CU has lost 23 straight against ranked teams, including 0-12 under MacIntyre. During his coaching career, MacIntyre is 0-19 against ranked foes. ... CU went 1-for-13 on third downs. ... The Buffs got a turnover for the 16th game in a row, tied with North Carolina for the longest streak in the country. ... CU has won the coin toss every game so far this year. The Buffs have deferred to the second half each time.