SAN ANTONIO — Reality hit Sefo Liufau as he walked off the turf at the Alamodome on Thursday night.
"It's all over," the Colorado quarterback said.
CU's all-time leading passer played his final game for the Buffaloes, but didn't end his career like he had hoped. He and the Buffs had a rough night in a 38-8 loss to Oklahoma State in the Alamo Bowl.
Liufau once again spent part of the night on the sidelines with an injury to his right ankle. He said it was the same injury he suffered in Week 3 at Michigan, knocking him out of the next three games. It's also the same ankle he re-injured in the Pac-12 championship game on Dec. 2, forcing him to sit out most of the first half.
Liufau was sacked on back-to-back plays late in the first half Thursday, the second one forcing him to the sidelines.
"I don't know how much the guy weighed, but when he landed on it, it's not comfortable," Liufau said. "Even if you don't injure your ankle in the first place, I think it's still going to hurt if a larger fellow lands on it."
Relieved by backup Steven Montez, Liufau figured his day was done. Montez finished the first half and kept playing into the third quarter.
"Coach just said they're going to go with Montez," Liufau said. "When that happens, you just accept it and move on."
With Montez and the rest of the offense struggling, however, the Buffs turned back to Liufau, who finished the game.
While the final result was not what he wanted, Liufau leaves CU with nearly 100 school records and a lasting impression on his coaches and teammates.
"That man right there, he's going to go down as one of the greatest quarterbacks in Colorado," running back Phillip Lindsay said. "Everybody knows that and you guys should know that."
Liufau views himself as "just one of the guys," but left the Alamodome hoping those around him view him as someone who gave his best to help the Buffs win.
"I'm pretty composed now, which is kind of surprising because I didn't think I would, but I think I left it all out on the field," he said.
"Just want everyone to know I gave everything. I may not have been the most talented, but I gave everything I had."
CU co-offensive coordinator Brian Lindgren hinted this week that the Buffs might show a couple of plays they haven't shown yet this year. Sure enough, they did.
Late in the first quarter, the Buffs faced third-and-1 at midfield when receiver Jay MacIntyre went in motion. He stopped behind center and then took the snap and dove forward for the "quarterback" sneak, and got the first down.
A first for Irwin
Senior tight end Sean Irwin got his first pass of the season on Thursday, hauling in a 15-yard catch from Sefo Liufau in the first quarter.
Irwin has been the Buffs' top tight end all season, but has been used as a blocker - along with the other tight ends. Irwin's catch was just the fourth by a CU tight end all season, with the others going to Chris Bounds, Chris Hill and Dylan Keeney.
Irwin caught 15 passes for 248 yards as a junior and had 23 catches for 322 yards in his career before Thursday.
Thursday's announced attendance was 59,815, the lowest for an Alamo Bowl since the 2010 game between Oklahoma State and Arizona drew just 57,595 fans.
It was only the third time in the last 13 years that fewer than 60,000 tickets were sold for this game.
CU did its part to help the numbers. The Buffs sold their entire allotment of 6,500 and even a few more. It was the most tickets sold by a Pac-12 team for an Alamo Bowl.
Field rush fine
On Thursday, BuffZone.com was told by the Pac-12 that the conference decided not to fine the Buffs for the fans rushing Folsom Field after a 38-24 win against Washington State on Nov. 19, but did fine the school $50,000 for the fans rushing the field after a 27-22 win against Utah on Nov. 26.
This is the first season that the Pac-12 has issued fines for field rushes. A first offense comes with a $25,000 fine, a second offense carries a $50,000 fine and a third offense a $100,000 fine.
CU was previously fined $25,000 for fans rushing Folsom after a 40-16 win against Arizona State on Oct. 15.
Oklahoma State's James Washington was named offensive MVP while Vincent Taylor won defensive MVP ... CU's bowl game record fell to 12-17. ... The Buffs have lost 17 consecutive games to top-15 opponents. ... Counting conference championships and bowl games, the Buffs have lost five consecutive December games, dating back to a victory against UTEP in the 2004 Houston Bowl. ... CU won the coin toss once again. The Buffs were 13-1 on the coin toss this year. ... CU had forced at least one turnover in 25 consecutive games before the Pac-12 title game, but didn't force any in the last two games.