Colorado 36, Oregon State 33
How it happened: CU survived another dismal performance by its defense. The offense kept the Buffs in it and then took the lead with 94 seconds to play before the defense finally came through at the end.
Turning point: A touchdown catch by Bryce Bobo with 1:34 to play gave CU a three-point lead and allowed them to breathe a little easier. Then, the defense did its part on the next possession.
CU's stars of the game
WR Bryce Bobo: He had his best game of the season, with nine catches for 126 yards and two touchdowns. He also threw a touchdown pass and caught a two-point conversion.
RB Phillip Lindsay: Finished with 185 yards and two touchdowns on 28 carries.
S Evan Worthington: Totaled 12 tackles, one interception and two pass breakups.
Bottom line: Struggling to beat the worst team in the conference didn't do a lot to restore the confidence in CU fans, but for the team this was huge. The Buffs snapped a three-game losing streak and got their record above .500 again.
CORVALLIS, Ore. — The cutoff T-shirt Phillip Lindsay wore on Saturday afternoon couldn't hide the welts sprinkled all over his body or the drops of fresh blood coming out of his pores.
Colorado's senior running back looked like a man who had just been through a three-hour fight and, in essence, he had.
Beating the worst team in the Pac-12 wasn't supposed to leave these kinds of marks on the Buffaloes, but nothing's been easy for this group.
Led by Lindsay, receiver Bryce Bobo and a defense that finally came up with an important stop, the Buffs survived with a 36-33 victory against Oregon State at Reser Stadium.
"It's a big thing to come to Corvallis and get a win," said Lindsay, who rushed for 185 yards and two touchdowns. "That's what we needed to do was to get a win. We have to get the wins under our belt how we can take it. Whether it's one point or 100 points, this is about winning."
CU (4-3, 1-3 Pac-12) hasn't done a lot of winning lately, but snapped a three-game losing streak and breathed a collective sigh of relief.
Losing to the Beavers (1-6, 0-4) could have been a devastating blow for a CU team that entered the season seeking a second consecutive Pac-12 South title. Squeaking this one out may have saved their bowl hopes, at least for now.
"I don't know if (the season) was on the line with just that game, but this is a very important game that we needed to come up here and win the road, for sure," quarterback Steven Montez said.
It sure felt like the game and the season were on the line when Montez and the offense took possession with 4 minutes, 14 seconds to play and trailing 33-29.
The sophomore quarterback wasn't at his best Saturday, but he went 4-for-4 for 38 yards on that final drive, capping it with a 13-yard touchdown pass to Bobo with 1:34 to play.
Montez threw for just 168 yards on the day, but tossed two touchdown passes to Bobo, both in the fourth quarter.
"To go down there and score that second time, I think it fired our whole team up," Montez said. "At that point in time, after we threw that second touchdown to Bryce, I think everybody on the sideline thought we were going to win the game and believed it."
The defense still had to make a stop, however, and that hasn't been easy lately.
Oregon State has had the worst offense in the Pac-12 this season, but had by far its best performance of the season, with 569 yards and 33 points.
The Beavers marched to the CU 31-yard line in the closing moments, but CU's defense made three consecutive good plays — pass breakups by Nick Fisher and Isaiah Oliver and a tackle in the backfield by Fisher and Leo Jackson III — to force a long field goal try. Jordan Choukair, who was 4-for-4 to that point, came up short on a 52-yard attempt.
"Just to hold them there, as a defense, those are things you dream of," Fisher said. "Play for each other, that's all we went out there with the goal to do."
Choukair's errant field goal saved the defense, which struggled mightily for the second week in a row.
Although four were field goals, Oregon State scored on all five of its first-half possessions. At that point, CU had allowed scores on 10 of 11 possessions by the opposition, with the only exception being when Arizona took a knee to end the game last week.
With the defense struggling, the Buffs had to rely on their offense.
Lindsay got it started with a 74-yard touchdown run. Bobo actually threw a touchdown pass to Montez. Then, in the second half, the Buffs outscored the Beavers 22-14.
"We see that we have to step up (on offense)," said Bobo, who finished with nine catches for 126 yards. "Within the past couple of seasons you'll usually see the defense step up in games, get turnovers and make big plays. Right now they're struggling a little bit. They're going to come together. But we see we have to take it into our own hands and know when the pressure comes we don't flinch."
This time, the Buffs didn't flinch. Whether the momentum carries over to the next game — next Saturday at Washington State — remains to be seen, but there's no question they needed this one.
"Yeah, I think it is a little bit of a relief because of the way we lost the last two," head coach Mike MacIntyre said. "(Losses to UCLA and Arizona), we definitely could have won, but we lost. Thank goodness we won this one. We'll enjoy this on the flight back tonight. I'll eat maybe two Dove bars on the way back."
Colorado 36, Oregon St. 33Colorado 7 7 7 15 & mdash;36
Oregon St. 10 9 7 7 — 33
First quarter: ORS — Nall 4 run (Choukair kick), 8:59 COL — Lindsay 74 run (Stefanou kick), 8:34 ORS — FG Choukair 32, 5:41Second quarter: ORS — FG Choukair 37, 13:41 ORS — FG Choukair 20, 5:26 COL — Montez 11 pass from Bobo (Stefanou kick), 1:42 ORS — FG Choukair 32, 5:41 Third quarter: COL — Lindsay 9 run (Stefanou kick), 7:07 ORS — Nall 13 run (Choukair kick), :20 Fourth quarter: COL — Bobo 9 pass from Montez (Bobo pass from Montez), 8:53 ORS — Nall 4 run (Choukair kick), 8:59 COL — Bobo 13 pass from Montez (Stefanou kick), 1:34COL ORS
First downs25 30
Passing 179 289
Return Yards 104 136
Fumbles-Lost 0-0 0-0
Penalties-Yards 3-14 9-79
Time of Possession24:20 35:40
RUSHING — Colorado, Lindsay 28-185, Montez 11-23, K.Evans 1-(minus 1), (Team) 1-(minus 1). Oregon St., Nall 24-172, Pierce 10-52, Tyner 5-31, Garretson 2-13, Johnson 5-12.
PASSING — Colorado, Bobo 1-1-0-11, Montez 14-24-0-168. Oregon St., Garretson 20-37-1-289.
RECEIVING — Colorado, Bobo 9-126, Fields 5-42, Montez 1-11. Oregon St., Hernandez 7-65, Villamin 3-57, Togiai 3-31, Pierce 2-43, Nall 2-28, Bradford 1-41, Hodgins 1-17, Tyner 1-7.
MISSED FIELD GOALS — Oregon St., Choukair 52.