SEATTLE -- Debacle.
Just when you thought it couldn't get worse, couldn't get uglier, couldn't be more embarrassing...
The Colorado defense went AWOL Saturday afternoon at Husky Stadium and the Buffs were picked apart like a carcass in a den of starving dogs. Washington scored on its first six possessions and moved the ball almost effortlessly at times through, over and around the Buffs en route to a 52-24 final.
And the loss was costly. Both running back Rodney Stewart and linebacker Douglas Rippy suffered injuries in the game and will be evaluated Sunday. Both could be out for an extended period of time. Stewart's injury likely ends his pursuit of CU's all-time rushing record.
Happy birthday Jon Embree.
Colorado's first-year coach turned 46 Saturday, but he might have aged several more years watching the Buffs sink to a new low point in their debut season in the Pac-12 Conference.
"We didn't do anything well defensively in this game," Embree said. "I mean, call it what it is.
"We got beat in every phase. We didn't stop them running, didn't stop them throwing and we got what, two pressures maybe on the quarterback. When we blitz, we didn't cover our men. I'll just leave it at that."
The Buffs were supposed to be a perfect fit for the conference academically, culturally and athletically. Scratch the last part, at least to this point.
The CU football, women's soccer and volleyball teams have combined to go 0-18-1 in conference games so far this fall. The school might have to wait to basketball season to get its first Pac-12 victory.
Colorado lost its fourth straight game on the gridiron, its 21st consecutive road game and for the 22nd consecutive time outside the state. The Buffs are now 1-6 overall and 0-4 in the conference.
And the Buffs gave up 52 points for the third time in less than two seasons. There was the 52-7 rout at Cal and the game that cost Dan Hawkins his job -- the 52-45 collapse at Kansas.
Sure, the Buffs came here with a beat up secondary and without defensive end Josh Hartigan (stinger) looking like an easy mark for Washington quarterback Keith Price, but no one anticipated the Huskies to fare better against CU than top-10 ranked Stanford had a week earlier.
Washington ran 42 plays in the first half and gained 379 yards. Its 38 first-half points were the most scored by the Huskies in an opening half since scoring 45 against Oregon State in 1999.
"We killed ourselves today," free safety Ray Polk said. "That's unacceptable. We can't play like that."
Colorado surrendered three touchdown drives in the first quarter of 65, 74 and 70 yards. Washington coasted down the field in 3 minutes, 16 seconds or less on all three drives. Colorado allowed the Huskies to convert four of four third downs in the quarter and all five third downs in the first half.
Embree said he believes his players are still giving their best and there is no dissent in the locker room. He pointed toward multiple players who are playing with injuries as proof.
"The physical thing is, I mean we are what we are, but mentally, to not know who you're covering or to be covering your guy and just not cover him or stop after five yards," Embree said. "Doing those kind of things, that's not acceptable."
Adding injury to the insulting performance, Stewart left the game in the second quarter with a sprained knee and did not return. That left CU trying to rally without its two best offensive players. Wide receiver Paul Richardson missed his second consecutive game with a sprained knee.
Price entered the game second in the nation with 17 touchdown passes. He added four more to that total in the first half when almost everything he did went his way. Price opened the game with a 25-yard completion to wide receiver James Johnson on the first play from scrimmage and never slowed down.
Colorado finally stopped the Huskies on their first possession of the second half and approximately 1,500 CU fans in the south stands stood and applauded the Buffs with a Bronx Cheer.
Washington coach Steve Sarkisian removed Price from the game late in the third quarter after he had completed 21 of 28 passes for 257 yards and four scores. He led the Huskies to points on seven of their first eight possessions.
Colorado stayed in the game through the first quarter with the offense managing to score on its first possession of the game for the first time this season. CU quarterback Tyler Hansen led a 70-yard drive in seven plays and connected with wide receiver Kyle Cefalo for a 5-yard touchdown pass to tie the game 7-7.
The drive gave the 62,147 in attendance the brief impression a competitive game might be in store.
"It's tough as an offense when you're chasing points, especially the way they were scoring," Hansen said. "They didn't punt, once maybe. When you're chasing points like that, especially in the first half, it's a tough way to play."
Backup running back Tony Jones, playing in place of Stewart, added short touchdown runs in the second half for the Buffs, making it appear they were more competitive.
Colorado heads home to prepare for a visit next Saturday from No. 9 Oregon. A loss will eliminate CU from bowl consideration.