There is no way to sugarcoat what happened to the home team Saturday at Folsom Field on Homecoming. It was everything it was expected to be, and, maybe even a little worse.
Ugly, lopsided, uncompetitive, just plain unfair.
No. 9 Oregon -- boasting the third-highest scoring offense in the nation -- took full advantage of a depleted Colorado roster, rolling to a 45-2 victory.
Yep, that's right. The Buffs scored two points on a third-quarter safety, avoiding the shutout but also ensuring that every college football fan looking at box scores Saturday and today, would pause over the oddity of the trouncing.
It was one of the worst home losses in CU history and eliminated the Buffs from the postseason for the fourth straight year. CU (1-7 overall, 0-4 Pac-12) has now produced six consecutive losing seasons.
"It's hard. I'm smiling because you have to keep smiling to keep from crying," coach Jon Embree said afterward when asked what going through this season has been like for him. "It's hard, it really is. It's hard because I feel like we've missed opportunities. I feel like these seniors are going to look back a couple years from now and woulda, coulda, shoulda. It has been difficult from that standpoint."
The Buffs were in danger of being shut out at home for the first time since 1986 until Oregon punt return man Cliff Harris fielded a punt inside his 5-yard line in the third quarter and ran backward into the end zone where he was tackled by Terrel Smith, Derrick Webb and Arthur Jaffee.
It was the first time the Colorado offense has been shut out at home since losing 31-7 to Texas on Oct. 30, 2004. CU's lone score in that game came on an interception return.
At least the Ducks put the Buffs out of their misery quickly. By the end of the first quarter, Oregon had scored four touchdowns and a needless 2-point conversion to lead 29-0. It had racked up 293 yards of total offense, including 206 rushing yards.
Oregon drove 80 yards to its first touchdown in 1 minute, 36 seconds to start the game. It covered 58 yards in 2:11 the next time out. The third drive covered 87 yards in 50 seconds and an 80-yard drive in 1:46 ended the first-quarter scoring.
And the Ducks did it all with starting quarterback Darron Thomas and starting tailback LaMichael James sitting out to heal injuries.
"That's just how far we have to go," Embree said. "You look out there, I don't think you see a lack of effort. I don't think you see a lack of hustle and guys trying. We're just not at that level yet."
To be fair, the almost unbelievable series of injuries the Buffs have experienced this fall continued to cost them. Starting free safety Ray Polk was not able to play because of a concussion, fractured sternum and bad wrist. Cornerback Jason Espinoza also was held out with a concussion.
That led CU coaches to move true freshman running back D.D. Goodson to cornerback where he started the game. Fellow true freshman Kyle Washington started in Polk's place.
Colorado has now used 15 true freshmen this season, tying with Tennessee for the fifth most in the nation.
The injuries continued to mount during the game, with quarterback Tyler Hansen suffering a concussion in the second quarter and being replaced by Nick Hirschman. Strong safety Anthony Perkins also left after injuring his ankle in the first half. That had CU playing three true freshmen in the secondary with a redshirt freshman and a sophomore in the nickel package.
"It's difficult on guys, seeing guys get hurt," linebacker Jon Major said. "That's the cards we've been dealt. You've got to move on and you got to roll."
Oregon (6-1, 4-0) extended its winning streak in conference games to 16. The Buffs lost their fifth consecutive game and are still looking for their first Pac-12 victory and the first win over a BCS program for Embree.
A crowd of 52,123 took it all in with most in black and gold but plenty in Oregon Green. The color of the day could have been powder blue. Colorado hasn't seen a soul-sucking stretch of losing like this since the early 1980s when the Buffs featured the color and it grew to be despised.
Colorado has given up 145 total points in its three most recent losses. Embree's team hasn't been competitive in a game since losing at home to Washington State on Oct. 1 by four points.