Walking off the field with another loss wasn't the way Will Pericak wanted to end his football career at Colorado.
The senior defensive lineman, who grew up in Boulder, was able to smile a bit, though, as he carried the Buffalo Heart Award in his arms.
"It's something I'm going to treasure," he said after CU's 42-35 loss to Utah at Folsom Field.
Voted on by fans for the past 15 years, the Buffalo Heart Award is given to the player who best displays heart, determination, grit and desire. Although not only for seniors, all the winners have been seniors.
Pericak, a graduate of Boulder High School, started each of the Buffs' 49 games the past four seasons. He has the most starts and most consecutive starts in school
Guard Joe Garten (1987-90) and center Bryan Stoltenberg (1992-95) are the only other players in CU history to start every game of their four-season careers.
"It definitely means a lot," Pericak said of the award. "I'm proud of my career. We didn't get enough wins, but I'm happy I'm a Buff, my college experience has been amazing. It sucks that it's coming to an end."
Pericak closed his career with 205 tackles (he got No. 200 on Friday), 7.5 sacks and 18 tackles for loss. This season, he had 60 tackles, two sacks and a career-high four forced fumbles.
Freshmen backs looking good
Perhaps a bright spot for the Buffs going forward is the potential at tailback.
True freshman Christian Powell missed Friday's finale with a concussion, taking away his opportunity to break CU's freshman rushing record (830 by Lamont Warren in 1991).
Still, Powell finished with an impressive 691 yards on 158 carries (4.37 average) and seven touchdowns in his debut season. He had three 100-yard games.
His high school teammate, true freshman Donta Abron, looks to have a bright future, too. Abron got the start Friday and finished with a season-high 84 yards on 14 carries and a touchdown.
"It was great," he said. "I took advantage of my opportunity and the O-line and receivers had great blocking and opened up some holes for me."
Abron finished with 256 yards on 51 carries (5.02 average) and two touchdowns this season. He topped the 80-yard mark in two of the last three games.
Dannewitz eyeing future
Senior offensive lineman Ryan Dannewitz spent his final game as a Buff with a large brace on his right knee. The 6-foot-6 San Jacinto, Calif., product had surgery to repair a torn knee ligament on Tuesday.
Although his playing career is done, Dannewitz said he's not done with the CU program. After graduating next month, he plans to join the coaching staff.
"I'll be either an intern or grad assistant, depending on if I get into grad school," said Dannewitz, a psychology and sociology major. "I'll further talk with the coaches after the season to discuss what my plans are.
"I think it'll be weird (coaching former teammates), but I think it will be good because I'm already comfortable with them. So, I think they'd trust me to be able to talk to them about technique and work on things."
Franklin and Christina Aguilar were recognized on the field during the second quarter Friday.
Franklin is on active duty with the U.S. Army and is home celebrating Thanksgiving with his wife, who is a graduate of Longmont High School. Franklin has served two one-year tours in Iraq and one one-year tour in Afghanistan. He may be returning to Afghanistan for another tour.
Christina is also a U.S. Army veteran, having served one year in Afghanistan in a combat support hospital. The couple, which is expecting their first child soon, got a nice ovation from the Folsom Field crowd.
Defensive lineman Josh Tupou (ankle) and safety Terrell Smith (bruised knee) were injured Friday. ... Utah started the game 0-for-8 on third downs, but converted three of its last four opportunities. ... CU is 213-6 all-time when scoring 35 or more points. ... The Buffs failed to pick off a pass in the last eight games. Opposing QBs ended the year with 221 straight throws without an interception. ... Nelson Spruce had a career-high 10 catches (for 98 yards). He finished the year with 44 catches for 447 yards, becoming just the third freshman to ever lead CU in receiving.
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