PASADENA, Calif. — With the game on the line, the Colorado football team was prepared to put the ball in the hands of their backup quarterback.
Starter Sefo Liufau wouldn’t have it.
After Liufau hurt his wrist in the final minutes of CU’s 35-31 loss to UCLA, coaches told backup Cade Apsay to take the field. Liufau waved him off.
“I felt like I could still make plays,” Liufau said. “I don’t think it affected my play. I do my best to push it in the corner of my mind.”
Liufau said he apologized to Apsay after the game for waving him off, and CU head coach Mike MacIntyre said he had no problem with Liufau doing that.
“Yeah, I was because he said he could do it and he showed he could do it,” MacIntyre said.
Liufau wasn’t able to lead the Buffs to a win, but he did complete a pair of passes after getting hurt. His final pass was picked off by UCLA’s Nate Meadors to seal the win for the Bruins.
“We had a play called and it was kind of a 14-yard comeback and the (defensive back) did not move whatsoever,” Liufau said. “I had to get rid of it. You don’t want to take a sack in that situation. I figured he would move a little bit, but he didn’t move at all. It’s my fault. I should have probably tried to check it down or something like that.”
Shutting down the run
UCLA’s Paul Perkins scored on an 82-yard run in the second quarter to give the Bruins a 21-3 lead at the time.
Aside from that run, the Bruins didn’t have much success on the ground. They ran for 138 yards on 26 carries. Outside of Perkins’ big run, the Bruins managed just 56 yards on the ground.
“We just wanted to be more physical all day with them,” CU defensive lineman Jordan Carrell said. “It starts up front, so as a D-line we wanted to hit them first and set the line of scrimmage. We felt like we did a pretty good job of that all day.”
On Perkins’ big run, Carrell said, “We just missed an assignment. Not everybody was on the same page. We have to be more disciplined and have everybody on the same page.”
Spruce breaks Pac-12 mark
CU receiver Nelson Spruce became the Pac-12’s all-time leader in receptions on Saturday.
Spruce, who already holds CU’s career marks for receptions and receiving yards, now has 267 receptions for his career. He caught 11 passes for 90 yards against the Bruins.
On Saturday, Spruce passed Arizona’s Mike Thomas (259 catches from 2005-08) and Arizona State’s Derek Hagan (258 from 2002-05) to break the conference record.
“It’s cool,” Spruce said. “It’s something I’ll be able to look back on and remember for the rest of my life, but I probably would have traded a win for it. This one hurt.”
The senior won’t get the record for receiving yards, though. Spruce is not even in the top 20, and is more than 1,000 yards behind the record holder, Troy Walters, who is now CU’s receivers coach. Walters had 4,047 receiving yards at Stanford from 1996-99.
When Liufau was picked off in the second quarter, it ended a streak of 118 consecutive passes without an interception for the junior.
That streak is the third-longest in CU history, a career-best for Liufau, who had a streak of 107 earlier this year. He now owns two of the five longest streaks in CU history and is only player with two streaks of at least 100 passes.
Liufau hit some milestones in the game, breaking CU’s all-time record for career completions, with 672 (Cody Hawkins had 667 from 2007-10), and becoming the third player in CU history with 7,000 career passing yards. Liufau now has 7,178.
Receiver Lee Walker and safety Evan White did not make the trip. Both had played in every game before Saturday. … Walk-on defense back Andrew Bergner did make the trip. The Legend High School graduate was in uniform for just the second time as a Buff. … Guard Gerrad Kough and receiver Jay MacIntyre both left Saturday’s game with concussions.
Brian Howell: email@example.com, on Twitter: @BrianHowell33.