After a career night running the ball, Phillip Lindsay was an easy choice to head to the podium for a postgame press conference.
As far as he was concerned, it was a no-brainer to bring his offensive linemen with him.
“It starts up front with these guys,” Lindsay said after he rushed for a career-high 219 yards and three touchdowns in Colorado’s 40-16 rout of Arizona State at Folsom Field. “These men right here work hard, and that’s the truth. They don’t say anything. Nobody goes and interviews them, but these men right here are the reason for all of our success.”
Hard to argue with that after the offensive line paved the way for CU to rush for a stunning 315 yards on 52 carries against an ASU defense that ranked fifth nationally against the run. The Sun Devils came in allowing just 89.3 yards per game on the ground.
The dominance of the offensive line was on display on the first play of the third quarter, when left tackle Jeromy Irwin and left guard Gerrad Kough opened up a huge hole for Lindsay, who sprinted through that hole and raced 75 yards for a touchdown.
“ASU, they’re known to be a blitzing team,” Irwin said. “They’re not really gap-sound all of the time. They’re a great defense and they get a lot of sacks and they have a lot of negative-yardage plays, but there’s those opportunities when you can open something up when they’re not gap-sound, and that was one of those opportunities.
“I could have ran through that hole.”
Irwin, Kough, center Alex Kelley, right tackle Sam Kronshage, right guard Tim Lynott and guard Jonathan Huckins had played key roles in CU’s impressive effort up front.
“As a running back, when you can get through the line 5 yards before you get touched, that’s a running back’s dream,” Lindsay said. “All I had to do was run.”
Lindsay was the first CU running back to top 200 yards since Chris Brown in 2002. Backup Kyle Evans chipped in with 59 yards on 11 carries, including a 16-yard touchdown run to open the scoring.
In addition to their effort in the run game, the offensive line yielded just one sack. Last year, Arizona State racked up eight sacks against the Buffs.
Saturday’s attendance was 48,588 – the largest of the MacIntyre era at Folsom Field. In fact, it was the largest attendance figure at Folsom Field since Nov. 4, 2011, against Southern California.
Prior to this season, the Buffs had topped the 45,000 mark in attendance just twice in MacIntyre’s first three seasons. They’ve now done it two games in a row.
CU’s inconsistency in the kicking game continued on Saturday, as Davis Price missed an extra point and a 26-yard field goal attempt.
Price, the third kicker used by CU this season, was a perfect 10-for-10 (3-for-3 on field goals, 7-for-7 on PATs) coming into the night.
CU had made 156 consecutive extra points, dating back to 2011, before senior starter Diego Gonzalez suffered a season-ending Achilles injury against Michigan on Sept. 17. Price and Chris Graham have combined to miss three PATs – all of them hitting the uprights – since.
After Price’s missed field goal, the Buffs turned to Graham, who nailed a 36-yarder late in the third quarter.
Head coach Mike MacIntyre said the two will continue to battle for kicking duties.
“I have confidence in both of them,” MacIntyre said.
Receiver Bryce Bobo had six catches for 110 yards, the first 100-yard game of his career. … Punt returner Jay MacIntyre had fumbles on two returns. After the second one, he went down with an injury and did not return. … With a fourth-quarter sack, CU’s Chidobe Awuzie became CU’s career leader in sacks by a defensive back, with seven. … CU won the coin toss for the sixth time in seven games.