Cliff Grassmick / Staff Photographer
Cliff Grassmick / Staff Photographer
Phillip Lindsay is the ultimate team-first guy, so even as he learned about receiving an individual honor on Monday, he deflected attention away from himself.
The Colorado running back was named the Pac-12 offensive player of the week after rushing for a career-high 219 yards and three touchdowns in the Buffaloes’ 40-16 victory against Arizona State on Saturday.
“When you have your offensive line dominating like they did, I’m excited,” Lindsay said. “I’m happy I got (the award), but they deserve it because those men put a lot of time into this and they worked hard. They did a great job.
“Me winning it means that they won it, and our team. It comes down to a team effort. Our defense played phenomenal, our receivers were blocking. It was just a good overall game.”
The win kept the Buffs (5-2, 3-1 Pac-12) tied atop the Pac-12 South division. They will visit Stanford (4-2, 2-2) on Saturday.
Lindsay is the fourth Buff to win conference player of the week honors this season, joining quarterbacks Sefo Liufau (Sept. 5) and Steven Montez (Sept. 26) and place kicker Davis Price (Oct. 3).
CU has not had four conference player of the week awards in the same season since 2007, when it was in the Big 12. The Buffs had earned a total of just six weekly awards in their previous five Pac-12 seasons combined.
Arizona State is the only team with more weekly honors this season, with six. Kicker Zane Gonzalez has four of those, including this week after booting three field goals of 50-plus yards – including a school-record 59-yarder – against the Buffs.
Stanford’s Solomon Thomas was the defensive player of the week for the second time this season.
For Lindsay, it was a sensational individual effort that included a career-long 75-yard touchdown run. He’s the first CU player to top 200 yards in a game since Chris Brown had 211 against Missouri on Nov. 9, 2002.
The junior from Denver South High School ranks 25th nationally with 614 yards on 107 carries, and his 87.7 yards per game is fourth in the Pac-12. Only six players in the country have more rushing touchdowns than Lindsay’s nine.
Lindsay has a chance to become the first 1,000-yard back at CU since Rodney Stewart had 1,318 yards in 2010.
“Definitely it would be good to get 1,000 yards, but the name of the game is winning,” Lindsay said. “We have the goal of being Pac-12 champs. I’d rather split carries and get 50 yards and Kyle (Evans) gets 50 yards and we win the game than go get 300 yards and end up losing.”
No questions at QB
On Monday, for the first time in several weeks, head coach Mike MacIntyre went through a media session without the word “quarterback” being mentioned once.
After returning to the lineup last week, senior Sefo Liufau is clearly the man going forward, as long as he’s healthy. Liufau ranks 10th nationally in passer rating (169.5) and ranks 16th in ESPN’s total QBR rating (77.4).
Liufau comes into the week having not thrown an interception in 123 consecutive passes, dating back to the first half against Stanford on Nov. 7, 2015. Since that interception, Liufau has completed 87 of 123 passes (70.7 percent) for 1,158 yards and six touchdowns.
Prepping for Mac
Stanford star Christian McCaffrey, the 2015 Heisman Trophy runner-up, did not play in a 17-10 win at Notre Dame last Saturday because of an injury. After that game, Cardinal head coach David Shaw said there’s a chance McCaffrey will return to face the Buffs.
“There’s a good shot next week (against CU),” Shaw said after the Notre Dame game. “I know with a couple days’ rest, we’ll be able to check him again probably on Tuesday to see how close he is.”
MacIntyre said on Monday that the Buffs are planning to see the dynamic back.
“Oh yeah, no doubt,” he said. “(Stanford’s Bryce Love), he’s an excellent runner too, now, but Christian, they move everywhere and get him the ball in a lot of different places. We’re definitely preparing for Christian to be there, for sure.”
Sophomore receiver/punt returner Jay MacIntyre did not practice Monday as he goes through concussion protocol. If he can’t play, sophomore cornerback Isaiah Oliver is slated to return punts against Stanford. … Coach MacIntyre said Stanford was the most physical team CU faced last season, but feels the Buffs match up better with the Cardinal in the trenches this year. “We feel good about that,” he said. “They’re still very good, though.”