SALT LAKE CITY — Colorado’s defense has made a lot of running backs look great this season.
Add Zack Moss to the list. Throw Devonta’e Henry-Cole in there, too.
In a 34-13 loss to Utah on Saturday night, the Buffaloes gave up 310 yards and four touchdowns on the ground to a team that ranked 85th nationally in rushing.
Moss led the way, acting like a human plow and breaking tackles all night en route to a career-high 196 yards and two touchdowns.
“He was running like a mad man,” CU defensive lineman George Frazier said. “He was putting his shoulders down and running through people, literally running over people. He wanted it, pure point blank. Whenever he got that ball in his hands, he wasn’t going down easy. He kept his balance, got his knees up and was running like a hog.”
Moss’s previous career high was 153 yards. He came into the night averaging just 75.2 yards per game and topped that by the end of the first quarter, with 78 yards.
It wasn’t just the yards that hurt; it was how he got them. The 5-foot-10, 210-pound Moss repeatedly bowled over CU defenders.
“It can get demoralizing after a while,” CU’s Isaiah Oliver said. “We talked about that for the last two weeks that he’s a big back and we had to hit him low. We just came out and we just didn’t do it, pretty much. Guys tried to tackle him high, tried to arm tackle him. A back like that, it’s just not going to work. We knew that, though. That’s on us as players. We just have to be smarter than that and play better.”
On Moss’ first touchdown, from 15 yards out, he bowled over CU safety Nick Fisher and others on his way to the end zone. Later in the first quarter, Moss was met at the 1-yard by CU’s Derek McCartney, but knocked McCartney down for a 2-yard touchdown.
“Their line blocked well and he ran over us,” CU head coach Mike MacIntyre said. “He was a very powerful runner tonight. We didn’t do a good job of tackling that we work on all the time. We should have been tackling him low in the legs and getting him down, but he ran really well and the line did a good job of opening up some holes for him and he was powerful.”
Henry-Cole added a career-high 79 yards on nine carries. He had 187 yards on the season coming in.
Moss became the fifth running back – and sixth player overall – to rush for at least 140 yards against CU this year. That list includes Washington’s Myles Gaskin (202 yards), Arizona State’s Demario Richard (189), Oregon State’s Ryan Nall (172), USC’s Ronald Jones II (142) and Arizona quarterback Khalil Tate (327).
This was the fifth time this season that CU gave up at least 250 yards on the ground. For the season, CU yielded 208.0 yards per game on the ground.
Contact staff writer Brian Howell at firstname.lastname@example.org or twitter.com/BrianHowell33.