Otto Greule Jr / Getty Images
Otto Greule Jr / Getty Images North America
Otto Greule Jr / Getty Images
Washington 27, Colorado 13
Play of the game: Jake Browning’s 26-yard touchdown pass to Aaron Fuller on fourth-and-5 with 3 minutes, 50 seconds to play sealed the win for the Huskies.
Turning point: Washington mistakes gave CU a golden opportunity to seize momentum and take the lead in the fourth quarter. The Buffs were unable to capitalize, though. After a punt, Washington marched down the field for the Fuller touchdown.
Top 3 Buffs of the game
1. S Evan Worthington: Finished with seven tackles and a sack and led a defensive effort that kept CU in the game all afternoon.
2. LB Nate Landman: Led the team with 11 tackles, including one for loss, and forced a key fumble that gave the offense an opportunity in the fourth quarter.
3. RB Travon McMillian: It wasn’t his best game, but he churned out 86 tough yards on the ground to keep the chains moving, especially in the first half.
After a 5-0 start, the Buffs have lost two in a row, but not all is lost. With five winnable games on the schedule, the Pac-12 South division title is not out of the question. The Buffs, however, have to get healthy and play better than they have the past two weeks.
SEATTLE — With the game still in the balance late in the fourth quarter, Colorado head coach Mike MacIntyre took a chance and played the odds.
On a crucial fourth down, the Buffaloes sent seven defenders to rush Washington quarterback Jake Browning.
The senior never flinched and, just moments before getting drilled by CU linebacker Nate Landman, he delivered a perfect strike to Aaron Fuller for the game-clinching touchdown.
“He’s such a good quarterback,” MacIntyre said. “That’s why Washington wins.”
It certainly made a difference in this one, as Browning guided the No.15 Huskies past the shorthanded, yet competitive Buffs, 27-13, at Husky Stadium on Saturday.
Colorado (5-2, 2-2 Pac-12) lost its second in a row and has now dropped 29 consecutive road games against ranked opponents, dating back to a 31-17 win at No. 20 UCLA on Sept. 21, 2002.
Playing without star receiver Laviska Shenault and three other starters, the Buffs weren’t given much of a shot against the Huskies, but battled all afternoon. It was a four-point game until Browning’s touchdown to Fuller, with 3 minutes, 50 seconds on the clock.
CU’s defense played well yet again and had spent much of the day putting pressure on Browning. He was sacked just once, but under duress on several throws. When the Huskies (6-2, 4-1) went for it on fourth-and-5 at the CU 26, MacIntyre and the Buffs decided to go after Browning.
“When we dropped off, he ran around and completed every one of them,” MacIntyre said. “When we brought four, we never got to him; not one time. He’d run around and make the plays. When we pressured him, we got him out sometimes, and that’s what we did (on that play).
“We teach our corners what to do and we have to play better at that spot. That’s a bang-bang play.”
It was a play that essentially put an end to CU’s upset hopes.
Buffs quarterback Steven Montez threw an interception two plays later and Washington tacked on a late field goal, sending the Buffs home with another disappointing defeat.
“I don’t know if I would describe it as missed opportunities,” Montez said. “I think it was more about not finishing like we needed to finish. We had some chances and we gave it right back to the Huskies and they took advantage of it and we didn’t when we had the ball.”
For the second game in a row, the Buffs sputtered offensively against a talented defense. Last week, it was Southern California limited the Buffs to 265 yards in a 31-20 victory.
On Saturday, Washington held CU to 263 yards.
The Buffs did get off to a good start, marching 80 yards on seven plays to take a 7-0 lead on a Montez-to-Daniel Arias 37-yard touchdown.
During the final three quarters, however, the Buffs had 148 yards in total offense. For the game they were just 3-for-13 on third downs and 0-for-2 on fourth downs.
Washington was 2-for-2 on fourth downs, including a conversion that setup a second quarter touchdown.
“I think the game boiled down to they made fourth down plays and we didn’t make some fourth down plays,” MacIntyre said.
CU had its chances, though, thanks in part to the Huskies.
On the second play of the fourth quarter, the Huskies led 17-13 and were driving. Browning completed a pass to Chico McClatcher for what would have been a first-and-goal at the 1. But, McClatcher fumbled into and out of the end zone. Instead of first-and-goal for Washington, it was a touchback and CU’s ball.
Seven plays later, CU was forced to punt, but Washington was flagged for leaping over the blocking shield. That gave CU a first down at midfield. The Buffs were unable to move the ball, though, and punted.
Washington then went on a 12-play, 84-yard march to seal with the game with Fuller’s touchdown.
“We battled and battled and battled and had our opportunities to do it and didn’t get it done,” MacIntyre said. “Hopefully we’ll learn from that and be able to bounce back next week.”
On paper, CU just completed the toughest two-game stretch of its season, but came away from it with two losses. They’ll look to get back on track next Saturday, when last-place Oregon State comes to Folsom Field.
“That’s the great thing about football: when you come to a game and you end up taking a loss, there’s always another game next week,” Montez said. “We just have to come back, prepare like we have been – because I thought we have been practicing well – and hopefully just take it to Oregon State.”
No. 15 Washington 27, Colorado 13
Colorado 7 6 0 0 — 13
Washington 0 14 3 10 — 27
First quarter: COL — Arias 37 pass from Montez (E.Price kick), 9:20Second quarter: WAS — Ahmed 7 run (Henry kick), 14:45 COL — FG E.Price 37, 11:03 WAS — Pleasant 15 run (Henry kick), 5:39 COL — FG E.Price 27, :37 Third quarter: WAS — FG Henry 31, 3:07 Fourth quarter: WAS — Fuller 26 pass from Browning (Henry kick), 3:50 WAS — FG Henry 30, 2:06 A — 68,798.
First downs 15 23
Rushes-yards 35-119 40-201
Passing 144 150
Comp-Att-Int 17-28-1 15-25-1
Return Yards 96 65
Punts-Avg. 5-27.6 3-42.0
Fumbles-Lost 1-0 2-1
Penalties-Yards 4-48 3-45
Time of Possession 29:06
RUSHING — Colorado, McMillian 25-86, Montez 7-26, Evans 2-7, Kaiser 0-0, Nixon 1-0. Washington, Ahmed 9-73, McGrew 12-58, Pleasant 10-35, Browning 5-25, Baccellia 1-13, (Team) 3-(minus 3).
PASSING — Colorado, Montez 17-28-1-144. Washington, Browning 15-25-1-150.
RECEIVING — Colorado, Nixon 4-36, Russell 4-23, Stanley 3-24, McMillian 2-12, T.Brown 2-(minus 3), Arias 1-37, Bounds 1-15. Washington, Fuller 5-63, T.Jones 4-37, Baccellia 3-18, McClatcher 1-15, Pleasant 1-10, Sample 1-7.
MISSED FIELD GOALS — None.