Richardson, Spruce Combine For Dynamic Night
BOULDER—From the moment freshman quarterback Sefo Liufau arrived on campus he was all smiles. He continued to smile as he took over the reins of the Colorado offense. As he discovered that he would have the skills of talented wide receivers Nelson Spruce and Paul Richardson, that smile became an ear to ear grin.
Even with all the potential of two of the Pac-12’s best receivers, Liufau couldn’t have ever expected things would come together as brilliantly as they finally did on Saturday night. The explosive receiving tandem combined for 19 catches and 280 yards in the team’s 41-24 win over the California Golden Bears, giving the team its first conference win in more than a year.
“I really felt like the offense was clicking,” said Liufau. “Those two are just so good that it definitely makes things easier for me. Their talents were really on display out there and I’m just happy I have them to throw to.”
Although neither player managed to reach the end zone on offense -- Spruce added a late touchdown on a kickoff return after recovering an on-side kick -- their game-breaking abilities were on constant display and became vital aspects of nearly every CU scoring opportunity throughout the evening. Richardson’s acrobatic 39-yard reception midway through the first quarter ignited the team’s first scoring drive of the game then, on their next possession, Spruce turned a short sideline catch into an exciting 62 yard gain which set-up CU’s first touchdown three plays later.
Midway through the second quarter, a 25-yard completion to Spruce and a 15-yarder to Richardson on the very next play led directly to the yet another CU touchdown and a 17-10 lead.
The extraordinary playmaking talents of the two remarkable receivers reappeared throughout the remainder of the game and in the end they combined to account for nearly 58 percent of the team’s total offense.
“Those guys are special,” said head coach Mike MacIntyre. “(Spruce) put on a show didn’t he? I’m really proud of both of them. (Richardson) is real special. I’m very proud of what he means to this team. They do a great job of getting open and our quarterback does a great job of reading coverages and getting the ball to the right guys.”
Richardson’s night became even more special as it found its way into the record books. His 140 receiving yards on Saturday give him 1,201 yards on the season, breaking the previous record held by Charles E. Johnson who had 1,149 yards back in 1992. Richardson also made 11 catches, tying the school’s single-game receptions record for the second time this year.
“I think that is good for the university,” said a humbled Richardson after the game. “They bring guys in each year hoping that they can do better than the guys in the past. We have to rewrite history in order to get this program back to being successful.”
Spruce’s eight receptions for 140 yards also found its way into the record books as it marked only the 15th time in school history that two players had over 100 yards receiving in the same game and just the second to do it with each having at least 140 yards. In the aftermath of it all, it truly became a night of historic proportions for the impressive duo.
“I think when anyone has a big game like that, it is a culmination of everyone doing their jobs,” said Spruce. “It was just a good thing to see our offense working efficiently.”
If the offense is to continue to work as efficiently as it did on Saturday night it will be the play of two dynamic receivers that will be at the forefront of that success.