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CU's Broussard Runs For 301 As Buffs Stymie Arizona To Improve To 4-0

Dec 5, 2020
CU's Jarek Broussard breaks through the line for a big gain in Saturday's win at Arizona.

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TUCSON, Ariz. — Jarek Broussard ran for 301 yards and Colorado's defense came up with two critical red zone stops in the second half Saturday to lead the Buffaloes to a 24-13 win over Arizona on the Wildcats' home turf.

CU improved to 4-0 with the win (3-0 Pac-12) under new head coach Karl Dorrell and remained in contention for a Pac-12 South title. Arizona, which lost its 11th straight game, dropped to 0-4.

Colorado overcame an early 13-0 deficit to collect the win. The Buffs scored 14 points in the second quarter and added another touchdown in the third before tacking on a field goal in the final minutes to wrap up the win. CU's defense, meanwhile, pitched a second half shutout.

Broussard finished with 301 yards rushing on 25 carries, as the Buffs finished with 407 yards on the ground (499 total). It was Broussard's fourth straight 100-yard game and only the fourth 300-yard game in CU history. His effort, coming on the fourth anniversary of the death of Colorado great Rashaan Salaam, made him the first CU player in history to rush for at least 100 yards in his first four games. 

Colorado's rushing attack overcame a tough night for quarterback Sam Noyer, who was just 12-for-19 for 92 yards, no touchdowns and an interception. Noyer did, however, have a 54-yard run to set up the Buffs' third touchdown of the night.

CU's defense, meanwhile, had an interception by Nigel Bethel in the end zone late in the third quarter and a fourth-and-goal stop late in the fourth quarter to help preserve the win.

"It just tells me a lot about this team," said Dorrell, whose Buffs are 3-0 in conference play for the first time since 2002. "It was the first time this year we've been down by at least two scores and there wasn't any panic, there wasn't any concern that we're in trouble. There wasn't that look that you get on players' faces when they tend to lose confidence. I didn't sense that at all … This team has found a way to pull out wins, and it wasn't easy being 13 down. I'm really encouraged by what they've done."

HOW IT HAPPENED: Colorado started slowly on both sides of the ball, as Arizona put together three straight scoring drives after an opening punt while CU's first four offensive possessions resulted in three punts and a fumble.

But after the Wildcats' second field goal of the game early in the second quarter gave UA a 13-0 lead, the Buffs finally flipped the switch.

CU's defense started the reversal of fortune by forcing an Arizona punt after Colorado safety Isaiah Lewis and Carson Wells teamed up to sack UA's Will Plummer at midfield on third down.

Broussard then changed the complexion of the game, racing 75 yards from the CU 5-yard line on the first play of the possession. CU freshman Ashaad Clayton finished the march with four rushes for 20 yards, including a 1-yard touchdown run. Evan Price's PAT cut Arizona's lead to 13-7 with 6:38 still left in half.

That led to another big stop by CU's defense when Lewis and Terrance Lang brought Plummer down behind the line on another third down, opening the door for another big Broussard run.

On second-and-8, Broussard ran 59 yards to the Arizona 4-yard line and Clayton again wrapped up the drive with a 4-yard burst to the end zone. Price's second PAT gave CU a 14-13 lead with 3:00 on the clock, and that ended the scoring for the half.

"It didn't start out quite the way I hoped," Dorrell said. "We had a little bit of a slow start. But we ran the ball pretty well, and by the time halftime rolled around we did find a way to get ourselves back in the game."

CU then dodged a bullet early in the second half when Arizona's Anthony Pandy intercepted Noyer to give UA possession at the Colorado 43. But the Buffs' defense came up big again, forcing a punt after another third down sack, and the Buffs immediately drove 80 yards for a touchdown. Noyer had the big gain on the drive, picking up 54 yards on a run, and then capped the march with a 2-yard scoring dive. Price's PAT gave Colorado a 21-13 lead with 9:22 still left in the third period.

CU's defense then took over. Bethel intercepted a Plummer pass in the end zone — after it was tipped by Terrance Lang — to stop one drive. Colorado then forced another punt, only to see a Colorado drive deep into Arizona territory ended by Noyer's second interception of the game, again to Pandy.

"We threw a couple interceptions, which wasn't characteristic of us," Dorrell said. "Being down there in the red zone, you've got to be a little bit more cautious with the football."

But the CU defense came up with one more big stand, stopping the Wildcats after they drove to a first-and-goal from the Colorado 7-yard line. Linebacker Nate Landman had a big tackle for loss on third down and Mekhi Blackmon broke up a pass in the end zone on fourth down to stop the drive and protect CU's 21-13 lead.

CU then took over and went nearly the length of the field, thanks to yet one more long Broussard run. The sophomore ran 72 yards to the Arizona 8-yard line, and the Buffs reaped a 19-yard Price field goal for a 24-13 lead with just 2:26 remaining on the clock to complete the night's scoring.

"It was complementary football in a lot of ways," Dorrell said. "There was some shakiness on both sides of the ball, but it seemed like either side kind of picked up the slack when the other side was struggling a little. This team has found a way to pull out wins, and it wasn't easy being 13 down. I'm really encouraged by what they've done."

TURNING POINT: With the Buffs trailing 13-0 and the offense having struggled the entire first quarter, Broussard changed the momentum with a 75-yard run to set up CU's first touchdown. The Wildcats did not score again and the Buffs offense came up with more big plays through the remainder of the game to produce CU's fourth win.

CU STANDOUTS: Broussard had 301 yards on 25 carries … Freshman Ashaad Clayton scored the first two touchdowns of his career … ILB Nate Landman was credited with 16 tackles (12 solo), including 3.5 stops for loss with a sack … OLB Carson Wells was credited with 11 tackles (seven solo), including four stops behind the line with 1.5 sacks … Cornerback Mekhi Blackmon had three pass breakups.

KEY STATISTICS: The Buffs had five sacks, including four on third down, holding Arizona to just 3-for-14 on third-down conversion attempts … CU rushed for 407 yards … Colorado finished with 12 tackles for loss. 

WHAT IT MEANS: The Buffs remain in contention for the Pac-12 South title and should find themselves in the nation's top 25 when Sunday's polls are released.

NEXT UP: The Buffs play host to Utah on Friday in a 7:30 p.m. game (FS1) at Folsom Field.

Contact: Neill.Woelk@Colorado.edu