Buffaloes Fall At Oregon State
CORVALLIS, Ore. — Colorado's offense turned the ball over four times and the Buffaloes' defense had no answer for a balanced Oregon State attack Saturday night as CU dropped a 42-9 decision at Reser Stadium.
The Buffaloes dropped to 1-5 overall and 1-3 in Pac-12 play (1-1 under interim head coach Mike Sanford) while OSU improved to 6-2, 3-2.
The Buffs trailed 7-0 after one quarter and 21-3 at the half before the Beavers left no doubt about the outcome with two touchdowns in the first three minutes of the second half for a 35-3 lead.
Colorado finished with 290 yards offense. Starting quarterback J.T. Shrout was 13-for-29 for 206 yards and two interceptions, one of which was returned by OSU for a touchdown. Jayle Stacks led the Buffs in rushing with 50 yards and a touchdown on eight carries and wide receiver Jordyn Tyson had three catches for 92 yards.
The Beavers had 472 yards offense, including 270 on the ground, as freshman back Damien Martinez ran for 178 yards and three scores. OSU converted CU's four turnovers (two interceptions and two fumbles) into 21 points.
"Hats off, Oregon State's a very good football team," Sanford said. "They're the upper echelon of the Pac-12 Conference. We had our opportunities, but the margin is so small … and some of those things obviously caught up to us."
HOW IT HAPPENED: Colorado's offense never managed to establish any consistency while the Beavers methodically hammered out time-consuming drives to take control early and never allow the Buffs to mount a serious threat.
The Beavers scored their first touchdown on their second possession of the game after recovering and returning a CU fumble to the Buffs 40-yard line. Nine plays later, OSU had a 4-yard Damien Martinez touchdown and a 7-0 lead.
Colorado's first three possessions of the game ended via punt-fumble-punt. The Beavers then established firm control by taking the second punt and grinding out an 11-play, 82-yard scoring drive, capped by a 16-yard Ben Gulbranson touchdown pass just three plays into the second quarter.
Colorado finally managed to get on the board, marching 33 yards in eight plays before settling for a 44-yard Cole Becker field goal. Stacks carried three times for 25 yards to spark the drive.
The Buffs then had one more chance to get back in the game, forcing an OSU punt on the Beavers' next possession. Buffs linebacker Josh Chandler-Semedo had a nice pass breakup on third down to force the change of possession.
But the Buffs couldn't move and following another Colorado punt, the Beavers marched 55 yards in five plays — aided by three CU penalties — for another Martinez touchdown and a 21-3 lead.
CU did have an opportunity to put more points on the board in the final minutes of the half. But the Buffs had two big dropped passes deep in OSU territory on their final possession, including one on fourth down that ended the threat.
Colorado finished with 100 yards total offense in the first half while the Beavers' balanced attack produced 182 — 93 yards on the ground and 89 in the air.
OSU then put the game away in the first three minutes of the third quarter.
The Beavers took the opening kick and needed just four plays to go 80 yards for a score. Gulbranson capped the drive with a 60-yard touchdown throw to wide-open Jack Velling down the middle.
On CU's first offensive play of the half, Shrout was intercepted by Alex Austin, who returned the pick 40 yards for a touchdown and a 35-3 Oregon State lead.
The Buffs finally found the end zone late in the third quarter, driving 80 yards in nine plays. Shrout completed passes of 20, 27 and 14 yards on the drive, with R.J. Sneed II, Montana Lemonious-Craig and Daniel Arias all making receptions.
Stacks finished the drive with a 1-yard touchdown run after two OSU penalties put Colorado on the doorstep of the end zone. The Buffs attempted a two-point conversion, but a Shrout pass fell incomplete and Colorado trailed, 35-9.
Colorado had another solid opportunity to score after stopping the Beavers on a fourth-down try in CU territory midway through the fourth quarter. Shrout tossed a 58-yard completion to Jordyn Tyson and Charlie Offerdahl carried to inside the OSU 10.
But Offerdahl fumbled on the next play and OSU recovered to end the threat.
That led to an 11-play, 87-yard touchdown march and Martinez's third touchdown of the game, giving Oregon State a 42-9 lead with 7:38 left in the game.
CU managed one more scoring threat, penetrating the OSU red zone again after a 19-yard Stacks run and a 27-yard Shrout pass to Tyson. But the Buffs came up empty again when Shrout was intercepted in the end zone on a fourth-and-goal try from the 10.
"Our guys didn't stop fighting," Sanford said. "We just have to continue to have that belief, that inner belief in ourselves, to continue to go out and make those plays. I believe we're going to make those plays down the stretch. We've got a lot of football left, I have a ton of belief in these guys. And this is a locker room that is fighting, and will continue to fight. We're going to go get some results that we want throughout the course of the next five weeks."
THIN AT RB: The Buffs entered the game already thin at running back, with their top two backs at the beginning of the year — Alex Fontenot and Deion Smith — out with injuries.
Then, early in the game, starter Anthony Hankerson took a hit and did not return, leaving CU with Jayle Stacks and walkon Charlie Offerdahl. Late in the game, when Stacks was out with a minor injury and Offerdahl lost a shoe after a run, the Buffs briefly inserted walkon defensive back Dante Capolungo, who finished with one carry.
Stacks still finished as CU's leading rusher, with 50 yards and a touchdown on eight carries.
"Jayle was a positive today," Sanford said. "I was really pleased with how he ran the football, took care of the football. I'm looking forward to his continued ascension because he brings a different body type to the running back room and his style of running the football I think is going to help us down the stretch."
KEY STATISTIC: The Buffs were outgained 472-290, including a 270-84 OSU edge on the ground … Colorado committed four turnovers while OSU had just one. Oregon State turned three of those turnovers into touchdowns … The Buffs were 2-for-11 on third down tries while OSU was 7-for-11.
WHAT IT MEANS: Pending the outcome of the late Cal-Washington game, the Buffs are one of at least five Pac-12 teams with just one conference win.
TURNING POINT: The Buffs gave themselves a chance by forcing an OSU fumble on the Beavers' first possession. But Oregon State answered by forcing a Colorado fumble three plays later, then going 40 yards for a touchdown to take control of a game in which CU never threatened again.
UP NEXT: Colorado returns home next Saturday for a 5:30 p.m. Homecoming matchup with Arizona State at Folsom Field (ESPNU).