September 18, 2010 - Boulder Colorado 31, Hawai'i 13
Alfred Williams couldn't have done it any better himself.
Perhaps inspired by the halftime ceremonies honoring the Colorado All-American's induction into the College Football Hall of Fame, the Buffs turned a 10-0 halftime deficit into a 31-13 rout of Hawai'i. Quarterback Tyler Hansen passed for 200 yards and two touchdowns,while Brian Lockridge and Rodney Stewart both rushed for over 100 yards as Colorado erased a poor first half showing with a dominant second half performance in the Buffs' 2010 home opener.
Before many of the 47,840 in attendance had settled into their seats, the Hawai'i Warriors set about making sure Buff fans did not forget the 52-7 rout handed to the Buffs by Cal seven days earlier. On the second play of the game, Hawai'i quarterback Bryant Moniz hit Kealoha Pilares on a crossing route which turned into an 80 yard gain. Jimmy Smith caught Pilares at the Colorado three yard line, but a Warrior score, and another Colorado debacle, seemed imminent.
Then Hawai'i did Colorado a huge favor.
The Warriors ran the ball.
A week after rushing for only ten yards against Army, the Warriors decided to run the ball against the Buffs. Three straight running plays netted only two yards, however, leaving Hawai'i with a fourth-and-goal at the Colorado one yard line. Eschewing the field goal attempt, Hawai'i head coach Greg McMackin opted to go for the touchdown. The snap between center and quarterback was muffed, though, with Colorado safety Anthony Perkins recovering the fumble at the Buff three yard line.
Colorado did manage to get one first down on its first drive, but, saddled with yet two more false start penalties, was forced to punt. The Buff defense stiffened on the Warriors' second possession, forcing a three-and-out. The Hawai'i punt, though, was mishandled by Travon Patterson, with the fumble bouncing eighteen yards back to the Colorado three yard line, where it was recovered by Hawai'i.
Same song; different verse.
Hawai'i was once again at the Colorado three yard line with a first-and-goal.
And once again, the Warriors came away with no points.
Going back to their strength, Hawai'i went back to the passing game. The Colorado defense, though, forced three incompletions. When a 20-yard chip shot field goal was missed by Hawai'i kicker Scott Enos, Buff fans began to harbor thoughts that this was going to be the Buffs' day, after all.
On the Buffs' next possession, Rodney Stewart fumbled, setting up the Warriors at the Colorado 42 yard line. This time, Moniz and the Warriors were not to be denied. It took only three plays for the Warriors to score, with Moniz hitting Pilares for a seven yard touchdown with 50 seconds remaining in the first quarter.
The second quarter moved along quickly, with the two teams posting only two possessions apiece. The Buffs posted three first downs on each of their drives, moving the ball fairly well, but each drive resulted in a punt. The second drive ended, when, on third-and-one at the Hawai'i 39-yard line, the shotgun snap to Tyler Hansen went between the junior quarterback's legs, resulting in an 18-yard loss.
Hawai'i took the subsequent punt and marched smartly down the field, covering 56 yards in only 1:42 of game clock, with Enos connecting on a 31-yard field goal on the last play of the half.
Halftime score: Hawai'i 10, Colorado 0.
Shut out in the first half for the first time at home since the Iowa State game in 2008, Colorado staged a remarkable comeback in the second half, putting forth as dominant an effort as any Buff team in recent memory.
Colorado took the second half kickoff, and, just as in the second quarter, moved with ease down the field. This time, however, the Buffs were not to be denied the endzone. Rodney Stewart, who would rush for 102 yards on 19 carries on the afternoon, capped a 14-play, 80-yard drive with a four yard touchdown run.
Colorado was back in the game - Hawai'i 10, Colorado 7.
Then, Hawai'i started playing like Colorado had against California the week before.
A holding penalty on the kickoff put the Warriors in a hole at their own nine yard line. A false start and an incompletion were offset by a five yard completion, leaving Hawai'i with a third-and-ten at their nine. This time, it was the Warriors' turn to mishandle a shotgun snap. Swarmed under in his endzone, Moniz was able to get off a dump off pass to running back Alex Green. Green, though, fared no better, and was tackled by Colorado junior defensive back Anthony Perkins for a safety.
Hawaii 10, Colorado 9.
Buoyed by the now raucous home crowd, the Colorado offense seized control of the game. Utilizing a semi hurry-up offense, the Buffs were able to keep the Warriors' defense off balance. Taking over at their 40-yard line after the Hawai'i free kick, the drive opened with four straight Rodney Stewart runs, netting 25 yards. After a Tyler Hansen to Scotty McKnight hookup for ten yards and a first down on a third-and-six (after a false start penalty on third-and-one), junior running back Brian Lockridge took over. Lockridge, who would post the first 100-yard game of his career (109 yards on 14 carries), handled the ball on the next four plays, netting 28 yards. Rodney Stewart then did the honors from two yards out, giving Colorado its first lead of the game with 7:05 to play in the third quarter, 15-10. The lead was upped to 17-10 a moment later, when Hansen hit freshman wide receiver Paul Richardson for a two-point conversion.
Hawai'i did not go quietly after surrendering the lead, however.
An 11-play, 76-yard drive by the Warriors ensued, but the Colorado defense again stiffened in the red zone, and Hawai'i had to settle for a 32-yard Enos field goal.
17-13, Colorado, with 1:58 to play in the third quarter.
The two teams traded punts before the Buffs came up with the big play which had eluded them for the first three games of the season. On third-and-eight at the Buffs' 27-yard line, Tyler Hansen was flushed from the pocket. Hansen bought himself enough time that the Warrior pass coverage broke down. Toney Clemons got behind the Warrior secondary, and Hansen lofted the ball to the junior wide receiver near the Hawai'i 40-yard line. Clemons did the rest on his own, taking the ball in for a 73-yard touchdown.
Colorado 24, Hawai'i 13.
The Clemons' score was a back-breaker for the Warriors, who suffered two penalties and a sack on their next drive before quickly punting the ball back to Colorado. The Buffs' offense was feeling it now. Brian Lockridge carried the ball on five of the Buffs' next six plays, gaining 40 yards. On third-and-six at the Hawai'i 23, the Buffs got lucky. A Hansen pass intended for Toney Clemons was tipped, with the ball landing in the arms of a waiting Scotty McKnight at the Hawai'i four yard line. Touchdown, Colorado.
The 31-13 rout was complete two plays later when Jonathan Hawkins, the fourth Buff to play nickel back in three games, intercepted a Bryant Moniz pass.
Final score: Colorado 31, Hawai'i 13.
"Lord knows we've had our share of adversity," said Dan Hawkins after the game. "To the (players') credit, they have never bagged it in, and they have never quit. They have never doubted and they keep coming back." Hawkins was pleased with his defense in the first half - "I thought our defense was absolutely stellar; once again they made some tremendous stops ... It was fun to see their hard work rewarded" - and with his offense in the second half - "We did a good job in doing the no-huddle ... The offense got a lot of confidence and got back into the full of it. Once we got a little mojo going we were rolling."
Much of the credit for the victory went to the defense, who faced to first-and-goal at the three situations early in the game, but surrendered no points. "They hit the long play, we huddled, we said, 'We'll bend but not break' ", said linebacker B.J. Beatty. " 'They're not going to get out to a huge lead like their other game, 21-0 at Army'. We took it upon ourselves to take that moment and make a statement."
It could have been a disastrous first half -"It's a difference of one inch and three inches," said Hawai'i head coach Greg McMakin. "It should have been 21-0 at halftime" - but the Buffs were still in the game at half, down only 10-0. Then the Colorado rushing game took over. The Buffs posted 452 yards of total offense, with 252 yards coming on the ground. The two 100-yard efforts by Brian Lockridge (109 yards) and Rodney Stewart (106 yards) marked the first time since 2002 that two Colorado running backs went over 100 yards in the same game.
For his part, quarterback Tyler Hansen was efficient, if not spectacular. Hansen went 19-of-26 for 200 yards, with two touchdowns and no interceptions. Almost half of Hansen's yardage came on the two touchdown passes, with neither play as they were designed in the playbook (Clemons' 73-yarder coming after a scramble by Hansen; McKnight's 23-yarder coming on a tipped pass). Most of the day, Hansen and the Colorado offense were content to throw underneath, trying to control the ball and the clock. "We were just trying to get (Hansen) into a rhythm and get comfortable back there," said Dan Hawkins. "We are trying to regain his confidence, so I thought it was a good idea."
Overall, the Buffs posted decent stats, out-gaining Hawai'i 452 yards to 337. The Buffs ground out 252 yards rushing, holding the Warriors to a net of seven yards rushing. Colorado held onto the ball for 35:49, helped by converting ten-of-14 third down opportunities.
The Buffs will now enjoy a bye week, waiting for Georgia (1-2 after a 31-24 loss to Arkansas Saturday). The Bulldogs still must play again, at Mississippi State, before coming to Boulder. Colorado will be the underdog to Georgia, but, at least for a week, can bask in the glow of one very good half of football.
Not to mention the first "winning month" since the 2008 team opened with a 3-1 September record.
Game Notes -
- Junior Brian Lockridge posted his first 100-yard rushing game. His previous best came in 2007 when, as a true freshman, he went for 90 yards against Miami (Ohio).
- For junior Rodney Stewart, the 106 yards against Hawai'i was his ninth 100-yard effort, tying him for 11th on the all-time list in that category with three other players (including his position coach, Darian Hagan). Stewart now has 1,679 career yards, moving him from 25th to 22nd on the all-time list.
- Junior quarterback Tyler Hansen's 200 yards moved him into the top 15 in career passing yards, with 2,278 overall. On Saturday, Hansen passed four players Saturday, including such well known names as Jeff Knapple, Ken Johnson, and Bobby Anderson.
- It took an extra week, but Scotty McKnight finally eclipsed the 2,000-yard barrier. In catching a pass in 39th straight regular season game, McKnight had six catches for 65 yards and a touchdown, moving him into sixth place all-time with 2,057 yards (Javon Green had 2,031).
- The safety recorded by Anthony Perkins against Hawai'i running back Alex Green marked the first safety for Colorado since 2005 (against Kansas).
- The last time Colorado was shut out at home in the first half came in 2008, when Iowa State also led 10-0 at the break. Colorado came back to win that game as well, posting a 28-24 victory.
- Ever wonder about the ' in Hawai'i? Well, it's called an 'Okina. According to the Hawai'i media release, it translates literally as separator - "Phonetically, it is referred to as a glottal stop, similar to the sound that would be made in the English oh-oh. The 'okina is actually a letter in the Hawaiian language." So now you know ...