Buffs Win in OT
By John Antonik for MSNsportsNET.com
September 19, 2008
Alric Goodman’s 25-yard field goal in overtime lifted Colorado to a 17-14 victory over No. 21 West Virginia Thursday night in Boulder.
"There is a lot of heartache in that locker room," said West Virginia coach Bill Stewart. "But they'll grow and get better and I thank the seniors for being such great leaders. It was a fantastic effort they gave and I'm just sorry that they came up short."
The Buffs jumped out to a 14-0 first-quarter lead before the Mountaineers came back on a pair of Pat White touchdown runs of 6 and 39 yards, the second coming with 4:49 remaining in the third quarter.
After giving up the two first-quarter scores (one as a result of a Mountaineer fumble at the Colorado 28), the West Virginia defense blanked the Buffaloes for three quarters. Colorado (3-0) didn’t get a first down in the second half until five minutes remaining in the game and that came after West Virginia possessed the ball for nearly 6 ½ minutes, moving it from its own one to the Colorado 38.
On first and 10 at the Buffalo 38, the Mountaineers had the Colorado defense on its heels and set up for a trick play. West Virginia called a double pass where White threw the football back to wide receiver Bradley Starks, also the team’s No. 3 quarterback. On the other side of the field a wide open Jock Sanders was streaking down the sideline without a single Colorado defender within 15 yards of him. But Starks was unable to get the football to Sanders, who desperately tried to come back for the ball at the Buffalo 10 yard line where it fell harmlessly to the ground.
The very next play the Mountaineers were flagged for an illegal chop block on a screen pass; two plays later Pat McAfee was punting for the seventh time of the game.
West Virginia had one more crack in regulation, getting the football at its own 20 with 2:09 left on the clock. A pair of first downs moved the ball to the WVU 35, but two short passes to Noel Devine and Alric Arnett netted only nine yards. That presented the Mountaineers with one final heave from midfield that was batted down at the Buffalo 10 yard line.
In overtime five straight WVU runs moved the ball to the Colorado four. On third and one Jock Sanders lost two the six, setting up a Pat McAfee 23-yard field goal that he was unable to convert.
The McAfee miss set up Goodman’s game-winning kick.
"I feel sorry for Patrick McAfee," said West Virginia coach Bill Stewart. "I don't know what happen with the hold or the kick, but the ball just hit the upright."
Colorado began the game by using the arm of Cody Hawkins, going 83 yards in nine plays on its opening possession. Hawkins was 6 of 8 on the drive including a 38-yard touchdown pass to Josh Smith, who got behind safety Quinton Andrews and cornerback Ellis Lankster.
Hawkins hit Smith for 22 yards on third and 11 at the Colorado 16, and then found Smith again for seven on third and three at the 47. Smith caught four passes on the drive and he finished the game with five catches for 75 yards.
Colorado was right back on business on West Virginia’s first offensive possession of the game when Bradley Starks fumbled a bubble screen at the Colorado 28 that was recovered by Maurice Lucas. Four plays later, the Buffs were in the end zone again when Hawkins hit tight end Patrick Devenny for a 13-yard score on third and eight.
The Mountaineers answered with their only touchdown of the half. The score was set up by a 44-yard run from White to put the ball at the Colorado 10. Three plays later White called his own number from the six.
The West Virginia defense stepped up to produce a pair of turnovers in their own territory to keep Colorado from getting more first-half points.
Linebacker Reed Williams picked off a Hawkins pass out in the flat that was intended for Devenny and he returned the football into Colorado territory. However, a personal foul penalty was called on West Virginia during Williams’ return, moving the ball all the way back to the WVU 36. The Mountaineers were eventually forced to punt at their own 44.
Late in the second quarter West Virginia thwarted another Colorado scoring chance when a blitzing John Holmes sacked Hawkins for an eight-yard loss. Hawkins fumbled on the hit and the ball was recovered by Scooter Berry at the 24.
Once again, West Virginia’s drive stalled at the 41 and the Mountaineers were forced to punt.
"I'm so proud of the way our defense played," said Stewart. "We kept them off the scoreboard. The offense fumbles the ball and they score and they don't score the rest of regulation."
Hawkins completed 22 of 33 passes for 179 yards and a pair of touchdowns.
Rodney Stewart carried 28 times for 166 yards in helping Colorado net 186 yards on 45 rushes.
Both White and Devine had 100-yard rushing performances for the Mountaineers – the first time Colorado has allowed a 100-yard rusher at home since 2004.
"We got the running game going and we had a wide open guy there at the end and our kid just underthrew the ball," Stewart said. "We could have maybe scored there but maybes don't get it done."
White carried 19 times for 149 yards and Devine showed 133 yards on 26 carries. The Mountaineers rushed for 312 yards, but were only able to throw for 43 yards - 18 coming on one pass play to Dorrell Jalloh.
West Virginia was just 3 of 13 on third down with the Mountaineers unable to convert several third-and-short opportunities to keep drives alive.
"We've got to do something with third downs and it all starts with first down," Stewart said.
West Virginia (1-2) has dipped below the .500 mark for the first time since the 2003 season when WVU also began that year 1-2.
It was Colorado’s second victory over a ranked team under third-year coach Dan Hawkins.
"We came out here to get us a win and we fell short and I hate that very, very much," Stewart said.
The Mountaineers return to action next Saturday at Milan Puskar Stadium to play Marshall in the Friends of Coal Bowl a 3:30 pm game that will be televised on ESPN Regional.
UC – Smith 38 pass from Hawkins (Goodman kick)
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