BOULDER, Colo. — Sefo Liufau has thrown for 1,101 yards against Arizona State, so the Sun Devils naturally expected to see plenty of passes Saturday night when the Buffaloes senior quarterback returned to the starting lineup for the first time in a month.
Instead, they got steamrolled.
Phillip Lindsay rushed for 219 yards and three touchdowns in the Buffaloes’ 40-16 romp that marked Colorado’s first win over the Sun Devils in eight tries.
Lindsay averaged 8.4 yards on 26 carries and his big day included a 75-yard TD rumble on the first snap of the second half. He also scored from 13 yards out and capped it off with a 4-yard run in the final minute.
The Buffs ran for 315 yards overall compared to just 50 for Arizona State.
“We didn’t play very well and my hat goes off to them because they ran the ball on us unlike anyone has ever run it the whole time I’ve been at Arizona State,” said Sun Devils fifth-year coach Todd Graham.
Liufau threw for 265 yards on 23 of 31 passing against the nation’s worst pass defense in his return to the Buffs starting lineup for the first time since spraining his left ankle at Michigan on Sept. 17.
His biggest play came when he slipped a sack, rolled left and found Bryce Bobo all alone for a 66-yard gain to the Sun Devils 9. Three plays later, Liufau took it in himself from the 3 to snap a 10-10 tie.
“We can enjoy the win tonight, but we have to go back to work on Monday and prove ourselves all over again,” Liufau said.
The Buffs (5-2, 3-1 Pac-12) need just one more win to become bowl eligible for the first time since 2007.
Buffs coach Mike MacIntyre called it a breakthrough victory because “this is the first team with a winning record we beat this year and they perennially have beaten us bad.”
MacIntyre’s teams had lost to the Sun Devils (5-2, 2-2) by scores of 54-13, 38-24 and 48-23.
“We’ve usually gotten destroyed by them,” Liufau said. “We want to leave a better legacy than we came in with.”
Senior Zane Gonzalez’s field goals of 50, 51 and 59 yards tied an FBS record for most 50-plus field goals in a game and his 59-yarder established a Sun Devils record. It was the second-longest at Folsom Field behind Mason Crosby’s 60-yarder against Iowa State on Oct. 16, 2004.
ONE HARD HIT: You won’t see a quarterback get hit harder than the shot QB Manny Wilkins took from Buffs inside linebacker Addison Gillam in the second half. Wilkins rolled to his left and had no protection in front of him. He also had no open receivers and Gillam had a 15-yard full sprint. Wilkins fired the ball into the Buffaloes bench but not quickly enough to avoid getting blasted with a textbook tackle. The Buffs had five sacks and six more quarterback hits. “We wanted to make a statement: when you play us, you’re ‘gonna get hit,'” outside linebacker Jimmie Gilbert said.
DEFENSIVE DOMINANCE: The Buffs had 580 yards to Arizona State’s 199. That’s the fewest yards they’ve allowed in a conference game in 15 years.
Colorado: After falling out of the Top 25 with their 21-17 loss at USC, the Buffs might inch their way back into the poll.
Arizona State: The Sun Devils came in surrendering more yards in the air (404.3) than any team in the country, and they gave up plenty on the ground against the Buffaloes, whose fans stormed the field after the game.
Colorado: The Buffs need some work on special teams. Jay MacIntyre’s two muffed punts led to 10 points and he also let a punt bounce past him at the 30 and get downed at the 5, which would lead to a field goal. MacIntyre was concussed on his second muffed punt. Also, Davis Price was benched after missing an extra point and shanking a 26-yard field goal attempt.
Arizona State: The Sun Devils host Washington State.
Colorado: The Buffs, who extended their nation-best takeaway streak to 20 games with safety Afolabi Laguda’s third-quarter interception, travel to Stanford.
AP college football site: http://collegefootball.ap.org