BOULDER, Colorado — As a punter, Jared Goff had a pretty good afternoon.
Not so much as a quarterback.
Goff and the Cal offense never got on track in a 41-24 loss to Colorado on a blustery Saturday as the Bears dropped their 13th straight conference game.
This was the kind of day it was for Goff: He had more punts (3) than TD passes (0) as he finished 23 of 45 for 173 yards. He also threw an interception.
"It was definitely disappointing," said Goff, who punted for the first time in his career. "This whole season, really, there has been a bunch of games we should have won. It's been disappointing. It's the whole team that we need to change our mentality about stuff."
Things got so desperate for the Bears ((1-10, 0-8 Pac-12) that Goff was briefly replaced in the second half by backup Zach Kline, just to see if he could ignite a spark.
That really didn't work, either.
"It's frustrating," first-year Cal coach Sonny Dykes said. "Didn't play well on offense, didn't play well on defense, special teams gave up two big plays.
"A bad performance across the board. Obviously, we didn't have our guys ready to play and that falls on me."
Sefo Liufau threw for a career-high 364 yards and Paul Richardson tied a team record for receptions in a contest with 11 to help Colorado snap a 14-game conference losing streak.
Liufau also tossed three TD passes as he outplayed fellow freshman Goff.
Nelson Spruce and Richardson each went over the 100-yard receiving mark for Colorado (4-6, 1-6). Spruce had eight catches for 140 yards and Richardson had 140 yards. Richardson now has 1,201 yards receiving this year, a new single-season record at Colorado.
It was Colorado's first league win since beating Washington State 35-34 on Sept. 22, 2012. The victory also keeps the Buffaloes' bowl chances afloat as they host USC next week and close out the season at Utah.
The Buffaloes defense, which was allowing 40 points a game this season, held the Bears in check for most of the game. They also forced Cal to turn ball over on downs several times.
Michael Adkins gave the Buffaloes a 34-10 lead early in the fourth quarter when he took a screen pass from Liufau and sprinted 63 yards for a score.
Later, after Brendan Bigelow scored on a 1-yard run, the Buffs sealed the win when Cal tried to onside kick it only to have Spruce field it cleanly on a bounce and take off for a 46-yard touchdown.
Bigelow finished with 107 yards rushing and two scores.
The wind was howling inside Folsom Field, with hot dog wrappers, programs and even the cheerleaders' pom-poms blowing across the field. At times, gusts reached 35 mph, making it downright difficult to punt for whichever team was going from the north end zone to the south. There were moments when an official had to hold the ball until the center was ready, just to keep it from rolling away.
Tony Jones scored on a 10-yard pass from Liufau to give the Buffs a 17-10 lead late in the first half. Colorado then attempted an onside kick and caught Cal off guard, with Isaac Archuleta pouncing on the football and setting up the Buffs in Bears territory. Eight plays later, Christian Powell powered in from 2 yards out to extend the lead to 24-10 at halftime.
"We were in the right position we just couldn't tackle," linebacker Jalen Jefferson said. "They were short, intermediate passes and every time we ran to the ball we couldn't take them down. That's when they busted for the long runs.
"I think we're thinking too much and not playing to our potential."
For Dykes, this has been a difficult inaugural season with the Bears on and off the field. The team hasn't been able to get any traction with their only win against an FBS opponent.
On Friday, Cal suspended an unidentified football player for instigating a locker room altercation that sent freshman running back Fabiano Hale to the hospital. After an internal examination of the incident on Nov. 1, Dykes announced the player will be suspended indefinitely from all team activities, will attend counseling and has to perform 25 hours of community service to be considered for reinstatement.
"We have to change a lot of things about our program, but we think we know what we need to do, and the changes we need to make," Dykes said. "We're going to have a good football team next year."