Colorado ends road woes with 17-14 win at Utah

Inheriting a lengthy losing streak in road games never sat well

with Colorado Buffaloes coach Jon Embree.

A program that had produced Heisman Trophy winners and won a

national championship had no business dealing with such futility

from Embree’s perspective.

When Coleman Petersen missed a 48-yard field goal try with two

seconds remaining to seal Colorado’s 17-14 victory over Utah on

Friday, Embree and his players could finally feel some relief. The

Buffaloes ended a 23-game road losing streak and dashed the Utes’

hopes for playing in the Pac-12 championship game.

”That was our No. 1 goal going into this season, to end that

streak,” Embree said. ”This is awesome. I’m happy for those kids.

It was four years of not winning on the road. And for them to

finally get that (win), they see what it feels like.”

Petersen missed all three attempts after entering the contest

leading the Pac-12 in field goals made with 17. With the loss by

Utah (7-5, 4-5), UCLA will represent the South in the inaugural

Pac-12 title game.

Tyler Hansen passed for 264 yards and rushed for a touchdown and

threw for another to lead Colorado (3-10, 2-7), which won outside

its home state for the first time since Oct. 27, 2007, when the

Buffaloes beat Texas Tech 31-26.

”We kept fighting,” Hansen said. ”We kept going at it. Slowly

but surely, things started to turn our way.”

The senior quarterback set the right tone for Colorado. In the

first quarter, Hansen went 10 of 15 for 154 yards passing to help

the Buffaloes seize an early lead. Embree praised his quarterback’s

resilience after struggling away from home previously this


”Tyler was great,” Embree said. ”He has struggled on the

road. I told him before the game just to relax and go have


Colorado dominated from the start. At halftime, the Buffs led

10-0 and held a 254-39 total-yardage advantage and 11 1/2-minute

edge in time of possession.

Utah running back John White left the game in the third quarter

with a left ankle injury. He carried 10 times for 28 yards.

Utah had everything to play for and Colorado nothing, other than

pride for 26 seniors who had never won a road game.

The Utes had won four straight. A win Friday, coupled with an

Arizona State loss against California on Friday night and UCLA loss

against Southern California on Saturday night, and Utah would be

win the Pac-12 South.

Colorado had other plans.

The Utes didn’t get their initial first down until the 2:56 mark

of the second quarter, eliciting mock cheers from the crowd of


The team was booed as it went into the locker room trailing


”Everyone did their job,” Hansen said of Colorado’s defense.

”Got pressure on the quarterback and stopped the run. That’s what

we wanted to do.”

White had his sights set on Utah’s single-season rushing mark of

1,507 yards. But he had just 28 yards on 10 carries before leaving

with 14:05 left in the third quarter with a left ankle injury.

He moved into second place on the single-season list ahead of

Dameon Hunter (1,396) and now has 1,405 yards on 290 carries.

Utah right guard Sam Brenner suffered a neck injury on the play

after White was hurt. Brenner raised his right arm as he was being

loaded into the ambulance on a backboard to cheers from the crowd.

Team officials said was taken to a local hospital but had full

movement in all extremities.

The last time the Utes had been shut out in the first half was

against Cal, a turning point in the season as they won four

straight after that embarrassing 34-10 loss.

On the flip side, Friday marked the first time Colorado led on

the road all year.

The Buffs took a 7-0 lead with 9:08 left in the first quarter as

Hansen capped the 12-play, 80-yard drive with a 1-yard leap into

the end zone.

Defensive penalties kept alive both Colorado first-half scoring


An unnecessary-roughness penalty against defensive back Mo Lee

kept a Buffs drive alive after Rodney Stewart was stopped short on


Hansen completed passes of 19 yards to Paul Richardson and 20

yards to Ryan Deehan after the penalty to move the ball into the

red zone.

On a 15-play, 69-yard drive that resulted in Will Oliver’s

23-yard field goal, Utah committed two costly penalties.

A defensive holding call against Ryan Lacy gave the Buffs a

first down after an incompletion on third-and-13. And Reggie Topps

was whistled for pass interference to move the ball to the Utah

23-yard line.

The Utes offense finally caught fire after the injuries to White

and Brenner. Jon Hays completed a 26-yard pass to DeVonte

Christopher on third-and-10, and backup running back Tauni Vakapuna

carried four straight times for 25 yards, including the 3-yard

touchdown run that pulled Utah within 10-7 with 10:29 left in the

third quarter.

Hansen brought the Buffs right back, capping an 11-play, 82-yard

drive with a 1-yard touchdown pass to Evan Harrington with 4:47

left in the third quarter to put Colorado ahead 17-7.

Hays pulled Utah within 17-14 on a 6-yard TD pass to Shawn

Asiata with 54 seconds left in the third.

Peterson missed a 26-yard field goal that would have tied the

score with 8:55 to play.

His first miss was from 42 yards.

Now the Utes have to find out what bowl game they will be

invited to play in.