Liufau leads Buffs past Charleston Southern 43-10
Quarterback Sefo Liufau won his first career start Saturday thanks to fellow freshman Michael Adkins' four touchdown runs in Colorado's 43-10 rout of lower-tier Charleston Southern in a rare mid-October breather for the Buffaloes.
Adkins set the school freshman record with his four TDs, capped by a 34-yard run with six minutes left, making him the first Colorado running back to rush for four touchdowns in a game since Lawrence Vickers did it against Missouri in 2005.
Adkins finished with 137 yards on 13 carries for a 10.5-yard average.
Liufau completed 14 of 20 passes for 198 yards. He connected with Paul Richardson eight times for 122 yards, including a 60-yard touchdown as the Buffaloes (3-3) snapped a three-game skid in which they'd been walloped by a combined 106 points, stretching their Pac-12 losing streak to 11.
The Buccaneers (7-1), of the Big South gave up their bye week for a $400,000 paycheck plus travel expenses to serve as a fill-in for Colorado after its Sept. 14 game against Fresno State was cancelled because of the floods that devastated the Front Range last month.
The 13th game is the most ever in the regular season for an FCS school.
Liufau lost his redshirt year when he was summoned from the sideline last week with junior Connor Wood struggling again and falling behind 25-0 in just 11 minutes at Arizona State. Liufau debuted with an 80-yard touchdown drive before throwing two interceptions, losing a fumble and taking a safety.
Charleston Southern provided the perfect chance for Liufau to make his first career start.
Colorado needed just six plays to take an 8-0 lead on Adkins' 23-yard-run and Darragh O'Neill's 2-point run, but Liufau was dropped for a 14-yard sack on his second drive and the Buccaneers capitalized with a 16-play drive that ended in T.J. Higgins' 33-yard field goal.
Freshman Kyle Copeland, making his first start in place of Daniel Croghan (concussion), also directed a clock-eating 15-play, 87-yard drive that lasted more than nine minutes and was capped by Colton Korn's 7-yard touchdown grab that pulled the Buccaneers to 22-10 at the half.
He also had a one-play drive, however, that ended in a fumble deep in his own territory that put Colorado in control of the game.
Sacked by Chidera Uzo-Diribe, Copeland fumbled and defensive lineman De'Jon Wilson recovered at the Buccaneers 12. Two plays later, Adkins scored from 5 yards out for a 15-3 lead and then Liufau then found Richardson over the middle for a 60-yard TD to make it 22-3.
Christian Powell bullied his way in from 2 yards out in the third quarter and Adkins added TD runs of 33 and 34 yards as the Buffaloes ran away with it.
The Buffs can end their five-year bowl drought by winning three more times because the NCAA is allowing them to count two wins over FCS teams instead of the usual one toward the six-victory benchmark because Fresno State couldn't reschedule its game in Boulder this season.
Follow AP Pro Football Writer Arnie Melendrez Stapleton on Twitter: http://twitter.com/arniestapleton