BOULDER - The University of Colorado defense looked rejuvenated against the University of Washington, at least for one half. The Buffaloes limited the Huskies to just seven points in the opening 30 minutes.
The Buffs stopped the run of 40 point games from its opponents, a streak that dated back to September.
The Colorado defense was, at times, unstoppable in the first half. The Buffs were on the positive side of a few breaks, as well. The Buffs kept the score tied at zero for the first 28:58 of game play, and helped the offense edge out UW in first quarter possession time.
Going into the game, the Huskies were averaging 12.7 points in the first half, but the Buffs' defensive intensity kept the Huskies below that, allowing just a single touchdown.
"I felt like in the first half we set the standard on defense," defensive end Chidera Uzo-Diribe said. "Next week that is something we are going to have to hold ourselves to. We know we are capable, and Washington is a good offense, but we are capable of holding teams to a touchdown in the first half. I just feel like we now have a standard and that is something we have to go off of."
The Huskies were forced to punt in their first two series of the opening quarter. Washington looked to have an early scoring opportunity after Shaq Thompson intercepted a Connor Wood pass at the UW 43-yard line. Thompson picked up three more yards, and the team earned three straight first downs, including the benefit of 14 yards following a personal foul penalty.
The Huskies made their way to the Colorado 13-yard line, but then, the CU defense slowed all its opponent's momentum. Tyle Henington stopped Bishop Sankey's rush for no gain. Then, UW quarterback Keith Price threw back-to-back incomplete passes. At fourth-and-10, the Huskies would have to try to settle for three. Kicker Travis Coon was 6-of-8 in field goal attempts prior to Saturday's match-up. From 31 yards out, he kicked the ball wide, hitting the left upright and keeping the game scoreless. In the first quarter, the Buffs prevented the Huskies from converting three third downs and one fourth down.
The second quarter wasn't much more promising for the Huskies. They had another opportunity to capitalize off an interception, but the Buffs defense wouldn't allow it. Two penalties totaling 15 yards put UW at their own 36. Price passed to Austin Seferian-Jenkins for 17 yards, but then got sacked on 3rd-and-6, forcing the Huskies to punt. The quarterback sack was the 16th of Uzo-Diribe's career, placing him 12th all-time for the Buffs. The Huskies struggled even more in third down conversions in the second quarter, having five three-and-outs.
It would take 10 plays and almost five minutes at the end of the second quarter for the Huskies to get on the board, taking the team up 7-0 into the break.
The Washington offense would find its stride after halftime, scoring 31 of their points in the second half. Though Colorado defense helped limit more scoring opportunities, head coach Jon Embree said the players did get a little worn down in the closing quarters.
"Eventually, yeah. That is what happens to your defense if you continually have to come back there you get worn down. I felt like our defense did a good job out there today and when you are doing that every play eventually you will get tired. A few of our guys have been hurt so we don't have that depth. Because we don't have depth, when they got tired it showed."