BOULDER – After spending the majority of his afternoon in the end zone it was only fitting that he might return there one final time before it was all over.
In his debut as a starter, running back Michael Adkins II became the first Colorado freshman to score four touchdowns in a game as the Buffs ran over Charleston Southern 43-10 on Saturday.
As he was leaving Folsom Field, a reporter stopped him in the same end zone in which three of the four touchdowns took place to ask him to describe a performance that is unparalleled in CU history.
“I just took advantage of the carries I got,” said Adkins. “It got me into a rhythm, just stay in the holes and keep having that consistent pounding that eventually turned into long runs and touchdowns.”
Adkins, who went the first three games of his career without scoring, broke off run after explosive run through an overwhelmed Buccaneer defense. His 137 yards and four touchdowns on only 13 carries helped to ignite a previously lackluster CU running game that enjoyed by far its finest day of the season.
“I think he’s a very good player,” said CU coach Mike MacIntyre. “He has power, he has speed, he has vision, and he’s very bright. That one run he made today over on the sidelines when it looked like it was all clogged up and he just crept in there, broke two tackles and then outran everybody to me was a really impressive run and I was excited to see that.”
MacIntyre was speaking about Adkins’ final touchdown, an impressive 34-yard jaunt late in the game. But he could have been talking about any number of runs by his star freshman on this day. His touchdown runs of 34,33, 23 and 5 yards not only helped to revitalize a stagnant running attack, but also took some of the pressure off of freshman quarterback Sefo Liufau, who was also making his first career start. As a result, Liufau enjoyed a crisp turnover-free, efficient afternoon. Liufau completed 70 percent of his passes for 198 yards to go along with a 169.7 passer rating.
“It helps,” said Liufau. “It keeps the defense honest because we can both run and pass the ball. Once they started manning up our guys, we ran the ball and we had big runs by Michael (Adkins).”
Adkins’ performance bested the prior CU freshman touchdown record which had been held by Herchell Troutman, who had three at Texas in 1994, and Christian Powell, who had three last year against Sacramento State. It was type of performance that often brings accolade upon accolade to a player, yet after the game Adkins was more than willing to heap much of that praise onto an offensive line that may have enjoyed its own kind of breakthrough performance on Saturday.
“Our line blocked well,” said Adkins. “I just kept grinding and fighting for yards. It was definitely a team effort.”
Adkins was joined in the backfield by the sophomore Powell, who added 52 yards and a touchdown on 11 carries. The duo gave the Buffs the kind of 1-2 punch that may signify the rebirth of a ground attack that was statistically among the worst in the country coming into the game.
“Obviously having that 1-2 punch and competition between two backs helps,” said Adkins. “Obviously, we want to see which one is going to do better but, we want to play together and do what we have to do to help the team win.”