By Morris Phillips
Cal saw its opportunity to finally grab a win blowing in the wind on Saturday. The Bears traveled to Boulder, Colorado and the gusty winds during the game blew so fierce that simply completing a pass became a chore for quarterback Jared Goff and his receivers.
But the same couldn’t be said for Colorado quarterback Sefo Liufau and the Buffs.
Liufau threw for a career-best 364 yards and Colorado posted a big second quarter in a 41-24 win over Cal. The Bears were in the contest briefly tied at 10 in the second quarter, but fell to 1-10 with one game at Stanford remaining in what has been a dismal season in Berkeley.
Described by the Denver Post’s John Henderson as the “Game of the Weak” and “The Battle of the Bad,” the Cal-CU game matched one team with 14-game conference losing streak against a team that hadn’t beaten a Division I opponent in well over a year. But the Bears blinked first, allowing the true freshman to complete 23 of 36 passes, including three touchdowns, in miserable conditions.
Liufau didn’t need much help outside Paul Richardson and Nelson Spruce, who combined for 19 catches and 280 yards in offense. Neither receiver were the recipient of Luifau’s touchdown passes, but Spruce sealed the deal when he scooped Cal’s onside kick in the fourth quarter and raced into the end zone to put Colorado up 41-17.
“That was the first time the University of Colorado has seen a Pac-12 win at home. So I think that’s a stepping block for us,” Coach Mike MacIntyre said.
Goff struggled to throw the ball in the wind, completing just 23 of his 45 attempts, while getting picked once. Coach Sonny Dykes briefly replaced Goff with Zach Kline, but went back to Goff, who engineered a couple of cosmetically-enhancing touchdowns late.
With passing difficult, the Bears found space running the ball with Khalfani Muhammad and Brendan Bigelow. Bigelow rushed for 107 yards and a score, and Muhammad’s 54-yard touchdown run in the second quarter brought the Bears even, if only briefly.
Colorado responded with 24 straight points and midway through the fourth quarter, the outcome was assured.
The Bears dropped their 13th consecutive game against Pac-12 competition and probably won’t see much improve in the remainder of 2013. Not only have the Bears dealt with the losses, they’ve performed poorly in the classroom, causing Athletic Director Sandy Barbour to address the issue and promise academic improvement. And then this week, an unspecified member of the team was suspended indefinitely for his role in a locker room fight that saw freshman running back Fabiano Hale end up in a local hospital.