No. 9 Oregon 45, Colorado 2
BOULDER, Colo. (AP)
The banged-up Buffaloes scored on a safety late in the third quarter, which accounted for their only bright spot in a 45-2 loss to the No. 9 Ducks on Saturday.
It was a costly loss for a team that was already hurting. Quarterback Tyler Hansen was knocked out of the game late in the first half and didn't return. Hansen sustained a concussion on a slide that didn't draw a flag and was replaced by freshman Nick Hirschman the rest of the afternoon.
''I've got a headache right now,'' Hansen said. ''They're thinking it's a head injury. I don't really remember a lot from the first half. The second half was rough to watch.''
Buffs coach Jon Embree said Hansen could play at Arizona State next week.
''I think he'll be ready next week,'' Embree said. ''We'll have to see what the protocol is, but hopefully he'll be ready next week.''
Colorado also lost strong safety Anthony Perkins to an injured ankle just 6 1/2 minutes into the game and kick returner D.D. Goodson to an undisclosed injury in the second half.
The Buffaloes started the game without more than a dozen injured players, most notably running back Rodney Stewart and wide receiver Paul Richardson, who accounted for nearly 60 percent of Colorado's yards from scrimmage before Saturday. Both are out with knee injuries.
And that's just the offense.
They were also missing their biggest playmakers on defense in linebacker Douglas Rippy, their leading tackler who underwent surgery during the week for a torn ACL, and strong safety Ray Polk, who is the poster player of the banged-up Buffaloes with a sprained wrist, a cracked sternum and a concussion.
''It's hard,'' Embree said. ''It's hard because I feel like we've missed opportunities. Probably the hardest thing has been injuries, because it's something you can't control and it's something you can't prepare for. We're getting decimated.''
''Their backups...it's like going from Joe Montana to Steve Young,'' Embree said. ''They have great depth.''
Colorado's only highlight came on a tackle of Oregon punt returner Cliff Harris in the end zone that allowed the Buffaloes to avoid their first shutout at home since losing 28-0 to Oklahoma in 1986.
This marked the first time the Buffs' offense failed to score in a home game since a 31-7 loss to Texas in 2004.
The Folsom Field crowd figured the Ducks were piling on the Buffaloes (1-7, 0-4) right away when punter Jackson Rice took the direct snap after their first touchdown and plowed into the end zone for a 2-point conversion and an 8-0 lead.
''They do a lot of that,'' Embree said. ''It's not an opponent or respect issue, but that's what (Oregon coach) Chip (Kelly) does. He's aggressive.''
The Ducks' defense got into the act when linebacker Michael Clay intercepted Hansen's pass at the Buffs 32 and raced into the end zone in the second quarter. Alejandro Maldonado's extra point was wide right, leaving the Ducks ahead 35-0 at halftime.
With so many key players sidelined, the Buffs were hoping something else might slow down the Ducks - altitude. Boulder is nearly 5,000 feet higher than Eugene, Ore., making a no-huddle offense a little more lung searing for the speedy Ducks, who came in with half of their 38 TD drives eating up 1:39 or less.
Indeed, Oregon's offense failed to score on either of its two second-quarter possessions before a kneel-down on the final play before halftime.
''It got out of hand early,'' Embree said.
After Maldonado added a 36-yard field goal, the Buffaloes finally got on the scoreboard when Terrel Smith corralled Harris in the end zone for a safety with 1:32 left in the third quarter.