TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) - Jarek Broussard’s amazing night of running for the Colorado Buffaloes produced several highlight-reel plays and one very odd stat.
Broussard ran for a career-high 301 yards — yet somehow didn’t score a touchdown — as Colorado stayed undefeated with a 24-13 victory over the Arizona Wildcats on Dec. 5. The 5-foot-9, 185-pound sophomore repeatedly sliced through the middle of Arizona’s defense without much resistance, reeling off runs of 75, 72 and 59 yards, as the Buffaloes piled up 407 yards on the ground.
Broussard’s smooth moves on the football field make it hard to believe that he missed all of last season because of a serious knee injury. One of the few reminders that it even happened is the brace that he still wears, which Colorado coach Karl Dorrell joked was slowing him down.
“He sheds that knee brace and he might have three touchdowns,” Dorrell said grinning.
Broussard has run for at least 100 yards in all four games this season and broke loose with long runs on two separate drives in the second quarter that set up touchdowns and helped Colorado recover from an early 13-0 deficit.
“He’s a dynamite player,” Dorrell said. “We’re just fortunate that he’s healthy and doing the things he’s natural at doing, which is running the football with great vision. He knows seams, he hits it and makes the most of his opportunities.”
Said Broussard: “All the hard work, all the hours of rehab, the cold nights in the hospital, it’s all paying off and it feels really good.”
Colorado (4-0, 3-0 Pac-12) is one of just two remaining undefeated teams in the Pac-12, along with USC. Arizona (0-4, 0-4) has lost 11 straight games dating back to last season.
Arizona freshman quarterback Will Plummer made his first career start, filling in for the injured Grant Gunnell. He had some good moments, finishing 19 of 32 passing for 154 yards, but threw a costly interception at the 1-yard line on a drive that could have tied the game in the third quarter.
The Wildcats stayed in the game thanks to a stellar ground game. Michael Wiley ran for 126 yards and Gary Brightwell added 113. Arizona had a chance to tie the game in the fourth quarter but Colorado made a goal-line stand with six minutes left that kept the Wildcats out of the end zone.
“We’re playing with effort,” Arizona coach Kevin Sumlin said. “We talked at length this week about execution and that was sporadic.”
Colorado rallied for a 14-13 halftime lead after falling into a 13-0 hole by early in the second quarter.
The Buffaloes started their comeback with a 95-yard touchdown drive that needed just four plays. Broussard ran up the middle for a 75-yard run on the first play and Ashaad Clayton ran for the 1-yard touchdown to pull the Buffaloes within a 13-7 margin.
The next touchdown drive was similar with Broussard’s 59-yard run setting up Clayton’s second touchdown run, this one from 4 yards out.
The big ground gains wiped out Arizona’s promising start. The Wildcats jumped out to a 10-0 lead after running for 106 yards in the first quarter. Brightwell scored on a 26-yard run up the middle and Lucas Havrisik added a 38-yard field goal.
Arizona has struggled all season to stop the run, giving up about 230 yards per game going into Saturday.
Big defensive plays
Arizona secured its first defensive takeaway of the season when safety Isaiah Mays forced a fumble by Colorado’s La’Vontae Shenault. The play led to Havrisik’s second field goal and pushed Arizona’s advantage to 13-0.
The Wildcats got their second and third takeaways in the second half when linebacker Anthony Pandy intercepted Colorado’s Sam Noyer twice.
Colorado: It’s another solid win for the Buffaloes, who found lots of success on the ground and decided to stick with what works. Broussard is an emerging star after four straight 100-yard games. Colorado should certainly get some consideration for the AP Top 25 after the fourth straight victory.
Arizona: The frustration continues for the Wildcats, who couldn’t hold on to the early lead. Their rush defense is a real problem right now and shows no signs of improvement.
Colorado: The Buffaloes host Utah on Friday.
Arizona: The Wildcats host Arizona State on Friday.