But Rich Rodriguez had put in Jerrard Randall at the end of the third quarter, and that was the spark the Arizona offense needed, scoring on their next two possessions to take a 31-24 lead early in the final period.
From there, it was the Randall and Jared Baker show. Colorado scored a late touchdown to put a scare into the Wildcats, but it ended up being a 38-31 victory for Arizona.
Clutch defense: Colorado got to 24 just fewer than four minutes into the second half. After that, it was nothing but punts for the Buffs until the two minute mark. In the most critical five possessions of the night, they had 50 yards on 22 plays. You can't do that in the third and fourth quarters and expect to win football games. Colorado also had four three-and-outs. Arizona didn't have a single one until the final possession of the night.
Jaunting Jared: With Nick Wilson on the sideline, and Orlando Bradford used sparingly, the running game fell squarely on the shoulders of Jared Baker, and he responded, rushing for two touchdowns, and catching another. His wheel route touchdown reception from Anu Solomon is what put the Wildcats in the lead, after Randall left the game for a moment due to having the wind knocked out of him. Baker finished with 207 yards on 23 carries.
We Need More Nate: When Solomon was in the game and throwing the ball, the primary target was Nate Phillips, and that was a good choice. Phillips went over 100 yards early, getting to 106 on six catches, including a big catch at the beginning of the game. Also, when he wasn't in on punt return, a ball bounced off of Trey Griffey's back, resulting in a CU touchdown. Just put Nate Phillips in all the time.
Kung Fu Banda: Shoutout to Brett Berry for coming up with this nickname. Jack Banda, a redshirt sophomore, picked up not one, but two sacks on the night. Talk about someone who no one expected to contribute making some big plays.
Tight end touchdown: It finally happened. Josh Kern scored a touchdown. And it wasn't even out of a normal tight end set.
Punting game struggles: It was a weird night for Drew Riggleman, who was only kicking line drive punts the entire night. And it made him less effective than normal. There was also one where Jonathan Haden inexplicably let the ball trickle past the goal line when he was standing right there.
It wasn't pretty, but it's a win, and Arizona is now 5-2 on the season, and 2-2 in conference. Next week, they'll seek bowl eligibility when Washington State comes to Tucson. That game will kick off at 1 PM PT in Arizona Stadium.