Oct 16, 2021; Boulder, Colorado, USA; General view of a Colorado Buffaloes helmet and football before the game against the Arizona Wildcats at Folsom Field. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Colorado fires offensive coordinator Darrin Chiaverini

Colorado head coach Karl Dorrell fired offensive coordinator Darrin Chiaverini on Sunday after a 4-8 season.

The Buffaloes were 3-6 in the Pac-12, including a season-ending 28-13 loss Friday at No. 19 Utah.

Colorado ranks last in the conference in total offense (257.5 yards per game) and passing offense (131.3) and 11th in scoring offense (18.8 points per game).

Chiaverini, 44, joined the coaching staff on Jan. 1, 2016, and had one year remaining on his contract.

Before coming to Boulder, he coached at Texas Tech and UCLA following his playing career as a wide receiver at Colorado (1995-98) and in the NFL with the Cleveland Browns (1999-2000), Dallas Cowboys (2001) and Atlanta Falcons (2002).

“This was a very tough decision, especially with Darrin being a former player and knowing how much he truly cares about the program,” Dorrell said. “I do appreciate all the time and investment he put in being in the positions he’s been in over the last six years.

“I believe it’s just time to go in a different direction,” he continued. “We need a new perspective, which can bring new life and a different energy along with it. In the end, we need to do what’s best for the program, and at the same time, certainly wish Darrin the best in his future endeavors.”

Chiaverini is the second member of Dorrell’s staff to be relieved of his duties this season. Offensive line coach Mitch Rodrigue was let go on Oct. 25.

–Field Level Media

Nov 26, 2021; Salt Lake City, Utah, USA; Utah Utes quarterback Cameron Rising (7) tries for the first down against Colorado Buffaloes linebacker Carson Wells (26) in the second quarter at Rice-Eccles Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Swinger-USA TODAY Sports

Cameron Rising, Tavion Thomas lift No. 19 Utah past Colorado

Cameron Rising threw for three touchdowns to lead No. 19 Utah to a 28-13 victory over Colorado on Saturday in Salt Lake City.

Rising completed 14 of 23 passes for 179 yards, Tavion Thomas ran for 142 yards and a touchdown and T.J. Pledger added 103 yards on the ground for the Utes.

Utah (9-3, 8-1 Pac-12) earned its fifth straight victory of the season and its fifth consecutive win over the Buffaloes in their series. The Utes averaged 6.5 yards per play while racking up 445 total yards.

Brendon Lewis threw for 84 yards to lead Colorado (4-8, 3-6), which generated just 148 total yards against Utah’s imposing defense.

Ironically, Colorado made big plays on defense and special teams in the first quarter to seize lead.

The Buffaloes got on the board with a 33-yard field goal from Cole Becker. Mark Perry intercepted a pass from Rising on the Utes’ first drive and returned it 40 yards to the Utah 15 to set up Becker’s kick.

Utah tried to answer with a 37-yard field goal from Jadon Redding but his attempt was partially blocked and the ball sailed wide left, keeping the score at 3-0.

The Utes came alive on offense in the second quarter. Rising completed his first four pass attempts in the quarter. Two were touchdown passes — a 19-yard strike to Brant Kuithe and a 28-yard dart to Dalton Kincaid — that put Utah ahead 14-3.

Becker made it a one-score game when he hit a career-long, 56-yard field goal to trim Utah’s lead to 14-6 going into halftime.

Colorado cut the deficit to 14-13 after Nikko Reed returned a kickoff 100 yards to open the second half. That’s as close as the Buffaloes could come to overtaking the Utes.

Utah extended its lead back to eight behind a 12-yard run from Thomas on the next drive.

The Utes went up 28-13 midway through the third quarter when Rising flipped the ball to Britain Covey, who took the short pass in for a 13-yard touchdown.

–Field Level Media

Nov 20, 2021; Salt Lake City, Utah, USA; Utah Utes wide receiver Britain Covey (18) is taken down at the one-yard line in the second quarter against the Oregon Ducks at Rice-Eccles Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Swinger-USA TODAY Sports

No. 19 Utah aims to extend dominance over Colorado

Utah has clinched its third Pac-12 South title in four seasons. Now the Utes are focused on extending their dominance over Colorado.

The two Rocky Mountain rivals will play for the 68th time Friday when the Buffaloes visit Salt Lake City to face No. 19 Utah. The Utes seem well equipped to beat Colorado for a fifth consecutive season.

The Utes have been a juggernaut against the rest of the Pac-12 this season, leading the league in scoring offense (38.4 points), touchdowns (41), total offense (456.3 yards), passing efficiency (144.2) and rushing touchdowns (28) in conference games.

“We’re getting to the point in the season where I feel like we have such a great identity on offense,” Utah receiver Britain Covey said. “You trust it. You stay behind it and you roll with it.”

Utah (8-3, 7-1 Pac-12) has enjoyed considerable success against Colorado since the pair joined the Pac-12 in 2011, winning eight of the 10 meetings in the series. During its current four-game rivalry winning streak, Utah has beaten Colorado by an average margin of 22.8 points.

The all-time series, which dates back to 1903, is even at 32-32-3.

Stopping the Utes will be an even more formidable task than usual for the Buffaloes. Utah dismantled Oregon 38-7 last Saturday, crushing the Ducks’ College Football Playoff hopes.

The Utes held Oregon to 63 rushing yards and scored on six of eight drives. Utah dominated the first half and when Britain Covey returned a punt 78 yards for a touchdown on the last play before the intermission, the lead over the nation’s fourth-ranked team ballooned to 28-0.

The Ducks never had a chance to rally because the Utes effectively shut down Oregon’s offense at the line of scrimmage.

“Are we a finished product yet or where we need to be? No,” Utah coach Kyle Whittingham said. “We’re still not quite as big and strong as we need to be. We have some freshman kids that next year, will be 10-15 pounds heavier and stronger. I think that’s really going to be a boost for us.”

Colorado (4-7, 3-5 Pac-12) has won two of its last three games as Buffaloes managed to grind out two of the games in the final minutes.

They forced four turnovers to squeak past the Washington Huskies despite being outgained 426-183 in total yards. Colorado converted just 2-of-13 first downs, but found a way to win.

“We’re not getting off the field on defense and we’re not staying on the field offensively,” Colorado coach Karl Dorrell said. “We have to be better in those two areas.”

The Buffaloes are last in the Pac-12 in total offense (267.4 yards) and rank 11th in scoring offense (19.3 points). Colorado has scored more than 20 points in a game just four times this season.

–Field Level Media

Sep 3, 2021; Boulder, Colorado, USA; Colorado Buffaloes running back Ashaad Clayton (0) and tight end Brady Russell (38) celebrate after a fourth quarter touchdown carry against the Northern Colorado Bears at Folsom Field. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Colorado, Washington look for positives in disappointing seasons

Colorado and visiting Washington had hopes of challenging for a Pac-12 championship this season, but instead will meet on Saturday to wind down what has been a disappointing year for both teams in Boulder, Colo.

The Huskies (4-6, 3-4 Pac-12) are dealing with some controversy ahead of the game. Washington fired head coach Jimmy Lake on Sunday after a little more than a season in the position.

Huskies defensive coordinator Bob Gregory was named the interim coach.

Lake was suspended for a game for a sideline incident during a loss to Oregon on Nov. 6. He didn’t coach in the loss to Arizona State last week and Washington athletic director Jen Cohen met with Lake on Sunday night and fired him.

Lake was elevated to head coach before the 2019 season and led the Huskies to a pandemic-shortened 3-1 record but the team has regressed in his second season. The sideline incident — he appeared to strike linebacker Ruperake Fuavai — as well as past allegations of being physical with players in 2019 and the poor on-field performance were all factors, Cohen said Sunday.

“There wasn’t one factor that led me to this decision. Wins and losses, no fan support (are some) of many factors that you’re considering when you’re making a decision this impactful,” Cohen said.

The Huskies need to focus on Colorado (3-7, 2-5) to keep their hopes alive of becoming eligible to play in a bowl game. Washington needs to beat the Buffaloes and Washington State in the final game to become bowl eligible.

Colorado won’t reach six wins no matter what happens in the last two games. The Buffaloes had a strong start, winning their opener and nearly beating No. 6 Texas A&M in the second game, but have only managed wins over Arizona and Oregon State in double overtime.

Last week Colorado led at UCLA 20-7 before the Bruins reeled off 37 straight points. Now, the Buffaloes are in the role of spoiler.

“We’ve got some seasons to ruin still if we want to,” tight end Brady Russell said. “That’s some motivation for sure. And just pride also. That’s big, going out with some dignity. I know we don’t want to go out like we did (Saturday) for the rest of the season. That’s embarrassing.”

Colorado will play the last two games without linebacker Joshka Gustav and wide receiver Montana Lemonious-Craig after both suffered season-ending injuries at UCLA.

–Field Level Media

Oct 30, 2021; Berkeley, California, USA; Oregon State Beavers defensive back Ron Hardge III (21) celebrates with defensive back Jaydon Grant (3) after preventing a pass against the California Golden Bears during the third quarter at FTX Field at California Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Oregon State tries to clinch bowl eligibility vs. Colorado

The Colorado Buffaloes have had many forgettable games this season, so they would love nothing more than to celebrate homecoming with an unforgettable win against the Oregon State Beavers.

Colorado (2-6, 1-4 Pac-12) would need to win out to become bowl-eligible, a tough task considering the conference competition.

Oregon State (5-3, 3-2) is coming off a loss at Cal but boasts home wins against Washington and Utah as well as a road victory against Southern California.

A win Saturday in Boulder, Colo., and the Beavers would be bowl-eligible with three games remaining on the schedule and a real chance to win the Pac-12 North if they sweep the rest of their schedule.

Losing to the Bears hurt, however.

“There’s nobody feeling sorry for themselves because we put ourselves in this position,” Beavers defensive back Jaydon Grant said after the Cal game. “We’re the ones who came out and didn’t execute. We’re the ones who came out and got out-physicaled from top to bottom. We’re the ones who are accountable for losing this game — not the coaches, not the game plan. It’s us.”

Oregon State faces a Buffaloes team that has lost six of their past seven since a win in the first week of the season. Freshman quarterback Brendon Lewis has struggled, but the ouster of offensive line coach Mitch Rodrigue last week seemed to spark that unit some against the Ducks.

Lewis will get another weapon back when wide receiver La’Vontae Shenault returns from suspension this week, but the defense will be without linebacker Guy Thomas (lower-body injury) and fifth-year linebacker Nate Landman (shoulder injury).

Buffaloes coach Karl Dorrell said earlier this week that Landman is doubtful and could miss the rest of the season. Landman has aspirations to play in the NFL, and Dorrell doesn’t want to jeopardize his chances.

“We want to do what’s best for Nate,” Dorrell said. “He has a potential career beyond here, so I want to make sure that when he’s ready to play, he’s ready to play.”

Saturday will be the teams’ first meeting since 2018, when the Beavers rallied from 28 down to win 41-34 in overtime at Boulder.

–Field Level Media

Oct 16, 2021; Boulder, Colorado, USA; Members of the Arizona Wildcats line up across from the Colorado Buffaloes in the first quarter at Folsom Field. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Arizona loses 18th straight game in blowout fashion at Colorado

Colorado scored touchdowns in every phase of the game during the third quarter as the Buffaloes snapped a four-game losing streak by beating Arizona 34-0 on Saturday in Boulder.

Brendon Lewis completed 12 of 19 passes for 248 yards and two touchdowns, including an 11-yarder to Dimitri Stanley with 4:08 to go in the game to complete the scoring.

The Wildcats (0-6, 0-3 Pac-12) have lost 18 consecutive games, the longest skid in the nation. Arizona was shut out for the first time since Sept. 22, 2012, at Oregon.

The Buffaloes (2-4, 1-2) held a 6-0 lead midway through the third quarter when Trevor Woods blocked an Arizona punt and then scooped the bouncing ball, taking it 32 yards for a touchdown.

Just over a minute later, Carson Wells stepped in front of a pass from Gunner Cruz and took the interception 50 yards for a score.

The offense got in on the action on Colorado’s next possession, with Lewis throwing deep for a 62-yard touchdown to Brenden Rice for a 27-0 lead with 1:42 go in the quarter.

Cruz, who started the first two games at quarterback for Arizona, returned to the starting lineup after Jordan McCloud suffered a season-ending leg injury last week. Cruz was pulled after the pick-six, which came three plays after he appeared to injure his right thumb on a scramble.

Cruz was 13 of 22 for 82 yards. Backup Will Plummer threw for 71 yards with an interception on 7-of-17 passing.

A game that featured two of the nine worst scoring offenses in the country played out to form in the first half.

Colorado settled for Cole Becker’s 19-yard field goal on its first possession, and he added a 37-yard field goal midway through the second quarter for a 6-0 lead that managed to hold up until halftime thanks to a defensive stand by the Buffaloes.

Arizona’s best drive of the half resulted in first-and-goal from the 1, but a quarterback sneak and two handoffs netted zero yards. Cruz threw incomplete into the end zone on fourth down.

–Field Level Media

Oct 2, 2021; Boulder, Colorado, USA; Colorado Buffaloes linebacker Carson Wells (26) tackles USC Trojans wide receiver Drake London (15) in the second quarter at Folsom Field. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Kedon Slovis powers USC past Colorado

Kedon Slovis threw three touchdown passes and Drake London had nine receptions for 130 yards and a score to pace Southern California to a 37-14 win over Colorado on Saturday in Boulder, Colo.

Slovis completed 19 of 29 passes for 276 yards.

Michael Trigg and Gary Bryant Jr. each had a touchdown reception and Vavae Malepeai ran for another score for USC (3-2, 2-2 Pac-12). Keaontay Ingram rushed for 124 yards for the Trojans, who improved to 15-0 all-time against the Buffaloes.

Colorado’s Brendon Lewis completed 10 of 17 passes for 162 yards and one touchdown and an interception. Brady Russell had three catches for 87 yards, Deion Smith ran for a score and Chase Penry had a touchdown reception for the Buffaloes (1-4, 0-2).

Slovis connected with London for receptions of 29 and 28 yards to bring USC to the Buffaloes’ 1-yard line. Two plays later Slovis found London for a 1-yard touchdown pass to give the Trojans a 10-0 lead.

Slovis hit Trigg down the right side for a 46-yard pass on USC’s next possession that made it 17-0. Parker Lewis added a 44-yard field goal with 6:41 left in the half.

Ingram reeled off a 17-yard run to midfield but fumbled, and Colorado recovered at the USC 48. Five plays later, Smith went around the left side for the touchdown to cut the Buffaloes’ deficit to 20-7 at halftime.

Colorado was driving on its first possession of the second half but Lewis was sacked and fumbled, and the Trojans recovered at the Buffaloes’ 29. They settled for a 49-yard field goal to go up 23-7.

Ingram had a 53-yard run to the Buffaloes 5 on USC’s next drive, and Malepeai ran it in from the 2 to make it 30-7.

The Buffaloes answered with Lewis’ 6-yard TD pass to Penry that made it 30-14.

Joshua Jackson Jr. intercepted Lewis at the Colorado 35. Slovis capped the scoring with a 15-yard touchdown pass to Bryant with 14:08 left.

–Field Level Media