CU at Arizona State, at a glance
What went right: Not a lot. The Buffs did a decent job on defense against the run, and hit some big plays through the air, that's about it.
What went wrong: A plethora of mistakes plagued the Buffs all night. Turnovers, a blocked punt, costly penalties all added up to a blowout loss.
Turning point: Late in the first quarter, the Buffs trailed 14-7, but had just picked off an ASU pass. The offense couldn't capitalize, though, and punted. ASU blocked the punt and got the ball at the CU 11. Four plays later, the Sun Devils kicked a field goal, took a 17-7 lead and never looked back.
CU player of the game: Phillip Lindsay didn't get many touches, but made the most of the ones he got, rushing for 48 yards and two touchdowns on his 10 carries.
Bottom line: For the first time this year, the Buffs were out of a game by the fourth quarter. It was another in a long line of Pac-12 blowout losses, and it extended CU's conference losing streak to 13 games.
TEMPE, Ariz. - For years, the Colorado Buffaloes have been the Pac-12 punching bag.
This year, the team beating up on the Buffs the most is the Buffs.
On Saturday night, Colorado piled up one mistake after another during a 48-23 loss to Arizona State at Sun Devil Stadium.
"We cannot shoot ourselves in the foot and expect to win a Pac-12 football game," head coach Mike MacIntyre said. "We've go to stop doing that."
CU (3-3, 0-2 Pac-12) extended its Pac-12 losing streak to 13 games and fell to 1-19 in conference games under head coach Mike MacIntyre. The Buffs have lost 13 consecutive Pac-12 road games.
Credit Arizona State (4-2, 2-1) for its role in this rout.
Sun Devils quarterback Mike Bercovici threw for 260 yards and a career-high-tying five touchdowns.
The ASU defense also did its part, racking up eight sacks and holding the Buffs to 49 rushing yards. Sack yards are count against rushing totals, but even without that, CU tailbacks were held to 83 yards on 18 carries.
"Really the story tonight was controlling the line of scrimmages," ASU head coach Todd Graham said.
While ASU was the better team in the trenches, the Buffs will forever kick themselves for all the plays it failed to make, and all the bounces that went against them.
It started early.
Less than four minutes into the game, CU's defense stripped the ball from running back Demario Richard. But, it squirted right to ASU tight end Kody Kohl, who scooped it up and went 28 yards untouched for a touchdown.
Three plays later, CU quarterback Sefo Liufau was hit by an ASU defender as he threw, and had the ball picked off and returned 30 yards to the CU 15. ASU scored another touchdown, to take a 14-0 lead, just five plays later.
"We didn't execute, we didn't come out like we were supposed to come out, we didn't come out fast," CU running back Phillip Lindsay said. "We came out flat."
It was a tough start, but the miscues never really stopped.
Later in the first, the Buffs had a punt blocked to set up an ASU field goal.
In the second quarter, the defense stopped ASU, but got flagged for roughing the punter to keep that drive alive.
In the third quarter, Ahkello Witherspoon deflected a deep pass by Bercovici, but rather than the ball falling to the ground, it floated into the arms of ASU receiver Tim White, who caught the pass, broke two tackles and scored on a 45-yard touchdown.
Five plays later, Liufau was sacked - again - and fumbled. The Sun Devils turned that into a touchdown, too.
"I think we're doing too many self inflicted things, especially on offense and it hurts us overall, and it puts us in a big hole to try to climb out of," Liufau said.
That's been the story in all three of the Buffs' losses.
The Buffs have committed nine turnovers this season, eight of them coming in their three losses. Liufau has now been sacked 17 times - all of them coming in the three defeats.
CU has also had two punts blocked, and another that was deflected. Those all happened in defeat.
"We have to stay more in-tuned, we have to be disciplined," Lindsay said of eliminating mistakes. "We have to focus more and play our game."
On Saturday, the Buffs failed to do that and it resulted in the continuation of their Pac-12 woes.
"We have to coach smarter and play smarter and take care of the football," MacIntyre said. "We can beat anybody we play in the Pac-12 - anybody - if we take care of the football.
"If they don't turn the ball over, they'll win football games. Bottom line. Bottom. Line. We have to make sure they do that."
Contact staff writer Brian Howell at firstname.lastname@example.org or twitter.com/BrianHowell33.