Colorado returned two interceptions for touchdowns and forced a fourth-quarter fumble to set up another Saturday night to turn back one of the greatest upset bids by University of Central Arkansas in its history.
The Buffaloes of the Pac-12, a one-win team a year ago, rallied from a 24-17 deficit with a 21-0 run to defeat the spunky Bears, 38-24, at Folsom Field.
The deciding play came early in the fourth quarter when Jatavious Wilson was stripped of the ball, setting up the Buffaloes at the UCA 30. The Bear defense lost speedy receiver Paul Richardson, who was wide open for a 30-yard touchdown reception with 9:16 left, giving Colorado a 31-24 lead.
The Buffs put the game away on a third-and-20 play from the UCA 29. Connor Wood connected with Nelson Spruce on a 39-yard screen pass for another touchdown with 4:24 left.
The Bears drove to the 4, where Colorado clinched the game with an interception on third down.
At the beginning of the fourth quarter, the Bears went for it on fourth and goal inside the 1, Wynrick Smothers scored on a sneak to put the Bears up 24-17
That was set up when Markeith Gaines nailed Wood, forcing a fumble recovered by Jonathan Woodard and Smothers hit Willie Matthews for 11 yards on a third-down play.
The turning point came with the Bears driving with the seven-point lead. Jared Bell picked off a tipped screen pass and returned it 79 yards for a touchdown to tie the score at 24 with 24 with 10:43 left.
The Bears took a 17-14 lead early in the third quarter on a field goal by Jace Denker after Dillon Winfrey returned the opening kickoff to the Colorado 12.
The Buffaloes took a quick 14-0 lead on a 56-yard touchdown pass from Connor Wood to Paul Richardson and a 46-yard interception return by Greg Henderson.
Smothers found a rhythm in the second quarter, passing 23 yards to Dezmin Lewis for one touchdown and 11 yards to Chase Dixon, who made a spectacular catch for the score with 36 seconds left in the half to tie the score at 14.