BOULDER, Colo. (AP) Senior receiver Nelson Spruce found himself in a strange place to start the fourth quarter - on the bench because of a blowout.
A Colorado blowout.
Just the sort of boost the Buffaloes needed heading into a rivalry week.
Michael Adkins and Christian Powell became the first Colorado tailbacks to eclipse 100 yards rushing in the same game in nearly five years, helping the Buffaloes snap a nine-game losing skid by beating Massachusetts 48-14 on Saturday.
A week after looking out of sorts in a season-opening loss at Hawaii, the Buffaloes found their groove on offense as they gained 558 yards, 390 of which were on the ground. Adkins rushed for 119 yards and a TD, while Powell finished with 105 and two scores. Spruce caught six passes to become the school's all-time leader in receptions.
Tied at 14 early in the second quarter, Colorado (1-1) scored 34 unanswered points to turn the game into a rout. The Buffaloes rallied last season to beat UMass, 41-38.
''We just said, `This was a draw-a-line-in-the-sand week. We're not going to take it anymore,''' Colorado coach Mike MacIntyre explained. ''I was hoping they would do that. They did better than I thought. I thought we'd definitely beat them. I didn't know we'd dominate them that well.''
Blake Frohnapfel threw for 225 yards and one score for the Minutemen (0-1). Tajae Sharpe had 11 catches for 138 yards. He's caught a pass in 36 straight games, the third-longest active streak in the nation.
But it wasn't enough. Not by a long shot.
''It was just a failure to execute,'' said UMass receiver Marken Michel, who had a 10-yard TD catch. ''It's the first game, first-game jitters, first-game mistakes.''
The Buffaloes were in a bad way after stumbling during a 28-20 loss to the Rainbow Warriors. They entered the season talking bowl games and that loss was a blow to the ego. This helped ease some of those doubts, especially heading into a game against Colorado State next weekend.
''We needed to get that taste out of our mouth and we were able to accomplish that,'' Powell said. ''I didn't play to the best of my ability last week so I was telling myself all week I needed to come out and make things happen.''
There were plenty of firsts in this contest for the Buffaloes, such as Phillip Lindsay's first career TD, Ryan Moeller's first career interception and Sefo Liufau's first career rushing TD.
Liufau certainly made things happen with his feet - a few well-timed scrambles - and his arm. He finished 15 of 24 for 168 yards and a TD pass to Spruce.
Spruce became Colorado's all-time receptions leader on an out pattern early in the third quarter. With that, Spruce surpassed the record held by Scotty McKnight, who had 215 catches from 2007-10.
''It's pretty cool,'' Spruce said. ''But it's cool we got the win.''
Both defenses struggled in the first half, with the Buffaloes and Minutemen combining for 524 yards, 32 first downs and three punts.
But it was a defensive play that proved pivotal midway through the second quarter. Colorado defensive back Afolabi Laguda drew a flag for targeting when he hit Sharif Custis with the crown of his helmet as the tight end tried to haul in a TD pass. Laguda was ejected from the game and the ball placed at the 10.
Three plays later, Moeller picked off a Frohnapfel pass to thwart the drive. That was the play of the game.
''You can't play a team like Colorado's caliber and miss those throws, because you're not going to get them back,'' UMass coach Mark Whipple said.
The Buffaloes drove down the field and made it a 31-14 game on Phillip Lindsay's 2-yard burst off the left side with 1:23 left before halftime. Lindsay finished with 73 yards rushing as Colorado won for the first time since last September.
''I almost don't know what to say it's been so long,'' MacIntyre said. ''They're starting to believe in themselves.''
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