STANFORD, Calif. (AP) — Sam Noyer passed for two touchdowns and ran for two more, Jarek Broussard had another strong day rushing, and Colorado held on to beat Stanford 35-32 on Saturday.
Dimitri Stanley caught six passes for 126 yards and a score as Colorado remained unbeaten under first-year coach Karl Dorrell.
“We’ve got something going here, something great going here,” Noyer said. “We’re building something special with coach Dorrell. Everybody’s buying in. Guys are having fun out there. It’s good to see that again. I haven’t seen that in a couple years.”
Noyer, a fifth-year senior who nearly transferred out of Colorado after playing safety last season, threw an interception on his fourth pass of the afternoon then settled in to complete 15 of 24 attempts for 255 yards. Noyer scored on a 7-yard option keeper midway through the second quarter then led the Buffaloes on three scoring drives coming out of halftime.
Brenden Rice had a 34-yard touchdown catch and Jaren Mangham added a one-yard touchdown run for Colorado (2-0, 2-0 Pac-12).
“We felt we built a pretty comfortable lead,” Dorrell said. “It wasn’t too comfortable, they came back. But our players hung in there. This is a good win for us on the road. There’s going to be some things we’re going to be upset with but we’ll work to get them fixed. That’s part of the process.”
Davis Mills passed for 327 yards and a touchdown in his first game of the season for Stanford (0-2, 0-2). Mills was one of four players forced to sit out last week’s game against Oregon because of coronavirus concerns. The Pac-12 later admitted errors in the testing protocol that kept the four Stanford players out.
“It was obvious he was rusty,” Stanford coach David Shaw said of his quarterback. “He was in isolation essentially from Saturday afternoon until Thursday night. He was able to come in and get one practice and it showed. There’s not much we could have done about it, but to say that it didn’t affect his performance I think would be inaccurate.”
Jet Toner added three field goals for the Cardinal. Stanford lost its home opener for the first time since 2007.
Colorado outgained Stanford 432-403 to win on the road for just the seventh time over the past three seasons.
Broussard followed up his stellar performance against UCLA (187 yards, three touchdowns) with 121 yards on 27 carries.
Noyer had touchdown throws of 54 and 34 yards in the second half. He also scored on a 10-yard run after a perfectly executed fake to Broussard.
Stanford trailed by 19 early in the fourth quarter but rallied and pulled within a field goal when Mills connected with Scooter Harrington on a 1-yard touchdown.
After Mills’ two-point conversion pass to Tucker Fisk made it 35-32, the Cardinal attempted an on-sides kick that was recovered by Colorado’s La’Vontae Shenault.
“Our guys kept fighting,” Dorrell said. “I would have loved to finish the game like we did last week where we had the ball and took a knee. The fortunate thing is we got the W.”
ATONING FOR HIS PAST ERRORS
Toner had a much better afternoon than he did a week earlier in Eugene when he went 0-for-4, matching his total for misses from 2019. The Stanford kicker drilled a 48-yarder to cap the Cardinal’s first drive, then made tries from 33 and 28 yards in the second quarter.
Colorado: The Buffaloes are 2-0 in the Pac-12 for the third time in the last five seasons. They’ve done it despite having yet another new head coach and no offseason. It’s early but back-to-back wins over UCLA and Stanford should alter the way people look at Colorado going forward. Noyer was very comfortable and it showed with seven passing plays of 15 yards or more. The running game provided nice balance, too. The only downside was that tight end Brady Russell, who led the Buffs in receiving against UCLA, limped off the field in the first half with an apparent foot injury and did not return.
Stanford: Mills looked good on the Cardinal’s first drive but was uneven the rest of the day. As a unit, Stanford’s offense misfired too often at key moments. David Shaw’s team converted only 5 of 16 third downs. There were also far too many defensive breakdowns in coverage which allowed Colorado’s receivers to easily get open.
Colorado: Hosts Arizona State on Nov. 21.
Stanford: Hosts Washington State on Nov. 21.