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Colorado Is Stronger Than Ochs

September 08, 2002|Associated Press

BOULDER, Colo. — Colorado lost concussion-plagued quarterback Craig Ochs but found an able replacement.

Robert Hodge, who logged only 10 offensive plays last season, subbed for the ailing Ochs in the second half Saturday night and helped lead the No. 17 Buffaloes past San Diego State, 34-14.

Ochs departed at halftime with his third concussion in the last 14 months, but Hodge didn't miss a beat, guiding Colorado (1-1) to two second-half scores--both by Chris Brown, who ran for 185 yards.

"We went right to Robert and he was ready to go," Coach Gary Barnett said. "He wasn't nervous at all. He's been waiting for this opportunity."

More of a runner than Ochs, Hodge "brings a different dimension to the game," Barnett said.

"I felt comfortable out there," Hodge said. "I was happy I didn't make any big mistakes. I knew we had the lead, and I couldn't do anything to jeopardize that lead. I had to manage our offense and play within myself.

"I'm sure a lot of things were sloppy, but I'll get better."

San Diego State (0-2) crossed midfield five times in the second half but came up empty each time, including a missed field goal and a sack on fourth down.

Rebounding from last week's loss to Colorado State, the Buffaloes extended their lead to 28-14 late in the third quarter after Jeremy Bloom returned a punt 31 yards to the San Diego State 44-yard line.

Bobby Purify promptly broke a 43-yard run off the left side, and Brown went the final yard on the next play.

With 51 seconds left, Brown bolted 38 yards up the middle for another score.

"Colorado was physical, and we were overmatched," Aztec Coach Tom Craft said. "I thought we really played hard and we stayed in the game all the way up to the fourth quarter.

"We just ran out of gas. Where we got exposed tonight was our lack of depth. We just don't have enough numbers."

Ochs threw two touchdown passes as Colorado took a 21-14 halftime lead.

The Buffaloes scored on their first two possessions for a 14-7 first-quarter advantage.

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