Opportunistic Colorado defense keeping them in the game

Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin

It wasn’t the most productive first half for either West Virginia or Colorado.

But something tells me that Colorado coach Dan Hawkins won’t complain too much.

The Colorado defense has been gashed for 255 yards in the first half, but the Buffaloes are trailing the Mountaineers only 14-10 because of that same defense.

The Colorado defense has forced four West Virginia fumbles, keeping the game close despite giving up yardage by the bushel basket throughout the first half.

West Virginia’s inability to protect the ball prompted a terse remark from their coach, Bill Stewart, as he left the field at the break. But as disappointed as he might be about all the mistakes, Colorado has contributed its share as well.

Cody Hawkins has been intercepted twice and Aric Goodman misfired on two field goals.

But still, the Buffaloes have battled back after a big first drive that could have sunk them early in the game. They have shortened the game to only 30 minutes and are right there for a chance to escape with an upset.

They’ll have to do a better job of containing Noel Devine, who has gashed them for 142 rushing yards on only eight carries.

If Colorado can keep up its opportunistic ways -- as most of West Virginia’s opposition has been able to do this season -- the Buffaloes still might have a chance no matter how many yards they are allowing.