Colorado returned two interceptions and a punt for touchdowns and added three scores on the ground – all in the first half – to cruise to a 62-24 win over Boston College.
The Buffaloes tied a bowl record with 45 first-half points and made their first bowl appearance under head coach Gary Barnett a successful one in the final Cactus Bowl played at Arizona Stadium.
Cortlen Johnson rushed for 201 yards and two touchdowns on 15 carries to lead a punishing Colorado ground attack that featured 12 different players touching the ball for 347 rushing yards.
After jumping ahead 14-0 on a 10-yard scoring run by Johnson and a 2-yard keeper by quarterback Mike Moschetti, the Buffs defense and special teams took over. Linebacker Jashon Sykes and defensive back Rashidi Barnes both brought back interceptions for scores and Ben Kelly returned a punt 88 yards for a touchdown for an insurmountable 35-0 lead.
Kelly weaved his way through defenders on the punt return, his sixth career kick return for a touchdown. He also brought back the opening kickoff 93 yards for a touchdown in the Aloha Bowl the previous year in a win over Oregon.
Boston College got a little redemption when George White returned an interception 78 yards for a touchdown with 7:22 to play in the first half, but Colorado answered less than two minutes later when Johnson completed a four-play, 75-yard drive with a 2-yard TD run.
The Eagles added three touchdowns in the second half on a touchdown pass from Tim Hasselbeck to Jamal Burke, a blocked punt return for a score by Leonard Bessette and a recovered fumble in the end zone by Bryan Arndt.
Moschetti completed 14-of-24 passes for 149 yards, including an 18-yard touchdown pass to Roman Hollowell late in the third quarter.