BOULDER, Colo. (AP) — Michael Adkins crashed fellow freshman Sefo Liufau's coming out party.
Adkins set the school freshman record with four touchdown runs as he plowed the way for Colorado's 43-10 rout of lower-tier Charleston Southern on Saturday.
This game marked Liufau's first career start at quarterback. His redshirt plans were scuttled when he was summoned from the sideline a week earlier to help salvage the Buffaloes' season after Connor Wood's struggles in the Pac-12.
After skipping his first pass in the grass, Liufau finished with 198 yards on 14-of-20 passing, connecting mostly with Paul Richardson, whose eight catches for 122 yards included a blitz-beating 60-yard touchdown that was the highlight of his debut.
Adkins ran for 137 yards on just 13 carries and scored on runs of 23, 5, 33 and 34 yards.
"I was glad Michael did that," Colorado first-year coach Mike MacIntyre said. "There's nobody happier in that locker room than Sefo because if you get a running game going, that makes you comfortable as a quarterback."
It was a rare mid-October breather for the Buffs (3-3), who snapped a three-game skid in which they'd been walloped by a combined 106 points, stretching their Pac-12 losing streak to 11.
The Buccaneers (7-1), of the Big South gave up their bye week for a $400,000 paycheck plus travel expenses to serve as a fill-in after Colorado's Sept. 14 game against Fresno State was cancelled because of the floods that devastated the Front Range. The 13th game is the most ever in the regular season for an FCS school.
The Buccaneers provided a perfect opportunity for Liufau to work out any nerves before Arizona's visit next week.
"This game was big for him," Richardson said. "It was a good first game for him to come and start and it was a good game for Michael Adkins to have his breakout game."
Adkins is the first Colorado running back to rush for four touchdowns in a game since Lawrence Vickers did it against Missouri in 2005.
The Buffs can end their five-year bowl drought by winning three more times because the NCAA is allowing them to count two wins over FCS teams instead of the usual one toward the six-victory benchmark because Fresno State couldn't reschedule its game in Boulder this season.
"We can get three more," Richardson declared.
Colorado needed just six plays to take an 8-0 lead on Adkins' 23-yard-run and Darragh O'Neill's 2-point run, but Liufau was dropped for a 14-yard sack on his second drive and the Buccaneers capitalized with a 16-play drive that ended in T.J. Higgins' 33-yard field goal.
Freshman Kyle Copeland, making his first start in place of Daniel Croghan (concussion), also directed a clock-eating 15-play, 87-yard drive that lasted more than nine minutes and was capped by Colton Korn's 7-yard touchdown grab that pulled the Buccaneers to 22-10 at the half.
Chidera Uzo-Diribe's sack-strip of Copeland, however, helped Colorado take control.
De'Jon Wilson recovered the ball at the Buccaneers 12, and two plays later, Adkins scored from 5 yards out. Then, Liufau found Richardson over the middle for a 60-yard TD to make it 22-3.
"I definitely had confidence that kept growing throughout the game," Liufau said.
Christian Powell bullied his way in from 2 yards out in the third quarter and Adkins added TD runs of 33 and 34 yards.
"Obviously it's an experience to play against the Pac-12, and to come into an environment like this, even though it wasn't packed," Bucs coach Jeremy Chadwell said of half-empty Folsom Field. "It was still a solid environment and to just see if we can compete at this level. For the first half we did and the second half we didn't.
"I don't know how good they are in their league, probably not very good, but they're better than us and they beat us."
The Buffs feel like they found a couple of gems in Liufau and Adkins that will help them compete better in the Pac-12.
"We're 3-3 with three bowl wins," MacIntyre said. "We need to go get the one next week and if we do that means November matters in Colorado."
Follow AP Pro Football Writer Arnie Melendrez Stapleton on Twitter: http://twitter.com/arniestapleton