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No. 11 BYU – Pick your poison – McMahon replaced by Young

// Sep 26 - 1981

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September 26th – Boulder          No. 11 BYU 41, Colorado 20

Brigham Young University came to Boulder 3-0 and ranked 11th in the nation. BYU was led by senior quarterback Jim McMahon, a walking record book. McMahon was just coming off a four touchdown performance against UTEP, leading the Cougars to a 65-8 laugher.

It was safe to say that the brash quarterback did not fear the Buffs. McMahon was quoted as saying: “Oklahoma rushed for 800 yards (against Colorado). We won’t rush for 800, but I’d like to throw for 800. And I think I could.”

Against Colorado, McMahon did not have a spectacular performance. His numbers: 15-30, 263 yards, three touchdowns. Solid, but not spectacular.

Was this because the vaunted Colorado defense kept McMahon from finding his receivers? No, it was but because McMahon went down on a sideline hit early in the second half.

Hope for the Buffs?

Not hardly. In trotted McMahon’s sophomore sub, a fellow by the name of Steve Young. Young gave Buff fans an indication of his future success by continuing the dismantling the Colorado defense McMahon had started.

The Buffs defense, to be fair, did its job.

After surrendering two touchdown passes in the first eight minutes of the game, the Buffs held tough. At the half, it was 17-0. Walter Stanley fumbled the second half kickoff at the Colorado 11. Three plays later it was 24-0, and the Buffs hopes for an upset were dashed.

Game Notes …

– Prior to the 1981 loss, Colorado had faced off against BYU ten times, accumulating a record of 8-1-1;

– Jim McMahon would go on to pass for 3,555 yards and 30 touchdowns in the 1981 regular season, again leading BYU to a WAC championship. For his efforts, he was named WAC Player of the Year and unanimous First Team All-WAC. On a national level, he was named first-team All-American by five different organizations and finished third in Heisman Trophy balloting. He received the Davey O’Brien Trophy and the Sammy Baugh Award, and he shared the Pigskin Club NCAA Offensive Player of the Year award with USC’s Marcus Allen.

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