September 21st – Boulder #19 Colorado 58, Minnesota 0
The Minnesota Golden Gophers came to Boulder 1-0 on the young season, hoping to build on their 6-5 effort from 1990. Instead, it was the Buffs who left Folsom Field with an improved state of mind, as Colorado mauled Minnesota, 58-0. In all, Colorado amassed 612 yards of total offense, only the eighth time in school history Colorado had surpassed the 600-yard mark.
Leading the onslaught was quarterback Darian Hagan, who passed for two touchdowns, connecting on 7-of-8 passes for 162 yards. The tone was set early, as Minnesota turned the ball on the first possession of the contest. On the Buffs’ first play, Hagan connected with tight end Rico Smith on a 40-yard touchdown. In all, the Buffs scored on six of seven first half possessions on their way to a 38-0 halftime lead.
The second half allowed the Buffs to give younger players a chance to give the Folsom Field faithful a glimpse of the future. In all, 72 players saw action. Sophomore quarterback Vance Joseph led the Buffs to three touchdowns, while freshman quarterback Kordell Stewart also played. Stewart led the Buffs in rushing, picking up 73 yards on eight carries, including a four-yard fourth quarter touchdown run. Another true freshman who Buff fans would come to know well, running back Lamont Warren, scored the first two touchdowns of his career, including a 30-yard run midway through the second quarter.
The rout of Minnesota allowed Colorado to rise up two spots in the next poll, up to No. 17. The Buffs were now 2-1 on the young season, just one spot below Nebraska, which had fallen, 36-21, at home to No. 4 Washington. A road game against 0-2 Stanford and a home game against a mediocre Missouri squad were all that stood between the Buffs and a shot, albeit on the road, against undefeated and 6th-ranked Oklahoma.
A rout of Minnesota in the books, a third consecutive run for the national title once again seemed plausible.
Game Notes -
- The 58-0 score marked the first shutout for the Buffs since rolling over Kansas State, 41-0, on November 21, 1987.
- Freshman quarterback Kordell Stewart scored his first career touchdown against Minnesota. On the day, Stewart rushed for a team-high 73 yards and a touchdown. Stewart also completed his only pass of the season, with the completion going for two yards. (Stewart’s only other appearance in 1991 would come in a 55-7 rout of Missouri later in the season).
- Freshman Lamont Warren also saw his first playing time against Minnesota. Warren had 10 carries for 61 yards and two touchdowns against the Golden Gophers, and did not have fewer than ten carries in a game thereafter. Warren would go on to start the final six games of the season, replacing Kent Kahl.
- Darian Hagan had 162 yards passing against Minnesota, his highest total of 1991. In all, though, Hagan did have four games over 150 yards – 162 v. Minnesota; 154 v. Baylor; and 151 against both Wyoming and Oklahoma. In all, the Buffs had 247 passing yards against the Golden Gophers, a season high.
- Senior receiver Mark Henry had 99 yards receiving on the day – the closest a Buff would get to the 100-yard mark all season. Junior tight end Sean Embree, younger brother of Colorado legend Jon Embree, received his first career start against Minnesota. Embree had two catches for 21 yards in the game – two of his three catches for all of 1991. In all, six Buffs – Henry, Embree, Rico Smith, Lamont Warren, Kent Kahl, and Erik Mitchell – had their best receiving games of the season against Minnesota.
- Junior linebacker Chad Brown led the Buffs with 14 tackles (nine solo). For his effort, Brown was named the Big Eight Defensive Player-of-the-Week. (Darian Hagan was named Big Eight Offensive Player-of-the Week).
- Junior kicker Jim Harper had a 50-yard field goal against Baylor, the longest of the season. Harper’s effort was four yards short of his career long, a 54-yarder against Illinois in 1990.
- The win gave Colorado a 2-0 series lead against Minnesota. The only other game played between the teams prior to 1991 was a 38-6 Colorado victory in 1972.
- The 612 yards of offense was the 8th 600-yard game in Colorado history, but the third in two-plus seasons (662 v. Iowa State in 1989; 634 v. Kansas State in 1990).
- Minnesota had a 1-0 record prior to the Colorado game, but would win only one more game (a 6-3 decision against Purdue) the remainder of the 1991 season. The 2-9 record, on the heels of two 6-5 seasons, was too much for Minnesota administrators, who let John Gutekunst go after recording an overall record of 29-37-2 in six seasons. Gutekunst would be replaced by Jim Wacker in 1992.