#12 Oklahoma – Two 99-yard drives take down Sooners

// Oct 19 - 1991

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October 19th – @ Oklahoma          #22 Colorado 34, #12 Oklahoma 17

22nd-ranked Colorado put together a pair of 99-yard touchdown drives on its way to a 34-17 upset of 12th-ranked Oklahoma.  In scoring the most points ever against the Sooners in Norman, the Buffs out-gained the Sooners 371 yards to 251.  Darian Hagan accounted for 211 yards of total offense on the day, including 10-of-15 passing for 150 yards and three touchdowns.

After witnessing Oklahoma put up a score on their first possession, Colorado scored 20 unanswered first quarter points.  The first score came on a six-yard pass from Hagan to tight end Sean Brown, culminating an eight-play, 99-yard drive. The extra point attempt failed, leaving the Buffs behind, 7-6. 

But the Buffs would not be behind for much longer.

The next two came in rapid succession as the Buffs, taking advantage of Oklahoma turnovers, scored twice more in the next three minutes.  Hagan connected with red-shirt freshman tight end Christian Fauria from five yards out after the Buffs intercepted Oklahoma quarterback Cale Gundy.  The Sooners fumbled the ensuing kickoff, and the Buffs quickly took advantage, with Hagan teaming up with wide receiver Michael Westbrook from 15 yards out. 

With five minutes remaining in the first quarter, the score had been 7-0, Oklahoma. Before the quarter was over, though, Colorado was up 20-7, and Hagan had a school record with three touchdown passes in one stanza.                       

The Sooners would not go quietly, though.  Oklahoma put up ten points in the second quarter to pull within three points, 20-17, with 3:31 to play before half.  The Buffs were undeterred, as Colorado marched 64 yards before half to pull ahead, 27-17.  The ten-play drive was spearheaded by junior tailback Scott Phillips, subbing for injured starter James Hill.  Phillips contributed a 21-yard reception from Hagan to keep the drive alive before scoring on an eight yard run just before half.  The score was Phillips’ first ever as a Buff, joining Christian Fauria in posting his first ever points for Colorado on the day. 

[It was the sixth game of the season, and the Buffs had already seen seven players score their first offensive touchdowns.   If nothing else, the 1991 Colorado offense was at least diversified.]

Up ten points at half, the Buffs certainly could not rest easy.  But the Buff defense rose to the occasion, shutting out the Sooners over the last 30 minutes.  The only score of the second half came on a three-yard run by Lamont Warren, capping a 14-play, 99-yard drive to put Colorado ahead, 34-17. A 99-yard drive is unusual in any game, against any opponent, but the Buffs pulled it off against a highly ranked Oklahoma team, twice in the same game – in Norman!

Back in the Hunt

The 4-2 Buffs, 2-0 in Big Eight play, gained six places in the next poll, rising to #16.  Oklahoma, ranked sixth two weeks earlier, fell to #21 with its second consecutive defeat.  Nebraska held at #9, despite having the two teams ranked just above them lose their games – No. 7 California fell to Washington, and No. 8 Tennessee lost to Alabama, yet the Cornhuskers failed to capitalize.  Nebraska won its game, defeating Kansas State at home.  The final score, though, was 38-31, apparently giving pollsters pause about just how good the Cornhuskers were.

It also gave Colorado players and fans pause, as up next for the Buffs was a trip to Manhattan to play those same Kansas State Wildcats. 

Game Notes:

- The win was the third in a row in the series for Colorado, with two of the wins coming in Norman. The win was just the 11th overall for the Buffs against the Sooners (against 34 losses and one tie), and, needless to say, the three game win streak was the longest for Colorado against Oklahoma.

- The three touchdown passes by Darian Hagan was a season high for the Buffs against any opponent (and all three came in less than three minutes of playing time in the first quarter).

- Hagan connected with senior wide receiver Mark Henry for the Buffs’ longest completion of the season, going for 65 yards. The play did not go for a touchdown, but did cover most of the ground in one of Colorado’s 99-yard drives. The reception was the longest – and last – of Henry’s CU career. Henry was injured during the Oklahoma game, and did not catch another pass the remainder of the season.

- Red-shirt freshman tight end Christian Fauria made the first catch of his career a good one, going for a five-yard touchdown (Fauria’s second catch of the season – he only had two – also went for a touchdown later in the season).

- Wide receiver Michael Westbrook and tailback Lamont Warren, both of whom had record-setting careers at Colorado, each had their first career starts in the 1991 Oklahoma game.

- Darian Hagan, for his three touchdown effort against Oklahoma, was named the Big Eight Offensive Player of the Week (Hagan had won the honor previously in 1991 for his efforts in the rout of Minnesota).

- Sophomore punter Mitch Berger, who would go on to receive honorable mention on the Associated Press All-Big Eight team in 1991, had a punt against Oklahoma go for a season-best 63 yards.

- Junior cornerback Deon Figures, who would go on to win the Thorpe Award as the nation’s best defensive back in 1992, had a season-high three pass deflections against Oklahoma. Figures would also earn honorable mention on the AP All-Big Eight team. Figures helped the Buff secondary to a season-low total of 89 passing yards against the Sooners.

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