October 23rd – @ Kansas State #16 Colorado 16, Kansas State 16
The number 16 proved to be unlucky for the 16th-ranked Colorado Buffaloes as Kansas State kicker Tate Wright connected on a 35-yard field goal with only 21 seconds remaining in the game to enable underdog Kansas State to come away with a 16-16 tie in Manhattan. The improving Wildcats, 5-1 coming into the contest against the Buffs, snapped Colorado’s eight-game winning streak in the series in holding the vaunted Buff offense to 355 yards of total offense.
In contrast to the two Colorado losses, when the Buff defense had been suspect, against Kansas State it was the offense which failed to produce at crucial times. In the first six games of 1993, Colorado had scored 23 touchdowns in 30 trips inside the opponent’s 20-yard line. Against the Wildcats, though, three first-half drives inside the 20 netted only three short Mitch Berger field goals. The Buffs led at half, 9-0, but K-State was still very much in the game.
Playing with more enthusiasm than their Colorado counterparts, the Wildcats forged a 13-9 lead with just under ten minutes to play in the game (Buff defensive lineman Shannon Clavelle blocked the point after attempt after the first Kansas State score, a point which would prove crucial in the end). Senior cornerback Dennis Collier gave the Buffs new life a few minutes later, though, when he grabbed a Chad May pass which had been tipped by linebacker Jon Knutson. After a three yard return, the Buffs’ offense took the field at the Wildcat 25. Seven plays later a one-yard plunge by James Hill put the Buffs back on top, 16-13, with 3:57 remaining.
A few moments later, the Buffs’ defense seemed to have matters well in hand, as the Wildcats were pinned back with a fourth-and-15 from their own 31-yard line. One more defensive stop would result in a Colorado victory, but it was not meant to be.
On a designed roll-out, Kansas State quarterback Chad May hit freshman wide receiver Kevin Lockett across the field. Lockett raced down the sideline, not being caught until he had gained 44 yards to the Buffs’ 31-yard line. A few plays later, Kansas State had a field goal, some national respect, and a moral victory.
For the Buffs, “It felt like a loss”, according to Bill McCartney. “Early in the game when we were moving the ball and we were fairly dominant we didn’t convert touchdowns. We settled for field goals. Later on that took its toll.”
For Kansas State, the tie was a “program-turner”, much like the Colorado win over Nebraska in 1986. The tie allowed the 5-1-1 Wildcats to enter the polls ranked No. 25. The ranking was the first for the program since 1970, and was a “great tribute to the young people in our program”, according to head coach Bill Snyder. Kansas State, with the dubious distinction of being the only program in Division 1-A with a sub-.400 winning percentage (317-535-41 -.378 -entering 1993 season), now had something to crow about.
There was no such happiness for the other team with a tie on its record. Colorado was now 4-2-1, with the tie dropping the Buffs from No. 16 to No. 20 in the polls. Still, the Buffs were 2-0-1 in Big Eight play, and a win over Nebraska would make the indignation of a tie to Kansas State meaningless.
All the Buffs had to do was beat the Cornhuskers for the first time since 1990.
While the Buffs were doing battle with Kansas State, Lee and I were doing battle as well. Not with each other (although few get along well during such times), but with boxes of garbage, clothes, and assorted “stuff” as we moved into our new home. During the afternoon Colorado/Kansas State contest, it was moving day as we strived to mold our separate belongings into a mutually livable arrangement.
If this seems a bit out of sequence, it was. While Lee and I had been engaged less than two weeks, we had found a place to live together a month or so earlier. Moving into our new home did not allow me to watch the national football offerings on television, and hence did not provide for regular updates of the Colorado/Kansas State game.
I did note the 9-0 halftime score, but did not know that the Buffs had failed to convert three first-half touchdown opportunities. Later, at a time when we knew that the Colorado game should have been over, we tuned into the Montana State game on the radio to listen for updates. Randy Tafelmeyer was with me, and we were loading a breakfast table onto Randy’s truck when the scores from around the nation were recited. As Colorado was a ranked team, I knew the Buffs’ score would be mentioned. When the announcer began “16th ranked Colorado, 16 …. “, I breathed a sigh of relief. They wouldn’t have mentioned the CU point total first if the Buffs had not won.
“…. Kansas State, 16″.
That couldn’t be right. I looked at Randy. He looked at me. He had heard the same thing. 16-16. A tie? With Kansas State? That couldn’t be right. The announcer must have gotten all of the 16′s mixed up. The Buffs couldn’t have been tied by lowly K-State.
Later, a television was plugged in and confirmed the awful truth. The Buffs had been tied by the Wildcats. Like most of the Buffs and their fans, I looked upon the tie as a loss.
Moving day ended with me just be that much more tired …
Game Notes -
- The tie with Kansas State would be the last in Colorado history, as Colorado would not play anymore tie games before overtime was instituted by the NCAA.
- Colorado’s all-time record includes 36 ties, 17 at home; 18 on the road; and one at a neutal site (the 1990 Pigskin classic 31-31 tie with Tennessee). Colorado had three times with three teams: Kansas; Utah; and Missouri. Perhaps it was not a coincidence, then, that the Buffs first overtime game, played in 1999, was played against Missouri (a 46-39 Colorado victory).
- Sophomore defensive tackle Shannon Clavelle had a great game against Kansas State. In addition to blocking an extra point (which proved to be a gave-saver), Clavelle had five tackles, two quarterback pressures, two fumble recoveries, a forced fumble, a pass broken up, and an interception against the Wildcats. Clavelle’s 43-yard return of his interception proved to be the longest interception return by any Buff in 1993.
- While Clavelle had an impressive outing against Kansas State, it was senior linebacker Sam Rogers who was named Big Eight Defensive Player-of-the-Week. Rogers had 14 tackles, including 12 solo tackles, four tackles for loss, and a sack against the Wildcats. Rogers would go on to finish the 1993 season second on the team in total tackles (88) and unassisted tackles (62), and would earn second team All-Big Eight recognition.
- The Colorado defense held Kansas State to just one net rushing yard in the first half, and a season-low 29 yards overall.
- The tie broke an eight-game winning streak for Colorado in the series. The Buffs fell short of matching the longest winning streak in the series, ten games, between 1954-63.
- Kansas State continued playing well after its matchup with the Buffs, beating Oklahoma the following week for the first time since 1970. The Wildcats would conclude the 1993 season with a 52-17 victory over Wyoming in the Copper Bowl. The bowl game was just the second in school history, and the first victory. At 9-2-1, Kansas State finished the 1993 ranked 20th in the nation.