EZ Mortgages

No. 9 Oklahoma – Warren and Johnson team up on the “Play-of-the-Year”

// Oct 16 - 1993

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October 16th – at Oklahoma           No. 20 Colorado 27, No.9 Oklahoma 10

Oklahoma’s defense came into the Colorado game ranked 6th in the nation, holding opponents to 11 points a game. Colorado’s defense, meanwhile, had been giving up yards and points in bunches. Both trends came to a halt before 64,213 shocked Sooner fans as the Buffs became only the second team ever to defeat Oklahoma three straight times in Norman by beating Oklahoma soundly, 27-10.

The Buffs, 0-4-1 against top ten teams since the National Championship season, took out the frustration of the early-season losses on a surprised Oklahoma squad. Holding the Sooners to only 92 yards rushing on 28 attempts, the Buffs’ defense made a statement. “That was the issue this week,” said linebacker Sam Rogers, “to control the line of scrimmage.” Rogers, who had six tackles (including two sacks) on the day, ended any hope for an Oklahoma comeback when he knocked Sooner quarterback Cale Gundy down – and out of the game with a concussion – with just under 12 minutes remaining and the Buffs nursing a 20-10 lead. Without Gundy, the Sooners never seriously threatened to score the remainder of the game.

For the offense, the running game again carried the load. Lamont Warren carried the ball 34 times for 182 yards including a 63-yard run to set up the Buffs’ first score, a Rashaan Salaam two-yard run midway through the first quarter (the extra point attempt failed). Kordell Stewart then connected with Charles E. Johnson for 64 yards and a touchdown on Colorado’s next possession to put Colorado up 13-0 late in the first quarter.

A second Charles E. Johnson touchdown reception, this time on a halfback option from Lamont Warren (see “Play-of-the-Year”, below), gave Colorado a 20-0 lead. A 44-yard field goal just before halftime gave the Sooner faithful some hope, but the 20-3 hafltime score was still a surprise to fans which had seen the home town team dominate Texas, 38-17, the week before.

Just before the end of the third quarter, Oklahoma scored to make cut the Colorado lead to 20-10, but, without quarterback Cale Gundy, the Sooners never again threatened. James Hill finished off the pleasant afternoon for the Buff Nation with a four yard touchdown run late in the game to make the final score 27-10.

“I really proud of this team,” said Bill McCartney after the game. “To come in here, in this great stadium, with the tradition that they have and the great athletes that they have, to come in here and play like that tells me that Colorado is moving forward with its program.”

The Buffs had overcome a large hurdle, but 5-1 Kansas State and an undefeated Nebraska loomed as the next two opponents. For 4-2 Colorado to “move forward with its program” in 1993, there could be no let down.

Play of the Year

Each week during the 1993 season, it seemed that senior wide receiver Charles E. Johnson was setting yet another Colorado record for receiving. Before departing for the NFL, Johnson would possess the Colorado records for reception yardage in a season (1.149 yards, in 1992) and for a career (2,447 yards), along with records for consecutive games catching passes (27), 100+ yard receiving games (12) and touchdown receptions (15 – tied with Michael Westbrook). In 1993, Johnson was voted by the coaches and the Associated Press to be the Big Eight Offensive Player-of-the-Year.

Against Oklahoma, Charles E. Johnson caught five passes for 136 yards and two touchdowns. It was his second touchdown catch against the Sooners, though, which may be the most memorable of his 15 career receiving scores.

With Colorado up 13-0 midway through the second quarter, and the Buffs on the Oklahoma 35-yard line, the Buffs called a tailback option. Lamont Warren took the pitch from Kordell Stewart and rolled to his right. Under pressure, Warren slipped, but still was able to loft the ball to the endzone. In the corner of the endzone was Johnson. Oklahoma cornerback Darrius Johnson was draped all over Charles E. Johnson, forcing the Buff receiver to his knees. Despite the interference (a flag was thrown on the play), “CJ” made the catch anyway. Touchdown, Colorado.

“It was just another play by CJ”, said McCartney. “He just continues to surprise you, and he’s got wonderful instincts.”

Warren’s effort, combined with Johnson’s heroics, earned the Buffs “National Play-of-the-Year” honors. Beginning in 1992, Nu Skin International teamed up with CoSIDA (the Sports Information Directors Association) to sponsor the play of the year. The Buffs’ spectacular touchdown against Oklahoma earned the award for 1993.

(The Buffs were to repeat as honoree for 1994. The 1994 National Play-of-the-Year, though, for a play against a certain team from Ann Arbor, Michigan, would receive much more notoriety.)

Here is a YouTube video, courtesy of CU at the Gamer Paul (the National Play-of-the-Year is at 50:50):

Game Notes –

– The only other team to defeat Oklahom three straight times in Norman before Colorado was Nebraska, and those victories came in 1932, 1934, and 1936.

– Colorado amassed 499 yards of total offense against the Sooners, the most-ever in the 47-game series. The previous high for Colorado was 477 yards, gained in the 42-31 victory over Oklahoma in 1976.

– Over-shadowing his touhdown pass, Lamont Warren also had a great day running the ball. Warren had the most rushing attempts (34) and yards (182) of any Buff back all season. Warren’s efforts proved to be career highs, as the junior opted to make himself eligible for the NFL draft after the season. Warren, who led the Buffs with 900 yards in 1993, was drafted in the 6th round of the 1994 NFL draft by the Indianapolis Colts. Warren would go on to have a productive nine year career in the NFL with the Colts, New England Patriots, and Detroit Lions.

– The Colorado defense was helped by the Buff offense, which held onto the ball for a season-best 36:40 of game clock. No team ran fewer plays against Colorado than did Oklahoma, which was allowed only 52 plays. In the second half, Colorado held the ball for almost 25 minutes.

– Colorado sacked Oklahoma quarterbacks six times on the afternoon, while the Buff offensive line did not surrender a single sack.

– Oklahoma rushed for only 92 yards on the day, the fewest yards rushing by Oklahoma ever in the series. Previously, the best Colorado had managed was 137 yards, surrendered by the 1965 team in a 13-0 Colorado victory.

– Colorado was now 4-0-1 against Oklahoma between 1989-93, by far the best stretch for the Buffs in the series. Prior to this run, the Buffs had only managed to beat the Sooners twice in a row twice, in 1960-61 and 1965-66.

– Oklahoma would go on to win three of its last five games, but would fall to No. 25 Kansas State and No. 2 Nebraska by identical scores of 21-7 to finish the regular season with an 8-3 record (4-3 in Big Eight play). Invited to play Texas Tech in the Sun Bowl, the Sooners won 41-10 to finish 9-3 and ranked 17th in the final polls, one spot behind Colorado.

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