EZ Mortgages

Kansas – Heisman Hype – BSN Prescience

// Nov 12 - 1994

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November 12th – at Kansas                                   No. 7 Colorado 51, Kansas 26

Kordell Stewart, who had the previous week become the first player in Big Eight history to pass for 6,000 yards and rush for 1,000 yards in a career, piled up 249 yards of total offense against the Jayhawks as the Buffs rolled to an easy 51-26 win.

Rashaan Salaam came into the final road game of the season on the brink of taking the leap from great to all-time legend. He needed only 65 rush yards and one touchdown in order to become the school’s all-time single-season leader in both categories. Salaam would take all suspense out of the chase almost immediately though as, less than seven minutes into the game, he already officially had both records.

The Buffs scored less than two minutes into the game. Kordell Stewart hit Michael Westbrook for a 51-yard gain in the third play of the game, setting up a 17-yard touchdown run by Salaam. Later in the first quarter, Stewart hit Christian Fauria for a nine-yard touchdown, culminating a 12-play, 97-yard drive.

After Kansas looked to make a game of it with a touchdown pass of their own late in the first, the Buffs put the game away with a 10-0 second quarter. A 23-yard scoring pass from Stewart to Rae Carruth made it a 21-7 game, with Neil Voskeritchian hitting a 28-yard field goal just before the break to make it a 24-7 game.

Two more Salaam touchdowns, one from six yards out, the other from five, gave Colorado a 37-14 lead heading into the fourth quarter. Herchell Troutman scored his sixth touchdown on the season on a two-yard run early in the fourth quarter to make it 44-14, with the Buffs’ final tally coming on a two-yard pass from Koy Detmer to senior Blake Anderson.

On the day, Colorado posted 639 yards on offense, the seventh highest total in team history (and second-highest in a road game).  Rashaan Salaam rushed for 232 yards and three scores in becoming the Buffs’ single-season record holder for rushing yards (passing Eric Bieniemy’s 1,628 yards in 1990), touchdowns (Bobby Anderson – 18 in 1969), and points (Byron “Whizzer” White – 122 in 1937).

Not to be outdone, two Buff receivers placed their names in the record books as well.  Michael Westbrook, who had six catches for 117 yards against Kansas, passed Charles Johnson (1991-93) to become the Buffs’ all-time leading receiver, while tight end Christian Fauria passed Dave Hestera (1981-83) to become the career reception leader for tight ends.

“Offensively we were extremely sharp and I think that was the difference in the game,” understated McCartney.  “Kordell was sharp.  Salaam ran great and I thought our offensive line really dominated.”

With the win, the 9-1 Buffs were on course to only the third ten-win season in school history.  Only a home game against winless Iowa State stood in the way.

All was well in Buff-land. Colorado had responded to a difficult loss to Nebraska with a dominating win over a team it had to beat.

It was the calm before the storm.

Heisman-hype

With his third 200+ yard game of the season, Salaam now had 1,796 rushing yards for the year.  The 2,000-yard barrier had only been eclipsed three times previous in NCAA history (by Barry Sanders at Oklahoma State, Marcus Allen at USC, and Mike Rozier of Nebraska), and each time the effort had been rewarded with the Heisman trophy.  A home game against 0-9-1 Iowa State for the season finale seemed to be the perfect set-up for Salaam to rush for 204 yards and the magical mark of 2000.

Not if it didn’t fit into the game plan, according to head coach Bill McCartney.  McCartney, who held Salaam out of the fourth quarter rout of Kansas, had his reasons.  ” ‘Why didn’t you play Salaam in the fourth quarter?’ “, McCartney asked rhetorically in the post-game press conference.  “Because if he wins the Heisman, he’s going to win it on his own merit.  We don’t need to pad what he’s doing.  Everything he had done he has earned in the heat of the game.”

Salaam made it evident after the game that he was keeping everything in perspective as the final week of the season approached.

“The Heisman really wasn’t one of my goals,” he said. “I guess I’m excited to a certain extent, but I don’t lose any sleep over it. I’m just glad we got a win and the whole offense put up some good numbers. That’s all that really counts.”

Prescience 

Most stories leading up to the regular season-ending game against Iowa State focused on Salaam and his attempt at becoming the first Colorado player to ever win the Heisman trophy.  One story, though, looked ominously to the near-future.  In the Buffalo Sports News in the week before the Iowa State game, there was an article entitled:  “Young Neuheisel atop MSU’s short list”.

The BSN article focused on the interest Michigan State had in the Buffs’ young quarterback/receiver coach, Rick Neuheisel.  While Buffalo Sports News editor John vonSchrader had high praise for Neuheisel’s efforts and noted “he has an extremely bright future in coaching”, von Schrader found “it hard to comprehend how a program such as Michigan State could be interested in Neuheisel at this point in his career.”  Neuheisel, the argument went, had never so much as held the post of coordinator, much less that of head coach.

The conclusion drawn by vonSchrader:  “Neuheisel’s future is so bright it’s blinding, but in this case I don’t think the future is now.”  An interesting article, leading the reader to believe the Buffs would likely be able to hold onto the hot coaching prospect for at least a few more years.

True, CU did hold onto Neuheisel … but not in the sense vonSchrader intended.

No one foresaw what was to happen just one week later.

– Game Notes –

– The win over the Jayhawks was the tenth in a row for the Buffs, the longest winning streak for either team in the series.

– Blake Anderson, forever remembered in CU lore as the player who tipped the ball to Michael Westbrook in the “Miracle at Michigan”, did not see much of the ball in his career at Colorado. The son and nephew of two Buff greats, Dick and Bobby Anderson respectively, Blake was mostly a special teams player in his years at Colorado. In his senior season, Anderson had two catches, an eight yarder in the opener against Northeast Louisiana, and the two yard touchdown catch he had in the fourth quarter of the Kansas game. Anderson, despite having only two catches on the season, was nonetheless invited to participated in the Hula Bowl at season’s end.

– Michael Westbrook, who became the all-time career receiving leader with his six catches against Kansas, had only his second 100-yard game of the 1994 season against Kansas. His only other 100-yard game of 1994 was his 157-yard effort against Michigan … which was 93 yards until the 64-yarder on the game’s final play.

– Westbrook’s 117 yards receiving and Salaam’s 232 yards rushing marked just the fourteenth time in Colorado history in which the Buffs had a 100-yard rusher and a 100-yard receiver in the same game … but the third time in the 1994 season.

– Freshman punter Andy Mitchell was called upon to punt only once against Kansas. The first freshman in CU history to be called upon to be the Buffs’ regular punter, Mitchell was only called upon to punt 35 times in the 1994 season, while the punters for the opposition were called upon 54 times.

– Red-shirt freshman defensive tackle Ryan Olson was called upon for his first career start against the Jayhawks, moving into the starting spot when Kerry Hicks went down with a knee injury.

– Kansas would follow up its loss to Colorado with a 31-14 win over rival Missouri in the season finale. The win gave the Jayhawks a 6-6 record for 1994, but was not good enough to earn a bowl invitation.

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