October 12th – Boulder No. 9 Colorado 35, Oklahoma State 13
Former Buffs’ assistant head coach Bob Simmons brought his 3-2 Oklahoma State Cowboys to Boulder for Colorado’s first-ever Big 12 Conference home game.
Simmons was 7-10 in his second season at Oklahoma State, and was building for the future. His young team (on defense, OSU listed nine freshman and seven sophomores on the two-deep chart) was 3-0 against the likes of Southwest Missouri State, Utah State, and Tulsa, but 0-2 against conference foes, including a 71-14 humiliation at the hands of Texas the week before the Colorado game. Ninth-ranked Colorado, which had moved back into the top ten during the Buffs’ second bye week, were installed as 32½ point favorites for the 8:07 p.m. kickoff (the latest start in CU regular season history).
The Buffs, after falling behind 3-0 early, put together perhaps their best overall effort of the season.
The offense, led by Koy Detmer’s 402 passing yards, scored on three Detmer touchdown passes to take control. On the Buffs’ first possession, the CU offense marched 85 yards in nine plays, scoring on a 25-yard touchdown pass from Detmer to Chris Anderson. After the Buff defense forced a three-and-out, CU scored on the next play from scrimmage, a 62-yard pass from Detmer to Rae Carruth.
The two teams traded touchdowns in the second quarter. Just before the half, the Buffs used just three plays to cover 66 yards. Detmer hit junior tight end Desmond Dennis for 18 yards before connecting with tight end Brody Heffner for 26 yards down to the Oklahoma State 22-yard line. On the next play, Detmer hit Phil Savoy for a 22-yard touchdown, and the Buffs had a 21-10 cushion at halftime.
Midway through the third quarter, with the score still 21-10, the Buffs’ defense put the game away. Oklahoma State drove deep into CU territory, and faced a third-and-nine at the Colorado 19. There, Cowboy quarterback Tone Jones lofted a pass into the Buff endzone. Instead of finding a teammate and making the game a four-point contest, Jones’ pass found CU senior safety Steve Rosga. Eschewing the touchback, Rosga ran the ball out from five yards deep. Some 105 rumbling yards later, Rosga had a CU touchdown and a 28-10 CU lead. Although over 20 minutes remained to be played in the game, Rosga’s score, for all intents and purposes, decided the game.
On the Buff sidelines, head coach Rick Neuheisel, like most of the 53,005 in attendance, held their breath as Rosga took off with the interception. “As he was coming out of the endzone I was saying, ‘Gosh, he should’ve just taken a knee’ “, Neuheisel said after the game, “And when he got to the 15, I go, ‘Great decision, Roz.’ He, obviously, is a gifted athlete that can make good plays.”
For the Record
In the NCAA records, Steve Rosga’s 105-yard interception return is listed at 100 yards (the NCAA does not now allow for end zone yardage). In order to make room for Rosga in the CU record book, the category “Longest Interception Return” had to be amended. In 1938, when total return yardage was still counted, Dick Kearns returned an interception against the University of Denver 102 yards. Both returns would now be recognized as being a mere 100 yards. (Johnny Ziegler was also to be found in that category. Ziegler returned an interception for exactly 100 yards against Colorado Mines in 1942).
Game Notes -
- Rae Carruth had 166 yards on six catches on the evening, marking the sixth-best receiving day in school history.
- Koy Detmer had 402 yards passing against Oklahoma State, the fourth time a CU quarterback had passed for over 400 yards in a game.
- Lendon Henry had 101 yards rushing against the Cowboys. The efforts of Carruth and Henry marked just the 16th time in CU history in which the Buffs had both a 100-yard rusher and a 100-yard receiver in the same game.
- In addition to his record-setting interception return, Steve Rosga led the team in tackles against Oklahoma State, posting 19 tackles (14 unassisted). In addition to Rosga, four other Buffs had double digits in tackles against the Cowboys: Ryan Black (15); Matt Russell (13); and Ryan Olson (10).
- The win over Oklahoma State was the eighth straight for Colorado in the series. The Buffs took an overall 23-15-1 advantage in the series, but had never before posted more than four straight wins over the Cowboys.
- Oklahoma State would go on to a 5-6 record in year two under Bob Simmons (2-6 in Big 12 play). Simmons would last six seasons in Stillwater, posting a career record of 30-38.