EZ Mortgages

Kansas – “Our team has a choice to make”

// Oct 21 - 2000

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October 21st – at Kansas           Kansas 23, Colorado 15

Any delusions Buff fans had that 1-5 Colorado was not a bad football team, but really a good football team which had beaten down by an overpowering early-season schedule, came to a crashing end as 3-3 Kansas handed the Buffs a 23-15 setback.

Running back David Winbush, who had set a CU record for opposing rushers with a 268-yard effort in 1998, accounted for 181 yards of total offense as the Buffs once again found a way to lose.

The teams traded field goals on their opening possessions. The Colorado offense, held to one offensive touchdown by Texas the week before (and that on a one-play, 13-yard “drive”), put together a five-play, 42-yard drive culminating in a 47-yard field goal by Mark Mariscal to tie the score at 3-3.

A few minutes later, Colorado took its only lead of the game.

A 39-yard punt by Jayhawk Joey Pelfanio was fielded by Roman Hollowell at the Colorado 34-yard line. Aided by a block by linebacker Sean Tufts, Hollowell raced around right end and down the sidelines untouched for a 66-yard touchdown. The extra point was blocked, but Colorado had a 9-3 lead with 2:29 to play in the first quarter.

The lead lasted until the first play of the second quarter, with David Winbush scoring on a three-yard run to cap a seven-play, 80-yard drive. The extra point was good, and Kansas had the lead. The 10-9 score held up until the last play from scrimmage before halftime, with Kansas hitting a 28-yard field goal to take a 13-9 advantage into the break.

Colorado cut the lead to 13-12 early in the third quarter. Taking the second half kickoff, the Buff offense finally put together a drive, going 78 yards in 12 plays. Unfortunately, the Buffs needed to go 80 yards for a touchdown, settling for a 21-yard field goal after making it to the Kansas two-yard line.

Kansas then responded with a field goal drive of their own, with Joe Garcia hitting a career-best 52-yarder to make it a 16-12 game heading into the fourth quarter.

Two of the Buffs’ next three possessions made it into Kansas territory, but resulted in no points. The Jayhawks then pieced together a nine-play, 80-yard drive to start the fourth quarter, with a six-yard touchdown run by Reggie Duncan making it a 23-12 game. Mark Mariscal’s third field goal of the game, this one from 40 yards out, cut the lead to 23-15 a few minutes later.

The Colorado offense had one last chance to tie the game late.

Setting up at their 23-yard line, it took only three plays – and a personal foul against the Jayhawks – to set the Buffs up at the Kansas 14 yard line. Three incompletions and a sack later, however, the game was over.

“Missed opportunities”, Barnett said. “You can count them. We got good field position with our offense and couldn’t convert. We had the ball thrown twice to us and didn’t hang on to it. One was a touchdown. We had plenty of opportunities to win that game. We just didn’t have it in us to do it.”

The “touchdown” Barnett was referring to came on the first play of the fourth quarter.

With Kansas nursing a 16-12 lead, Jayhawk quarterback Dylen Smith was pressured, with the ball coming straight to Buffs’ safety Michael Lewis. Instead of taking the ball and scoring, Lewis let the ball bounce off his chest and into the hands of David Winbush, who took the ball for a 14-yard gain. “I was going to catch the ball and take it to the house,” said Lewis. “But I did the wrong thing, I guess. I took my eyes off of the ball.”

The defense could not be blamed for the loss, though. The Colorado offense, which had now produced only one touchdown in two games (the one-play, 13-yard “drive” against Texas), was keeping the Buffs from having any opportunity to win. The Colorado offense cracked the Jayhawk red-zone three times during the afternoon, but only could produce three Mark Mariscal field goals.

“Our team has a choice to make,” said Barnett of his team, now 1-6 on the year. “There’s going to be a lot of people who are going to give up on them – and understandably so … They can either join that group or pull themselves closer together.”

Up next was 2-4 Oklahoma State.

The Cowboys, coached by former Colorado assistant Bob Simmons, was also struggling. After opening with two non-conference wins, Oklahoma State had dropped four straight.

On paper, the Buffs had more talent and would be playing at home.

So far in 2000, though, nothing for Colorado had gone according to form.

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Game Notes –

– With the loss, Colorado dropped to 1-6 for the 2000 season, only the fifth such start in school history.

– Colorado had now lost two straight to Kansas in Lawrence, after the Buffs had won seven straight against the Jayhawks on their home field between 1983 and 1996.

– For his 66-yard punt return, Roman Hollowell was named the Big 12 Special Teams Player-of-the-Week. Hollowell’s effort proved to be the only one in the 2000 season which merited Big 12 Player-of-the-Week honors by a Colorado player.

– Freshman quarterback Craig Ochs set a new career-best with 246 yards passing. John Minardi had five catches for 81 yards, while tight end Daniel Graham had four for 77.

– The Colorado rushing offense continued to struggle. Both starting guards – Justin Bates and Karl Allis – were not in their accustomed positions for the first play of the Kansas game. In their place, Marwan Hage and Ryan Gray earned their first career starts. With two new starters along the line, the Buffs were held to 90 yards rushing on 32 carries.

– On defense, cornerback Roderick Sneed also had his first career start, subbing for an injured Donald Strickland. Sneed responded with five tackles against the Jayhawks (two solo), and a pass broken up.

– The win over Colorado gave Kansas a 4-3 record, but that proved to be the high-water mark for the Jayhawks in 2000. Kansas would go on to lose their final four games of the season, finishing with a 4-7 overall mark, 2-6 in Big 12 play. Head coach Terry Allen, with an 18-27 mark in his first four seasons, was retained, but would not make it through all of the 2001 campaign. After opening with a 2-6 record to open the 2001 season (including a loss to Colorado), Allen was let go. Tom Hayes would finish out the season as the interim coach, posting a 1-2 record.

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