EZ Mortgages

Missouri – Buffs spot Tigers to 14-0 lead before roaring back

// Nov 3 - 2001

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November 3rd – at Boulder          No. 25 Colorado 38, Missouri 24

Colorado spotted the Missouri a 14-0 second quarter lead before roaring back to take a 38-24 win at home over the Tigers.  Bobby Pesavento, Cortlen Johnson, Bobby Purify, and Roman Hollowell each took turns leading the Buffs, who improved to 7-2 overall, 5-1 in the Big 12.

Bobby Pesavento completed 16-of-19 passes in the first half for 252 yards and two scores to lead the Buffs to a 17-14 halftime lead.  In the second half, Pesavento threw just three passes, as CU’s strong running game took over.  Cortlen Johnson carried the ball 11 times for 102 yards, including a 15-yard touchdown run in the third quarter, while Bobby Purify contributed 92 yards and a 31-yard score.  In all, the Buffs posted 499 yards of total offense.

Still, the game was close throughout.

In the first half, the Buffs turned the ball over three times and missed two field goal attempts, keeping the Tigers in the game.  When a Pesavento pass to Daniel Graham was picked off by MU defensive back Kevin Johnson and returned 59 yards for a 14-0 Missouri lead, the Buffs’ statistical advantage was of little consolation.

A 17-point flurry by the Buffs in the last two minutes of the first half gave Colorado much needed momentum.

First, Pesavento hit Matt Brunson for a 25-yard score with 1:55 left.  Then, after a CU defensive stand, Pesavento hit Graham from 36 yards out to tie the score with 30 seconds left.  Then, instead of taking a knee to end the half, Missouri attempted to run the ball.  Colorado strong safety Michael Lewis forced a fumble, setting up a 36-yard Jeremy Flores field goal as time expired.

The game remained tight in the second half, with Missouri pulling to within 31-24 early in the fourth quarter.  With 9:46 left, though, Roman Hollowell put the game out of reach with a 69-yard punt return for a touchdown.  The Tigers would not recover after Hollowell’s score, and the Buffs had a 14-point win.

It was just another day at the office for the 7-2 Buffs.

“We have great senior leadership”, said Bobby Pesavento after the game, one of 26 seniors on the Buff roster.  “Everyone is responding well to the coaching.  No one gets down, and we just get the job done.”

Head coach Gary Barnett agreed with his quarterback.  “This is a team that is used to seeing bad things happen to them.  We didn’t panic and seemed to hold our poise.  Roman’s punt return was huge for us.”

The win over Missouri pushed the Buffs to No. 21 in the polls.  A bowl game was now all but assured.  Now, Colorado could afford to set its sights higher.

With a win over Iowa State (5-3, 3-3), the Buffs would have the opportunity to play Nebraska for the Big 12 North title.  A sixth conference win would also guarantee the Buffs no worse than a second place finish in the Big 12 North.

Not bad for a team which had struggled to a 3-8 record a year earlier.

As the Buffs headed off to Ames for a night game against the Cyclones, Buff fans had to wonder: Could the Buffs take care of business against Iowa State on the road, setting the stage for a Thanksgiving weekend showdown with the Cornhuskers?; Or, would the Buffs’ penchant for falling behind early in most of their games come back to haunt them?

 

Game Notes:

– Another week, another double-digit comeback. The 14-point erased by the Buffs against the Tigers ranked sixth-best on the all-time comeback list.

– Tight end Daniel Graham had 103 yards in receptions; running back Cortlen Johnson had 102 yards rushing. The combination marked just the 20th time in school history that the Buffs had a 100-yard rusher and a 100-yard receiver in the same game.

– The loss to Colorado left Missouri with a 3-5 record. A win over Baylor the following week gave the Tigers a chance at a bowl game with two games remaining. Instead, a final Big 12 game against Kansas State and a loss to Michigan State to close out the season (a makeup game for the missed September 11th weekend game) left Missouri with a 4-7, 3-5 final record.

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