EZ Mortgages

Kansas – Klatt & Klopfenstein set records in a “Special” win

// Oct 22 - 2005

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October 22nd – Boulder           Colorado 44, Kansas 13

Joel Klatt passed for four touchdowns, becoming the Colorado all-time touchdown pass leader in the process, leading the Buffs to a 44-13 win over Kansas.

Klatt ended the evening with 42 career touchdown passes, two more than Koy Detmer posted in his four years in Boulder (1992-96)

While Klatt was setting records, it was the Colorado defense and special teams which turned a close game against the Jayhawks into a rout.

Colorado scored on its second possession of the game, taking over on the Kansas 43-yard line after a failed attempt by the Jayhawks on a fourth down near midfield. Klatt hit tight end Quinn Sypniewski from 20 yards out for the score, giving the Buffs a 7-0 lead. Four plays later, the Buffs were up 9-0, after a fourth down snap sailed over the head of Kansas punter Kyle Tucker for a safety.

It seemed, with 8:12 left to play in the first quarter, that the rout was on.

The Jayhawks, though, had other plans. Quarterback Jason Swanson came in for ineffective Brian Luke, and the Kansas offense began to see production. A 75-yard drive netted a field goal to cut the Colorado advantage to 9-3. After Klatt hit Joe Klopfenstein on a 40-yard score to start the second quarter, the remainder of the half belonged to the Jayhawks. A 28-yard field goal and a Swanson to Gordon Charles touchdown pass (the first touchdown for the Kansas offense in ten quarters), cut the Colorado advantage to 16-13 at halftime.

Colorado had the lead, but, at the break, Kansas had the momentum.

Neither team could muster a first down on their opening possession of the second half, but when Kansas went back to punt, the game changed for good. Reserve fullback Brendan Schaub blocked the Kyle Tucker offering, and the ball was scooped up by Dominique Brooks, who took the ball in from 28 yards out to give the Buffs a 23-13 lead.

The Buffs’ special teams, which had accounted for nine points on the night, were just getting started.

Colorado’s next possession started at midfield on one of the Buffs’ three interceptions on the night. The Buffs’ offense, though, stalled after a 27-yard run by Hugh Charles. Lining up for a 41-yard field goal, the Buffs instead faked the kick, with holder Nick Holz running the ball down to the Jayhawk three yard line. On the very next play, Klatt hit Klopfenstein for a three yard touchdown and a 30-13 lead.

The fourth quarter was almost all Colorado.

Kansas moved the ball well, but did not put up any points. The Buffs, meanwhile, scored on a 62-yard touchdown pass from Klatt to wide receiver Dusty Sprague, and an 81-yard punt return by Stephone Robinson.

The 44-13 score indicated a rout, but the statistics did not bear that out. Kansas accumulated more first downs and more total yards. Four turnovers and the Colorado special teams had made the difference.

“We would not be 5-2 right now without Joel,” said Gary Barnett about his record-setting quarterback. “We would not have been 8-5 a year ago without Joel. You don’t get a quarterback like that very often.” Still, noted Barnett, “I think the whole game turned around on special teams.”

Stephone Robinson, who had a punt return for a touchdown against Kansas in 2004, but none since, was pleased with his 81-yard score. “I’ve had a couple of long ones called back on penalties, or I’ve slipped, or I’ve been one block away from breaking it,” said Robinson. “Tonight, it was just time.”

Up next for Colorado was Kansas State on the road. The Wildcats were 4-3 overall, but just 1-3 in conference play after falling, 30-28, at home to Texas A&M.

In the race for the Big 12 North title, the Buffs were tied for the lead with Missouri at the halfway mark. Both schools were 3-1 in conference play, with the Tigers’ 41-24 win over Nebraska leaving the Cornhuskers with a 2-2 mark.

Missouri would be coming to town in two weeks. The Buffs could not concentrate on the Tigers just yet, however, as the Wildcats remained a dangerous foe. “We still control our own destiny,” said Joel Klatt. “We’re trying to eliminate one North team every week.”

A “Special” Win

When does a 31-point victory not feel completely satisfying?

For the spoiled fans of Nebraska, Texas, Alabama, Michigan, etc., the feeling was familiar. Huge wins were so commonplace, that finding ways of being critical of the team, even in a blowout, became a sport all its own.

It came as a strange twinge to me, however, as the 44-13 win over Kansas began to sink in.

Yes, the Buffs had dominated on the scoreboard, but it was not a “normal” win.

Check out the stats:

First downs: Kansas 22; Colorado 14.

Total yards: Kansas 354; Colorado 304.

Total offensive plays: Kansas 89; Colorado 59.

Time of possession: Kansas 34:00; Colorado 26:00.

Colorado: 104 yards rushing; 10 penalties for 97 yards.

Sound like a recipe for a rout?

Yet the Colorado defense and special teams saved the day.

“Saved the day”? In a 31-point win?

Yes.

The game was a 16-13 stomach-churner until Brendan Schaub blocked a Kansas punt early in the third quarter. Four turnovers prevented what was supposed to be an anemic Kansas offense from rolling up big numbers on the Buffs. Colorado continued to make mental error after mental error, being flagged ten times on the night. Eight of those penalties came before halftime, when the game was still very much in doubt.

Still, the Buffs were 5-2, with losses only to two top ten teams. In August, no one but the most ardent of Buff fans could have asked for more of this team. Four of the Buff wins were routs. Colorado was 3-1 in conference play, and controlled its own destiny for a trip to Houston as the Big 12 North representative.

“This week coach Barnett continued to challenge the punt unit to step up our play,” said Stephone Robinson of the punt return unit which had ranked 98th in the nation prior to the Kansas game. “I think our 16 points tonight helped prove what we can do.”

Up next?

The Kansas State Wildcats.

Colorado was just 5-5 against Kansas State over the past ten seasons; 3-3 under Gary Barnett. The Wildcats had hung with the Buffs until the very last improbable play in 2004, and had embarrassed the Buffs, 49-20, the last time the teams had played in Manhattan.

If the Buffs were to continue to control their own destiny in the North, and not have the Missouri game in two weeks be a season make-or-break contest, a win over Kansas State was mandatory.

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Game Notes

– The safety against Kansas was the second of the season for Colorado, the first time the Buffs had posted two in a campaign since 1998.

– The Klatt to Klopenstein touchdown netted records for both players. The touchdown pass was Klatt’s 41st, setting the new standard, while the score was the 12th for Klopenstein, breaking a four way tie with Christian Fauria (1991-94), Daniel Graham (1998-2001) and Gary Knafelc (1951-53) as the new high mark for CU tight ends.

– Dominique Brooks and Stephone Robinson scored in unique ways against Kansas. The odd note is that both had unusual scores in 2004: Brooks on a 41-yard fumble return; Robinson on a 48-yard punt return – both against Kansas – in a 30-21 Colorado victory.

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