EZ Mortgages

#21 West Virginia – Rocky Mountain High

// Sep 18 - 2008

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Preview of this week’s game

Will Thursday’s nationally televised game be the coming out party for CU under Dan Hawkins, or will it be just another reminder to the nation that the Buffs are not (and may not be for some time) relevant on the national stage? Below are the extensive “T.I.P.S.” for the West Virginia game. What you need to know, what you need to be on the lookout for, and why it is critical that you are there on time for kickoff!

Read The Entire Preview!…

Review of this week’s game

The Buffs went scoreless for 55 minutes. The Buffs gave up over 300 yards rushing. Who cares? The Buffs won, 17-14 in overtime over 21st ranked West Virginia! All the notes, quotes and stories have been posted …

Plus, a confession from your resident blogger ….. all just a click away.

Read The Entire Review!…

Trivia you need to know – West Virginia

You may know that the Buffs’ next two opponents have one similarity – Bobby Bowden. Bowden coached the Mountaineers for six seasons before moving on to Florida State. The “legendary” coach for West Virginia, though, came after Bowden. Can you name him?

Another parallel for the Buffs and Mountaineers: In 1989, Colorado went 11-0 and was ranked #1 before falling to Notre Dame in the Orange Bowl. It was almost a similar scenario for West Virginia – in 1988. Do you remember the name of the Mountaineers’ quarterback?

What else do you need to know … What was the nickname for WVU’s teams before they became the “Mountaineers”? What team do West Virginia fans consider as their chief rival? …..

Read Trivia…

“This Day in History” – September 18th

There will be some players we see again and again this fall as we work ourselves through the schedule. September 18th, though, as it falls on a Thursday, does not match up with those other games. As a result of looking at 9/18 games instead of 9/20 games, we get to take a look at some fresh faces.

Not a fresh face was that of Paul “Bear” Bryant. In his final season in 1982, the Bear, on September 18th, won his 30th straight against a former player or coach. Other notable 9/18 games in college football history: the first-ever night game at Notre Dame stadium (9/18/1982); the inaugural game of the Mountain West Conference is played (9/18/99); and Erik Ainge and #13 Tennessee hold off Chris Leak and #11 Florida (9/18/2004).

For the Buffs, the best game on this date was played in 1982. If you have been keeping tabs on the Archive Games of the Week, you already know the outcome of this one ….

Read On…

Email Updates for those willing to drop me a note!

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Email update information…

Archive Game of the Week

September 18th marks the first meeting ever between Colorado and West Virginia. This doesn’t mean you have to go without an Archive Game of the Week. For fun, we’ll turn to another game against a (former) Big East opponent, Boston College. The game was played in Tucson, as the 6-5 Buffs, under first-year head coach Gary Barnett, squared off against the 8-3 (and 25th-ranked) BC Eagles in the Insight.com Bowl.

The Buffs, playing on the last day of 1999, dominated the Eagles, as a multitude of CU bowl records fell …..

Go To The Archived Game of The Week…


PREVIEW

West Virginia – 2008 – preview

This week’s T.I.P.S. for the West Virginia game – all you need to know to get ready for the “Blackout” on Thursday:

T – Talent

You will find little argument that there is a disparity in talent at the quarterback position between West Virginia and Colorado. Patrick White is an All-American for the Mountaineers, finishing sixth in the Heisman balloting last season while accumulating almost as many yards rushing as passing. Cody Hawkins, conversely, is 8-7 as a starter for Colorado and is not ranked even in the top six amongst Big 12 quarterbacks (in this week’s Sporting News, Patrick White is ranked as the nation’s #1 quarterback. Hawkins is ranked 44th – 9th-best in the Big 12). White is the nation’s top dual-threat quarterback, while Hawkins, by his own admission, needs to clocked with a sun dial when he runs.

Check out, however, these two stat lines from September 6th:

22 for 28, 236 yards, one touchdown, no interceptions.

28 for 38, 261 yards, three touchdowns, one interception.

Both quarterbacks had pretty good games, and both were victorious. One quarterback’s performance, though, was hailed as the “perfect game”; the other’s efforts condemned as a demonstration of that quarterback’s continued mediocrity.

The “perfect” performance was not the work of Patrick White. Rather, it was the effort put in by East Carolina quarterback Patrick Pinkney in the Pirates’ 24-3 win over West Virginia. The other stat line belongs to the “lackluster” performance put in on the same day by Cody Hawkins against Eastern Washington.

Granted, you would expect Hawkins to put up better numbers against a top ten FCS team than Pinkney put up against a top ten FBS team. My point is that it is not all about the quarterbacks.

Hawkins didn’t carve up the Eagles because he didn’t have time in the pocket to do so. Pinkney carved up a good WVU defense because he did have the time.

Which leads me to the real disparity in talent for Thursday’s game: the offensive lines. West Virginia returns a unit Athlon’s tabbed as the best offensive line in the nation. Four starters return, including two All-Big East performers and one All-American. There are three seniors and two juniors on the line which produced 297.2 yards rushing per game last season (3rd best in the nation).

Compare Colorado. One senior starter (center Daniel Sanders) … and a bunch of guys with little game experience. Junior Devin Head will return this week after serving a one game suspension. Head’s return will help, but Head has only eight starts in his career. Sophomore tackle Ryan Miller is the only other lineman with starting experience before this season, with nine career starts under his belt. After that, you are looking at converted tight end Nate Solder and a host of red-shirt freshmen and true freshmen.

As I sat through the DVD of the Eastern Washington game, it became clear to me why the Buffs struggled offensively. The line is not creating holes for the running backs, and is not giving adequate time to Hawkins to find his receivers.

The Colorado offense line will improve over time, but it may not be this week.

Remember that on Thursday if the fans next to you start crying for the heads of the Buffs’ quarterback and offensive coordinator.

I – Intangibles

The first quarter of the Colorado/West Virginia game may be the most important quarter of the Buffs’ 2008 season.

Let me say that again: The first quarter of the Colorado/West Virginia game may be the most important quarter of the Buffs’ 2008 season.

Here is why.

Colorado and West Virginia are both coming off disappointing games. The Mountaineers, a trendy pre-season pick to contend for the national championship, were embarrassed by East Carolina, falling 24-3. A team which averaged 456 yards of total offense in 2007 was held to 251 yards by the Pirates. Patrick White was held under 100 yards rushing, and had only 72 yards passing.

The Buffs, meanwhile, trailed virtually the entire game against Eastern Washington. The “easiest” game on the schedule proved to be anything but, as Colorado fell behind 21-7 at halftime before rallying with two touchdowns in the last three minutes to put out a 31-24 victory.

Which sets up this Thursday’s nationally televised game. For the past week, coaches at West Virginia have been preaching to their players that the East Carolina game was a fluke. It was just one of those games where everything went wrong. “Believe in the system”, the players are told. “Believe in the coaches, and all of the goals which we set for the 2008 season, including a Big East title, a BCS bowl berth, and a shot at the national championship, are still out there for us to achieve”.

In the Colorado locker room, the mantra is similar. “Yes, we struggled”, acknowledge the coaches, “but we are still 2-0, and all of our goals are still out there for us to achieve. Believe in the system; believe in the coaches, and we can make something special happen on Thursday.”

One set of coaches will be proven wrong.

Funny thing about college football. As much as it is about talent (and the recruiting of talent) and coaching, it is a game of emotion and momentum. Doubts about how the 2008 season are to unfold were sown last weekend in the minds of both the West Virginia and Colorado players. At WVU, after the loss to ECU, the seeds of doubt reverberated in the players’ heads: “Was Bill Stewart the right choice?”; “Did the defense lose too many quality players?”; “Can Noel Devine adequately replace Steve Slaton?”. At CU, after a mighty struggle against a 1-AA team, the seeds of doubt came out sounding like: “If we can’t beat up Eastern Washington, how can we compete against a top ten FBS team?”; “We keep believing the coaches, but, after all is said and done, isn’t Coach Hawkins still only 10-17 in Boulder?”; and “Are we too young and inexperienced as a team to expect to compete against such an imposing schedule?”.

For the team which comes out and plays well in the first quarter Thursday night, the voices will be quelled. For the team which starts out poorly, the questions will begin pounding out the Anvil chorus in their ears.

Both teams have something to prove to their critics on Thursday.

Only one team will be satisfied with the result.

P – Preparation

Both the Buffs and the Mountaineers had a bye week to prepare for one another. For Colorado, the timing of the bye week was helpful. The Buffs will be back to nearly full strength, as two starters who were out for the Eastern Washington game return. Junior tight end Riar Geer returns from minor knee surgery which has kept him on the sidelines so far this season, while junior guard Devin Head returns from a one game suspension. (Head’s suspension related to his being in a car with fellow lineman Ethan Adkins when Adkins was arrested for DUI – Adkins has been suspended from the team indefinitely).

Riar Geer led the team in receptions as a freshman in 2006. Before his injury, Geer was suspended from the team, missing spring practice. While Geer was out, he was more than adequately replaced by his backups. Junior Patrick Devenny starred this spring, and had five catches for 35 yards in the first two games of 2008. Devenny’s numbers are not spectacular in and of themselves, until you consider that four of the five catches were on third or fourth down, and all four were converted into first downs. True freshman Ryan Deehan had two catches against Eastern Washington, including his first career touchdown. Geer’s return will only enhance the value of this position. “I just want to get out there and prove myself again,” said Geer. “With all the stuff that has happened to me in the off-season, and then with this knee surgery, I want to get out there and prove I am 100 percent and a good football player.”

Devin Head will not only need to return to the lineup against West Virginia, he will need to return with a vengeance. “It was killing to know that a lot of that was because of me,” said Head of his not being on the field as the Buffs’ offense struggled against Eastern Washington. “I hung my teammates out to dry (against the Eagles). That was the hardest part, not being able to go out and compete with them.”

Not having to prove himself is junior college transfer Shaun Mohler. Mohler, a junior linebacker, had nine tackles against Eastern Washington before he was injured rushing the quarterback in the third quarter. Mohler was taken to the hospital after the game for what was feared to be a broken collarbone. It turned out to be “only” a serious shoulder bruise. “I’ll be able to play next week,” said Mohler last Wednesday. “It’s loosening up already.”

All hands on deck. The Buffs will need every quality player they can put on the field to try and stay with the Mountaineers.

S – Stats

Two games into the season, statistics tend to be a bit skewed. Still, at this point, it is better to focus on what is going on in 2008 rather than to try and take last season’s numbers as an accurate means of predicting what is to come.

A few numbers stand out. West Virginia, with its blowout 48-21 win over Villanova tempered by the 24-3 loss to East Carolina, has not been a statistical marvel. The Mountaineers, third in the nation in rushing in 2007, are 50th so far in 2008. The passing game is ranked 105th; bringing in the total offense numbers at 95th overall (at 302.5 yards per game).

Not exactly the numbers WVU fans are accustomed to seeing.

What does that mean for the Buffs? Well, the CU defense has been stout against the run, with the best rush defense in the Big 12 (59 yards/game, good for 11th in the nation). The pass defense, as was suspected from the outset of the season, continues to struggle. The Buffs are 91st nationally in pass defense, giving up 245 yards a game. Translation: West Virginia’s strength is running the ball; CU is good at stopping the run. The Mountaineers don’t have a great passing game, but will put the ball up to try and exploit the Buffs’ soft pass defense.

On the other side of the ball, the Buffs have been lousy at creating lanes for their running backs, as Colorado is 86th in the nation in rushing offense. However, the opportunities for CU, just like for WVU, are in making the passing game work. The Mountaineers have given up more yards through the air than even the Buffs, and are ranked 94th nationally. While Colorado comes in at 45th in total defense, the Mountaineers are 83rd.

No. Two games to not make a trend. Both West Virginia and Colorado have played a 1-AA team, and while it is true that East Carolina ranks as a tougher opponent that Colorado State, bear in mind that world-beater East Carolina needed a touchdown in the last two minutes this past weekend to pull out a 28-24 win over the mighty Green Wave of Tulane.

Guess we’ll just have to let them play the game, and see where our stats fall after week three.

Three other stat shots I have to give you before you go:

1. Josh Smith leads the nation in kickoff returns, with a gaudy 50-yard average. If teams don’t kick to Smith, though, he will eventually fall from the ranks as not having enough returns to qualify;

2. Despite three blowout wins over lackluster competition, Nebraska’s defense is still not the stalwart crew Pelini’s converts would like to see. The “Blackshirts” are 103rd in pass defense after three games. Attributable to the Cornhuskers’ big leads? Not completely. Nebraska, in surrendering only 43 points total to Western Michigan, San Jose State, and New Mexico State, is still ranked no better than 65th in total defense (347.33 yards per game – compared to 304.00 yards per game given up by the Buffs); and

3. While I don’t bet on football, I will give out one piece of advice to bettors: On the over/under of how many times you will read or hear the phrase “John Denver Bowl” this week (presently at 16 ½) – take the over!

Enjoy your week. Enjoy the game.

Go Buffs!

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POSTGAME REVIEW – COLORADO 17, WEST VIRGINIA 14 (OT)

September 18th – Boulder

Colorado 17, #21 West Virginia 14 OT

Aric Goodman connected on a 25-yard field goal in overtime, lifting Colorado to a 17-14 win over #21 West Virginia. Just moments after Mountaineer kicker Pat McAfee’s 23-yard attempt clanked off the left upright to end West Virginia’s overtime possession, Goodman snuck his 25-yarder just inside the same upright. Goodman’s kick not only gave Colorado it’s first 3-0 start since the 2004 season, but also earned the former walk-on a scholarship.

The low-scoring affair did not start out that way, as three touchdowns were scored in the first four possessions of the game. The Buffs opened the scoring with a nine-play, 83-yard drive to take a lead they would never fully relinquish. Converting two third down opportunities, including a 23-yard completion from Cody Hawkins to Josh Smith on a third-and-11 from the CU 16 yard line, the Buffs cashed in when Hawkins connected with Smith again, this time for a 38-yard score just 2:46 into the contest.

On the third play of the Mountaineers’ opening possession, West Virginia quarterback Pat White completed a pass to Bradley Starks, who fumbled at the WVU 28-yard line. The fumble, caused by defensive tackle Brandon Nicholas and recovered by defensive end Maurice Lucas, sent all but 4,000 of the 51,883 in attendance for the Thursday night “Blackout” game into a frenzy. It took only five plays for the Buffs to score again, with Hawkins hitting tight end Patrick Devenny for a 13-yard touchdown. Devenny’s catch, a fine over-the-shoulder grab with a defender right on him, gave the Buffs a 14-0 lead with 10:10 still remaining in the first quarter.

West Virginia, which averaged almost 40 points per game in 2007, would not go quietly. It took the Mountaineers only five plays to answer, with Pat White scoring from six yards out to pull WVU to within a touchdown at 14-7. Less than half of the first quarter had been played, and the game had all the markings of an old WAC shootout.

Then it got quiet.

At least on the scoreboard.

Colorado had opportunities throughout the first half to put up additional points, but none were scored. In their next four possessions, the Buffs pushed the ball to midfield, the CU 47-yard line, the Mountaineers’ 30-yard line, and the Mountaineers’ 16-yard line, but came away with no points. The two most promising drives ended with turnovers by CU quarterback Cody Hawkins. Midway through the second quarter, Hawkins was intercepted by WVU linebacker Reed Williams, and on the next Colorado possession, Hawkins was sacked at the Mountaineer 24-yard line, fumbling the ball back to West Virginia. [Odd trivia here: CU has turned the ball over six times so far in 2008; all six turnovers have come in the second quarter]. The Buffs had one last chance to score before halftime, but a sure interception for a touchdown was dropped by cornerback Cha’pelle Brown with just over a minute to play.

Fortunately for CU and their fans, the Mountaineers were also unable to score, and the game stood at 14-7 at halftime.

In the third quarter, an air of inevitability hung over Folsom Field like a dark cloud, as the Colorado offense went three-and-out in its first three possessions, while the West Virginia offense slowly took control. The game was tied late in the third quarter on a 39-yard gallop by Pat White, who would finish with 148 yards rushing on the evening.

Twice in the fourth quarter, Colorado pushed the ball into West Virginia territory. Twice in the fourth quarter, West Virginia pushed the ball into Colorado territory. Neither team, though, was able to get close enough for a field goal attempt, and regulation ended with Pat White heaving a pass towards the CU endzone after the Mountaineers had driven as far as the Colorado 48-yard line.

In overtime, the Buffs won the toss of the coin, opting to go on defense. West Virginia, which posted 311 yards rushing for the game, but only 43 yards passing, kept the ball on the ground. Aided by a four-yard run by White on third-and-two at the CU 17-yard line to keep the drive alive, the Mountaineers faced a third-and-one at the CU four. Jock Sanders got the call, but linebackers Jeff Smart and Brad Jones stopped Sanders for a two yard loss, setting up Pat McAfee for a 23-yard field goal attempt. McAfee, set up on the left hashmark, hit the ball straight into the left upright, giving Colorado new life.

Needing only a field goal to win, the Buffs’ overtime possession was conservative, but effective. Four rushes, two by Rodney Stewart and two by Darrell Scott, set up the Buffs with a third-and-two at the Mountaineer seven yard line. Lined up near the middle of the field, Aric Goodman was true, giving the Buffs their second win over a ranked team in the Dan Hawkins’ era (both coming with 0:00 showing on the game clock).

“That was unbelievable and a great thing to be a part of right there,” said Dan Hawkins after the game. “The longer the game went on, the better I felt our chances were. It was a good game against a good team. Give our guys credit for hanging in there and showing character.”

In defeating a ranked team, there are always good stories. Freshman running back Rodney Stewart was one of the feel good stories of the night. Stewart’s 166 yards rushing on 28 carries netted Stewart the third highest total for a freshman in CU history [Billy Waddy had 202 yards against Wisconsin in 1973; Lamont Warren had 168 yards against Iowa State in 1991]. “I just figured out the defensive game plan and I was figuring out where the holes were,” said Stewart, “and luckily I was getting the yards.”

The other uplifting story was that of Aric Goodman. Goodman, as a freshman kicker for Wyoming in 2006, missed an extra point in overtime which cost the Cowboys in a loss to Virginia. This time, however, the overtime kick was true. “Mentally, knowing that I have a chance to go out there and have fun was important,” said Goodman. “I just went out there and went through my check list and hit it. Fortunately, it went through.”

Still, there remained question marks for the Buffs. True, Colorado was 3-0, and was sniffing the Top 25 for the first time since November, 2005. It was also true that the CU offense was shut out for the last 55 minutes of regulation. It was also true that the Buff rush defense, ranked 11th in the nation coming into the game, gave up 311 yards rushing to West Virginia (at a 6.0 yards/carry average). It was also true that the West Virginia game was just the first game in a six game gauntlet which had Colorado facing five ranked teams.

“We’re definitely going in the right direction, and I think we’re getting really, really, really close” said Dan Hawkins of his 3-0 Buffs. “No one wants to be close, but if this group keeps hanging together and doing things right, we’ll have some things to say by the end of the season.”

The Buffs would now have the luxury of sitting back and watching as their next opponent, 24th-ranked Florida State, played its first real game of the season, against 18th-ranked Wake Forest. Then it would be on to Jacksonville for a “neutral site” game which would be anything but neutral.

The undefeated Buffs didn’t care. Their job for the week was done.

Bring on the next mountain to climb.

Here are highlights from the West Virginia game …

Rocky Mountain High

It’s time I make an admission.

Some of you have been with me from the beginning; some of you have signed on more recently.

It’s only fair that I come out of the closet.

Wow – this is hard ……

Okay – here goes ……

I am a Mountaineer.

There. I said it. I am a Mountaineer.

Yes. I am a native Montanan. I have only lived in Montana and Colorado, but my family’s roots are in West Virginia. Both of my parents are from West Virginia, and both attended WVU. My grandfather (Mom’s side) taught at West Virginia for over 30 years.

I have been to Morgantown a number of times. I have set foot in the old stadium on campus and taken the monorail out to the new stadium outside of town (”new” being a relative term – the stadium opened in 1979).

John Denver’s “Take Me Home, Country Roads” was played so often in our household in the early 70’s it may have well have been our family’s theme song.

So, was I conflicted Thursday night?

Not a chance.

I have been known to cheer for West Virginia (and will again, after we play the re-match in Morgantown next September), but there was no way I could pull for the old gold and blue on “Blackout” night at Folsom. I lived and died along with the other CU faithful in the stands as the Buffs showed in the first five minutes how close to greatness this team really is, then proceeding to taunt us with their youth and inexperience for the next fifty five minutes.

Still, the feeling was electric all night. A quick start gave Folsom a buzz the entire evening. Unlike the Oklahoma game, when the Buffs never led until the clock struck 0:00, against West Virginia the Buffs never trailed. There was almost an air of expectation in the crowd: This is our time. This is our moment. Greetings, college football world – we’re back!

Dan Hawkins spoke for most of us when, at the post-game press conference, he said: “I took several times during the game to look around at the pageantry. I kept thinking how blessed I was to be out there; everyone was in black, everyone was fired up, we’re under the lights. I said, ‘This is awesome!’ It’s great to be a part of and enjoy it.”

I did take it in. I did enjoy it. Two images are seared into my brain. The first is watching with disbelief as the West Virginia kicker’s field goal attempt “boinked” off the left upright in the north endzone. The second is from just a moment later, as I scanned the sea of black which was the student section, writhing and flowing like a single organism, completely absorbed in the joy of the moment as the opportunity for victory presented itself to the underdog Buffs.

I could go on, but you have your own day to get to, and your own memories to savor. For me, with the long weekend afforded by the Thursday night game, I am off to South Park and the small town of Jefferson to visit my Dad.

A 35-year resident of Colorado, he has long since moved on from his days in Morgantown, but he remains a Mountaineer.

So, if you’ll excuse me. I have some gloating to do …….

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Trivia you’ll want to remember

West Virginia

– Before heading off to Florida State to resurrect that program, Bobby Bowden was the head coach at West Virginia for six seasons. As Mountaineer head coach from 1970-75, Bowden posted a 42-26 record, including two Peach Bowl appearances. Bowden’s best team was his last, in 1975, when West Virginia went 9-3, including a 13-10 Peach Bowl win over North Carolina State.

– While Bobby Bowden’s name is more familiar to most college football fans, the Don Nehlen is the coach who is revered in Morgantown (it’s certainly not Rich Rodriguez!). After Bowden left after the ‘75 season, WVU suffered through four losing seasons before Nehlen took over in 1980. In 21 seasons, Nehlen posted a 149-93-4 record, taking West Virginia to 13 bowls. Both his 1988 and 1993 teams posted 11-0 regular seasons, though both lost their bowl games to deny the school its first national championship.

– Led by quarterback Major Harris, West Virginia posted an 11-0 regular season record in 1988. In the Fiesta Bowl, however, the Mountaineers fell to Notre Dame, 34-21, to lose their #1 ranking. (The scenario would be matched by Colorado the following season: 11-0 regular season; bowl loss to Notre Dame to lose the chance at #1). The 1988 final ranking of #5 is the highest final ranking for WVU ever (the 2003 team finished 7th after its bowl loss, while last year’s team finished 6th in both of the major polls).

– Okay, so the “Mountaineer” nickname is self-evident, as West Virginia is known as the “Mountain State” (insert your own joke here). But prior to 1905, the West Virginia football players were referred to as the Snakes.

– Ask an old Mountaineer fan (like my father, an alum) who is WVU’s biggest rival, and you will likely hear “Penn State”. However, since Penn State joined the Big Ten in 1993, the annual grudge match has been discontinued. However, that does not mean the Mountaineers do not have a natural rival. Pittsburgh is just right up the road from Morgantown, and the “Backyard Brawl” ends the regular season for both teams. Overall, Pittsburgh holds a decisive edge in the series, though West Virginia has won more than its fair share in recent years. In 2007, Pittsburgh’s 13-9 upset of West Virginia in Morgantown denied the Mountaineers a shot at the BCS championship game.

Famous alumni – football – Sam Huff (all-American), Major Harris (qb), Jeff Hostetler (qb), Todd Sauerbrun (all-American punter – had a 90 yard punt against Nebraska in 1994).

Famous alumni – other – Jerry West (basketball), Don Knotts (actor), Rod Thorn (NBA executive)

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“This Day in History”…

September 18th

1982 – #4 Alabama 42, Mississippi 14. In his final season as head coach at Alabama, Paul “Bear” Bryant won his 30th straight over a former coach or player, in this case besting Mississippi coach and former player Steve Sloan. Alabama would not uphold its high ranking, concluding the season 8-4, but the Crimson Tide did send their legendary coach out a winner, defeating Illinois, 21-15, in the Liberty Bowl. Coach Bryant died just a few months later.

Later that night in 1982, #20 Notre Dame defeated #10 Michigan, 23-17, in the first-ever night game at Notre Dame stadium. The historic game wasn’t a particularly good omen for either team, though, as both teams, ranked early in the season, would finish the 1982 unranked.

1993 – #9 Florida 41, #5 Tennessee 34. Florida freshman quarterback Danny Wuerffel made his first career start as the Gators held off the Volunteers. Wuerffel, who would win the Heisman trophy as a senior in ‘96, threw for three touchdowns, besting the five touchdown effort by Tennessee quarterback Heath Shuler. Florida’s win proved to be pivotal in deciding the SEC East, with the Gators finishing 7-1 in conference play; the Volunteers 6-1-1.

1999 – #3 Penn State 27, #9 Miami 23. Miami had a 23-20 lead and the ball late at home before being stopped on a fourth-and-two at the Penn State 20. On the next play, Penn State quarterback Kevin Thompson hit receiver Charlie Fields on a 79-yard bomb for the winning touchdown. Both schools would conclude 1999 outside the top ten, with Penn State’s 10-3 team good enough for 11th; Miami’s 9-4 squad 15th.

Also on this date in 1999, BYU defeated Colorado State, 34-13, in the inaugural game of the Mountain West Conference. The two teams would go on to share the first-ever MWC crown with Utah, as all three teams finished with 5-2 conference records.

2004 – #13 Tennessee 30, #11 Florida 28. Tennessee kicker James Wilhoit, who had missed a game-tying extra point with less than four minutes to play, redeemed himself by kicking a 50-yard field goal with six seconds left to propel the Volunteers to a 30-28 win over Florida. Tennessee quarterback Erik Ainge and Florida quarterback Chris Leak each had three touchdown passes. A 38-7 win over Texas A&M in the Cotton Bowl would restore Tennessee to 13th in the final polls; Florida, which held the #11 ranking for much of September in 2004, would ultimately finish unranked.

September 18th – Colorado – best game on this date

Colorado 12, Washington State 0 – September 18, 1982.

Colorado shut out an opponent for the first time since 1977, and won on the road for the first time in two years, defeating Washington State 12-0 in Pullman. It did not make up for the 14-10 “loss snatched from the jaws of victory” that CU had against Washington State in 1981, but it did give CU head coach Bill McCartney his first victory as a collegiate head coach, and squared his record as the Buffs’ coach at 1-1 (McCartney was not to reach .500 again as coach for seven years, until midway through the 1989 season).

The defense played inspired for their defensive-minded coach. Trailing 9-0 at half, the Cougars mounted a 16-play, 56-yard drive to the Buffs’ one yard line. There, WSU fullback James Matthews was stuffed on a 4th-and-goal attempt at the one yard line by outside linebacker Dave Alderson and defensive tackle Mark Shoop. It proved to be the only Cougar scoring threat of the day.

Kicker Tom Field supplied all of the points in the game with his four field goals. For his efforts, Field was named the Big Eight Offensive Player of the Week. CU’s rushing game proved adequate, with Lee Rouson contributing 97 yards on 22 carries, with senior halfback Richard Johnson chipping in 72 yards on 20 carries. These yards were necessary, though, as the passing game resumed pathetic status. Sophomore Steve Vogel got the start, but passed for only 20 yards on 2-15 passing.

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Forget Something?

Did you forget to sign up for the email updates? C’mon …. if you’ve made it this far, you must be a Buff fan! Drop me a note at stuart@cuatthegame.com to get free updates all season long!

2 Responses to “#21 West Virginia – Rocky Mountain High”

  1. cuzach

    Another nice write-up. Thanks Stuart.

  2. Phil Pilgrim

    Stuart,
    I am one of your newbies, just finding out about you after the CSU game. Some great prose you wrote about this WV game, I enjoyed it alot. I’ve been extremely connected to CU for a long time, as a scholarship donor, a season ticket holder for 30 years, and a guy who made 9 games a year, home and away, while living in Europe for my work. I’d like to meet you one game so we can talk some Buff Smack.

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