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Colorado 35, Texas A&M 34

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November 7th – Boulder               Colorado 35, Texas A&M 34

Colorado quarterback Tyler Hansen hit tight end Patrick Devenny from 22 yards out with 2:04 to play to put the Buffs up 35-34, with Texas A&M giving up two turnovers late as Colorado prevailed, 35-34.

Hansen was sacked eight times for the second consecutive week, but did pass for 271 yards and a touchdown as the Buffs raised their record to 3-6, 2-3. Rodney Stewart had 118 yards rushing and two touchdowns, and Markques Simas finally showed some of the spark that endeared him during practices the past two seasons, catching seven passes for 135 yards (Simas had 122 yards receiving for the season coming into the game).

The game, as had become the pattern for Colorado in 2009, began ominously. The stat line for the Buffs’ first two drives: net one yard, punt; net three yards; punt. Meanwhile, Texas A&M’s first drive covered 58 yards in 11 plays. For a team which had been out-scored 64-27 in the first quarter of the first eight games of the season, these were not good numbers. Still, thanks to a goal line stand, the game remained scoreless. Texas A&M drove to the Colorado one yard line on its first drive, but two keepers by Aggie quarterback Jerrod Johnson failed to produce points.

The Aggies’ second drive, though, was productive.  Taking over at the Colorado 47, Texas A&M needed only seven plays to take the lead. A one-yard pass from Johnson to Jeff Fuller put A&M up 7-0 with 2:33 to play in the first quarter. The Colorado offense did have a response on their third drive, covering 66 yards in 14 plays before stalling inside the Texas A&M redzoone. A 37-yard field goal by Aric Goodman brought the Buffs to within 7-3 early in the second quarter.

The Colorado defense rose to the occasion on the Aggies’ next drive, forcing a three-and-out and a punt – no small feat, as Texas A&M was not forced into a single punt by Iowa State the previous week (a 35-10 victory). The Buffs took advantage of the momentum, putting together an offense explosion fans had been waiting for all season. On second-and-12 at the Colorado 42, quarterback Tyler Hansen hit wide receiver Markques Simas for 47 yards and a first down. The longest play from scrimmage all season was quickly followed by a 13 yard touchdown run by Rodney Stewart. The Buffs had the lead, 10-7 …

… and held it for 14 seconds.

On the ensuing kickoff, Aggie Cyrus Gray took the ball at his one yard line, and took the ball right up the heart of the Colorado coverage team for a 99 yard touchdown.

Before the Colorado fans had a chance to savor the Buffs’ first lead in eight quaters, Colorado was behind again.

After exchanging punts, Texas A&M put together a ten-play, 56 yard drive just before halftime. Milking the clock as they went, the Aggies scored on a three yard keeper by quarterback Jerrod Johnson with 17 seconds to play. The Buffs were now down by two scores for the third game in a row, and the sun-drenched crowd of 47,227 were left to wonder if a similar result to the Kansas State and Missouri games was forthcoming.

Halftime score:  Texas A&M 21, Colorado 10.

The second half began almost as poorly for Colorado as had the first, with Texas A&M putting together a nine-play, 50-yard drive. However, just as the Aggies’ first drive of the game had failed to net points, so too was the first drive of the second half unsucessful. A 48-yard field goal attempt by Randy Bullock was wide left, and the Buffs had new life. The Colorado offense took advantage, moving down the field thanks to a 23-yard pass from Tyler Hansen to Scotty McKnight and a 16-yard scramble for a first down on third-and-six by Hansen. The drive stalled, though, just inside the Aggies’ 20, with Aric Goodman called upon to make his second 37-yard field goal of the game [A quick shout out to Goodman, the much-maligned Colorado kicker. Goodman is now 9-13 on field goal attempts in 2009, a perfect five-for-five in Big 12 play].

21-13, Texas A&M.

The Colorado defense picked up its first and only sack of the game on the Aggies’ next possession, forcing a three-and-out. The following drive gave the Buffs and their fans renewed hope. Tyler Hansen scrambled for ten yards and a first down, then kept the ball on a designed keeper, netting 31 yards more. An 18-yard completion to tight end Riar Geer and a seven yard completion to freshman wide receiver Will Jefferson on third-and-seven gave the Buffs a first-and-goal. On third-and-goal at the 11, Tyler Hansen kept the ball on an option, pitching the ball to Rodney Stewart, who out-ran Aggie defenders to the corner for a touchdown. A two-point completion to Markques Simas tied the score.

21-21, with 1:19 to play in the third quarter.

The Texas A&M offense, seemingly empowered by the now loud Folsom Field crowd, quickly restored order. In an eight-play drive in which the Colorado defense failed to force a third down, the Aggies needed less than two minutes of play clock to re-take the lead. Christine Michaels, who had 74 yards rushing on the day, scored on a six yard run on the third play of the fourth quarter. 28-21, Texas A&M.

On the Buffs’ second play after the A&M touchdown, Tyler Hansen tried to quickly even the score. Hansen’s bomb to Markques Simas, however, was badly underthrown, and was intercepted by Aggies safety Jordan Pugh. Texas A&M took over in Colorado territory, but was only able to reach the Buffs’ 30 before settling for a field goal. The Colorado defense had held, but the Buffs were once again down by two scores, 31-20, with 11:01 to play in the game.

Showing a resiliency – and a consistency – absent for much of 2009, the Colorado offense had an answer. Hansen connected twice with Markques Simas, first for 12 yards; the second for 14 yards on third-and-13 at the A&M 45. Then, Rodney Stewart, who posted his seventh career 100-yard game on the afternoon (20 rushes for 118 yards) gained 16 yards. On first-and-goal at the Texas A&M seven yard line, Demetrius Sumler made his only carry of the day count, cruising up the middle for seven yards and a score.

The Buffs were now within three, at 31-28, with 7:14 still to play.

Aided by a personal foul on the kickoff which set up the Aggies at their 40-yard line (Colorado had 10 penalties for 94 yards on the day), Texas A&M looked to put the game away. After only four plays, the Aggies had a first-and-goal at the Colorado seven yard line. Three plays later, though, Texas A&M was still without a touchdown, settling for a 20-yard field goal. The field goal upped the lead to 34-28, but the Buffs were still within a touchdown with 3:59 left in the game.

Not only did the Buffs respond to the challenge, they did so in style.  Taking over at the 39-yard line, the Buffs went backwards. A delay of game penalty followed by the Aggies’ seventh sack of the afternoon left the Buffs with a second-and-25 at their own 24 yard line.

No problem.

First, Tyler Hansen hit Demetrius Sumler with a shovel pass for eight yards. Then, on third-and-16, Hansen bought enough time scrambling to allow Markques Simas to break free. Not only did Simas get the first down, he sprinted down the right sideline for a pickup of 45 yards. On the next play, Hansen hit tight end Patrick Devenny for a 22 yard touchdown. Devenny, who has made a habit of great one handed touchdown catches in big games (v. West Virginia last season; v. Texas this season), did so again.

Bedlam in Folsom, followed quickly by silence. The score was tied, 34-34, but the extra point was still pending. Goodman, though, was true, and, with 2:04 to play, Colorado had its second lead of the game, 35-34. The celebration resumed.

The only problem with the four play scoring drive was that there was still a great deal of time left on the clock. Texas A&M took over at their 20-yard line after the kickoff with 1:59 to play and two time outs with which to work. After a 15-yard completion, the Buffs blitzed. Hurried by linebacker B.J. Beatty, Jerrod Johnson was rushed into his throw. The underthrown ball was intercepted by sophomore safety Anthony Perkins at the Colorado 49 yard line.

Three plays by the Buffs lost five yards, but cost the Aggies their time outs, and left only 34 seconds on the game clock. When Matt DiLallo’s punt was muffed by Terrence Frederick and recovered by Colorado linebacker Marcus Burton, the Buffs were allowed to assume the “victory formation” for the first time all season.

Final Score: Colorado 35, Texas A&M 34.

“They were very committed on the sidelines and in the locker room,” said Dan Hawkins after the win. “I knew we were going to pull it out today.” The Colorado offense had its best day of the season, posting 437 total yards. The Colorado rushing game, held below 100 yards in the four of the first five games of Big 12 play, gained 166 yards. The Buffs would have had two 100-yard rushers, as quarterback Tyler Hansen 105 yards to go with the 118 yards posted by Rodney Stewart, but a second consecutive game with eight sacks (for 60 yards), left Hansen with 45 net yards. Hansen had his best passing day as a Buff, putting up his first 200-yard passing game, connecting on 21-of-32 passes for 271 yards.

With the win, the Buffs kept their flickering hopes of bowl eligibility alive. At 3-6, Colorado will have to defeat Iowa State (5-5) and Oklahoma State (7-2) on the road, as well as Nebraska (6-3) at home. Considering the fact that the Buffs have won only two games on the road – total – in 3  3/4 seasons under Dan Hawkins, a two game road winning streak seems unlikely. “We just said your backs can’t get any closer to the wall,” said Dan Hawkins. “And if you want a bowl game you have to win out. That’s the way it is, it’s ‘March Madness’.” Quarterback Tyler Hansen is willing to keep trying. “We are a bunch of fighters,” said Hansen. “No matter what, we’re going to keep fighting. We’re going to keep grinding.”

NoteHere is a link to the video of the game, courtesy of CU at the Gamer Paul

Game Notes –

– Colorado had a 100-yard rusher (Rodney Stewart; 118) and a 100-yard receiver (Markques Simas; seven catches, 135 yards), for only the 28th time in school history. The last time was in 2007 (Hugh Charles and Josh Smith v. Baylor), and only the eighth time this decade.

– Simas more than doubled his year-to-date numbers, coming into the game with 12 catches for 122 yards on the season before the Texas A&M game.

– Rodney Stewart continues his quick ascent up the all-time rushing list. With 1,210 career yards, Stewart is now up to 36th all-time, passing such familar names as Brian Calhoun (43rd; 1,108 yards); James Hill (41st; 1,142); and Anthony Weatherspoon (37th; 1,193).

– Scotty McKnight, with four catches for 66 yards, extended his consecutive game streak to 33 games. His 1,608 yards are now seventh on the all-time yardage list, passing Daniel Graham (1,543 yards). McKnight will likely have to wait for his senior season to move any higher, as No. 6 on the list, Javon Green, had 2,031 career yards. McKnight, if he remains healthy and on pace, will finish his Colorado career as the all-time yardage leader (Michael Westbrook; 2,548 yards).

– Senior tight end Riar Geer is also making a move. His two catches for 25 yards against Texas A&M were good enough to give him 83 career catches, with his 942 yards good enough to move into fifth on the tight end yardage list (passing Joe Klopfenstein’s 937 yards).

– Former linebacker and long-time assistant coach Brian Cabral was honored for his 300th game as a Buff. Cabral, who won a Super Bowl ring with the Chicago Bears in 1985, has survived four coaching changes while at Colorado.

Colorado Sky Blue

I’m a pack rat.

I have a habit of not throwing things away. Every fall, as another Montana winter approaches, it becomes a more and more difficult task to make room in our garage for our two cars.

In one sense, it has been a benefit in my work on CU at the Game. When the idea was first conceived (in 1996), I relied upon my piles of old game programs, newspaper clippings, and football preview magazines to help me reconstruct games for the Archives. If you were with the website last year, you may recall that there were a number of old Denver Post, Rocky Mountain News, and Boulder Daily Camera headlines featured along the sides of the site.

There is also my odd assortment of Colorado wearing apparel. There are a number of specific baseball caps (Big Eight champions; National Champions; bowl games, etc.), as well as every type of clothing going from t-shirts to polo shirts to sweatshirts to heavy winter coats.

Speaking of coats …

Last Monday (November 2nd), I wrote a letter to CU Athletic Director Mike Bohn, expressing my dismay at the lack of progress on the field by the Buffs over the past four seasons. Colorado was well on its way to its fourth consecutive losing season – for only the second time in school history. The only other time the University of Colorado – a program dating back to 1890 – has been mired in a similar slump, it was the six year run of poor play between 1979 and 1984. In my opinion, the Buffs, despite the costs associated with buying out the present coach, and the costs and disruption associated with bringing in a new coach, cannot afford to keep Dan Hawkins another year.

Then Darrell Scott quit, and the Marcus Houston comparisons began. The prize recruit – the only nationally rated recruit of the Dan Hawkins’ era – was leaving.

And the “blue out” gathered momentum.

In my eyes, the “blue out” was the perfect means for Colorado fans to express their frustration. Not support the team? Not an option. Staying away would only hurt the team we all love (in case you hadn’t noticed, I’m pretty invested in supporting the University of Colorado football program).

But showing up, and saying nothing, would be a lie. It would falsely state to the powers that be that we were content with the present state of the program. It would give false assurance that the dollars will continue to roll into the coffers regardless of the product on the field. For those of us without access to the inner circles of power, wearing blue said exactly what we wanted to say:

“We support the team. We support the players. Help us!”

… and I had just the coat for the job.

Not a powder blue t-shirt. Not a Nuggets’ sweatshirt. But an authentic, genuine, in my closest for a quarter century blue Colorado jacket. “Colorado sky blue at 9,000 feet” was the new color in 1981, and last until Colorado went “Back to Black” in 1985. The Colorado “blue period” witnessed poor play, poor attendance, and poor results. The blue uniforms came to represent a period we all wanted to forget; going back to Black represented new hope and a new beginning.

I wore my blue CU jacket (and, of course, the matching blue CU hat, also from circa 1984), to the Texas A&M game. For those old enough to remember, it brought about smiles of recognition. From the younger Colorado fans, there came inquiries as to whether the jacket was a “throwback” which I had recently purchased.

I cheered for my Buffs. I yelled at Anthony Perkins’ interception. I celebrated the B.J. Beatty fumble recovery to seal the victory.

And that was that … until the Game Notes came out.

In Dave Plati’s game notes, there is the following line: “The so-called ‘blue-out’ by some angry fans at the the team was a flop, with easily less than 200 participating stadium-wide (we counted)”.

The statement is wrong on several counts.

First, the fans I spoke to who wore blue were not “angry”, and certainly were not “angry” with the players. “Frustrated”, “disenchanted”, and “disappointed”? Yes. “Angry”? No.

Second, the “count” of “easily less than 200 participating” is grossly inaccurate. I cannot imagine how anyone in the press box could even begin to “count” the blue. In my immediate area, there was the following: a woman wearing a blue-and-white pinstripe shirt, vocal about the reason for her wardrobe selection; a man wearing his black-and-gold, but also showing to every one in the section his “blue era” souvenir – a blue “Climb With Us” CU bumper sticker; and a man with a young child decked out in Nuggets’ gear – with an explanation as to why. None of these people would have shown up in Dave Plati’s “count” (In fact, I’m not sure if I made it. I took off my jacket when it became warm in the second quarter, revealing – gasp! – a gold CU shirt).

Finally, the count missed any number of “blue” Colorado fans. Anyone who went to the game sat in a section with Texas A&M fans. In my area, there were two young Aggies directly in front of me, with four more a row behind. This is an area of long-time CU season ticket holders – CU fans who gave away or sold their tickets to fans cheering for the opposition. If Dave wanted to count the “blue”, he should have counted the “maroon” not in Sections 101 and 102. In my mind, giving away a CU seat to an opposing fan is far more egegrious than a silent apparel protest.

This is not to mention the 6,500 “black-and-gold” fans who forgot to show up Saturday. The stated attendance was 47,227 – the lowest attendance for the season, and the lowest ever for a game against Texas A&M. Those fans who didn’t come did a disservice far worse than wearing blue – they’ve given up on the team.

You know I’m not going anywhere. Wearing blue to the Texas A&M game didn’t change my loyalties. It was a statement by me – and many others – to Mike Bohn and the Colorado administration that there are fans who care deeply about the program, and don’t want to let the program slip back any further.

It is yet to be determined whether anyone was listening.

8 Responses to “Colorado 35, Texas A&M 34”

  1. Jay

    Stuart,

    I greatly appreciate your work on the site and it was a pleasure to meet you by the concession stands during halftime on Saturday. You should definitely post a picture of your blue jacket and hat for all to see as they are both true relics. You might recall that my friend and I were wearing our custom made blue shirts that read “No Timid, No Weak, No Hawk” and “Be a Dad at Home”. I am as dedicated as any CU fan and I was cheering loudly the entire game including yelling at the top of my lungs when Hawkins burned that timeout in the second half right before the two point conversion. Will this coaching staff ever show that they are prepared on game day?

    I am currently a season ticket holder and two weeks ago I purchased extra tickets to Saturday’s game to take some friends who were all supporting CU. I don’t care what Dave Plati or the coaching staff says, being at the game and cheering on the Buffs is much better than selling my tickets to some A&M fans (who were all over our stadium on Saturday). Those of us who have supported this team long before Bohn and Hawkins came here have the right to show our displeasure with the current coaching staff and the two and six record going into Saturday’s game.

    To the players who were purportedly not happy with the fans wearing blue, tell me that you would not want to go back to the beginning of this season and have Tyler Hansen as your starting quarterback. It was clear to everyone at the game on Saturday that this team has talent on offense that the current coaching staff has held back. Before Hawkins and Bohn get their PR machine rolling at the press conference tomorrow to gloat about how they beat A&M at home, let’s see what they can do on the road in Ames this week. What happened there two years ago should be enough to motivate any team.

  2. Doug

    Stuart I replied to your original email before I read this article, I hope you got it. Just one more thing, Speedy beat out D. Scott straight up, I hate the way it looks but that is the reality.

  3. Dan

    “We talked about it and took it as disrespect to us and we took it personally, we wanted to come out here and show the fans we’re still here, we’re still a good team and even though you guys don’t have our back, we’re going to play for each other.” – Tyler Hansen

    Hey Montana, I get what you were trying to do and I understand your frustrations and I share a lot of them but don’t you think it was viewed as disrespectful by a lot of the players? This is why I was against it. I felt like the players would take it more to heart than the coach(es) would and I don’t want the players to ever feel like I don’t support them win or lose. Thoughts?
    -Dan

  4. Brad

    Any pictures of that blue jacket Stuart? I couldn’t find my blue cap from 1982. If nothing else, the blue-out brought back some memories – I’m not sure who #22 was back in the early 80’s, but I saw some of his jerseys in attendance. 200 my foot.

  5. Phil Boice

    Thanks for the great review Stuart. I proudly wore a gold Colorado Buffaloes T-shirt today as I walked around the Arizona Memorial. I had dinner with an Aggie last night and he just sat in disbelief. He could not explain how they lost that game. I could not explain how we won it since the Buffs showed a fire that we have not seen in a while. I love this team and only want what is best for the team and the University. Keep him, fire him whatever. Support him while he is the Coach.

    Thanks again for the great website.

  6. Phil Pilgrim

    Keep up the good work Stuart. We all sure enjoy it. As for the blue out statement. I think it was perfect, and don’t agree at all with Plati’s comments. The Buffs have to prove they can win on the road and string together back to back wins for the first time in awhile. I am still hoping for a change at the top and believe it will come at the end of this season.

  7. devsinsix

    Thanks for this website – I have lurked for years and always enjoy the perspective. I am really glad we won today – I couldn’t watch the game here in southern Oregon, but I know I would have enjoyed it since a comeback is always fun. I am just glad we won. I am not one of those rooting against Hawkins, I am not a big fan of his either, but I continue to hope for him to be successful because if he is successful then that means we will be winning. If Bohn decides to fire him then I am okay with that too, but he better bring in a very good replacement. If it were me making the call I would probably ask him to leave and hire someone new. But, alot of people wanted Barnett gone and look where we are. My fear is that if we hire someone new that it will be another four year project. I sure hope not. At this rate I will be in my fifties before we have another championship calibre team (I was twenty two back when we won it all in January of 1991). Go Buffs!

  8. mam2jd

    Thanks, Stuart. Look forward to it and enjoy the win tonight!

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