November 21st – Boulder           Colorado 24, Kansas State 21

There was little to entice a crowd to Folsom Field to come out for the last game of the 1981 season.

Colorado limped into the game 2-8 and 1-5 in Big Eight play. Kansas State, for its part, came into the contest with similar 2-8 and 1-5 marks. Kansas State had even lost that year to the seemingly mighty Drake Bulldogs, at home, 18-17.

The only issue to be decided on this day was which team would finish 7th in the Big Eight, and who would finish last. But, as the program for the game reminded the 23,921 faithful who bothered to show up, the game gave Colorado the “chance of equaling Coach Chuck Fairbanks’ best record at CU of 3-8”.

Go Buffs!

Perhaps inspired by the opportunity to equal the efforts of the 1979 team, the Buffs came through on the ground in securing a 24-21 win. Lee Rouson rushed for a career high 149 yards on 32 carries to lead the Buffs. Rouson scored his sixth rushing touchdown of the season, finishing the year with 656 yards on the ground, a freshman CU record.

The Colorado Buffaloes finished their season 3-8, taking 7th-place in the Big Eight.

So few were the crumbs of success that the Buffs had had to chew on that the Denver Post article on the game, written by Michael Kinsley, started: “Seventh place never looked so good as it did to the University of Colorado Saturday”.

Would the win in the finale – and avoidance of the Big Eight basement – be enough to save the job of Chuck Fairbanks?

Speculation swirled around the issue, but Fairbanks indicated – at the time – that he would be back: “I’m going to go home and see Momma and the kids. I’ll probably take a little vacation, get rested up and then go back to work.”

A true statement … for the next six months …

Game Notes –

– The win over Kansas State kept Colorado out of the Big Eight cellar. While hardly a cause for much celebration, it did keep in tact a record for the program. Only Colorado and Oklahoma managed to avoid having at least one year as the sole resident of the Big Seven/Eight basement over the course of the history of the conference, 1948-95.




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