November 7th – Boulder          Missouri 30, Colorado 14

The Missouri game offered the Buffs an opportunity to rise above the depths of the past season and a half, but squandered opportunities led to a 30-14 loss to the Tigers.

Missouri had gotten off to a fast 5-0 start, but had lost their last three, scoring only 8.3 points per game in those contests. Colorado had shown some signs of life prior to the Sooner debacle, especially on defense. Still, the Missouri defense had been more consistent on defense, allowing more than 20 points just once all season.

A less than capacity crowd of 35,782 came to Folsom Field that afternoon (or, as Skip Carey of WTBS would say during Atlanta Braves baseball games during that era, when the Braves were less than stellar in the field: the Colorado crowd represented “a partial sell-out”).

Early on, it looked as if it might be Colorado’s day.

An interception and a fumble recovery by the Buffs led to drives of 27 and 25 yards and a 14-0 lead early into the second quarter. Thereafter, though, matters just went from frustrating to humiliating.

Randy Essington, healed from bruised ribs suffered in the Oklahoma State game, returned to action, but he was no more effective than Steve Vogel had been, going 12-for-26 for 127 yards, with three interceptions and no scores. Halfback Lee Rouson was the offensive hero, scoring both of the Buffs touchdowns in rushing for 132 yards on 34 carries (the red-shirt freshman’s first ever game over 100 yards).

The defense, however, did not contain the Missouri offense, and Buff fans left muttering again to themselves about what could have been.

Game Notes –

– Randy Essington would go on to lead the team in passing in 1981, completing 95-of-195 passes for 1,199 yards, six touchdowns and nine interceptions. Almost a third of Essington’s yards (345) however, came against Texas Tech in the opener.

– After taking out Colorado, the Missouri Tigers would go on to take down No. 15 Oklahoma, 19-14, the following weekend – the first win for Missouri over Oklahoma since 1969. The Tigers finished the season 7-4, 3-4 in Big Eight play. Missouri was invited to play in the Tangerine Bowl in Orlando, taking on No. 18 Southern Mississippi. A 19-17 upset gave the Tigers an 8-4 final record, and a No. 19 ranking in the final Associated Press poll.



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