October 30th – Boulder           No. 17 Oklahoma 45, Colorado 10

At 1-5-1, the Buffs were not likely to pose much of a threat to the 5-2 Sooners. As the game unfolded, the Oklahoma game became a representation of the 1982 season in a nutshell: a great deal of heart; a stubborn defense; and an eventual submission to a more talented foe.

Considering that the last two games with Oklahoma had left Colorado on the short end of 82-42 and 49-0 scores, the fact that the score at halftime was 10-10 was just this side of remarkable. Add to this the tidbit that the Oklahoma touchdown came on a 77-yard punt return, and it is clear how well the defense of Colorado was playing.

Turnovers in the second half led to quick Sooner scores, however, leaving the final score of 45-10 much more to the Sooner faithful’s liking. “I thought it was another game where we blew opportunities,” said Bill McCartney. “We fought for awhile, and then we just broke down and hurt ourselves.” On the day, Oklahoma passed only eight times, but ran the ball 76 times (for 368 yards) to wear down the Buffs.

Of the 35-0 second half, McCartney noted, “They didn’t have far to go with the ball in the second half. At that point we got them down and lost our confidence. We couldn’t do anything to them. We gave them momentum and confidence.

“I don’t think it was a change in strategy,” continued McCartney. “We fought for awhile and then we broke down and hurt ourselves. We’re just not big and strong to keep going the full 60 minutes against a team like Oklahoma”.

Two stats told the story of the game … The first: Buff quarterback Randy Essington went 13-for-31 for only 132 yards – and four interceptions (including one returned 49 yards by safety Keith Stansberry for a touchdown) … The second: Oklahoma had 37:21 of possession time, compared to 22:39 for the Buffs.

Still, progress was being noted. A column in the Denver Post by Tom Patterson the day after the game was entitled: “Buffs Traveling Right Road”. Even Oklahoma coach Barry Switzer, not known for heaping praise upon the opposition, had this to say about the Buffs after the game: “From what I’ve seen, they’ve fought like hell. As long as you keep playing like that and they keep giving the effort, that’s progress.”

Still, at the end of the day, Colorado was 1-6-1.

Progress was coming in very small doses.

Here are the video highlights from the game, courtesy of CU at the Gamer Paul:

– Game Notes … 

– The Buffs were led on offense by Richard Johnson, who had 45 yards rushing and 63 yards receiving. Johnson’s 17-yard touchdown run in the first quarter gave Colorado a rare lead over Oklahoma, 7-3.

– Linebacker Ray Cone was a one man wrecking crew against the Sooners, posting Buff season highs for total tackles (22) and unassisted tackles (16). For the season, Cone had 183 tackles, almost twice as many as the next Buffs’ defender, linebacker Mark Shoop, who had 92 total tackles in 1982.

– The win over Colorado was the fifth of seven straight for Colorado. The 1982 season did not have a happy ending for the Sooners, however. Oklahoma was ranked No. 11 when the Sooners traveled to Lincoln for the regular season finale. The Cornhuskers prevailed, 28-24, relegating Oklahoma to the Fiesta Bowl. There, against the home-standing Sun Devils of Arizona State, the Sooners fell again, 32-21, to finish the season 8-4, ranked No. 16 in the final polls.


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