November 12 – at Oklahoma           Oklahoma 41, Colorado 28

The final scores of the Nebraska games in the two years of the McCartney era had been somewhat misleading. The Buffs were at least in the game in the first half of each contest.

Conversely, the final score against Oklahoma in 1983, 41-28, would lead one to believe the Buffs made a respectable showing against the Sooners. After all, the Sooners had won the previous six contests against Colorado by an average score of 51-16. Yes, it was the Buffs out there on Owen field, before 75,008 Sooner faithful, with quarterback Steve Vogel, subbing for an injured Derek Marshall, overthrowing tight end Dave Hestera in the end zone with the Buffs having the chance to pull within seven points late in the fourth quarter. And yes, it was a pass from Vogel to Chris McLemore which came up an inch short on fourth down at the Sooner three-yard line with just over two minutes to play.

And yes, the headline in the Boulder Daily Camera the next morning did proclaim “Buffs make it close at OU, 41-28“.

Actually, though, it was never really that close.

Oklahoma raced out to a 34-0 lead in the first half. If not for a seven-yard touchdown catch by Loy Alexander with less than a minute left in the second quarter, (even this consolation score came after the Sooners committed four penalties for 43 yards in the 63-yard “drive”), the Buffs would have been shut out. Colorado was held to 31 yards in total offense in the first half.

Colorado did pull to within 41-28 with 8:50 left in the game, but could not pull out the upset.

“We just dug ourselves too big a hole with all the first-half mistakes,” said Bill McCartney. “You can’t spot a team like Oklahoma that many points. But after all we’ve been through, we might have folded our tents. We didn’t, and that’s a credit to our kids.”

With the win, the Sooners raised their record to 7-3, 5-1 in conference. A showdown with #1 Nebraska now awaited the Sooner Nation . The Buffs were the mirror of the Sooners in every respect:  3-7 overall, 1-5 in conference, and a meaningless game against equally woeful Kansas State to close out the season.

For several reasons, though, the game would not turn out to be so meaningless.

Here are YouTube highlights from the game, found by CU at the Gamer Paul:

Game Notes –

– Colorado held onto the ball for a season-best 33:35, but could not keep Oklahoma from winning the battle of total offense, 423 yards to 208.

– After falling behind Oklahoma, 34-0, Colorado out-scored the Sooners, 28-7 the rest of the game. The four touchdowns for the Buffs came as follows: A Steve Vogel to Loy Alexander seven-yard pass; a Chris McLemore two-yard run; a Vogel to Ron Brown touchdown pass covering 11 yards; and a six yard run, again by Chris McLemore.

– For the 1983 season, Lee Rouson would lead the Buffs in rushing, with 494 yards, just ahead of the 478 rushing yards rushing posted by Chris McLemore. While McLemore posted seven rushing touchdowns on the season, however, Rouson failed to score on a run all year.

– Before being injured, quarterback Derek Marshall was 0-for-three against the Sooners, In Marshall’s place, Steve Vogel went 13-of-32 for 119 yards and two touchdowns.

– Oklahoma would hang tough against No. 1 Nebraska Thanksgiving weekend, falling 28-21 to the Cornhuskers. The 7-4 Sooners did not go bowling in 1983, but did get a consolation prize: a December road game against Hawaii. A 21-17 win against the Rainbow Warriors gave Oklahoma an 8-4 record for the 1983 season.


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