October 27th – at Oklahoma State            No. 10 Oklahoma State 20, Colorado 14

Junior Craig Keenan made his first start at quarterback at Colorado, earning the start on the road against Oklahoma State. Keenan replaced Colorado’s all-time passer Steve Vogel, but faced a real challenge, as the Buffs took the field against a top ten opponent for the second week in a row.

Colorado had played Nebraska tough the week before, leading 7-3 after three quarters …  but not tough enough to post a win.

History doesn’t always repeat itself.

Sometimes it rhymes.

The headlines from the Denver Post the morning after the Oklahoma State game tell all that you need to know about the game: “Close, but …” and “Oklahoma State survives CU 20-14”.

The tried and true method for the Buffs had come through once again. A valiant defensive effort kept the Buffs in the game, but the offense could not capitalize on the opportunities afforded by their opponent.

Keenan completed 10-of-25 passes for 178 yards, including an 80-yard touchdown connection with wide receiver Ron Brown. Brown’s 141 yards on four catches gave him 529 total yards for the season and an impressive 25.9 yards per catch average. The Buffs running game, however, again proved to be the Buffs’ downfall. With the Colorado defense keeping the Buffs in the game, Colorado needed to establish the run. Sadly, however, the Buffs failed to crack the 100 yard barrier for the third consecutive week.

Still, with four turnovers and linebacker Barry Remington’s 19 tackles, Colorado had a chance to win in the last minute of play. Trailing 20-14 with 1:21 left on the game clock, the Buffs took over at their own 20-yard line. Two time-outs remained, but the Buffs would be forced to drive 80 yards against the nation’s eighth-best defense, a 25-30 mph wind, and a hostile homecoming crowd of 47,800.

Colorado and Oklahoma State had engaged in several fantastic finishes in the 1980’s. Would this be another?

After a first down incompletion, Keenan went down with a knee bruise. Enter Steve Vogel, the hero of the 1981 11-10 win against these same Cowboys. Could Vogel reproduce his earlier magic?

Nope. Completions of 22 and 20 yards gave the Colorado faithful hope. Two sacks, however, snuffed the Buffs dreams of an upset. Instead, the scoreboard remained unchanged, 20-14, Oklahoma State. Colorado’s hope of defeating a top ten team for the first time since the 1975 squad beat Missouri, 31-20, was instead the Buffs’ seventh loss in eight games.

Vogel could not bring the Buffs back. His two completions, in three attempts, for 39 total yards, would be the last of his CU career.

Game Notes –

– The final score of 20-14 sounds mundane enough, but the game featured two safeties, three field goals, a missed extra point, and a two-point conversion. Oklahoma State earned both safeties, on a snap which went out of the endzone in the first quarter, and a tackle of Buffs’ running back Lee Rouson in the endzone in the third quarter.

– Not surprisingly, the two safeties by an opponent in one game set a Colorado record. In fact, only twice in school history (1982 and 1984) have the Buffs surrendered two safeties to an opponent in a season.

– Junior quarterback Craig Keenan would go on to start the final four games of the 1984 season, the only four starts of his career.

– The Buffs set a season high for rushing attempts against Oklahoma State, with 44, but it didn’t help. The Buffs netted only 59 yards rushing on the afternoon.

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