November 10th – Boulder            No. 9 Oklahoma 42, Colorado 17

Oklahoma, ranked  No. 9 in the country, came to Boulder with an overall record of 6-1-1. Heach coach Barry Switzer’s Sooners ran a high octane offense, with a precision wishbone offense complimented by a passing game which included tight end – and future NFL star – Keith Jackson. But the Oklahoma calling card in 1984 was its defense, led by noseguard Tony Casillas and linebacker Brian Bosworth. Bosworth, though only a freshman, had already been nominated for Big Eight defensive player-of-the-week honor three times.

For Colorado’s final home game of the 1984 season, only 38,888 showed up. The attendance represented the smallest home crowd to watch the Sooners play at Folsom since 1966. Even though the Buffs had played two top ten teams close in the past month, few gave much chance to the 1-8 Buffs.

The analysis proved correct.

Any hopes for an upset were seemingly quashed before the Colorado band had found its way to their seats after the opening program. Oklahoma took just three plays to “drive” 80 yards for the opening score. All of 48 seconds into game ten, and the Buffs were heading for a long day. Memories of the 82-42 debacle in 1980 were relived in the stands.

As had been the characteristic of the Bill McCartney teams, though, the out-manned Buffs stayed in the game for a time … just long enough to give the fans false hope. Jon Embree scored on a five-yard pass from Craig Keenan midway through the second period to bring Colorado to within seven, 14-7. The Buffs’ defense then held the Sooners on the next possession, forcing a punt.

When Jo Jo Collins took the punt and handed off on a reverse to Lyle Pickens, it looked as if Pickens might go 72 yards for a score to tie the game. Instead, Pickens was caught from behind at the Sooner 22 yard line. Colorado could not capitalize on the great field position, losing six yards in three plays. Still, after Dave DeLine hit a 45-yard field goal with 3:52 remaining in the first half, the score stood at: Oklahoma 14, Colorado 10.

Then the partly cloudy November sky fell in on the Buffs.

The next three scoring drives for Oklahoma read as follows: First drive – Three plays, 67 yards (68 yard pass for a touchdown after the Buffs had forced a third-and-11 following the DeLine field goal) … 21-10, Oklahoma; Second drive – Two plays, five yards (three yard touchdown run after a turnover just before half-time) … 28-10, Oklahoma; and, Third drive – Two plays, 31 yards (22-yard pass after another turnover deep in Colorado territory) … 35-10 Oklahoma.

In less than a quarter of playing time, the game had gone from a 14-10 contest to a 35-10 rout.

The rest of the game was a mere formality. Oklahoma scored again in the fourth quarter, running the score to 42-10. Colorado did score on a Lee Rouson one yard run with 15 seconds left, making the final score 42-17. Rouson finished the day as Colorado’s leading rusher, managing only 17 yards on 15 attempts. Colorado’s running game now ranked 105 out of 105 Division 1-A schools.

Denver Post columnist Buddy Martin’s column the next morning was entitled: “CU football loses all humor“. Whimsically looking for encouragement from the 42-17 defeat, Martin did note that, at least:

“The weather was beautiful at Folsom Field. Ralphie II, the buffalo mascot, didn’t suffer any injuries or cause any. There were no cyanide pills passed around the student sections at half-time.”

Some things to be grateful for, I suppose.

Now, with one game remaining in the 1984 season, it would now take a road win over a 2-7-1 Kansas State squad for the Buffs to avoid a second 1-10 season in five years.

Here are the video highlights of the game, found by CU at the Gamer Paul:


Game Notes –

– Officially, including sacks, Colorado ran the ball 30 times – for a minus-three yards. Before the Oklahoma game, Colorado had been held to negative yards rushing only three times in school history (including the record-setting minus-16 yards rushing against Iowa State earlier in the 1984 season).

– Looking for any sort of production out of the offense, red-shirt freshman quarterback Chuck Page saw his first action as a Buff. After completing 13-of-28 passes for 240 yards and two touchdowns for the Colorado junior varsity team (yes, CU had a JV team in 1984. The juniors went 2-1, with wins over Scottsdale Junior College and the Air Force JV team, and a loss to Pratt Community College), Page went 2-of-3 for 22 yards against Oklahoma.

– After the game against Colorado, Oklahoma would go on to defeat #1 Nebraska, 17-7, and #3 Oklahoma State, 24-14, to claim the Big Eight title and an Orange Bowl berth. The 2nd-ranked Sooners might have had a claim to the national championship if they had beaten Washington the Orange Bowl (BYU was ranked #1, but barely got past unranked Michigan, 24-17, in the Holiday Bowl), but Oklahoma fell to the 4th-ranked Huskies, 28-17, to fall to 6th in the final 1984 poll.

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