October 18th – Boulder          Colorado 31, Iowa State 3

For the second week in a row, Colorado put together an excellent effort on both sides of the ball.  For the first time all season, though, the Buffs did not have to hope for a fourth quarter stop by the defense to win, routing Iowa State, 31-3.

Led by quarterback Mark Hatcher’s 95 yards and O.C. Oliver’s 79 yards, the Buffs rolled up 303 yards on the ground.  Behind Oliver’s two early scores, the Buffs were up 17-0 by the end of the first quarter, and led 24-3 at halftime.

The Cyclones, 4-1 entering the contest, played more like a team with Colorado’s record of 1-4.  (In fact, Iowa State’s 4-1 record was somewhat misleading, with the Cyclones’ wins coming over powerhouses Indiana State, Wichita State, Wyoming, and Kansas.  Colorado, despite its 1-4 record, was listed as a 10 1/2 point favorite coming into the contest).

The second half of the Iowa State game, for the first time since the Freedom Bowl-clinching win over Kansas State to end the 1985 season, was a relaxing time for the Folsom Field crowd.  The only score of the second half came when little used junior halfback Cam Jones picked up his first carries and first score of the year.

Punter Barry Helton, who had been having a terrific year, outdid himself against Iowa State.  Helton booted five kicks in the Cyclone game for an average of 56.6 yards per punt.  It would be one of the most impressive performances of the All-American’s stellar career at Colorado.

Colorado was now 2-0 in Big Eight conference play, tied for the conference lead with the big boys, Oklahoma and Nebraska.  Junior nose tackle, Kyle Rappold, for one, was not concerned about Colorado’s overall 2-4 record:  “The fact that we’re 2-0 in the Big Eight is all that matters,” said Rappold after the game, “We’re just where we want to be in the Big Eight.  We’re in the driver’s seat and Nebraska has to come here and be on our turf.”

No one outside of the Buffs’ locker room, though, gave Colorado much of a chance as coach McCartney’s “rival”, the undefeated and third-ranked Nebraska Cornhuskers, came to town. Nebraska was not only undefeated, but the Cornhuskers were winning going away. A season-opening 34-17 win over No. 11 Florida State set the stage, with routs of Illinois (59-14), Oregon (48-14 – the same Oregon team which had defeated the Buffs), Oklahoma State (30-10), and Missouri (48-17). Only South Carolina, which pushed Nebraska before falling, 27-24, had managed to stay within 20 points of the Big Red.

It was doubtful that the Cornhusker locker room was overly impressed by Colorado’s 2-0 Big Eight record.

Game Notes:

– The 1986 Colorado Homecoming honored Ellison Onizuka, a Colorado graduate who was among the seven astronauts lost in the January, 1986, Challenger explosion.

– For the third time in six games, Colorado posted over 300 yards rushing against an opponent (303). Remarkably, however, the Iowa State game marked the first time in 1986 in which Colorado held the ball for more time than their opponent (32:53 to 27:07).

– Freshman O.C. Oliver had two touchdowns against Iowa State. His six on the season would lead the Buffs in 1986. For the Iowa State game, O.C. Oliver replaced Mike Marquez as the starter at left halfback, with Marquez taking over for junior Sam Smith at right halfback. Oliver would go on to start every Big Eight conference game in 1986.

– Iowa State, as noted, came into the game against Colorado with a 4-1 record. After the game in Boulder, however, the Cyclones would go on to win only two more games. With two games left in the 1986 season, and his team sporting a 5-4 record, four year head coach Jim Criner was let go. Interim head coach Chuck Banker would lead Iowa State to a 1-1 close to the season, defeating Kansas State and losing to Oklahoma State. Jim Walden would be brought in as the new head coach for the Cyclones in 1987.


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