November 7th – Boulder           Colorado 27, Missouri 10

Colorado ran its home record for the year to 4-1 in defeating Missouri 27-10 before 44,050 at Folsom Field.

Missouri came into the game with a 5-3 record, 2-2 in the Big Eight. Both teams had lost to Oklahoma State, so it was apparent that this contest would decide which team would finish fourth in the Big Eight conference in 1987 behind Oklahoma, Nebraska and the OSU Cowboys.

With the Buffs and the Tigers still aspiring to a bowl invitation, the game was critical.

Colorado struck first, scoring on a 53-yard run by halfback J.J. Flannigan late in the first quarter. Early in the second stanza, the Buffs put the game out of reach. An eight-play drive positioned Buff kicker Dave DeLine, making his first appearance of the season after being hampered by a thigh injury, to make a 31-yard field goal. DeLine’s kick was good, and the Buffs were on top, 10-0.

After the kickoff, Missouri quarterback John Stollenwerck fumbled a snap. Colorado’s defensive tackle Curt Koch recovered, and three plays later fullback Erich Kissick scored from three yards out for a 17-0 Buff lead.

A 54-yard field goal by Tiger kicker Tom Whelihan put Missouri on the board, but Colorado closed out the first half with some trickery. Senior flanker Lance Carl, himself the recipient of a half-back pass for a touchdown against Nebraska in 1986, threw a 34-yard flanker-pass to Eric Bieniemy for a score just 27 seconds before halftime.

Halftime score: Colorado 24, Missouri 3.

But …

Final score: Colorado 27, Missouri 10.

By Bill McCartney’s own admission, the Buffs played not to lose in the second half.

“I felt when we were ahead 24-3”, explained the Colorado head coach, “if we didn’t do anything foolish, we wouldn’t lose.”

Missouri did get a third quarter touchdown, offset by a 52-yard field goal by Ken Culbertson for Colorado. The Buffs accomplished McCartney’s goal of not doing anything foolish in the second half, but for a 6-3 team looking for a bowl bid, the Buffs’ play in the second half did not impress. No bowl scouts attended the Missouri game, and none were expected to travel to Manhattan for the Kansas State contest in two weeks.

In the meantime, bowl positioning would take place. Colorado, a bubble team for the previous two years, would have to sit and wait out a bowl bid once again.

Game Notes –

– The 52-yard field goal was a career-best for sophomore field goal kicker Ken Culbertson, who would go on to become the Buffs’ regular field goal kicker in 1988 and 1989.

– The leading passer for Colorado against Missouri was wideout Lance Carl. The senior wide receiver hit on his only pass, a 34-yard touchdown to Eric Bieniemy, while starting quarterback Sal Aunese went two-for-eight against the Tigers, going for only 33 yards total.

– Erich Kissick went over the 100-yard mark for the third time in four games, posting 129 yards on 16 carries (after going for 122 yards against Kansas and 124 against Iowa State). Kissick would go to finish the 1987 season as the Buffs’ second-leading rusher, with 584 yards, behind quarterback Sal Aunese, who had 612 rushing yards.

– Free safety Rodney Rodgers led the Buffs with 16 tackles against Missouri. The senior would go on finish fourth in tackles for Colorado in 1987, posting 85 tackles in all.

– The Colorado defense, a week after surrendering a season-best 239 yards against Iowa State, did even better against Missouri, limiting Missouri to 235 yards. The combined effort for the two games – 474 yards – was just ten yards more than the 1980 Buffs gave up, on average, in 1980.

– The week after falling easily to Colorado, Missouri would hang tough against No. 1 Oklahoma. The Tigers lost, 17-13, but the game was close enough that the pollsters moved Nebraska in front of Oklahoma in the next poll (Oklahoma would re-gain the top spot a week later after beating Nebraska, 17-7). Missouri would then snap a five game losing streak by beating Kansas in the season finale, concluding the 1987 season with a 5-6 record.

– The 5-6 record in 1987 would be the best record posted by head coach Woody Widenhofer in his four years at Columbia. In 1988, Missouri would go 3-7-1, and Widenhofer was fired, accumulating an overall record of 12-31-1.



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