October 17th – Boulder          Colorado 35, Kansas 10

Homecoming for the Colorado Buffaloes was successful for the fourth consecutive year, as the Buffs put together a season-high (and wishbone-high) 546 yards of total offense in a 35-10 rout of Kansas.

As had become the pattern in 1987, a new face led the way.  Sophomore fullback Erich Kissick, who had carried the ball only nine times for 26 yards on the season coming into the game, lumbered for 122 yards and a touchdown on 18 carries.  Michael Simmons, who had started the season at fullback, chipped in 41 yards and a score on 12 carries.

Quarterback Sal Aunese, returning to the starting role in place of the ineffective Mark Hatcher, posted his second 100+ yard passing performance.  Aunese completed five-of-eight attempts for 105 yards, including receiving credit for a 28-yard touchdown pass to Drew Ferrando which he didn’t complete to Ferrando.

Come again?

Here’s what happened:  With less than a minute to play in the first half, and the Buffs struggling to pad a 7-3 lead, Aunese threw the ball to halfback Eric Bieniemy.  Bieniemy was hit from behind as he reached the Jayhawk four-yard line, with the ball popping free and rolling into the end zone.  Colorado split end Drew Ferrando was “Johnny-on-the-spot”, falling on the ball for a Colorado touchdown.  In the game statistics, Aunese was given credit for a 28-yard touchdown pass, Bieniemy was given credit for a 28-yard catch, and Ferrando was given a touchdown catch but no yardage.

Got it?

Colorado’s defense also came to play.

The Jayhawks managed just over two yards per carry, compiling only 84 yards on 39 rushing attempts.  Kansas did have 204 yards passing, but 98 of those came in the last minute of play, when the Colorado secondary had a mental lapse. Up 35-3, the Buffs’ secondary allowed Jayhawk quarterback Kelly Donohoe to connect with Willie Vaughn on a 98-yard touchdown, the longest play Colorado had ever allowed.

The final score of 35-10 was satisfying, but only in part.

The Buffs won comfortably, but still failed to score until mid-way through the second quarter against a defense which had allowed all of its Division 1-A opponents to score on its first offensive series.  In addition, the Buffs turned the ball over three times, and recovered their own fumbles three more times.

Such sloppy play was permissible against Kansas.  Unfortunately, the Big Eight did not allow the Buffs to play Kansas every weekend.

Up next:  Undefeated and No. 1-ranked Oklahoma.

Game Notes –

– Ralphie III had been scheduled to make her first appearance at Homecoming game against Kansas.  Ralphie was given a few trial runs around Folsom Field the day before the game, but was deemed too wild to be trusted on game-day.  Ralphie III attended the Kansas game, but was kept in her pen.

– The win against Kansas also represented the Buffs 200th win at Folsom Field.  With the 35-10 triumph, Colorado’s record on the “hilltop” rose to 200-106-8.

– Prior to allowing the 98-yard touchdown pass to the Jayhawks, the longest completion allowed in Colorado history was surrendered to Kansas State, when Lane Brown hit Frances Starns for a 94-yard touchdown on October 20, 1951.

– Freshman outside linebacker Kanavis McGhee received his first career start against Kansas. McGhee would go on to start the remaining five games of his freshman season, and would miss only two more starts in his CU career (the last two games of the 1988 season after suffering a broken ankle against Nebraska). McGhee would go on to be a three-time first-team All-Big Eight performer, and would be honored as an All-American by the Walter Camp Foundation in 1989.

– Two other players also had their first starts against Kansas. Sophomore defensive end Arthur Walker started against the Jayhawks, and started every game the rest of the season. Walker finished the season with 25 tackles and two sacks … Freshman tight end/fullback George Heminway started in the Kansas game, and had four other starts in the 1987 season. Heminway finished the year with four catches, including a season-best 33 yard reception against the Jayhawks.

– 1987 was the second – and final – season as head coach at Kansas for Bob Valesente. The Jayhawks would go on to a 1-9-1 record in 1987 (defeating Southern Illinois, tying Kansas State), with Valesente leaving Lawrence after compiling a 4-17-1 overall record. He would be replaced for the 1988 season by Glen Mason, who would go on to coach nine seasons at Kansas.



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