October 29th – Boulder           Colorado 24, Iowa State 12

After playing lethargically for most of the first half, Colorado rebounded from its loss to Oklahoma to put away a decent Iowa State club, 24-12.

Playing as if still in a haze from the Oklahoma game, the Buffs spotted Iowa State a 6-0 lead on two long distance field goals (49 and 52 yards) by Cyclone kicker Jeff Shudak. It was not until almost halftime that the Buffs took the lead, with a Ken Culbertson field goal and a Sal Aunese one-yard run giving Colorado a 10-6 halftime edge.

A scoreless third quarter left the Colorado Homecoming crowd on edge, but a 46-yard touchdown run by Eric Bieniemy early in the fourth gave the Buffs a 17-6 cushion. On the day, Bieniemy rushed for 166 yards, giving the sophomore tailback 1,104 yards on the season, the first Buff to top 1,000 yards in a season since James Mayberry in 1977.

Bieniemy had the season totals, but he was not alone in topping the century mark against the Cyclones. Junior J.J. Flannigan chipped in 103 yards and a late score in the first 100+ yard effort of the tailback=s career. Flannigan’s touchdown came on a ten-yard run, capping an eight-play, 99-yard drive to give Colorado a 24-6 lead with less than five minutes to play.

The Buff defense again held its own, holding the Cyclones to 314 yards of total offense and two field goals (the Cyclones’ only touchdown coming on an intercepted pitch return with 1:25 remaining in the contest). The Colorado defense forced eight turnovers, including six interceptions, one shy of the school record.

With its sixth win of the season, Colorado was now bowl-qualified. However, as seven wins had proven insufficient to merit an invitation just one year earlier, the 1988 Buffs knew that there could be no let up. Lowly Kansas State was the sole remaining home game on the schedule, so the Buffs would need a breakthrough on the road to ensure a post-season bid.

Columbia, Missouri, and Lincoln, Nebraska, were the next two stops of the 1988 campaign, neither site having been particularly advantageous for Colorado. Overall, the Buffs were 5-20-2 against Missouri on the road; 5-18 v. Nebraska.

If Colorado was to make a national statement in 1988, one or both of these trends would need to be broken.

Game Notes …

– The game with two 100-yard rushers was the first for the Buffs in 1988, and only the 23rd time in Colorado history. However, it was the second year in succession that the Buffs had pulled the trick against Iowa State, with Sal Aunese and Erich Kissick doing the honors in the 1987 game in Ames. Flannigan had to gain his 100 yards the hard way in the 1988 game, needing only seven carries to get to 103 yards.

– Eric Bieniemy’s 1,000-yard season was only the seventh in Colorado history, and the first since James Mayberry went for 1,299 yards in 1977. Bieniemy, who would miss the season finale due to injury, would rush for 1,243 yards in ten games, the third-highest total in Buff annals, behind only Mayberry’s 1,299 yards and the 1,386 yards put up by Charlie Davis in 1971.

— The teams combined for 12 turnovers, with the Buffs turning the ball over four times (two fumbles; two interceptions), while the Cyclones suffered eight turnovers (two fumbles; six interceptions).

– The six interceptions – two by freshman Deon Figures – were one short of a team record. In 1953, the Buffs had seven interceptions against Utah (a 21-0 Colorado victory). The eight overall turnovers were two short of a team record (in 1976, the Colorado defense generated ten turnovers against Kansas – a 40-17 Buff win).

– The Iowa State game was just the second start of Deon Figures’ career. He would go on to be named the Big Eight Freshman Defensive Newcomer of the Year.

– Iowa State, in its second year under head coach Jim Walden, came into Boulder on a three game winning streak, but would lose three of its final four games to finish the 1988 season with a 5-6 record (3-4 in Big Eight play).


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