October 15th – at Kansas           Colorado 21, Kansas 9

If there was ever a team to provide a tonic for a 1988 Buff squad licking its collective wounds after a discouraging loss to Oklahoma State, it was Kansas.

The Jayhawks were 0-5 on the season, coming off of a 63-10 rout at the hands of the No. 9 Nebraska Cornhuskers. Overall, the Jayhawks had won only one game out of their previous 23, and were being outscored in 1988 by an average margin of 48-16.

While the CU/Kansas game was on the road – always a dangerous proposition for Colorado – the Buffs played well enough to take care of business and secure a 21-9 victory.

Eric Bieniemy was the offensive hero, scoring two touchdowns on his way to 195 yards rushing.

Bieniemy=s first score came just two minutes into the game, as the Buffs converted a turnover on the Jayhawks= first play from scrimmage. Colorado was up 7-0 with 12:39 still to play in the first quarter, and it appeared as if the rout was on. But the Jayhawks, playing before their homecoming crowd, made a game of it, pulling to within 7-6 before Bieniemy notched his second score from a yard out just before half.

In the third quarter, Bieniemy carried ten times, including eight times in a row, in an 80-yard march as the Buffs extended their lead. Quarterback Sal Aunese finished off the drive with a one-yard run, making it a 21-6, Colorado, late in the third. A Kansas field goal with just over six minutes remaining closed out the scoring, with the Jayhawks settling for a 21-9 final.

Overall, the Buffs rushed for 310 yards on the afternoon, with this number accounting for all of the Colorado offense. The Buffs attempted only four passes against the Jayhawks, and all four fell incomplete. The Kansas game, played in decent weather (the Jayhawks threw the ball 35 times) represented the first time Colorado had been held without a completion since 1966.

Nonetheless, the Buffs were now 5-1 for the first time in three years.

While still only a blip on the radar screen in the AP poll, Colorado, which had fallen from 19th to 25th in the USA Today/CNN coaches= poll after the loss to Oklahoma State, bounced back to 22nd with the victory over the Jayhawks.

Still, there remained an opportunity for the Buffs to make a national statement in 1988.

And it presented itself in the form of the 8th-ranked Oklahoma Sooners.

Game Notes –

– Eric Bieniemy carried the ball 34 times against Kansas, a season-high for any Colorado rusher.

– Kansas managed only three field goals to offset the Buffs’ three touchdowns, but the game could have had a different outcome. The Colorado defense gave up yardage (Kansas out-gained Colorado, 378 yards to 310), but held when it mattered. The Jayhawks’ field goals were all from relatively short range – 25, 27, and 32 yards – but Kansas could not get the ball over the Colorado goal line.

– Sophomore linebacker Kanavis McGhee was the defensive star for Colorado against Kansas. McGhee had 14 tackles (12 solo), and also had an interception.

– The last time Colorado was held without a pass completion was back in 1966, when the Buffs went 0-for-5 passing in a 26-0 win over Missouri. Against Kansas, both Sal Aunese and Darian Hagan had two pass attempts, with all four pass falling incomplete.

– Kansas played the entire game without a penalty. It was the first time Colorado had been involved in a game without one team getting a flag since the Buffs went without a penalty against Ohio State in 1985.

– The win gave Colorado a four game winning streak in the series, the first such winning streak for the Buffs against the Jayhawks since 1969-72. The win was also the Buffs’ third straight in Lawrence, evening the series record in games played at Kansas at 11-11-3 (Colorado maintained a 15-7 record in Boulder; 1-0 in a 1905 game played in Denver).

– Kansas, in its first season under head coach Glen Mason, would win only one game in 1988. The Jayhawks made the win count, though, coming in a 30-12 win over rival Kansas State.


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