November 23rd – at Iowa State            No. 15 Colorado 17, Iowa State 14

Running back Lamont Warren capped the most successful freshman rushing season in Colorado history with a 168-yard performance against Iowa State in a 17-14 Colorado win.  Warren sprinted 74 yards for one score and carried the load on a ten-play, 80-yard drive as Colorado took the lead for good in the third quarter. Lamont Warren finished the 1991 season with 830 rushing yards, a Colorado freshman record.

The game conditions in Ames, Iowa, were horrendous, marking the third time in four weeks the Buffs had faced adverse conditions.  Iowa State sold 36,256 tickets for the game, but a crowd estimated at 2,500 was all that braved the blowing snow and minus-20 wind chill temperatures.

Iowa State jumped out to an early 7-0 lead, but Warren’s 74-yard touchdown run gave Colorado a 10-7 lead early in the second quarter. A 17-yard touchdown run by Cyclone Jim Knott, though, late in the second quarter, gave Iowa State a 14-10 halftime edge.  In the third quarter, the Buffs played against a 20-mph wind, keeping the ball in Warren’s hands.  Warren carried the ball five times for 39 yards on the drive, culminated with an eight-yard touchdown pass from Darian Hagan to senior tight end Sean Brown.  The 17-14 lead held up in the scoreless fourth quarter as conditions continued to deteriorate.

With the win, Colorado clinched at least a tie for its third consecutive Big Eight championship.  The Buffs, 8-2-1 overall, 6-0-1 in conference play, had strung together a 20-0-1 run in Big Eight play over three years.

The location of the next Colorado game had now been decided – Colorado would play in Miami.  Yet to be determined, though, was whether the Buffs would play Alabama on December 28th in the Blockbuster Bowl as the Big Eight’s second place team, or against Miami in the Orange Bowl New Year’s Night as the Big Eight champion.

As the Buffs headed home from Ames, all thoughts turned to the Nebraska/Oklahoma game, to be played the following Friday in Lincoln.

Off to Miami

Thanksgiving weekend involved several traditional matchups of national significance. No. 3 Florida State traveled to Gainesville to take on No. 5 Florida. No. 8 Alabama hosted Auburn, while No. 11 Nebraska played host to No. 19 Oklahoma.  Only one game truly mattered to the Buff Nation, though – the matchup between the Cornhuskers and the Sooners.

The 8-1-1 Cornhuskers, with a win, would return to the Orange Bowl for the first time since 1988.  Oklahoma was shut out of the Big Eight race after the Buffs’ victory, but the Sooners, at 8-2, were looking for national and conference redemption after facing NCAA-imposed probation.

The Sooners held tough against the Cornhuskers, but finally succumbed, 19-14.  The win gave Nebraska a trip to Miami to face the #1 ranked Miami Hurricanes in the Orange Bowl.  The Cornhuskers and Buffs each finished conference play 6-0-1, giving the Orange Bowl committee the option of choosing Miami’s opponent. #11 Nebraska was more attractive than #15 Colorado, so the Buffs were invited to play in Miami, but against a lesser opponent (Alabama) in a lesser bowl (Blockbuster). The consolation prize for the Buffs – Colorado did finish in a tie for the Big Eight title, joining the Cornhuskers and the Sooners as the only Big Eight programs to ever accomplish a “three-peat”).

Considering how the Buffs had played the last three weeks of the season, a game against No. 8 Alabama rather than against No. 1 Miami was perhaps for the best.

Game Notes –

– The Colorado/Iowa State game represented the coldest road game ever played by the Buffs. The game time temperature was officially 17-degrees, but the game was also played in a blizzard, with a wind-chill temperature as low as 20 below zero. The previous record for a low temperature for a Colorado road game came in 1959, when Colorado faced Nebraska in Lincoln in 19-degree weather.

– Lamont Warren had 168 yards on 21 carries against Iowa State, Warren’s third 100-yard game of his freshman season. Warren’s 830 yards set a freshman record, besting the 668 yards posted by O.C. Oliver in 1986.

– Hagan’s touchdown pass to Sean Brown gave him 12 touchdown passes for the season, and 27 for his career. Both numbers tied existing records held by Steve Vogel, who had 12 touchdown passes in 1983, and 27 for his career (1981-84).

– Defensive end Leonard Renfro had 17 tackles against Iowa State (15 solo), including two sacks. For his efforts, Renfro was named the Big Eight Defensive Player-of-the-Week.

– With the loss, Iowa State completed the 1991 season with a 3-7-1 record (1-5-1 in Big Eight play). Head coach Jim Walden completed his fifth season in Ames with a 21-32-2 record. Walden would last through three more losing seasons before being fired at the conclusion of the 1994 season.


2 Replies to “Iowa State – “Three-peat” clinched before crowd of 2,500”

  1. Hey Stuart!
    I was one of the 2500 ( I always thought it was just 500?) at that game in Ames.
    What a nasty day of weather. It was so bad that the people at the gates, didn’t even require you to have a ticket. They said that if you were crazy enough to show up for game, to just go on in!
    I spent the first half out in the cold w/my ISU buddies, but then my Uncle Fred invited me and one of them in for the second half. I was dressed for the weather, so I was sweating in the press box.
    Fun times to relive!
    Go Buffs!
    Dave Casotti

  2. The 1991 season was one of the more frustrating and disppointing to me. The Buffs coming off a National Championship, had a very strong team and showed it. Then there was the Blockbuster Bowl fiasco. CU has a chance to beat a nationally known team (Alabama) who was having a down year. Tide was invited to the “lesser” bowl from a geographic draw standpoint. CU was clearly the better team. So McCartney decides to treat the whole thing as a practice for the next year and to show off a different offense to some mystical recruits never named. I’ve always thought he blew the game. The phrase “bowl games are really just a reward for the players” started popping up. What a joke!

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