September 12th – at Baylor          No. 12 Colorado 57, Baylor 38

Heading off to Waco for the second game of the 1992 season, there was no chance Colorado was going to take the Baylor Bears lightly.

Baylor had defeated the Buffs 16-14 at Folsom Field in 1991, led by quarterback J.J. Joe’s 301 yards of total offense.

Traveling to Waco for only the third time in school history, Colorado exacted a measure of revenge for the 1991 upset in routing the Bears, 57-38.  Kordell Stewart, who completed 16-of-17 passes for 251 yards before yielding to an ankle injury, again placed his name in the record books.  Stewart completed his first nine passing attempts of the game against the Bears.  These nine completions, when combined with the final three straight completions of the Colorado State game, gave the sophomore quarterback a school-record 12 straight completions.

While the final score was impressive, the Buffs would have been just as content to leave Texas after the first 29 minutes of the game.  With just over a minute to go in the first half, the Buffs were up by a lopsided score of 33-3.  After spotting the Bears an opening 33-yard field goal to open the contest, the Colorado offense put on a display. A seven-yard touchdown pass from Kordell Stewart to tight end Christian Fauria capped a 13-play, 80-yard drive to give Colorado the lead for good late in the first quarter.

The Buffs upped the lead to 10-3 early in the second quarter on 50-yard field goal by Pat Blottiaux. On the Buffs’ next possession, it took the offense only three plays to cover 57 yards, with Stewart hitting Charles E. Johnson for a 35-yard score and a 17-3 lead. Just a few minutes later, the lead was 19-3, as Baylor quarterback J.J. Joe was called for intentional grounding in the end zone.

The second quarter onslaught continued with two more Colorado touchdowns within a minute of one another. With just under three minutes to go before halftime, Lamont Warren finished off a five-play, 46-yard drive to give Colorado a 26-3 lead. After Baylor quickly returned the ball to Colorado, Kordell Stewart hit Michael Westbrook for a 53-yard score and a 33-3 lead with 2:04 to play before halftime.

The offense was having its way with the Bear defense (witness the 94% completion rate of Stewart), and for the first time the defense was living up to its preseason billing.  Baylor had only seven net yards rushing on 12 attempts, while quarterback J.J. Joe had only one completion on 12 attempts.  An 80-yard touchdown pass from Joe to tailback David Mims cut the Buffs lead to 33-10 at the half, but the game was now the Buffs to lose.

With Stewart out for the rest of the game with a mid-foot sprain, Baylor attempted to make a comeback. The Bears out-scored the Buffs 14-3 in the third quarter to make the score 36-24, and give the 34,202 some hope for a miracle.

Subbing for the injured Stewart, junior quarterback Duke Tobin held his own, though, leading the Buffs to three fourth quarter touchdowns and a 19-point win. Lamont Warren scored twice early in the fourth quarter, first from four yards out, the second from 14 yards out, to give Colorado an insurmountable 50-24 lead. Tobin did have an interception returned for a touchdown midway through the quarter, but redeemed himself with a 39-yard touchdown pass to freshman Donnell Leomiti.

Wideout Michael Westbrook continued his impressive start to the 1992 campaign, collecting 11 balls for 186 yards and a score.  The 11 receptions for Westbrook set a new school mark, breaking the single game record of 10 catches set by Ed Reinhardt against Michigan State in 1984.

Colorado head coach Bill McCartney liked being 2-0, but saw that work still needed to be done:  “The overall offense has been very satisfactory through two weeks, but we don’t pretend that we’ve got all the answers to all the problems that lie ahead.” It was an interesting quote, especially considering that the Buffs were averaging 47 points and over 500 yards of total offense per game.

With this backdrop, Colorado’s next opponent, the hapless Minnesota Golden Gophers, did not appear to offer much resistance.  Minnesota had gone 2-9 in 1991 (including a 58-0 rout at the hands of the Buffs in Boulder), and had dropped its 1992 season opener at home to lowly San Jose State.  On paper, the game should have been a romp for the Buffs, who moved up to No. 11 in the polls with the win over Baylor.

But, as the saying goes, the game is not played on paper.

Game Notes:

– Colorado had over 400 yards passing for the second consecutive game. Before opening with 409 yards against Colorado State, and following up with 405 yards against Baylor, Colorado had never before in school history had the Buffs gone back-to-back with passing games totaling 300 yards per game.

– After eight games, Colorado caught up with Baylor in the series between the two schools. The 1992 win evened the series at four games apiece, and was the first win by Colorado over Baylor since 1973. The 57-38 score was a high point total for both teams in the series.

– For his 16-of-17, 251 yard, three touchdown performance (in the first half), Kordell Stewart was named the Sports Illustrated National Player of the Week (the week after Stewart was The Sporting News national Player-of-the-Week for his efforts against Colorado State). Stewart’s new consecutive completion record of 12 passes, erasing a record which had stood for 42 years. The previous mark was nine consecutive completions, set by Dane Graves, against Colorado State and Oregon, back in November of 1950.

– Lost in the passing clinic put on by Kordell Stewart was Lamont Warren’s three touchdown performance against Baylor. On only 19 carries for 41 yards, Warren managed touchdown runs of one, four, and 14 yards. Warren would go on to lead the team in rushing in 1992, with 512 yards and eight touchdowns. To underscore the change in philosophy of the Colorado offense in 1992 – After two games, Colorado had scored 94 points, and posted 1,078 yards of total offense. For those two games, however, Lamont Warren was the leading rusher for the Buffs, posting a two game total of 33 rushes for 107 yards.

– Junior quarterback Duke Tobin, who would go on to make the first start of his career against Minnesota the following week, finished 10-for-15 for 154 yards, with one touchdown and one interception. The totals for the Baylor game would prove to be the highest of his career.

– Freshman wide receiver Donnell Leomiti, who had two catches for 46 yards, including 39-yard touchdown, would go on to have only three catches for all of the 1992 season. In the spring of 2003, Leomiti would switch from offense to defense, going on to have a successful career at safety for the Buffs.

– Junior free safety Dwayne Davis earned his first career start against Baylor, going on to start the remainder of the season at the position after missing the opener with a broken right forearm. Despite playing the entire season with a soft cast, Davis was an honorable mention All-Big Eight selection, with 43 tackles (30 solo).

– After opening with an 0-2 record, Baylor would go on to finish the 1992 season with a 7-5 record, including a 20-15 victory over Arizona in the Sun Bowl.

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