November 21st – Boulder          No. 11 Colorado 31, Iowa State 10

Kordell Stewart threw for three touchdowns and 279 yards as the Buffs raced out to a 28-3 halftime lead before cruising to a 31-10 win over Iowa State.

The Buffs put the Cyclones on notice early that Colorado would not fall victim to the complacency which had cost the Cornhuskers in a 19-10 upset in Ames the week before.  Linebacker Chad Brown recovered a fumble by Iowa State fullback Chris Ulrich on the Cyclones’ first possession.  On the very next play from scrimmage, Stewart connected with fullback James Hill on a 19-yard score, and Colorado was ahead to stay, 7-0.

After Iowa State cut the Buffs’ lead to 7-3, the Buffs scored three touchdowns over a nine-minute span in the second quarter to make the second half irrelevant.  First Stewart hit Michael Westbrook for 24 yards and a 14-3 lead.  Next, Stewart connected with tight end Christian Fauria from one-yard out and a 21-3 advantage.  Finally, Lamont Warren took it in from three yards to finish off a nine-play, 82-yard drive, and the Buffs were dominating, 28-3.

Stewart’s 279 passing yards gave him 2,109 for the year, the first time in Colorado history a Buff quarterback had surpassed the 2,000-yard barrier.  Stewart accomplished this feat despite missing two full games (and parts of several others) to injury.

Joining Stewart in the record-setting season were his two favorite receivers, Charles E. Johnson and Michael Westbrook.  In 1992, both players individually obliterated the single season standards for receptions and yardage.  Prior to 1992, the single season best for receptions by a Buff had been 51 (by Jon Embree in 1984).  Westbrook had 76 receptions in 1992; Johnson had 57.  Before “Air Bill” took off, the single-season yardage best for receivers had been 733 yards (by Mike Pritchard in 1990).  In 1992, Charles E. Johnson had 1,149 yards receiving; Westbrook 1,060. [A full list of passing and receiving yards are listed below]

The air onslaught had been largely successful, leading Colorado to a 9-1-1 record and a No. 10 national ranking heading into the bowls.  A late-season loss by Nebraska would have sent the Buffs to Miami for the third time in four years, but the Cornhuskers dominated Oklahoma 33-9 and Kansas State 38-24 to earn the Orange Bowl berth against No.3 Florida State.

For the Buffs, the destination became Tempe, Arizona, and the Fiesta Bowl.  The Buffs’ opponent: 6th-ranked Syracuse.  The Orangemen were 9-2 in 1992, having fallen to Ohio State early in the year, and coming within three yards of defeating top-ranked Miami before succumbing 16-10 in the season finale.  Syracuse was a very worthy opponent in a New Year’s Day bowl.

The Fiesta Bowl match-up between two top ten teams was not exactly what the Buffs had set out for in August, but it was far from a disappointment.

D-Days in December

During the two days before the nation remembered the 51st anniversary of the bombing of Pearl Harbor, bombs of a different sort hit Boulder.

On December 5, 1992, senior offensive tackle Jim Hansen became the fifth Colorado football player to earn the prestigious Rhodes Scholarship (and the 19th Colorado student overall). Hansen also became the school’s first three-time Academic All-American, and the first “Academic All-American-of-the-Year”.

On December 6, 1992, senior cornerback Deon Figures became the first Colorado player to receive the Jim Thorpe Award, given annually to the nation’s top defensive back.  Figures, who led the Buffs with six interceptions despite having few passes thrown his way, would go on to become a first round draft pick of the Pittsburgh Steelers in the 1993 NFL Draft.

Figures became only the second Buff to win a national individual award, joining Alfred Williams, who won the Butkus Award as the nation’s best linebacker in 1990.

Game Notes:

– Despite snowfall throughout the night, snow stopped falling an hour before gametime. In all, 14 inches of snow were cleared off the stadium floor just before kickoff.

– As a result of the inclement weather, the Iowa State game, with 49,133 in attendance, became the first Colorado home game with fewer than 50,000 in the stands since the Illinois game in 1989 (46,747).

– There were numerous passing records set by the Buffs in 1992.

 Kordell Stewart set new records for:

Pass attempts, Season: (252; old record 236, Steve Vogel, 1983);

Pass completions, Season: (151; old record 112; Bobby Anderson, 1968),;

Passing yards in a season (2,109; old record 1,536, Darian Hagan, 1990);

Most touchdown passes in a game (4, v. Colorado State, tied old record – Darian Hagan v. Oklahoma State, 1990);

Consecutive pass completions (12; old record 9, by Dane Graves, 1950);

Average completions per game (16.8; old record 15.6, by Randy Essington, 1982);

Highest completion percentage, game (min. 15 attempts) (.941, 16-of-17 v. Baylor)

(Stewart also set a number of new records for total offense, including most yards gained in a game and a season, and set a new standard with two consecutive games over 300 yards of total offense)

Koy Detmer, subbing for Stewart, also set a number of passing records;

Most completions, game (33 v. Oklahoma; old record, 25 by Steve Vogel – twice; in 1982 and 1985)

Most yards gained in a quarter (192 v. Oklahoma; old record 176 by Randy Essington v. Texas Tech, 1981)

Most yards gained in a half (307 v. Oklahoma; old record 273 by Randy Essington v. Texas Tech, 1981)

Most yards gained in a game (418 v. Oklahoma, old record 361 by Randy Essington v. Nebraska, 1982)

(Detmer also set some total offense records, including most plays in a half and game, and most yards of total offense gained in a quarter, half, and game)

If there were a number of passing records set in 1992, there were also a number of receiving yards set:

Michael Westbrook set records for:

Most receptions in a game (11 v. Baylor; old record 10, by Ed Reinhart v. Michigan State in 1984)

Most receptions in a season (76; old record 51 by Jon Embree, 1984)

Most receptions per game, season (6.9; old record 4.6 by Jon Embree, 1984)

Most touchdown receptions, season (8; tied old record, Gary Knafelc, 1953)

Most touchdown receptions, career (13; old record, 12, Gary Knafelc, 1952-53)

 While his receiving partner, Charles E. Johnson, also set a number of records in 1992:

Most reception in a game (11 v. Missouri; tied record set earlier in the season by Michael Westbrook)

Most yards gained, season (1,149; old record 733, Mike Pritchard, 1990)

Yards gained per game, season (104.5; old record 61.8, Jon Embree, 1984)

Most consecutive 100-yard games (3 – record not kept before 1992)

Most 100-yards gained, season, career (6 – record not kept before 1992)

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