September 26th – Boulder          #10 Colorado 28, Iowa 12

Surviving the Minnesota game allowed Colorado to return to the top ten in the polls for the first time since finishing ranked No. 1 at the end of the 1990 season.  Colorado’s final non-conference opponent for the 1992 season was the Iowa Hawkeyes in Boulder.  The Hawkeyes had begun the year ranked 16th in the nation, but had fallen out of the polls after succumbing to North Carolina State and co-defending National Champion Miami before rebounding against Iowa State.  Iowa came to Boulder 1-2, off of a bye week and in search of the consistency that had resulted in a 10-1-1 record in 1991.

For the second week, it was the Buffs’ defense which carried the day.  Despite allowing the Hawkeyes to hold the ball for 36:57 of the contest, Colorado’s defense allowed only 229 yards of total offense.  Hawkeye quarterbacks were sacked by the Buffs nine times on the day, as Buff outside linebackers Chad Brown and Ron Woolfork teamed up for seven sacks and 73 total yards in losses.

 Two early series set the tone for the game.

On the game’s first play from scrimmage, Iowa quarterback Jim Hartlieb hit Harold Jasper for 54 yards to the Colorado 27-yard line.  The defense stiffened, though, and, after losing yardage, the Hawkeyes were forced to punt. 

Two plays later, in the Buffs’ first possession of the game, quarterback Kordell Stewart was intercepted at the Buff 32-yard line.  The defense held again, though, and Iowa could only post a field goal.  The Buffs, despite the 3-0 deficit, had renewed confidence thanks to their defense.

Kordell Stewart, in his return to the starting lineup,  was largely ineffective. Stewart did lead Colorado to a 7-6 halftime lead, thanks to a nine-play, 80-yard drive capped by a Lamont Warren one-yard run midway through the second quarter.

In the second half, Koy Detmer was called on to spark the offense.  As he had the week before, the freshman responded, throwing three touchdown passes. The first, a ten yard pass to tight end Christian Fauria,  gave Colorado a 14-6 lead early in the third quarter. On the first play of the fourth quarter, Iowa quarterback Jim Hartlieb scored on a three-yard run, but the Hawkeyes’ two-point conversion attempt to tie the game failed, leaving the score at 14-12. A 31-yard touchdown pass from Detmer to Michael Westbrook gave Colorado a two-score lead, at 21-12, with 8:47 to play, with a 74-yard bomb from Detmer to Charles E. Johnson a few minutes later sending the 52,355 on hand for the afternoon home content with a 28-12 victory.

 After the game, the talk was of the defensive effort.  Woolfork’s 4 1/2 sacks was just a half sack off the team record for sacks in a game, and his seven total tackles for loss set a new school standard.  “I can play better,” said Woolfork in a statement which did not bode well for upcoming Big Eight opponents, “I can play a little harder.  There’s always room for improvement.”

At 4-0 in non-conference play, the Buffs had played the last two weeks more like the team foreseen when the 1992 campaign opened.  That is to say, the defense dominated while the offense occasionally struggled with the newly installed offensive schemes.  The Buffs’ defense had surrendered only two touchdowns over the last two games, while the offense, despite being loaded with talent, was playing inconsistently. 

Still, as Big Eight play opened, the Buffs were the highest ranked team in the conference.  Nebraska was ranked 15th, Oklahoma 20th, and Kansas 24th.  Even senior tackle Jim Hansen was now sold on the Buffs.  “I thought a lot about (the new offense facing a tough non-conference slate),” said Hansen, “I figured we’d either be 1-3 or 4-0.  Not even 2-2.  Either (the new offense) would work or it wouldn’t.  Nothing halfway.  It looks like it worked.”

 The pieces for a fourth consecutive Big Eight Championship appeared to be in place.

 Rich Alumnus

 The weather in Boulder for the Iowa game was beautiful.  The late September afternoon was all that could have been asked for:  sunny, but not too warm.  What remains memorable to me about the 1992 Iowa game, though, was not the weather, but our seats.  Brad had a colleague in Grand Junction who had great seats, and did not need them for the game against the Hawkeyes.  Brad informed me early in the week that he had two tickets above the senior section in the east stands.  The seats just happened to be on the 50-yard line.  Did we want them?  He didn’t have to ask me twice.  It would be my first game in good seats since 1986, my last year in law school. 

 To commemorate the event, I brought my camera.  On a whim, Brad bought a disposable panoramic camera at the store on the way to the game.  While my camera produced adequate pictures, Brad’s panoramic shots proved exceptional.  The photos covered the entire field, endzone to endzone.  One, taken at the opening kickoff, is now framed and in my office in Bozeman.  Whenever I need a brief reminder of what Folsom Field looks like at kickoff on a bright, fall afternoon, I have the opening play from the 1992 Colorado/Iowa game to remind me.

 [Author’s Note: It would take about ten more years, but eventually I was able to upgrade my season tickets to the point where my seats were very close to where we sat for the 1992 Iowa game.]

 Game Notes:

 – The win over Iowa gave the Buffs their first 4-0 start since the 1989 season.

 – Yet another tribute to the Colorado defense: on the day, Iowa held the ball for 36:57 of game clock, and had zero turnovers (compared to six for the Buffs). The Colorado defense sacked Iowa quarterbacks nine times. (The record for sacks in a game remained at 11, posted against Wichita State in 1975.

 – Lamont Warren had 114 yards on only 13 carries against Iowa, an average of 8.7 yards per carry. Warren had a 56-yard run against Iowa to help his total – the longest non-scoring run of the 1992 season by a Buff.  The 114 yards would also prove to be the highest total rushing output by any Colorado running back in 1992.

 – Ron Woolfork, for his 12 tackle (ten solo), 4.5 sack afternoon against Iowa, was named the Big Eight Defensive Player-of-the-Week. Woolfork was also recognized by Athlon Sports Communications as its National Player-of-the-Week for his efforts. Woolfork set a new school record for tackles for loss in a game, with seven (for 56 yards in losses). The previous record was five, set by Dan McMillen against Kansas in 1985.  

– Prior to the 1992 contest, Colorado had only played Iowa once before, a 24-21 Colorado win over the 19th-ranked Hawkeyes, in Iowa City, on September 17, 1988.

– Iowa, 10-1-1 in 1991, did not fully recover from its 1-3 start, going on to post a 5-7 record in 1992.

2 Replies to “Iowa – Detmer; Defense help Buffs overcome six turnovers”

  1. Also, suggest: please do everyone a big fav and delete all Sumler related imagery from your website. Traitors should be erased from general consciousness as quickly as possible.

  2. Hello again,

    Enjoy your website…think perhaps you should cover the 1988 CU vs Iowa game (if you witnessed or know someone who did). According to a short, somewhat? recent interview with Gerry Dinardo (on the Tony Demeo website-check it)that game signaled the turnaround of the McCartney’ Buffalo program and the working out of kinks in their interpretation of the Ibone….Would be great if, at some time in the future, someone could get an in more in depth interview with him and the considerable contributions he made to CU specifically and the triple option in general (though it’s obvious that your site is more about fandom than technical analysis of the game it would be interesting just the same).

    Thanks for your time,

    p.s. On CU & Duke sharing same recruiting rank: it could be a 1/2 empty, 1/2 full type of situ where, if–cheap cynicism is dropped– seen in the latter light we have perhaps finally attained the exalted “academic school” status (athletically-at least) that all too many of us have deluded ourselves into believing as students/grads all along–in other words: rejoice!

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