October 8th – at Missouri          No. 9 Colorado 6, Missouri 0

After an idle Saturday which saw the Buffs rise to a No. 9 national ranking in the polls, the Colorado Buffaloes prepared to do battle against Missouri on a Thursday night game.  For the 1992 season, the Big Eight had agreed with ESPN to play a number of conference games on Thursday nights.  The Colorado/Missouri game promised national exposure as the only game to be played that day, and the contests provided extra dollars for the conference coffers.

The Colorado/Missouri game was a natural for television.

The Buffs were returning to Columbia and Faurot Field for the first time since the infamous “Fifth Down” game of 1990.  The media were all over the story, even going so far as to interview J.C. Louderback, the leader of the officiating crew which had allowed Colorado a fifth down in the waning seconds of the 1990 contest, permitting the Buffs to pull out a last second, 33-31 win.  “I don’t think about it, not till it’s brought up”, said Louderback. “Or until the game comes up again.”  At least Louderback, who had been scorned by Tiger fans, maintained his sense of humor.  “I had a chance to join the Colorado booster club,” Louderback recalled with a laugh. “Some fans wanted me to have an honorary membership.”

The 1992 game, played in steady rain, 46-degree temperatures and 10-20 mph winds, was, not surprisingly, controlled by the elements.

The Tigers came into the game with only a 1-3 record, but determined to make a good showing against the now-hated Buffs.  The first-ever night game played at Missouri turned into a battle of field position and turnovers as the Buffs escaped with a 6-0 win.

The Colorado offense, entering the game averaging 36 points a game, committed four turnovers, failed on a fourth-and-one on the Missouri 21-yard line, and missed two field goal attempts.  Kicker Pat Blottiaux was guilty of missing the two field goal tries, but also connected from 52 yards and 32 yards for the only points of the game.

Stopped short of the end zone despite an amazing total of 11 possessions in Missouri territory, the Colorado offense nonetheless put up impressive numbers.  Quarterback Kordell Stewart, returning to the line-up after being benched for ineffective play against Iowa, completed 24-of-45 passes for 335 yards.  Charles E. Johnson collected 11 of Stewart’s aerials for 168 yards, matching the school record for receptions in a game, a record which had been set just weeks earlier by teammate Michael Westbrook against Baylor.

Kicker Pat Blottiaux, the most unlikely of heroes in the Buffs’ arsenal, never dreamed the game would hinge upon his efforts.  “I never expected (the two field goals) to be the only points.  Not at all.”, said the senior kicker. “Our offense was moving the ball, but it just seemed like every time we’d end up making a mistake.”

Head coach Bill McCartney praised his defense.  “You have to celebrate a shutout on the road,” said McCartney of the win over his alma mater. “Our defense played outstanding all day long.”

The win, coupled with losses by No. 4 Tennessee to Arkansas and No. 7 Penn State to Miami, allowed the Buffs to rise to No.7 in the polls.

The victory, however, did not come without cost.

Quarterback Kordell Stewart went the distance against the Tigers for the first game in three weeks, but was projected to miss the next four to six weeks with a broken wrist suffered in the third quarter of the Missouri game.  The injury to Stewart’s non-throwing wrist occurred when Stewart took a hit after completing a pass to Michael Westbrook.  “I thought it was a sprained thumb or something, so I didn’t say anything about it,” said Stewart. “But I couldn’t put any pressure on it (Friday morning after the game), so I went and got x-rays taken, and all of the sudden I have a broken wrist.”

If the Buffs were to continue in their winning ways, then, the task would fall to a freshman quarterback, Koy Detmer.

“Commander Koy” and “Koy Wonder”, as headlines from earlier wins had proclaimed the freshman from Mission, Texas, would now be asked to lead the Buffs into the heart of the conference schedule, including games against both “Big Red” schools, Oklahoma and Nebraska.

 Game Notes:

– The win over Missouri marked the 23 straight game without a loss in Big Eight play for the Buffs, and the 12th-straight conference win on the road.

– The shutout was the fourth in the series for the Buffs against Missouri, with the most recent previous shutout coming in a 26-0 Colorado victory in 1966. The win was the eighth straight for Colorado over Missouri, the best run by far for the Buffs, who had only won as many as two games in a row in the series (now 21-33-3) twice before.

– Despite the weather and the low scoring, the Buffs did set a new series record for most passing yards, 335, besting the 252 yards passing put up by the Buffs in the 1983 game.

– Pat Blottiaux’s 52-yard field goal with 1:02 left in the first half, were the only points by either team in the first two quarters. Blottiaux’s 52-yarder was the longest of his career, but came after missing from 48 and 32 yards earlier in the half.

– Cornerback Deon Figures had two interceptions against Missouri, the third two-interception game of his career. Figures’ six interceptions on the season, to go with his 38 tackles and team-best eight passes-broken-up, helped the senior become Colorado’s first Thorpe Award winner.

– Freshman wide receiver T.J. Cunningham earned the first start of his career, subbing for sophomore Erik Mitchell, who had started the first four games of the season. In the first start of his career, Cunningham had two catches for 11 yards.

– The 168 yards receiving collected by Charles E. Johnson set a new series record as well, and his new mark erased a familiar name to most Buff fans. The previous record for receiving yards against Missouri was 158 yards, accumulated by Cliff Branch in the 1970 game between the schools.

– The 6-0 loss was the first of five straight setbacks for the Tigers in Big Eight play in 1992. Missouri did bounce back to defeat Kansas State and Kansas to end the season with a 3-8 record (2-5 in the Big Eight conference).

– The game, played on Thursday night, was originally scheduled for Saturday, October 10th – my birthday. Since coming to Boulder in 1980, the Buffs had yet to win on my birthday … The 1992 game – had the Buffs won – would have been the first.


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