November 7th – Boulder          No. 16 Colorado 28, Oklahoma State 0

Oklahoma State was a much improved team in 1992.  Rebounding from a disastrous 0-10-1 1991 campaign, the Cowboys were a respectable 4-4 coming into Boulder, including conference wins over Missouri and Iowa State.  But the Cowboys were the Buffs’ Homecoming opponent for a reason.

In 1992, Oklahoma State played its role of sacrificial lamb well, succumbing to the Buffs, 28-0.

Colorado posted a touchdown in each quarter, the first coming on a Lamont Warren two-yard run to cap a 12-play drive on the Buffs’ first possession.  Warren scored again in the second stanza as the Buffs provided the Homecoming crowd of 51,559 a 14-0 halftime cushion.

With a two-score lead, the Buffs were never again threatened.  The dominating Buff defense posted its second shutout of the season, forcing a school-record eight turnovers.

In the third quarter, the Buffs’ touchdown was set up by a fumble recovery by Leonard Renfro deep in Cowboy territory. Quarterback Kordell Stewart, returning to the starting lineup after sitting out with a broken wrist, connected with Michael Westbrook on a record-setting score of nine yards to conclude the one play drive.

The touchdown was Westbrook’s 12th career touchdown reception, surpassing the career record of 11 set by Gary Knafelc in 1952-53.  The fact that the new record was established by a sophomore was testament in itself of the new direction of the Colorado offense.

The final touchdown of the day came late, after yet another Oklahoma State turnover. The Buffs’, led by freshman quarterback Koy Detmer at the time, covered 34 yards in seven plays before Detmer hit sophomore tight end Norm Barnett for a four-yard touchdown with 1:36 left to play.

“Overall, it was a good, sound victory after a humiliating defeat”, said head coach Bill McCartney. “We did a better job of taking care of the football (in committing a season-low one turnover).  I think we made some progress and I think we showed some grit.”

The Buffs were now back on track, if not for the Orange Bowl, at least for a New Year’s Day bowl game.  Colorado was ranked 13th in the nation, 7-1-1 overall, 3-1-1 in Big Eight play.  Standing in the way of the Buffs’ bowl aspirations now were the Kansas Jayhawks.  Surprising Kansas was 7-2 on the season, and, more importantly, 4-1 in the conference.  A win would keep the Buffs on track for a Fiesta Bowl berth … but a loss to the 20th-ranked Jayhawks would relegate the Buffs to no better than a third place finish in the Big Eight.

Here are some YouTube video highlights from the game:


Game Notes:

– As if to underscore how the Colorado offense had changed from a running attack to a passing attack – Lamont Warren’s 15-yard scoring run against Oklahoma State matched the longest scoring run of the season for the Buffs (James Hill had a 15-yard scoring run against Kansas State). Warren would go on to lead the team in rushing, but with only 512 yards on the season. The 512 yards was the lowest season total by any Colorado running back since Lee Rouson led the team in rushing with 494 yards in 1983.

– Colorado did not play Oklahoma State often before the Cowboys joined the Big Seven to create the Big Eight. The Buffs played the Cowboys only twice before 1960, with the Buffs winning both games (in 1920 and 1933). The Buffs did enjoy early success against the Cowboys, however. The 1992 shutout was the fourth in the series for Colorado, but the other three came in the first six games played between the two teams (6-0 in 1933; 24-0 in 1960; and 25-0 in 1963).

– Michael Westbrook’s 12th career touchdown catch set a new record, surpassing a 40- year old record. By the end of his career, Westbrook would raise the bar to 19 touchdown receptions (a mark which would last only two years, passed by Rae Carruth’s 20 career touchdown catches).

– The 42 yards rushing and 118 yards of total offense allowed were the best efforts by a Colorado defense in the history of the series. The previous best for the Colorado defense in the series came in 1971, when the Buff defense held Oklahoma State to 50 yards rushing and 124 total yards (in a 40-6 Colorado victory).

– Sophomore tight end Norm Barnett moved from inside linebacker to tight end midway through the 1992 season due to injuries at the position. His two catches for nine yards and a touchdown were his only catches during the 1992 campaign.

– Senior cornerback Deon Figures had two interceptions against Oklahoma State, his second two-interception game of the season (Missouri). His six interception season helped cement Figures’ status as the nation’s best cornerback, and the winner of the 1992 Thorpe Award.

– Senior linebacker Greg Biekert posted a nine-tackle performance against Oklahoma State, only half of the number he had against Nebraska. Biekert did have four third down stops against the Cowboys, however, the best by any Buff defender in 1992.

– Oklahoma State recovered from its loss to Colorado to forge a tie against arch-rival Oklahoma, 15-15, the following week. Another shutout loss – the third of the season – to Kansas State, though, closed out a 4-6-1 (2-4-1) 1992 season.



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