November 20th – at Iowa State           No. 18 Colorado 21, Iowa State 16

Despite decent weather conditions for late November (41 degrees at kickoff, with no precipitation), only 23,797 bothered to show up in Ames to cheer for the hometown Cyclones (3-7) as they took on the 18th-ranked Buffaloes.

That was too bad for Iowa State players, as the home team almost pulled off the upset. Only after defensive lineman Kerry Hicks and cornerback Chris Hudson teamed up to tackle running back Calvin Branch for a fourth down loss with 1:35 left in the game could the Buffs claim a hard-fought 21-16 win.

Matters appeared to be well in hand after Lamont Warren scored on two first half runs to put the Buffs on top, 14-0. After a scoreless first quarter, Colorado capped off a 12-play, 50-yard drive with a three-yard run by Warren on the first play of the second quarter. The next time Colorado had the ball, the Buff offense put together a methodical, season-best 92-yard drive. Warren once again did the honors, this time with a 21-yard run.

14-0, Colorado.

Rather than fold on the final game of a disappointing season, Iowa State fought back.

A field goal on the final play of the first half put the Cyclones on the board. A touchdown run by running back Jim Knott pulled the Cyclones to within 14-9 early in the fourth quarter (the two-point attempt failed).

Two plays later, though, order seemingly had been restored. In a repeat of the Play-of-the-Year from the Oklahoma game, Lamont Warren hooked up with Charles E. Johnson on a 49-yard tailback option. The score was now 21-9, Colorado. Though 13:03 still remained, the Buffs had at least regained a two-score lead.

Once again, however, Iowa State fought back. Knott scored his second touchdown of the quarter with 7:33 remaining to make the score 21-16. It was then left to the defense, and the Buffs made the play they had to in order to keep their major bowl hopes alive. Iowa State’s last rally was finally doused when Kerry Hicks and Chris Hudson tackled Calvin Branch for a loss on fourth down with 1:35 remaining.

We’ll take it”, said Bill McCartney after the game. “A win is a win.”

Paradise Found

Bill McCartney, despite his 1-6 bowl record as the Buffs’ head coach, was not shy about taking on the best opponent possible in the Buffs’ bowl game. He wanted the Gator Bowl and a match-up with a top ten team. “I want to play the best possible team”, said McCartney. “It’s not about (playing a weaker opponent to ensure a bowl win). I want to match our talents with the best teams out there. To me, that’s the American way.”

Things didn’t work out as McCartney and the 7-3-1 Buffs. 12th-ranked North Carolina was chosen over the 17th-ranked Buffs to be the opponent of Alabama in the Gator Bowl, while the John Hancock Bowl tabbed Oklahoma (losers to the Buffs, but with a greater fan base) to play Texas Tech. This left the Aloha Bowl and 25th-ranked Fresno State to the Buffs.

The 8-3 Bulldogs from the Western Athletic Conference were not highly regarded nationally, but the Buffs could not afford that luxury. Led by All-American quarterback Trent Dilfer, Fresno State was ranked first in the nation in both total offense and scoring offense. To make matters worse, McCartney would play the bowl without four fifth-year seniors on defense. Gone for the Aloha Bowl were: starting strong safety Dwayne Davis (suspended for being ejected for fighting during the Iowa State game); starting cornerback Dennis Collier (suspended for not returning for mandatory workouts the Monday after Thanksgiving); backup safety Greg Lindsey (who quit the team after being informed he would be sharing playing time with freshman Kenny Wilkins); and backup nose tackle Jeff Brunner (who had informed McCartney that he did not feel motivated to prepare for the bowl game).

Four defensive players gone for a game against the most productive offense in Division 1-A football. McCartney had indicated he wanted to “match our talents with the best teams out there”.

At least in terms of scoring and yards, he would have the opportunity.

Game Notes –

– Against Iowa State, Colorado posted the 11th rushing and receiving 100-yard double in Colorado history. It was not unusual for Charles E. Johnson (six catches for 123 yards) to be a part of the mix, as the Iowa State game was his sixth 100-yard game of 1993, and the 12th of his career. What was unique about the double/double was that the rusher who had over 100 yards against the Cyclones was quarterback Kordell Stewart, who had 13 carries for 113 yards on the afternoon.

– The 1993 victory was the 10th straight for Colorado in the series with Iowa State, but it was still not a record. Between 1966 and 1977, the Buffs rattled off 12 straight victories.

– The game plan for Iowa State against Colorado was clear – run the ball. The Cyclones only threw nine passes on the day (completing five), but ran the ball 66 times, for a series high 377 yards. The previous rushing best for Iowa State was 325 yards in 1979 (the high for Colorado rushing came in the 1989 game, when the Buffs rushed for 447 yards).

– Lamont Warren, who led the Buffs with 900 yards rushing on the season, had his only two-touchdown game of the season against Iowa State. Rashaan Salaam was second on the team, with 844 yards, had three games with two touchdowns rushing.

– Lamont Warren was also the best Colorado passer, at least statistically. With his touchdown pass against the Cyclones, Warren finished the 1993 season with two passes, two completions, 83 yards, and two touchdowns.

– Linebacker Ted Johnson led the Buffs’ defense against Iowa State, with 15 tackles, nine solo. Johnson also led the team on the season, with 131 tackles, 83 unassisted.

– Iowa State finished the 1993 season with a 3-8 record (2-5 in Big Eight play). The 1993 season represented the sixth losing seasons in seven years under Jim Walden. After an 0-10-1 record in 1994, Walden, with a 28-57-3 overall record, was replaced by Dan McCarney.

1993 Season Honors:

– All-Americans – wide receiver Charles E. Johnson (second team); defensive back Chris Hudson (third team)

– Big Eight Offensive Player-of-the-Year: wide receiver Charles E. Johnson

– All Big Eight – first team: defensive back Chris Hudson; wide receiver Charles E. Johnson; linebacker Ron Woolfork; defensive tackle Shannon Clavelle; nose tackle Kerry Hicks; tailback Rashaan Salaam

– All Big Eight – second team: offensive tackle Tony Berti; linebacker Ted Johnson; linebacker Sam Rogers; center Bryan Stoltenberg; tight end Christian Fauria; running back Lamont Warren; wide receiver Michael Westbrook

– All Big Eight – honorable mention: kicker Mitch Berger; cornerback Dennis Collier; quarterback Kordell Stewart; offensive guard Chad Hammond.

– Big Eight Player-of-the-Week: Chris Hudson (v. Texas); Charles E. Johnson (v. Stanford); and Sam Rogers (v. Kansas State).


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