November 13th – Boulder           No. 21 Colorado 38, Kansas 14

Despite their 4-6 record (2-3 in the Big Eight), the 1993 Kansas Jayhawks could not be overlooked. While the Buffs were putting the finishing touches on their 31-14 win over Oklahoma State, the Jayhawks were putting a major scare into the 4th-ranked Nebraska Cornhuskers. With 52 seconds remaining, Kansas tailback June Henley scored from a yard out to bring the Jayhawks to within a point at 21-20. Rather than play for the tie, Kansas head coach Glen Mason went for the win. Unfortunately for Jayhawk fans, who had not seen a win over the Cornhuskers since 1968, Kansas quarterback Ashieki Preston’s pass was batted down, and Nebraska had held on for a 21-20 victory.

It could have been that Kansas had left all of its emotion on the field in Lawrence.

Or it could have been that the Buffs were now focused on preserving a decent season.

Or it could have been a combination of the two.

In any event, the 38-14 Colorado win over Kansas before a Homecoming crowd of 52,139 was the most impressive effort for the Buffs in 1993.

The Jayhawks remained in the game in the first half, with the Buffs forging a 10-0 halftime lead. After a scoreless first quarter, Mitch Berger hit on a 24-yard field goal midway through the second to open the scoring. Later, Lamont Warren capped an eight-play, 79-yard drive with a 15-yard scoring run with 57 seconds to play before halftime.

In the second half, the Colorado offense wore down the Kansas defense.

In third quarter and into the early part of the fourth, the Buff offense put together three straight ten-play, 80-yard drives (the third was actually 81 yards). The first drive ended with a seven yard Rashaan Salaam touchdown run; the second with a two-yard touchdown run by Salaam; and the third with a one-yard run by Kordell Stewart.

Kansas did manage two scores before James Hill scored the final Buffs’ touchdown (including a 100-yard kickoff return by June Henley), but the outcome was never in doubt.

Colorado 38, Kansas 14.

The Colorado offense had its best game of the year, netting 598 total yards. Leading the way was the rushing tandem of Rashaan Salaam (19 carries for 130 yards and two touchdowns) and Lamont Warren (17 carries for 115 and one score). In addition to passing for 194 yards, quarterback Kordell Stewart also ran for 74 yards and a touchdown. All told, the Buffs posted 378 yards rushing in holding the ball for 36:31 of the game clock.

The defense more than held its own, and could well have posted a shutout. Kansas’ points were the result of one good drive and a kickoff return. It was just good, clean, “Colorado defense”, according to defensive tackle Shannon Clavelle. “We’ve improved so much and our confidence level is so high that we feel no matter who we go against we are going to dominate the line of scrimmage.”

It would have been nice to have put together such a complete game a few weeks earlier against Nebraska, but head coach Bill McCartney wasn’t complaining. “It’s good that, in November, in the tenth game, to put a good, solid game together because we’re a young team”, said McCartney. “It’s good to see us improving and rebounding.”

With only 3-7 Iowa State remaining on the regular season schedule, the “improving” 6-3-1 Buffs could now start looking for bowl invitations. The Gator Bowl, John Hancock Bowl, and the Aloha Bowl appeared to be the most likely choices, with the Gator Bowl the most attractive. The Gator Bowl would allow the Buffs to face a top ten opponent, as opposed to less appealing match-ups against a Southwest Conference opponent (John Hancock) or a Western Athletic Conference opponent (Aloha).

Colorado also benefitted from having the three teams ranked in front of the Buffs all lose the same weekend as the Kansas game. While the Buffs were taking out the Jayhawks, No. 18 Virginia lost to Clemson, No. 19 Indiana fell to No. 5 Ohio State, and No. 20 Louisville lost to No. 11 Texas A&M. When the next poll came out, Colorado moved up three spots to No. 18, in prime position for a good bowl game.

Of course, a loss to Iowa State would serve to make much of the discussion about the quality of bowl moot.

Game Notes –

– The 100-yard double by Rashaan Salaam (19-130) and Lamont Warren (17-115) was the second of the season for the pair, and the 34th in Colorado school history.

– The 115 yards represented the last 100-yard game for Lamont Warren as a Buff. Warren would conclude his career with 2,242 yards, good enough for 6th on the all-time list. Declaring himself eligible for the 1994 draft, Warren was picked up in the 6th round by the Indianapolis Colts. Warren would be one of six Buffs drafted, joining Charles E. Johnson (1st round, Pittsburgh); Sam Rogers (2nd round, Buffalo); Ron Woolfork (fourth round, Miami); Mitch Berger (6th round, Philadephia); and Dennis Collier (7th round, Chicago).

– Against Kansas, the Colorado offense had season highs in first downs (32), rushing attempts (61), rushing yards (378), and total yards (598).

– The last time an opponent had run a kickoff back for a touchdown against Colorado was in 1980, when Jerome Ledbetter turned the trick for Oklahoma in the epic 82-42 game in 1980. (The last time overall came in the 1992 Fiesta bowl against Syracuse).

– Kansas would complete an up-and-down season with a 28-0 rout of Missouri, but the loss to Colorado eliminated the Jayhawks from bowl contention. A year after competing in its first bowl game (the Aloha Bowl) since 1981, the Jayhawks finished the 1993 season with a 5-7 record, 3-4 in Big Eight play.


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