October 9th – Boulder           No. 20 Colorado 30, Missouri 18

The Missouri Tigers presented themselves to the Buffs as the perfect opponent to rebound from a two-game losing streak.

Missouri was 1-2-1 on the 1993 season, including an embarrassing loss to Texas A & M (73-0) and a 10-10 tie to lowly SMU. Another bonus: the Buffs were coming off of a bye week, and had extra time to re-group and regain focus on the Big Eight conference schedule.

After a sometimes impressive, sometimes lethargic, performance, Colorado was able to secure a 30-18 win.

The Buffs’ defense, earning much of the criticism for Colorado’s 2-2 start, played significantly better than the unit which had been ranked 96th in the nation heading into the game. Six new defensive starters were inserted, including freshman linebacker Matt Russell and sophomore lineman Shannon Clavelle.

For the most part, the defense held Missouri in check as the Buffs mounted a 27-3 lead before permitting late consolation scores. “Defensively, I was pleased with the way we played in the first half”, said coach McCartney. “I thought I saw a good looking defense out there.”

The game opened slowly, with only two field goals being posted in the first twenty minutes of play. With 9:08 to go before halftime, Lamont Warren scored on a 28-yard pass from Kordell Stewart to cap a 12-play, 83-yard drive to give Colorado a lead it would not surrender. A 23-yard field goal by Mitch Berger just before halftime gave the Buffs a 13-3 lead at the break.

Any hopes of a Missouri comeback were dashed when the Buffs took the second half kickoff and marched down the field for a score.

The 12-play, 84-yard effort was completed with a one-yard run by Kordell Stewart. When Lamont Warren scored on a 12-yard run on Colorado’s next possession, the lead was 27-3, and the game was no longer in doubt. Two fourth quarter touchdowns by Missouri made the score respectable, but the Tigers were not closer two scores the remainder of the game.

Offensively, the surprising rushing game continued to impress.

The focus of much off-season discussion, the running game, entering the game ranked 14th in the nation with 228 yards per game, posted a championship-caliber effort. Led by Lamont Warren (137 yards on 17 carries) and Rashaan Salaam (89 yards on 15 attempts), the Buffs ran over Missouri for 343 yards. When combined with Kordell Stewart’s 183 yards passing on the day, Colorado surpassed the 500-yard mark in total offense for the fourth time in five 1993 contests.

Fred Folsom and Bill McCartney

The win put the Buffs back on the good side of .500 at 3-2, 1-0 in the Big Eight. The victory also marked a milestone for head coach Bill McCartney.

In his 12th season at Colorado, McCartney now had 77 wins, tying him with legendary Fred Folsom as the winningest coach in Colorado football history. Folsom’s record over 15 seasons was 77-23-2. McCartney’s record now stood at 77-53-4. In terms of winning percentage, Coach Mac still lagged behind many of Colorado’s coaches.

When it is remembered, though, that McCartney began his coaching career at Colorado with a 7-25-1 record in his first three years, the 70-28-3 record in the 8+years after the start of the 1985 campaign matched favorably not only with Colorado history, but also with McCartney’s peers nationally.

For McCartney to break the tie with Fred Folsom, and post victory No. 78, and do it in a fashion which would keep the Buffs on track for Big Eight title hopes, McCartney would have to win in one of the most hostile environments Colorado football has ever had to endure – Norman, Oklahoma.

Before the 1989 and 1991 wins in Norman, the Buffs had not won on the road against the Sooners since 1965. What was worse was that Oklahoma in 1989 and 1991 had been under the stranglehold of NCAA sanctions. Breaking free of the NCAA restrictions, fifth-year head coach Gary Gibbs in 1993 had Oklahoma 5-0 and ranked 9th in the nation.

For the 3-2 Buffs, now ranked 20th in the nation, the hopes for a Big Eight title rested upon an upset of the resurgent Sooners.

Game Notes –

– With the running game clicking against Missouri, the Buffs did not have to rely on wide receiver Charles E. Johnson against the Tigers. After three straight games with over 100 yards receiving, Johnson was held to four catches for 28 yards against Missouri. The receiving corps was led by senior tight end Sean Embree, who had a season-high three catches for 48 yards on the afternoon.

– Red-shirt freshman linebacker Matt Russell earned his first career start against Missouri, and seldom left the lineup thereafter in his Colorado career. In just 434 snaps on the season, Russell would finish the 1993 season with 85 tackles, good for third on the team (and the best tackle-to-play ratio). Russell would earn second-team freshman All-American honors from The Football News, and was second in the balloting for the Big Eight’s Defensive Newcomer-of-the-Year.

– The defensive switches for the Missouri game included: Sophomore Shannon Clavelle moving over from nose tackle to defensive tackle, where he would remain the remainder of the season; junior Jeff Brunner, formerly an offensive guard, taking over at nose tackle; senior Dwayne Davis moving from free safety to cornerback (Davis would move to strong safety the following week against Oklahoma); and Chris Hudson moving from cornerback to free safety.

– The victory in the Big Eight opener was the fifth straight for Colorado. The only other time in school history in which the Buffs opened Big Eight play 1-0 in five consecutive seasons came between 1965 and 1969.

– The win over Missouri was the 46th conference victory for Bill McCartney. He would continue to trail the all-time conference victory leader (Myron Witham, who had 50 conference wins between 1920-31) until the last confernce game of the 1993 season.

– Missouri would rebound to win two of its next three games, but that would prove insufficient to keep Bob Stull as the head coach. The Tigers finished 1993 with a 3-7-1 record (2-5 in Big Eight play), and Stull was fired after accumulating an overall record of 15-38-2 in five seasons at Columbia. In 1994, Missouri would start over with former USC head coach Larry Smith at the helm.


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