October 8th – at Missouri                           No. 5 Colorado 38, Missouri 23

The Colorado Buffaloes could have been forgiven for being sluggish against the Missouri Tigers.

After all:

– the game against Missouri represented CU’s third straight road game;

– The game was the Buffs only game against an unranked opponent sandwiched between six games against nationally rated foes; and

– Missouri was 1-3 after having lost to the likes of Tulsa.

Fortunately for Colorado fans, the Buffs were ready to play.  Cruising to a 21-7 first quarter lead, Colorado never allowed the Tigers within two scores the remainder of the game, coasting to a 38-23 win.

Kordell Stewart led the Buffs, completing almost 80 percent of his passes (16-21 for 228 yards and two touchdowns).  Rashaan Salaam continued to impress, posting 166 yards on 28 carries and two scores.

The Buffs jumped out of the gates red hot, paced by Salaam who carried seven times on a nine-play drive to open the game. On a second-and-seven play near midfield, Salaam found a crease and scampered 46 yards before being dragged down at the Tiger one yard line.

The Missouri defense responded by stifling Salaam twice on the next two plays but, on third down, Salaam finally reached the end zone and the Buffs had an early 7-0 lead.

After Missouri squared things at seven on a lengthy drive of their own, the Buffs called upon Salaam again. This time the back touched the ball three times on five plays including a key third-and-five play at the Tiger 42. Salaam took a short screen pass past an over pursuing Missouri defense on the play and turned it into a 41 yard gain before he was once again pulled down at one. Tight end Christian Fauria caught a pass from quarterback Kordell Stewart on the next play and the Buffs once again were up a touchdown.

Just a few plays later, on Missouri’s next drive, junior safety Donnell Leomiti returned an interception 30 yards for a score and a 21-7 lead. A short 19-yard field goal by Neil Voskeritchian midway through the second quarter made it a 24-7 game, a lead which the Buffs took into halftime.

The Buffs put the game out of reach with a second Salaam one yard touchdown run midway through the third, ending any doubt about the final outcome. Overall, the Buffs were outscored overall by the Tigers, 16-14, in the second half, but the game was always well in hand.

After the game, in typical Salaam fashion, all praise for yet another 100 yard effort, the eighth of his career, went to a truly dominant offensive line.

“Those guys are doing such a great job that (Running backs) coach Ben Gregory could have run through those holes,” Salaam said. “That’s how big they are.”

The Buffs were 5-0, 1-0 in Big Eight play, but were already tired.

“We’ve been winning, but I’m tired of traveling and playing on the road,” said senior defensive tackle Darius Holland, “I can’t wait to get home and play in Boulder.”

Junior safety Donnell Leomiti echoed the sentiment:  “We didn’t treat this game any different than the previous three,” said Leomiti, whose 30-yard interception return for a score to give CU a 21-7 lead set the tone for the day.  “We didn’t want to have a let down.  Traveling and playing three weeks in a row can take a lot out of you.  It will be good to play at home again, but we can’t let up there, either.”

Colorado, with its 5-0 record, climbed to No. 4 in the nation.  The Buffs were now even garnering first place votes, receiving four votes as the nation’s No. 1 team.  The Buffs’ high octane offense was receiving national acclaim, and now was heading home to face 22nd-ranked Oklahoma.

“We haven’t played at home since September 17th”, noted McCartney.  “These guys will be glad to play at home again.  I think that will pick us up a lot.”

Truer words could not have been spoken.


Game Notes … 

– Linebacker Ted Johnson led the Colorado defense, posting ten tackles (eight solo), two tackles for loss, two third down stops, two passes broken up and a touchdown save.

– The Missouri game marked the first time in four weeks that a Colorado player was not named the Big Eight Offensive Player-of-the-Week. Kordell Stewart had earned the honor against Wisconsin; Michael Westbrook against Michigan; and Rashaan Salaam against Texas.

– Freshman running back Lendon Henry had his first carries as a Buff, with nine carries for 34 yards.

– Sophomore wide receiver James Kidd received his first career start against Missouri. Kidd responded with three catches for 24 yards.

– Freshman cornerback Elton Davis also earned his first career start, subbing for the injured Chris Hudson.

– The 38-23 victory over Missouri represented the tenth straight for Colorado in the series. The significance came in the fact that the win was just the 23rd overall for the Buffs in a series which dated back to 1930. After winning the first two games in the series (1930 and 1931), Missouri would take command of the rivalry, winning 16 of the next 21 games (with two CU victories and three ties). When Colorado defeated Missouri in 1985 to begin the ten-game streak, Missouri owned a six-game winning streak in the series, and a lopsided 33-13-3 lead overall. The 1994 win in Columbia made the series record a more respectable 33-23-3, Missouri.

– The 1994 season was the first for Missouri under new head coach Larry Smith. The former head coach at USC (1987-92), Smith would go on to post a 3-8-1 in his first year at Columbia. Smith had seven seasons coaching the Tigers, going 33-46-1 overall, with bowl appearances after the 1997 and 1998 seasons. After a 3-8 campaign in 2000, Smith was let go by the Tigers.


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