October 21st – at Iowa State           No. 9 Colorado 50, Iowa State 28

Offer college football teams a 22-point win on the road against a conference opponent, and a 50-point total on the scoreboard, and most of those teams would walk away quite content.

Not the Buffs.

Against a 2-5 Iowa State team heading nowhere, Colorado fell asleep at the switch, allowing a 27-10 halftime lead become a 28-27 deficit before rallying for the 50-28 win.  If ever there was a “lucky” three-touchdown win, this was it.

On a blustery 40-degree day, the Colorado passing offense was grounded.  Fortunately, the rushing game responded, picking up a season-high 326 yards, with three Buffs rushing for at least 80 yards.

Iowa State took leads of 7-0 and 10-7 early, with touchdown runs by Herchell Troutman from seven yards out and Lendon Henry from 14 yards giving CU a 14-10 lead early in the second quarter.

After Henry, who had 111 yards on 18 carries on the afternoon, scored on a two yard run with 3:46 to go before halftime, the Buffs were up 21-10.  When senior safety Donnell Leomiti returned a fumble 75 yards for a score with less than a minute before the break, the wind seemingly had been taken out of the Cyclones sails.

Iowa State was not finished, however.

Aided by 20 mph winds in the third quarter, the Cyclones took advantage of a poor Colorado execution.  A punt was blocked out of the endzone for a safety, a second punt traveled only 14 yards, and John Hessler threw an interception.  Iowa State super sophomore sensation Troy Davis, who went for 203 yards on 33 carries, ran for two touchdowns during the Cyclone rally, the second coming with 14:12 remaining in the game to give the Cyclones a 28-27 lead.

Then it was the Buffs’ turn to take advantage of the weather conditions.

Driving with the wind, Colorado was more successful.  Henry capped off a 66-yard drive with a one-yard run to give the Buffs back the lead at 33-28 with 11:10 to play (the two-point conversion run failed). Less than a minute later, linebacker Matt Russell returned a Todd Bandhauer pass 30 yards for a score to put the Buffs on top by a more comfortable margin, 41-28.  A Voskeritchian field goal and a Marlon Barnes eight-yard touchdown run with two minute left to play made the final look like a romp.

Colorado coaches and players knew better.

“Fortunately we came through in the fourth quarter when we absolutely had to”, said Neuheisel after the game.  “I’m excited about how we responded to adversity after a loss”.

Defensive hero Matt Russell, who led the Buffs with 12 tackles in addition to his game-changing pick-six, agreed:  “We started slow, but we were able to come back strong when the game was on the line.”

Even though the win was lackluster, it was a win.  Colorado (now 6-1, 2-1 in the Big Eight) advanced to No. 7 in the polls, moving up two spots thanks to losses by No. 5 USC (to Notre Dame) and No. 8 Kansas State (to Nebraska, 49-25).

Now it was time for the Buffs to face Nebraska. The Cornhuskers were 7-0 and ranked No. 2.

Neuheisel, unlike his predecessor, had made an effort for the first eight weeks of the season not to direct the season’s energy towards the Nebraska game.  Throughout the year, the new Colorado head coach had attempted to direct focus only on the upcoming week’s opponent.

Now the upcoming opponent was Nebraska.  “Fortunately, now we can say, ‘all right, let’s talk about it’,” said Neuheisel.

There was plenty to talk about.  Until Nebraska had kicked around Kansas State, the Big Eight had four teams ranked in the top ten in the nation.  With a loss to Kansas already recorded, and a road game against Kansas State looming, Colorado faced bigger problems than just Nebraska.

Although the Buffs were ranked 7th in the country, a loss to the Cornhuskers could well result in a fourth place finish in the Big Eight Conference.

 Game Notes –

– Colorado had a long history of thumping Iowa State, so the 50 points posted in 1995 were not close to a record. The highest point total belonged to the 1970 Buffs, who posted a 61-10 rout over the Cyclones.

– Lendon Henry (111 yards on 18 carries) and Marlon Barnes (100 yards on eight carries) had the first 100-yard games of their careers. The Iowa State game represented the 36th time in school history in which CU had two or more players rush for over 100 yards in the same game (and the first since the 1994 game against Kansas State). Herchell Troutman had 80 yards on the day, leaving the Buffs 20 yards short of only the third game in Buff history with three 100-yard rushers.

– Lendon Henry had about a quarter of all of his rushing yards for the season against Iowa State (111 of 463) and three of his four rushing touchdowns. Henry’s 111 yards were the most rushing yards by any Buff in the 1995 season.

– Super sophomore Troy Davis almost out-rushed the Buffs all by himself. Davis had 33 carries for 203 yards, making him the first player since 1987 to rush for over 200 yards in a game.

– How big an effect did the wind have in the Iowa State game? With the wind in the first and third quarters, the Cyclones had a 19-7 advantage. In the second and fourth quarters, the Buffs out-scored the Cyclones, 43-9.

– The win was the 12th-straight for the Buffs in the series against the Cyclones, with Colorado enjoying a 20-6 advantage in games played in Ames.

– While the Big Eight was enjoying a great deal of success nationally, with four top ten teams, much of the success was coming at the expense of Iowa State. The Cyclones, under first-year head coach Dan McCarney, would go 1-6 in the final season of the Big Eight (3-8 overall), losing to the four top schools by an average score of 51-14.



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