November 7th – at Missouri           No. 18 Missouri 38, Colorado 14

In losing to Kansas two weeks earlier, Colorado had suffered its first road loss in that series since 1981.

Heading into Columbia, Missouri, CU had won six straight on the Tigers’ home turf.

Say goodbye to another positive streak.

Not bothering to leave it to a question as to whether the Buffs would be sluggish coming off of their bye week, Missouri raced to a 14-0 lead with ten minutes still remaining to play in the first quarter, going on to pound the Buffs, 38-14.

Tight end Brandon Ford scored for Missouri on a three-yard pass from quarterback Corby Jones on the Tigers’ opening drive, an 11-play, 89-yard march. The Buffs were marching on their first possession of the game, but a wrong route run by a receiver allowed cornerback Carlos Posey to pick off quarterback Mike Moschetti in the flat, dashing 61 yards untouched for a score. Up 14-0, the game was over before many of the 57,261 Missouri faithful in attendance had found their seats.

On the Buffs’ next possession, Mike Moschetti fumbled, leading to a field goal and a 17-0 Missouri lead. Two possessions later, the Tigers, after a one-yard run by Devin West, had a 24-0 lead midway through the second quarter.

The Colorado offense finally produced points on their next drive. A 10-play, 69-yard drive was capped by a nine yard pass from Moschetti to Robert Toler.

After forcing a fumble on Missouri’s first possession of the second half, the Buffs looked to make a game of it. An 11-yard pass from Moschetti to Darrin Chiaverini completed the drive, and the Buffs were back to within ten, at 24-14, with 8:39 still to play in the third quarter.

But that was as close as the Buffs would come.

The Buffs had two more chances in the third quarter to make the game close. A stop on fourth-and-one at the Missouri 30, and a missed 48-yard field goal by Jeremy Aldrich, though, kept the score at 24-14.

Two more touchdown runs by Devin West, a one-yarder early in the fourth quarter to up the Tigers’ lead to 31-14, then a 12-yarder with 1:13 to play to make it a rout.

Final score: Missouri 38, Colorado 14.

In the 24-point defeat, the Buffs suffered their worst loss since being humiliated by Michigan 27-3 in the second game of 1997.

“Unfortunately, it was 14-0 before it even really started”, said Neuheisel after the game. “We scratched and clawed our way back to within 24-14 and had a couple of chances to get closer than that, but we couldn’t get it done.”

Missouri out-gained the Buffs, 429 to 317 in total yards, but it was three turnovers and two missed field goals which gave the game a lopsided tone.

Now 6-3, 3-3 in Big 12 play, the Buffs were on the verge on not being invited to the post-season after starting the season 5-0. “We have to find a way to win next week (against Iowa State),” understated Neuheisel. “We’ve got to improve for next year. Those 14 or 15 practices you are allowed for a bowl game are essential because it’s like another spring practice. With the youth and the injuries we have, that would go a long way for next year.”

The home finale against a hapless Iowa State club (2-7, 0-6 in league play) had earlier looked like a break in the schedule before the battle with Nebraska Thanksgiving weekend. Now the game against the Cyclones represented nothing less than a test of survival.

Game Notes –

– Red-shirt freshman tight end Daniel Graham earned his first start against Missouri. Graham, who would go on to win the John Mackey Award as the nation’s top tight end in 2001, did not have a catch against the Tigers.

– Junior defensive tackle Jesse Warren also had his first start in the Missouri game. Pressed into duty to replace an injured Justin Bannan, Warren would go on to start the remaining three games of the season, including the Aloha Bowl against Oregon.

– Darrin Chiaverini and Javon Green both had eight receptions against Missouri, the highest total for any Buff receiver in all of the 1998 season. Green’s eight catches went for 86 yards, while Chiaverini’s eight grabs went for 80 yards and one touchdown. The pair would go on to lead the team in receptions for the 1998 season, with Chiaverini collecting 52 catches for 630 yards and five touchdowns, while Green finished with 39 receptions for 539 yards and four touchdowns.

– The 1998 win over the Buffs was the second in a row for Missouri, after CU had run off 12 consecutive victories in the series. After beating the Buffs to raise their record to 7-2, the Tigers moved up to No. 13 in the polls. A 17-14 loss to No. 6 Texas A&M, followed by a 31-25 loss to No. 2 Kansas State, dropped Missouri to No. 24 in the polls. A 34-31 win over West Virginia in the Bowl gave Missouri an 8-4 season record, and a No. 21 finish in the final AP poll.


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