November 13th – at Baylor          Colorado 37, Baylor 0

Needing a win to become bowl eligible, the Buffs found the perfect opponent waiting for them on their schedule. The Baylor Bears, under first year head coach, Kevin Steele, were 1-8 on the year. As the record suggested, Baylor was a bad team, and the Buffs did nothing to dispel the opinion, rolling to a 37-0 win.

In posting the Buffs’ first shutout since a 12-0 win over Kansas State in 1996, the Colorado defense continued its fine play. The Bears were limited to just 114 yards of total offense, penetrating Colorado territory only once in the game. The Buffs dominated every statistical category, and put forth the balanced attack (253 rushing yards, 228 passing yards) Gary Barnett had been seeking all season. “We had a complete game,” said Barnett. “We made good decisions and our running game was better than it has ever been.”

There were many heroes on the day, with the wealth spread amongst players not used to seeing much action.

Cortlen Johnson, returning from a knee injury which had kept him out of the Kansas State game, opened the scoring with a four-yard run on Colorado’s first possession. Two drives later, fullback David Andrews scored his first career touchdown (on his first career carry) on a one-yard run. Before Baylor had crossed midfield for the first time, Jeremy Aldrich connected on the first of three field goals (24, 37, and 47 yards) to give the Buffs a comfortable 17-0 lead midway through the second quarter.

A methodical, 11-play, 76-yard drive by the CU offense then ate up a good portion of the remaining second quarter, with Mike Moschetti hitting Miles Koon with a three-yard touchdown pass to up the lead to 24-0, giving the sophomore tight end his first career touchdown reception. Then, adding insult to, well, insult, the Buffs finished off the first half with an eight-play, 43-yard drive with a 37-yard field goal by Jeremy Aldrich as the half expired.

In the third quarter, the Colorado offense took its first possession close enough to give Aldrich the opportunity for his third field goal. The 47-yarder upped the Buff advantage to 30-0, and sent many of the 25,726 who bothered to show up to watch the home team out to the exits. A Dwayne Cherrington two-yard touchdown run late in the third quarter closed the scoring, with both teams substituting liberally in a scoreless fourth quarter.

With the win over Baylor, Colorado was now bowl eligible at 6-4. The sixth win did not guarantee a bowl invitation, though. The Big 12 had six bowl tie-ins – the Bowl Championship Series, the Cotton Bowl, the Holiday Bowl, the Alamo Bowl, the Bowl and the Independence Bowl – and, at the conclusion of play November 13th, the Big 12 had six bowl eligible teams. Texas Tech, at 5-5, and Oklahoma State, at 4-5, though, could both win their remaining games to give the conference eight bowl eligible teams.

Colorado seemed like a good fit for the Tucson based Bowl, especially if 5-5 Notre Dame won its two remaining games. The Independence Bowl liked 6-3 Oklahoma, but would take the Buffs if it could lure a Southeastern Conference team like Arkansas to come and fill the Shreveport, Louisiana, stadium seats. Other possibilities included one of the Christmas Day bowls in Hawaii or the Holiday Bowl if the Buffs defeated Nebraska (especially if a re-match with Washington could be arranged).

Much was still out of the control of the Buffs, but they came out of Waco with what they wanted, win number six. The defense was playing well, and the team seemed to be coming together as a unit.

And just in time.

While Colorado was handling Baylor, Nebraska was demolishing previously unbeaten Kansas State, 41-15. With the win, the 9-1 Cornhuskers moved up from 7th to 4th in the polls. Nebraska needed help, but still harbored thoughts of playing for the national championship. A loss to Colorado would not only deny the Cornhuskers an opportunity for the national title, but would also give Kansas State the Northern Division berth in the Big 12 Championship game.

As a result, both Colorado and Nebraska had a great deal to play for on the Friday after Thanksgiving.

Game Notes –

– The win over Baylor gave Colorado a 7-4 advantage in the all-time series, with a four-game winning streak against the Bears.

– Colorado’s defense posted some great numbers against Baylor. The Bears never made it to the Buffs’ redzone, and missed a field goal on their only venture into CU’s side of the field. In 12 drives, Baylor went “three-and-out” eight times.

– The Buffs had a 28-6 advantage in first downs, and a 504-114 advantage in total yards.

– The CU defense had now allowed only 311 total yards in its last two games, the best two game stretch for the Buffs since 1975.

–  The 37-point win over Baylor was the largest margin of victory for Colorado since a 66-14 drubbing of Northeast Louisiana in 1995.  The margin of victory in a shutout was the greatest since a 58-0 whitewash of Minnesota in 1991.

– Colorado also had a decided advantage in time of possession, with the 42:13-17:47 advantage second in CU history only to the 1980 game against Indiana (42:17-17:13 in a 42-7 loss to Lee Corso’s Hoosiers). The Baylor game represented the first 40-minute time of possession game for CU since holding the ball for 40:25 against Kansas State in a 41-0 rout November 21, 1987.

– The shutout for the Buffs was the first since a 12-0 win over Kansas State in 1996, and the first on the road since a 6-0 win over Missouri in Columbia in 1992.

– Mike Moschetti finished the afternoon completing 19-of-28 passes for 165 yards and a touchdown. Moschetti was an impressive 12-of-13 on third and fourth downs.

– Redshirt-freshman running back Vince Reed led the running backs, with 17 carries for 56 yards, largely with the second-unit offense. Reed, who started the year out at strong safety, moved to running back during fall camp. His 56 yards against Baylor represented over half of his 101 yards (on 29 carries) for the season.

– Sophomore wide receiver Cedric Cormier earned his first career start against Baylor, collecting five catches for 40 yards against the Bears. Cormier would also start the following week against Nebraska. Playing in all 12 games, Cormier would finish fourth on the team with 21 catches for 158 yards in 1999.

– Baylor would go on to finish the 1999 season with a 1-10 record in Kevin Steele’s first season in Waco, with the Bears’ only victory coming against North Texas in non-conference play. (Steele would last four seasons in Baylor, never winning more than three games in a season. His four year record, coming to an end after the 2002 season, was 9-36, with a 1-23 record in Big 12 play).




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