October 16th – at Texas Tech           Texas Tech 31, Colorado 10

Who needs Ricky Williams?

Not Texas Tech. With their star running back out for the season, the Red Raiders, just 2-3 on the year, seemed vulnerable. Colorado, with a 3-2 record, a 2-0 mark in Big 12 play, had fresh momentum after an overtime win over Missouri. Colorado seemed to be primed to take out Texas Tech, leaving the Red Raiders to contemplate a season of what “might have been” had Williams stayed healthy.

Instead, it was Colorado which looked in need of consolation.

Led by freshman running back Shaud Williams’ 230 yards rushing, the Red Raiders ran all over the Buffs. When the sun set over the Homecoming crowd in Lubbock, Texas Tech had a 31-10 win.

“Every time we felt like the defense had them wrapped up, we gave ‘em big plays,” said CU coach Gary Barnett. “Shoot, you can’t play like that.”

After a scoreless first quarter, the Red Raiders broke loose. A 13-yard touchdown pass from Rob Peters to Darrell Jones gave Texas Tech a 7-0 lead five minutes into the second quarter. On the ensuing kickoff, Damen Wheeler fumbled a short kickoff, giving the Red Raiders excellent field position. Three plays later, Williams posted a three-yard rushing touchdown, and, just like that, Colorado was down, 14-0.

Later in the quarter, Texas Tech converted an interception – one of six turnovers by Colorado on the day – into a field goal and a 17-0 halftime lead.

The Buffs showed life briefly in the third quarter. Texas Tech quarterback Rob Peters hit Tim Baker for a 50-yard catch and run, but Damen Wheeler forced a fumble on the play, with the ball picked up by Robbie Robinson and returned to the Tech 47-yard line. Three plays later,  Mike Moschetti hit wide receiver John Minardi for a 37-yard touchdown to bring the Buffs to within ten, at 17-7, less than a minute into the third quarter.

On the next play from scrimmage, though, Shaud Williams carried the ball for 66 yards, setting up a second 13-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Rob Peters to wide receiver Darrell Jones. Less than two minutes after the Buffs had pulled to within ten, it was again a 17-point disadvantage.

Jeremy Aldrich connected on a 45-yard field goal with 12:02 to play to make it a 24-10 game, but the Buffs could get no closer. On the Red Raiders’ next drive, Shaud Williams scored on a six-yard run to close out the scoring, leaving both teams with a 3-3, 2-1 record at mid-season.

“Our biggest problem as a team – defense, offense, and on special teams – (is) our consistency is so poor,” said a somber Ty Gregorak after the game. “I can’t give you (reporters) the answers for why. I don’t think we know why.”

The Buffs’ offense, held to its lowest point total of the season, gave up six turnovers, including four fumbles. The Buffs’ defense also had a tough day. Texas Tech put up 460 yards of total offense, including 279 yards rushing.

Up next for the Buffs was a road trip to Ames, Iowa, to face Iowa State and running back Darren Davis, the Big 12’s leading rusher. For their part, the Cyclones were coming off of a 24-21 upset win over Missouri on the road, raising their season record to 4-2.

In year’s past, the one game the Buffs could always count on as one for the win column was Iowa State. Colorado had not lost to Iowa State since 1983, a run of fifteen consecutive wins. But this was a new year, and the Cyclones were showing signs of life.

Just when the Buffs appeared ready to be left for dead.

Game Notes –

– The loss to Texas Tech in Lubbock marked the end of a six-game winning streak for Colorado in games played in the state of Texas.

– The loss to Texas Tech was Colorado’s third loss to an unranked team in 1999. In the ten previous seasons, 1989-98, the Buffs lost a total of three games to unranked opponents, posting a 61-3-2 record.

– John Minardi’s touchdown reception was the first of his career. The sophomore would go on to finish the 1999 season with 20 catches for 312 yards and two touchdowns.

– Senior kicker Jeremy Aldrich made one of two field goal attempts v. Texas Tech.  His four points on the day gave him 192 for his career, surpassing Tom Field (1979-83) as the Buffs’ all-time leading kick scorer.  Ahead of Aldrich on the all time points list remained only Eric Bieniemy (254 points), Bobby Anderson (212) and Rashaan Salaam (198).  By the end of the season, Aldrich would go on to pass Salaam and Anderson to become the second leader scorer in school history.

– Cortlen Johnson rushed for a new career-high 107 yards against Texas Tech, surpassing his 104-yard effort against San Jose State earlier in the season (Johnson would go on to crush his own personal best the following week, going for 185 yards against Iowa State).

– Colorado had 341 yards of total offense against Texas Tech, but the yardage was hard-earned. The Buffs had just two plays of over 20 yards against the Red Raiders, after averaging six such plays per game over the first five games of the season.

– The game marked the second six-turnover game of the season for the Buffs, with the first being the 41-14 opening game loss to Colorado State.

– Quarterback Mike Moschetti, who finished 20-for-32 for 194 yards, one touchdown and one interception, was injured late against Texas Tech. Red-shirt freshman Zac Colvin, who threw two passes against the Red Raiders (one interception, one incompletion) would go on to earn his first career start the following week against Iowa State.

– Texas Tech would go on to finish the 1999 season with a 6-5 record, 5-3 in Big 12 play. Despite the winning record, the Red Raiders were not invited to a bowl game, with a 38-28 win over Oklahoma in the season finale proving to be the last game of the 13-year Spike Dykes era in Lubbock. Dykes left Texas Tech with an overall record of 82-67-1. He would be replaced by Mike Leach, the offensive coordinator at Oklahoma.


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