October 28th – Boulder           Colorado 37, Oklahoma State 21

Quarterback Craig Ochs became the first player in Colorado history to run for a touchdown, throw for a touchdown and catch a pass for a touchdown in the same game as the Buffs posted their first easy win of the year, a 37-21 decision over Oklahoma State.

Ochs was not content to set just one record versus the Cowboys, however.

On the day, Ochs surpassed freshman season records for passing attempts, completions, passing yards and total offense. Ochs completed 21-of-36 attempts for a career-high 336 yards, giving the Boulder-Fairview product 1,098 yards for the year, besting the 962 yards posted by Koy Detmer in Detmer’s freshman campaign in 1992.

The Buffs jumped on the Cowboys early, racing to a 21-0 first half lead.

Ochs scored his first touchdown on a 22-yard run on the Buffs’ opening drive, marking the first time all season in which Colorado had opened the game with a scoring drive. Later in the first quarter, Ochs threw a lateral pass to receiver Javon Green, only to have Green throw the ball back to Ochs for a 29-yard touchdown and a 14-0 lead.

The two-touchdown lead held for most of the second quarter before Ochs and Zac Colvin combined to lead the CU offense on a six-play, 71-yard drive. With Ochs temporarily out of the game, Colvin hit Javon Green from 22 yards out to up the lead to 21-0.

Down by three scores, Oklahoma State finally responded, scoring just 89 seconds later on a drive capped by a 16-yard touchdown pass.

Not to be outdone, the Buffs took only 53 seconds to mount another scoring drive. Going 71 yards again, but this time in only four plays, Craig Ochs finished off the drive with a 33-yard touchdown run. The extra point was missed, but the Buffs still had a comfortable 27-7 lead …

… but the Buffs were still not finished. Getting the ball back with thirty seconds before the break, the Buffs went 50 yards in six plays, with Mark Mariscal hitting a 23-yard field goal at the gun, making it 30-7 at halftime.

The 49,140 on hand at Folsom Field had to squirm just a bit as Oklahoma State attempted a second half comeback.

Two touchdowns, the second coming 11 seconds into the fourth quarter, made it a 30-21 game with plenty of time still left on the clock. Instead of folding, the Colorado offense put together an 11-play, 80-yard drive, taking up five minutes of clock to put the Cowboys away. Craig Ochs hit Roman Hollowell for an eight yard touchdown to complete his rushing, receiving and passing touchdown trifecta.

“I thought (Ochs) was spectacular out there,” Colorado coach Gary Barnett said. “There isn’t any other way to say it. He made very, very few mistakes and he’s just going to get better.”

Ochs was just the leader of what was beginning to have the look of one of Colorado’s best freshman classes ever.

Marcus Houston, before being sidelined for the season with a hip injury, had rushed for 339 yards in three games. Linebacker Sean Tufts and guard Marwan Hage were becoming regular starters, while defensive end Marques Harris, tailback Bobby Purify, tight end Quinn Sypniewski and defensive back Clyde Surrell had already seen playing time.

In all, six true freshman had earned starting spots.

While Barnett had half-joked earlier in the season that a team is expected to lose one game for each freshman player (Colorado had already played ten by time of the Oklahoma State game), it also could be seen as a good sign for the future. The total of six true freshman starters broke the school record of four, set in 1987 and tied in 1991. Each of those groups played on 11-victory teams their senior seasons.

But as the calendar turned to November, the future was still in the here and now for the 2000 Buffs. The overall record of 2-6 barred any hope for a bowl game, but there were two winnable games in the last three.

Up first was Missouri, also 2-6 on the season.


Game Notes –

– Until Craig Ochs posted his trifecta, Javon Green was the first and only player to throw a touchdown pass and catch one in the same game.

– When Ochs caught his touchdown pass, he became the first Colorado quarterback to catch a touchdown pass in a game in 27 years, dating back to 1973, when quarterback David Williams had two touchdown receptions, against Iowa State and Nebraska (both from Billy Waddy, and both covering 73 yards).

– In becoming the first Colorado freshman quarterback to pass for over 1,000 yards in a season, Ochs also set a freshman record for first downs earned in a single game (23), breaking another of Koy Detmer’s freshman records (20 vs. Oklahoma State in 1996). The 336 yards passing was a career-high, the second-most by a CU freshman (second only to Detmer).

– John Minardi was Ochs’ favorite target in the Oklahoma State game, collecting nine passes for 153 yards, both career highs.

– Colorado posted 524 yards of total offense, the best since the season opener against Colorado State (532). The Buffs had 398 yards of total offense in the first half as CU built at 30-7 halftime lead.

– Six of the scoring possessions were 80 or more yards in length, with all eight touchdown drives in the contest covering at least 71 yards. CU’s touchdown drives covered 80, 80, 71, 71, and 80 in length, while Oklahoma State’s drives were of 80, 80 and 86 yards.

– Running back Bobby Purify and defensive tackle Marques Harris both earned their first career starts against Oklahoma State. Purify, who had three carries for 19 yards in his first action the week before against Kansas, had 12 carries for 26 yards against Oklahoma State. Harris, in for 35 plays against the Cowboys, had four tackles (two solo), with 1 1/2 sacks and a quarterback hurry.

– Oklahoma State came into the Colorado game with a 2-4 record, with wins only over Tulsa and Texas State. The Cowboys would lose the next two games after the CU contest, including a 58-0 blowout loss to Texas Tech. A rebound win over Baylor before a close 12-7 loss to Oklahoma to close out the season was not enough to save the job for the OSU head coach, Bob Simmons. A 3-8 record (1-7 in Big 12 play) left the Cowboys with a third straight losing season under Simmons, the coach Colorado passed over in favor of Rick Neuheisel in 1994 after the retirement of Bill McCartney. Simmons ended his head coaching career in Stillwater with a 30-38 overall record, and one winning season (8-4, including an Alamo Bowl appearance, in 1997).


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