October 20th – at Texas          No. 9 Texas 41,  No. 14 Colorado 7

Looking to secure their return to the national spotlight, the Colorado Buffaloes instead stumbled badly, falling to No. 9 Texas in Austin, 41-7.

With the loss, the Buffs absorbed their worst drubbing since a 52-7 disaster against Nebraska on Halloween, 1992.  Freshman Longhorn running back Cedric Benson rushed for 100 yards and two scores as Texas cruised to 425 yards of total offense.

Three first half turnovers and a missed field goal from short range doomed the Buffs to a long afternoon.  Still, Colorado was down only 17-7 late in the second quarter.  Senior quarterback Bobby Pesavento started for injured Craig Ochs, who was out with recurring symptoms from a concussion suffered a month earlier. For his part, Pesavento was efficient if not effective.

The Buffs, despite the turnovers, had moved the ball, and had put up a nine-yard scoring run by Cortlen Johnson to make the score 10-7 in the second quarter.

With just under two minutes to play in the first half, though, the game changed for good.

Texas was up, 17-7, but was pinned inside its five-yard line.  The Longhorns seemed content on going into halftime with a ten-point lead, when a safe screen pass to Cedric Benson turned into a fifty-yard gain.  A few plays later, Benson scored from four yards out, and the rout was on.

The Buffs briefly showed signs of life in the second half.

After stopping Texas on three plays to open the third quarter, the Buffs marched to the Longhorns’ 30-yard line, only to be stopped on fourth-and-two.  This failure seemed to take the life out of the Buffs, and the remainder of the game was a formality.

“That was a meltdown,” said Gary Barnett, absorbing his worst loss as the Buffs’ coach.  “It’s been a while since nothing went right.  This was one of those days.”

For Colorado, it was suddenly time to regroup.  A five game winning streak, the Buffs’ best since opening the 1998 season 5-0, was history.  Up next was Oklahoma State, 2-5, 0-4 under first year head coach Les Miles.  The Buffs had taken nine of the last ten contests against the Cowboys, but Colorado, now with a loss in Big 12 play, could not take anyone for granted.

Game Notes:

– With the loss, the 4-2 Buffs dropped from 14th to 25th in polls.

– The Buffs went 2-1 in the three game stretch against ranked opponents. Colorado had not done as well in such a gauntlet since going 2-1 to finish out the 1996 season against Kansas State (W), Nebraska (L), and Washington (W).

– Texas was ranked 9th when CU went to Austin, but the lower ranking was largely due to the Longhorns’ 14-3 loss to Oklahoma two weeks before. The Sporting News tabbed Texas as its No. 1 team in its preseason rankings.

– Running back Chris Brown was stopped behind the line of scrimmage on a run against Texas. This would not seem unusual, especially in a rout, but the loss represented the first time all season Brown had been caught behind the line. The 124-consecutive rushes without a loss set a school-record, besting the 122 attempts without a loss record set by John Tarver in 1971.

– Daniel Graham had five catches against for 58 yards, becoming CU’s all-time leader in receiving yards by a tight end, surpassing his position coach, Jon Embree, who amassed 1,166 yards on 80 catches (1983-’86). Graham would finish his CU career with 106 catches for 1,543 yards, both CU records.

– After taking out the Buffs, Texas moved up to No. 7 in the national polls. Four more wins to close out the regular season left the Longhorns with a 10-1 record and a No. 3 ranking. Winners of the Big 12 South, Texas faced a re-match with the Buffs in the Big 12 title game. After falling to the Buffs, Texas was invited to play Washington in the Holiday Bowl. In a high-scoring affair, the Longhorns took out the Huskies, 47-43. The 11-2 Longhorns finished the season ranked No. 5 in the final polls.


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