September 8th – Boulder            Colorado 51, San Jose State 15

Colorado demonstrated that the convincing victory over Colorado State was no fluke, amassing 560 yards of total offense in dominating San Jose State, 51-15.  Sophomore Chris Brown scored three touchdowns in leading the Buffs’ balanced attack.  In all, CU, improving to 2-1 on the young season, put up 297 yards through the air and 263 yards on the ground.

“Our plan was just to go out and run the ball first and see how they were going to adjust to that,” said Gary Barnett.  “All we wanted to do was turn around and hand the ball off.”  The Buffs did just that, carrying the ball 55 times on the day.

In the first quarter, Chris Brown had scoring runs of twelve and five yards, while Bobby Purify contributed a 30-yard score to put the Buffs up 21-0 in the first quarter, effectively ending any doubt as to the final outcome.

After a San Jose State field goal, Donald Strickland returned an interception for a touchdown for the second time in as many weeks, doing so on an acrobatic play.  In seemingly one motion, Strickland batted a Marcus Arroyo pass into the air, caught it, and lunged into the end-zone to complete a three-yard return, putting the Buffs up 28-3 in the second quarter.

Everyone contributed to the rout.

The defensive pitched in two interceptions and two blocked kicks while holding heralded running back Deonce Whittaker to 66 yards on 18 carries.  On offense, Craig Ochs completed 14-of-22 passes for 208 yards, including a touchdown pass of 33 yards to sophomore wideout Derek McCoy.  Ochs’ favorite target on the day, tight end Daniel Graham, had a career-high eight catches for 133 yards.

Backup quarterback Bobby Pesavento also saw action, connecting with receiver Matt Brunson on a 62-yard pass, allowing the 27-year old Brunson to become the oldest CU player to score since 28-year old placekicker Pete Dadiotis played for the Buffs in 1978.

“We had pretty much a complete game,” said Gary Barnett.  “We’re a pretty good team right now.  We’re playing with confidence.”

Quarterback Craig Ochs agreed, “We’re starting to get a little swagger now.  We just have to keep it up for the next several games – all season really.”

Two big wins.  Restored confidence in the locker-room.  The dark clouds of controversy, swirling around the Buffs’ program just two short weeks earlier, seemed to be far off in the distance.

There were dark clouds brewing, however.

Only they were coming from an unforeseen source.

 Game Notes:

– The Buffs continued their habit of turning games against San Jose State into record book games. Despite only playing San Jose State three times ever prior to 2001, the Buffs already had 14 individual and eight team records set against the Spartans, the most total records against any non-conference opponent other than hapless Northeast Louisiana (later Louisiana-Monroe), against which CU amassed 23 total records in only two games.

– Donald Strickland joined Victor Scott as the only two players in Colorado history to return two interceptions for touchdowns in the same season (Scott had both of his returns for scored in the same game, a 25-25 tie with Oklahoma State, 10/16/82).

– Matt Brunson, the 27-year old who scored against San Jose State, took a circuitous route to Boulder. Drafted by the Detroit Tigers out of high school, Brunson played baseball for three years before coming to college in Boulder after stints at Arapahoe Community College and Northern Colorado. Brunson joined the Buffs in 2000 as a junior.

– San Jose State, under first year head coach Fitz Hill, went on to post a 3-9 overall record, 3-5 in Western Athletic Conference play.


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