Preview of this week’s game

– Better late than never. Here’s some info on Saturday’s game …

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Review of this week’s game (Note: you will have to scroll down to read the preview and reveiw)

– Buffs go to 2-0 in Big 12 play with a 20-point win against Baylor. Click here for details …..

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Trivia you’ll want to remember – Baylor

When did Baylor last win a conference title? (Also the same year the Bears last went to a bowl game)

Two teams in the Big 12 have losing all time records. Is Baylor one of them?

Baylor has five conference wins in the past two seasons. How does that compare with the total number of conference wins the Bears had i the first nine seasons in Big 12 play?

* Bar Bet Winner – The Buffs are 8-6 all-time against the Bears. When and where was the only “neutral site” game played between the two teams (and what the result)?

Read Trivia…

“The enemy of my enemy is my friend”

Who to root for this weekend?… The Kansas/Kansas State game is a tossup. Not so much on Missouri/Nebraska ….

Read On…

Going Down in History

Who may be passed on the all-time list this week – and why you should remember them.

Hugh Charles has put together consecutive 100+ games rushing to move into the top 20 all-time. Up next may be his position coach.

Terrence Wheatley is not only an all-Big 12 caliber cornerback (6th on the all-time picks list). Wheatley is also 7th on the Buffs’ all-time kickoff return list. Up next? His teammate ….

Jordon Dizon just continues to amaze. The senior linebacker is already in the top ten in all-time tackles. Up next on the list are some names familiar to most Buff fans.

Read This Moment in History…

Archive Game of the Week

1986 was a series of highs and lows for Colorado. Coming off the first winning campaign in the past seven seasons, expectations were high for the Buffs. An 0-4 non-conference record to start the season took care of the optimism. Then the Buffs went on to post a 6-1 Big Eight record, including the historic win over Nebraska. This led to a bowl game against the Baylor Bears. I made my first trip to a bowl game that December. Have you ever driven across Texas? I do not recommend it ….

Go To The Archived Game of The Week…

Pregame Preview

What to look for in this weekend’s game against Baylor:

1) CU to maintain an edge in time of possession. Colorado is first in the conference in time of possession, at 32:20 per game. Baylor is last in the conference, holding the ball only 25:41 per game. If Baylor is holding the ball against the CU defense, it’s time to start worrying about the final result.

2) The Buffs to start out fast, then fade in the middle quarters. CU has been doing well getting out of the gate, out-scoring the opposition 35-14 in the first quarter. The middle quarters have not been so generous, as the Buffs have been outscored in the second and third quarters by counts of 46-31 and 38-18, respectively. The good news is that the Buffs have put up 33 fourth quarter points so far in 2007, while the opposition has only managed one field goal combined (Florida State had a field goal three weeks ago).

3) Both teams to score in the neighborhood of 24 points. Colorado and Baylor are tied for 77th in the nation in scoring, with both teams averaging 24.0 points per game. The good news is that the Buffs are only surrendering an average of 20.2 points per game, while the Bears are giving up 25.2 points per game.

4) The smallest crowd to witness a Buff game this year. Baylor’s home field has a capacity of 50,000, but the Bears have been averaging only 32,691. Every Big 12 team is averaging at least 10,000 more per game in home attendance than Baylor.

5) A Colorado win. I was hoping to not have to write here that the Buffs have the potential to be the first Big 12 team to lose three games in a row to Baylor (having lost in 2003 and again in triple overtime last season). In fact, the Buffs are already infamous. Other than Colorado, Baylor has never won consecutive games against any other Big 12 team. There is no way that the Buffs should allow this number to reach three. (Of course, I didn’t see any way for the Buffs to defeat Oklahoma, so we’ll just have to wait for the final result).

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Postgame Review

October 6th – @ Baylor Colorado 43, Baylor 23

Dan Hawkins earned his first road win as Colorado head coach as the Buffs took care of business with a 43-23 road win against Baylor. Snapping a two game losing streak against the Bears, the Buffs had many stars, including freshman running back Demetrius Sumler, who had two touchdowns rushing and one receiving, freshman quarterback Cody Hawkins, who passed for 293 yards and two touchdowns, and senior running back Hugh Charles, who posted his third consecutive 100 yard game, putting up 122 yards on twenty carries.

As large as a 20-point win on the road may be, Colorado could have won by a much larger score. Thanks in part to the largess of their hosts, the Buffs had the opportunity to send the 32,376 in attendance home much earlier than the 9:37 p.m. final gun.

The Buffs opened the game with an impressive seven play, 82-yard drive for a score. The player of the drive was senior wide receiver Dusty Sprague. On the game’s third play, Hawkins hit Sprague for 27 yards. Two plays later, Hawkins hit Sprague again for another 28 yards. Completing the trifecta two plays later, Hawkins connected with Sprague from 26 yards out to give the Buffs an early 7-0 lead.

The Bears looked to make a game of it after the ensuing kickoff was returned to the Colorado 49-yard line. Three consecutive penalties, though, brought about a third-and-30 which Baylor failed to convert. The Buffs pushed the ball into Baylor territory on their second possession, but a fumble by freshman running back Samson Jagoras gave the ball back to the Bears near midfield.

Unwilling or unable to take advantage of the beneficial field position, Baylor gave the ball right back to Colorado, as senior linebacker Jordon Dizon intercepted Baylor quarterback Blake Szymanski, returning the pick to the Baylor nine yard line. Then, it was the Buffs who failed to capitalize, as CU went backwards before Kevin Eberhart missed a 36 yard field goal attempt.

A few minutes later, a 42-yard punt return by Stephone Robinson gave the ball to the Buffs at the Bears’ 24 yard line. Again, Colorado was unable to move the ball, settling for an Eberhart 41-yard field goal just before the end of the quarter.

The score moved from 10-0 to 17-0 early in the second quarter. A second Szymanski interception, this one by freshman cornerback Jonathan Hawkins (no relation) gave the Buffs the ball at the Baylor 41. Eight plays later, Cody Hawkins hit Demetrius Sumler for a seven yard touchdown to give the Buffs a 17-0 lead.

A 79-yard field goal drive by Baylor pulled the Bears to within 17-3, but one drive later a fumble by BU running back Jay Findley was recovered by CU freshman (there’s that word again!) linebacker Josh Hartigan at the Baylor 26-yard line. After a Cody Hawkins completion of 23 yards to Kendrick Celestine, Demetrius Sumler scored his second touchdown, this time on a run from three yards out, to give the Buffs a commanding 24-3 lead with 4:36 left before halftime.

Not content to keep a good thing going, the Buffs gave up a short drive (at least in duration) to the Bears on their next possession. It took only two plays for the Bears to cover 64 yards (including a 62-yard pass play) to pull Baylor back into the game at 24-9 (the extra point attempt was missed).

Two field goals by Kevin Eberhart before halftime made up for the Baylor score. The first came the conventional way, as the Buffs put together a seven-play drive finalized by a 44-yard field goal with 1:00 before half to put the Buffs up 27-9. A three-and-out followed by a shanked punt of only 19 yards gave Eberhart one last play, and Eberhart made the Bears pay, as he hit for a career long 54-yarder as time expired in the half.

Comfortably up 30-9, the Buffs nonetheless made sure early in the second half that there would be no comeback by the Bears. Baylor went nowhere on its first two drives of the half, while Colorado put up another field goal by Eberhart, this time from 42 yards away, and a third touchdown by Sumler, scoring from two yards out midway through the third quarter to make the score: Colorado 40, Baylor 9.

The remainder of the game saw Baylor outscore Colorado 14-3, but the game was long since decided. Baylor, which had been held to nine points and 220 yards in the game’s first 39 minutes, posted 245 yards and two touchdowns in the last 21 minutes. For the game, BU quarterback Blake Szymanski put up some large numbers, connecting on 36 of 60 passes for 410 yards, but many of those yards came after the final outcome was determined.

The 43-23 final represented a 20-point win, on the road, by a team which had just doubled its win total from the previous season in the first weekend in October. Time for celebration? Not in the Buffs’ locker room. “If you walked into the locker room, you’d think we just lost,” said quarterback Cody Hawkins. “How many times do you win by 20 points and everybody is kicking themselves in the foot and throwing their helmets on the ground?” Hawkins went on to answer his own question: “I think that’s what you want to have because you expect perfection in every game.”

The quarterback’s father agreed. “We’re always looking for that perfect tapestry,” said Dan Hawkins. “So the fact that you come on the road and haven’t won on the road, score 43 and win by 20 and you’re going, ‘Dang’. That’s probably a good sign.”

Thanks mostly to Baylor ‘s success late in the game, the statistical edge went largely to the Bears. Baylor had more first downs than the Buffs (24-18), more passing yards (410 to 293), and more total yards (465 to 450). Still, it was Colorado which had the big win. Pushing the Buffs’ overall record to 4-2, CU was also 2-0 in Big 12 play, the only North Division team which could make that claim. The 17th-ranked Missouri Tigers were 1-0 in conference play after completely dismantling Nebraska, 41-6, while the unranked (but undefeated) Kansas Jayhawks were also 1-0 after a surprising 30-24 win on the road over 24th-ranked Kansas State.

Up next for the Buffs were those same K-State Wildcats. Kansas State (4-2, 1-1) dropped out of the national polls after the loss to Kansas, but these were still the same Wildcats who had shocked Texas in Austin the weekend before, 41-21. Given the choice between the two, Buff fans would happily take the team which had lost at home to the Jayhawks.

Undefeated in New England

Writing up a review for a big CU win is all the nicer when, in the background, there is the sound of the Atlantic Ocean hitting up against the shoreline (sorry – couldn’t resist. “Having a great time. Wish you were here, etc. etc. …”). Spending the better part of a week in Boston and New Hampshire visiting family on both sides, I “watched” most of the CU/Baylor game on the internet in a hotel room in Concord, New Hampshire. We went out to dinner Saturday night in a group totaling nine (including two grandsons), so I wouldn’t have been able to keep track of much of the game in normal circumstances, but I was aided by the fact that the game had a 7:00 p.m. eastern time zone starting time. By the time we got back to our hotel room, it was midway through the second quarter, and the Buffs were already up, 17-0.

I can now boast a 2-0 record when in New England during the football season. The first opportunity came about a decade earlier when I was in Syracuse, New York, for a Lions Club USA/Canada Forum. Then, I had to duck out of a banquet several times in order to learn that Colorado had escaped with a last minute touchdown to defeat Wyoming, 20-19.

What to make of the 4-2, 2-0 record at the halfway point of the season? Well, for starters, I am not convinced that the Buffs are going to win the Big 12 North just because Colorado is now riding a three game winning streak. Many of us saw the Buffs at 3-3 at this juncture, with only the Oklahoma win being unpredicted (and totally unpredictable). While it is reassuring to see the offense begin to click, and to see the defense continue its fine play (the last quarter of the Baylor game notwithstanding) there is still much work to be done. Winning in Manhattan has become difficult for the Buffs in recent years, and I don’t see that the loss by the Wildcats to the Jayhawks makes the game any easier. If anything, the Buffs may have benefitted from a close KSU win (and perhaps, some overconfidence on the part of the players).

What is tantalizing, though, is how close the Buffs have come to being a national player again in just a few short weeks. In the new AP poll, the Buffs are tied for 27th place in points. A win against KSU would almost guarantee a national ranking a week from now. The CU/KSU game is slated for national coverage on ESPN2. Not quite the 1:30 ABC national coverage of the big boys, but much closer than the Buffs have been in some time.

I’m not quite sold on 2007. Give me a couple of wins in the next two weeks against the Sunflower State teams, and I will be a believer. Still, I am quite sold on 2009, and perhaps even 2008. Take a look back at all the contributions being made by freshmen on this team (two of the turnovers against Baylor were made by freshmen not even appearing on the depth chart!). There is much to be excited about for the future.

Perhaps even the present.

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Trivia you’ll want to remember – Baylor

– In 1915, Baylor was a charter member of the Southwest Conference. Hard as it may to be to believe today, the Bears were once the toast of the SWC. Okay, it was a long time ago. Baylor went 32-13-4 from 1920-24, winning the conference in 1922 and 1924.

– Believe it or not, Baylor still has a winning record overall in football. The Bears all-time record at the beginning of the year stood at 514-505-43. In fact, in the Big 12, only Kansas State and Oklahoma State have losing overall records (though Kansas flirts with a sub .500 record every season – coming into 2007, the Jayhawks all-time record stood at 542-538-58).

– The Bears last conference title came in 1994, when they shared the second-to-last SWC crown. Baylor, the only private school in the Big 12, last played in a bowl game that season, falling 10-3 to Washington State in the Alamo Bowl.

– The five conference wins by Baylor in the past two seasons is just short of the six total conference wins the Bears posted in the first nine seasons of the Big 12, going 6-66 in league play.

– Colorado leads the all-time series with Baylor, 8-6, with Baylor winning the first two (1959-60) and the last two (2003, 2006). The Buffs met the Bears in the 1986 Bluebonnet Bowl in Houston, with Baylor prevailing, 21-9.

– Baylor’s teams were almost nicknamed the Buffaloes. In 1914, a contest to come up with an official nickname settled on the Bears, beating out suggestions such as the Buffaloes, Frogs, Antelopes, and Ferrets.

– Famous alumni – football – Mike Singletary (consensus All-American, 1979-80); Santana Dotson (1991).

– Famous alumni – other – Michael Johnson (track); Ann Richards (politician). (In fact, it is Ann Richards, then governor of Texas, who is credited with using her clout to get Baylor into the newly formed Big 12 Conference, when other Southwest Conference teams – TCU, Houston, Rice, and SMU did not make the cut).

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The Enemy of my Enemy is my Friend …

October 6, 2007

The Obvious:

Missouri over Nebraska – This may not be obvious to every Buff fan. After all, Missouri is ranked higher, is undefeated, and plays the Buffs before CU plays Nebraska. All valid points. But I am banking on Missouri being Missouri. The Tigers have been the fashionable pick to win the Big 12 North for years. How many titles has Gary Pinkel brought home in his seven years in Columbia? Right, nada. Missouri has been an oh-fer since the Big 12 started. With Oklahoma and Texas Tech coming up after Nebraska, I’d rather root for a Tiger win Saturday, then take my chances with Missouri imploding later on this season.

The Understandable:

Kansas State over Kansas. An argument can be made to root for/against either team. The logic behind cheering for Kansas is that we play K-State next, and we don’t want the Wildcats to have any more momentum than they already have. My feeling is that we need a win over at least one of these teams if we are to be bowl-eligible. Kansas State has already proven it can play with the big boys. Kansas, conversely, may be exposed as a pretender this weekend. The Jayhawks are 4-0, but have not yet played a road game, and their four wins (all over non-BCS foes), are over a 1-AA team and three others with a combined record of 3-12.

The Obscure:

Oklahoma over Texas. With the win over the Sooners, the Buffs completed their home-and-home for the ‘06-’07 season with OU. Unless Colorado makes it to the Big 12 title game (a concession I am willing to deal with), we will not play Oklahoma again until 2009. Conversely, our next game against Texas is less than a year away (remember 70-3?). It also wouldn’t help to have Oklahoma continue to rise back up the top ten (the Sooners dropped to #10 in the latest poll). A mad Sooner team should prevail against a Texas team which looked vulnerable even before the K-State meltdown. Boomer Sooner!

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Going Down in History

Terrence Wheatley – senior kickoff returner – 7th – 857 yards

Terrence Wheatley is presently 7th on the all-time list with 857 yards. Right in front of him is his teammate, Stephone Robinson, who is 6th on the all-time list with 883 yards. As Wheatley has 16 kickoff returns this season, and Robinson has been limited to two punt returns, look for Wheatley to be the one to make it into the top five first.

#5 – Roman Hollowell (1998-2001) 914

#4 – Bill Symons (1962-64) 1,051

#3 – Walter Stanley (1980-81)* 1,172

*Walter Stanley is best remembered for the rare occasion in the early 80’s when the Buffs actually forced the opposition to punt. Shouts of AWal-ter@, AWal-ter@ reverberated throughout Folsom Field, in hopes that Stanley would produce an electrifying return. In actuality, though, it was the kickoff returns where Stanley made his mark – and he had plenty of opportunities. In the 1-10 season of 1980, Stanley set school marks for kickoff returns in a game (eight, against Nebraska), and a season (30). Stanley=s one kickoff return for a touchdown came in the epic 82-42 loss to Oklahoma. Stanley=s return made the score 14-7 late in the first quarter, giving the Buff faithful a glimmer of hope (it didn=t last). Walter Stanley=s career in Boulder was short-lived, as legal problems forced him to leave school after only two seasons. Stanley did go on to have a seven year NFL career.

Jordon Dizon – Senior linebacker – 7thT – 349 tackles

Jordon Dizon continues to march his way up the career tackle charts. With 69 tackles in five games, Dizon has 349 total tackles, and has already pushed his way into a tie for 7th place, sharing the spot with Michael Jones (1986-89). Up next is Chad Brown, one of the Buffs’ all time greats

#6 – Chad Brown (1989-92)* 369

#5 – Laval Short (1976-79) 372

#4 – Ted Johnson (1991-94) 409

*Chad Brown was an All-Big Eight performer as a junior in 1991, when he racked up 125 total tackles. Fighting off injuries, Brown was repeated on the All-Big Eight list in 1992, also garnering second team All-American honors despite his total tackles dropping off to 88. Brown=s 14 career sacks also place in the top 20 in school history in that category. Perhaps Brown=s finest moment in a Buff uniform came in the 1992 game against Iowa, when Brown teamed up with fellow linebacker Ron Woolfork for eight sacks and 80 total yards in losses in a 28-12 win over Iowa. A second round pick by the Pittsburgh Steelers in 1993, Brown has gone on to over a decade of success in the NFL, three times being picked to play in the Pro Bowl (Pittsburgh, 1996; Seattle, 1998-99).

Hugh Charles – Senior running back – 19th – 1,912 yards

With consecutive 100+ yard performances under his belt, Hugh Charles has finally begun in earnest his climb up the career rushing charts. With 1,912 total yards, Charles is only 26 yards behind #18, Tony Reed (1975-76). With another 100 yard game, Charles could pass his position coach, Darian Hagan, on the all-time list, joining Jordon Dizon, who pulled the same feat against his position coach, Brian Cabral, earlier this season.

#17 – John Bayuk (1954-56) 1,943

#16 – Carroll Hardy (1951-54) 1,999

#15 – Darian Hagan (1988-91)* 2,007

*Wow – what all can you say about Darian Hagan? As a sophomore in 1989, Hagan led the Buffs to Colorado=s first 11-0 regular season. In becoming the first Buff, and only the sixth player to ever rush for and pass for 1,000 yards in a season, Hagan finished fifth in the Heisman trophy balloting. Hagan=s 2,007 rushing yards remain the highest for a quarterback in CU history. Hagan went on to play five seasons in the CFL, and was inducted into the Colorado Athletic Hall of Fame in 1999.

One Reply to “Baylor – Undefeated in New England”

  1. Nice predictions for this week. 3 of the 5 were right on (time of possession, small crowd and a win) The other two turned out better than feared (no middle swoon and more points).

    I agree that next week will be big. A win moves us toward a bowl and puts us in the top 25. KSU can play well and sometimes not. Need to the defense to play up to the level of the competition. Go Buffs

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