Preview of this week’s game

– Colorado is on a three game winning streak for the first time in two seasons. A national ranking is in the offing. Here is what you should be watching for as you sit down to watch the nationally televised game on Saturday night ….

Read The Entire Preview!…

Review of this week’s game

– The Buffs fell, 47-20, to KSU, in a game with four turnovers and 10 penalties. What’s next for this season’s Buffs? ….

Read The Entire Review!…

Here is the YouTube video of the game, courtesy of CU at the Gamer Paul:


Trivia you’ll want to remember – Kansas State

The Wildcats won the Big 12 title in 2003. How many Big Eight titles did Kansas State win?

At home games, the KSU band plays the “Wabash Cannonball” after kickoffs following a score. Where did this tradition come from?

Where did the “Wildcat” nickname originate (it may be more obvious than you think)?

* Bar Bet Winner – When Bill Snyder took over the helm at KSU in 1989, he inherited a team which had gone winless the year before. The winless streak reached 16 games before Snyder won his first game. Yet 16 games ranks only fourth on the KSU futility list. What is the Wildcats’ longest losing streak, and where does it rank on the all-time list?

Read Trivia…


“The enemy of my enemy is my friend”

It’s time for conference play. Is it possible to actually root for anyone? Here’s what to look for on the ESPN scrawl on Saturday ….

Read On…

Going Down in History

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

How are you at chanting? Perhaps it depends on how long you have been a Buff fan. Over 15 years. Do you remember, “J….J…. Flannigan”. How’s about 25 years? Then you might well remember, “Walter…Walter…Walter”.

You don’t need to have been a fan for more than a few months, though, to enjoy the exploits of this freshman class. Check out which freshman records are likely to fall in the next few weeks ….

Read This Moment in History…

Archive Game of the Week

2001 was a magical season for Buff fans. Still, it did not begin with any great assumptions. Colorado was coming off a 3-8 campaign and was unranked despite opening the season 3-1. Kansas State, meanwhile, was ranked 12th, falling only to #3 Oklahoma, 38-37. October 6th is always a special day in our family, as it is my father’s birthday. October 6, 2001, though, was to become a special day for another reason, and not just because of the efforts of the CU defense against KSU ….

Go To The Archived Game of The Week…

Pregame Preview

The Buffs are six-point underdogs heading to Manhattan to face the Wildcats. What to look for in cheering on dear ol’ CU this Saturday night:

1) A fast start. Yes, the Buffs are doing quite well in the first quarter this season, out-scoring the opposition 45-14 in the first stanza so far this year. K-State, however, is doing even better. The Wildcats have out-scored their opposition 48-7 in the first quarter of their five games, and have scored on their opening drive in three consecutive games. Whichever team posts the first score Saturday will place the opposition in unfamiliar territory.

2) Win the special teams battle. Kansas State is leading the nation with a gaudy 25.1 average per punt return, including two touchdowns. Even without the touchdowns, KSU is averaging 16.3 yards per return, compared to the 13.0 average posted by the Buffs (CU’s mark is still good enough to rank 28th nationally). Still, these Buffs are much better than last year’s version. In all of 2006, the Buffs had 14 special teams returns of over 20 yards. At the midway point of this season, the Buffs already have 19 such returns. Suffice to say, special teams will play a significant role on Saturday.

3) Win the turnover battle. Again, this is not earth-shattering information. You win the turnover battle; you win the game. KSU sophomore quarterback Josh Freeman, in his 13 career starts, has thrown ten touchdown passes, but he has also thrown 18 interceptions (4 TD’s and 7 INT’s for 2007). CU freshman quarterback Cody Hawkins has thrown for 10 touchdowns and nine interceptions in his first six games as the Buffs’ starter. Win this statistical category, and the Buffs are in good shape. Still, the Buffs have yet to have a game with less than two turnovers this season, and are still -3 overall in this category. Two or more turnovers in Manhattan may lead to an L.

4) Control the crowd by controlling the clock. Dan Hawkins, in his press conference this week, indicated that he expected the crowd in Manhattan to be the loudest road crowd of the season: (with apologies to the fans in Tempe and Waco). A 8:21 p.m. local time kickoff and a national television audience will only add to the fervor. Nothing will help the Buffs more than a ball control offense which takes momentum from the crowd and the Wildcats. Colorado is 8th in the nation in average time of possession (32:37), while Kansas State is 93rd (28:38). I know that Dave Plati believes this is the most over-rated of statistics, but it does mean that the Buffs are controlling the ball for more plays than the opposition. Most teams don’t score well without the ball.

5) Come in hungry, but in control. The Buffs are on the edge of being ranked for the first time in almost two full seasons. Colorado was last ranked in the poll of November 12, 2005. The Buffs lost that week to Iowa State, 30-16, the first loss of what turned out to be a ten game losing streak. This week, Colorado is tied for 27th place in the AP poll. A win over Kansas State will almost certainly mean a national ranking this time next week. I am hopeful that being on the cusp of the national spotlight, after all these players have been through, will serve as inspiration for the Buffs, but not bring about too much emotion. It is easy, with the success of the past few weeks, to start looking at bowl calendars. The reality is that the Buffs are still two wins away from bowl-eligibility, and are playing for a head coach who has still only won 1/3 of his games in Boulder (6-12). Here’s hoping for continued progress, and ‘07 win #5 on Saturday night.

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Postgame Review

October 13th – @ Kansas State Kansas State 47, Colorado 20

Senior tailback Hugh Charles rushed ran for a career high171 yards and a score, but it was not enough to keep the Buffs in the contest, as Colorado fell to Kansas State, 47-20, in Manhattan. KSU running back James Johnson ran for 159 yards and two scores, and quarterback Josh Freeman threw for 214 yards and another score as the Wildcats became the first team to post over 40 points against the Buffs under Dan Hawkins.

The game was billed as a defensive struggle, with Colorado ranked 21st nationally in total defense; Kansas State 22nd. K-State came into the game ranked 23rd in scoring defense (19.6 points/game); Colorado 31st (20.7). The two teams, though, combined for 36 points in the first half alone. Kansas State opened the scoring on their third possession as James Johnson scored from five yards out to cap a 69-yard drive. After the first of four Brooks Rossman field goals staked the Wildcats to a 10-0 lead, Kevin Eberhart hit from 50 yards out to pull the Buffs to within a touchdown.

A three-play, 69-yard drive by KSU, though, gave the Wildcats a 17-3 lead late in the first quarter.

The Buffs looked to make a game of it in the second quarter, outscoring the Wildcats, 10-6. A Cody Hawkins to Jake Behrens one-yard touchdown pass was the only touchdown of the quarter. Later, Kevin Eberhart and Brooks Rossman traded field goals to make the score 20-13, Kansas State. With less than a minute remaining, the Buffs faced a fourth-and-one at the Wildcat 42-yard line. The attempt was unsuccessful, and KSU used the opportunity to move themselves into field goal position. A career best 52-yard field goal by Rossman gave the Wildcats a 23-13 lead at halftime.

The game was still very much in doubt until late in the third quarter. The Buffs and Wildcats traded touchdowns midway through the quarter, with Colorado’s score coming on a one-yard run by Hugh Charles. With the score 33-20 after a fourth Rossman field goal, the Wildcats broke the game open when Buff punter Matt DiLallo dropped the snap from center. DiLallo’s punt was blocked and returned six yards for a touchdown, putting the game out of reach at 40-20. The fourth quarter consisted mostly of a worn down CU defense surrendering yards, while the Buffs’ offense, no longer in a position to continues with its effective rushing attack, showing an inability to move the ball through the air. On the evening, Cody Hawkins connected on only 19 of 41 attempts, for 223 yards and three interceptions to go with his one touchdown.

“We got outplayed and we got out-coached,” said Dan Hawkins. “They really brought it to us.” Junior defensive tackle George Hypolite agreed. “They beat us in every phase of the game,”, said Hypolite. “They ran the ball well, threw the ball well, and played great on special teams. They beat us.”

One could argue that the Buffs had a hand in the loss as well. The Buffs actually had more first downs than the Wildcats (22-20), and, until the final few minutes of the game, when James Johnson ran for a 68-yard touchdown, more total yards on offense. Where the Buffs beat themselves was in turnovers (four, to none for the Wildcats), and penalties (10, for 91 yards). Colorado’s offense, despite generating 411 yards, sputtered when in mattered most, going 1-12 on third down conversions.

“I still like our team,” said Dan Hawkins. “I like our guys, and I like where we’re going.”

Where the Buffs were going, after two weeks on the road, was home. Home to face an undefeated (and 15th ranked) Kansas Jayhawk team fresh from a 58-10 annihilation of Baylor. If Colorado was to be a player in the Big 12 North race, and not just another team looking for six wins and a bowl bid, the Buffs will have to play differently than they did on the road the last two weeks. They will have to play like they did the last time they were at home.

Like they did against Oklahoma.

Not Ready for Prime Time

It was all out there to be had. The Buffs were 4-2, 2-0 in Big 12 conference play. There was the #27 national ranking in the Associated Press poll. With the late start (7:21 p.m., MST), it was already clear that a win would result in Colorado being nationally ranked. Teams ranked 15th, 18th, 19th and 21st had already lost (along with the 26th ranked team), so a win would put the Buffs into the poll for the first time in two seasons. A win would leave Colorado, along with next week’s opponent, Kansas, as the only teams in the Big 12 undefeated in conference play. The KU/CU matchup would be the marquee game for the conference (who would have anticipated that two months ago?).

In the darkness of the 47-20 thumping by Kansas State, there was one bright ray of light which burned brightly, illuminating the harsh reality.

These Buffs are not yet ready for prime time.

Yes, the Buffs were on prime time television Saturday night. Colorado was displayed before a national television audience on ESPN2, and the evening telecast does qualify as “prime time”. Still, this is not the prime time in the world of college football. Prime time is Saturday afternoon football, shown on ABC. Prime time is a match up between two nationally ranked teams, with the ESPN Game Day crew on hand to analyze every aspect of the game. Prime time means conference and national races are impacted by the result.

Prime time is where the Colorado football program longs to return.

The Buffs are not there – yet.

The Buffs made mistakes in every aspect of the game against KSU in looking more like the 2-10 2006 Buffs than the 4-2 2007 Buffs:

The offense, despite a career high 171 yards from Hugh Charles, failed to consistently move the ball. Cody Hawkins reminded Buff fans that he is indeed a freshman quarterback. Hawkins forced the ball into difficult situations; he went for the long ball on third down instead of checking down and picking up the first down, trying to make every play a big play. And then every time it looked like the offense was in sync, a penalty stopped the momentum.

The defense, which had stopped teams like Florida State and Oklahoma (who, by the way place speedy position players on the field equal to or superior to those of Kansas State), looked pedestrian against the Wildcats. Cornered runners were consistently able to outflank Buff defenders. Wide receivers were able to create separation.

The special teams, which had contributed mightily to the Buffs’ upset win over Oklahoma, did not make any plays. Kevin Eberhart did make both of his field goal attempts, but Tyler Cope’s kickoffs never made the endzone, and Matt DiLallo’s fumble of the snap leading to a blocked punt for a touchdown turned the game into a rout. The Buffs did not surrender a big return to the Wildcats, but when Terrence Wheatley did have a long kickoff return, it was brought back on a penalty.

Four turnovers by the offense; none generated by the defense. Ten penalties for 91 yards. One for 12 in third down conversions.

Those types of numbers will not defeat Baylor, much less a quality team on the road.

What now? Kansas, the surprise team of 2007 in the Big 12 (unless you want to count the complete meltdown in Lincoln), are coming to Boulder. The Jayhawks are 6-0, 2-0, and are celebrating their highest ranking (15th) since 1995. Kansas thumped Baylor, 58-10, with the Bears’ only touchdown coming on a kickoff return, to come through the weekend as the only remaining undefeated team in the conference, both in conference play and overall.

What do the Buffs have working for them? First, the game is in Boulder. The Jayhawks will be playing their first game outside of the Sunflower State (five home games; the only road game coming last weekend against K-State in Manhattan). Second, the game will be played (mostly) in the afternoon. The game will be televised at 3:45 p.m., on ESPN. So far in 2007, the Buffs are 4-0 in games with kickoffs before 7:00 p.m.; 0-3 in games with later starts. Third, this will be an angry Buff team. Despite their youth, these Buffs play with a great deal of confidence. They know they can play with anyone, and won’t be intimidated by a Kansas team which, despite its gaudy numbers, has yet to convert the national pundits of their merit as a national player.

A win for the Buffs would bring about much needed publicity to the Colorado program. A second win, over a ranked team, at home, will give the Buffs a fifth win on their way to six (and bowl eligibility), and bring CU one step closer to where it wants to be.

A prime time program.

Extra Points

Heralded freshman Ryan Miller made his first collegiate start against Kansas State. It marked the first start by a true freshman at the offensive tackle position in CU history.

– Hugh Charles, in running for a career high 171 yards, posted his fourth consecutive 100-yard game, and ninth of his career. Charles moved past J.J. Flannigan Merwin Hodel, and Kayo Lam into 12th place on CU’s all time rushing list.

– Terrence Wheatley, with 128 yards in kickoff returns against the Wildcats, became only the fifth player in Buff history to accumulate over 1,000 yards in kickoff returns (1,065).

– Going unnoticed by the CU media relations office (at least as of Sunday), a new freshman record was set against Kansas State. With 63 yards against the Wildcats, Scotty McKnight moved his season receiving yards total to 374, eclipsing the record of 337 yards set by Chris McLemore in 1982. This record will be contested all season, though, as fellow freshman Josh Smith, who missed the first two games due to injury, already has 290 receiving yards.


In some respects, it was back to normal in the war between the North and the South Divisions of the Big 12. In the four inter-division games, the South went 3-1 against the North, with the Kansas win over Baylor the only win for the North. Texas Tech (the Buffs’ opponent after Kansas) moved back into the polls at #21 after defeating Texas A&M, 35-7. Missouri fell from the ranks of the unbeaten (and into a tie for 15th in the polls with Kansas) after falling to Oklahoma, 41-31.

The shocker, though, was Oklahoma State going on the road to thump Nebraska, 45-14. It wasn’t just that OSU won in Lincoln for the first time since 1960, it was the way the Cowboys humiliated the Cornhuskers. The loss represented:

– the most lopsided defeat for Nebraska at home since a 31-0 loss to Missouri – in 1958;

– the fourth game of the season in which an opponent had scored over 40 points, the first time that has happened in the 118-year history of the program; and

– the first half score of 38-0, when combined with the 41-6 loss to Missouri the week before, meant that over six quarters, the “Black Shirts” had been out-scored 79-6.

Which sets up an interesting game for next week: Texas A&M at Nebraska. You can take your pick as to which head coach is sitting on the hottest seat: A&M’s Dennis Franchione, 5-2, but under fire for off the field developments as well as a less than inspiring 30-25 record overall at College Station; or Bill Callahan, 4-3, 1-2, whose teams have been dominated three times this year (not to mention that the Cornhuskers coulda/shoulda lost to both Wake Forest and Ball State). This was supposed to be the breakout year for the Cornhuskers, but now Nebraska, 25-18 in 3+ seasons, may be looking for a new head man shortly after giving him an extension into the next decade.

Call Nebraska/Texas A&M the “game to keep their job” bowl.

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Trivia you’ll want to remember – Kansas State

– Before Bill Snyder came to Manhattan in 1989, the Wildcats had posted only four winning seasons in 53 years. In 27 of those years, the Wildcats lost at least eight games. Snyder inherited a 27-game winless steak when he came on board, a streak which was stretched to 30 games before the Wildcats won their first game for Snyder, a 20-17 win over North Texas. It would prove to be the Wildcats’ only win in 1989.

– On the all-time list for losing streaks, Kansas State appears four times. The Wildcats hold the third longest streak ever, 28 games (1945-48), but also appear with streaks of 18 games (1961-62), 17 games (1964-66), and 16 games (1987-89). (Colorado tied its longest streak ever – 10 games – between the end of the 2005 and the start of the 2006 seasons).

– The Wildcats have a quirky tradition of the band playing “Wabash Cannonball” after every kickoff following a KSU score. The tradition originated in tragedy. In 1969, the KSU music department burned down just before a football game. The only music salvaged was in the band director’s briefcase, where there was sheet music for “Wabash Cannonball” was found. The band played the song early and often the next week, and a tradition was born.

– KSU was the “Aggies” in the early years, then the “Farmers”. In 1920, coach Charles Bachman arrived from Northwestern (also named the “Wildcats”), and the new name was applied.

– Kansas State has won three Big 12 North titles, the latest in 2003, the same year the Wildcats won their only league title. KSU never won a Big Seven or Big Eight title in the history of either conference (1948-95), but did win a Big Six crown in 1934.

– Famous alumni – football – The only number retired at KSU is #11, worn by both Lynn Dickey (1968-70) and Steve Grogan (1972-74). KSU has had nine consensus All-Americans, including Gary Spani (1977), Chris Canty (1995-96), and Terence Newman (2002).

– Famous alumni – other – Kirstie Alley (actress); Gordon Jump (actor); Erin Brockovich (activist).

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The Enemy of my Enemy is my Friend …

October 13, 2007

The Obvious:

Baylor over Kansas. Kansas is the trendy story of the week nationally, with KU boasting its highest ranking (20th) since 1996. Mangino is now a genius because he followed the KSU trick of scheduling patsies to bulk up the non-conference record? KU hasn’t even left the state yet (the first game outside of state boundaries will be next week against the Buffs in Boulder). Baylor is a lousy team, but could play the Jayhawks closer than the 20-point spread suggests.

The Understandable:

Oklahoma over Missouri. The Tigers did the world a favor by humiliating the Cornhuskers last week, 41-6. Now it’s time for the clock to strike 12, and for Cinderalla to head home. Oklahoma looked better last week, beating Texas, 28-21. The Sooners are all the way back up to #6 in the AP poll, the highest ranking for a one-loss team. Each rung climbed by OU just makes the Buffs look all the better. Time for the Sooners to expose Missouri as being only paper Tigers.

The Obscure:

Oklahoma State over Nebraska. Just for the fun of it ……!

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Going Down in History

Hugh Charles – senior running back 2,021 rushing yards – 15th

#14 – J.J. Flannigan (1987-89)* 2,096

#13 – Merwin Hodel (1949-51) 2,102

#12 – Kayo Lam (1933-35) 2,140

*Can you still hear the P.A. announcer? “First down carry by …J…J….Flannigan!!” J.J. Flannigan dazzled Buff fans in his career, posting 27 rushing touchdowns (his 162 career points, when Flannigan finished his career in 1989, stood 5th on the all-time CU list). Though many of Flannigan’s records have since been eclipsed in the record books by the exploits of others such as Rashaan Salaam and Eric Bieniemy, Flannigan’s name can still be found. Flannigan still holds the single game record for yards in a game by a senior (246 against Kansas State, 11/18/89), and the highest average gain per play for a season (min. 150 attempts), with a gaudy 7.24 average per play in 1989. Flannigan also holds the mark for consecutive games scoring a rushing touchdown, 10, set during the memorable 1989 campaign.

Terrence Wheatley – senior 937 yards – kickoff returns – 5th

Stephone Robinson – senior 857 yards – kickoff returns – 7th

#6 – 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 “Wal-ter”, “Wal-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.

Freshman records

2007 Freshman (Freshman record)

Cody Hawkins – 1,457 yards passing (1,778 yards)

Demetrius Sumler – 288 yards rushing (830 yards)

Scotty McKnight – 311 yards receiving (337 yards)

Josh Smith – 220 yards receiving (337 yards)

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