September 22nd – Boulder           Colorado 42, Miami (Ohio) 0

Freshman quarterback Cody Hawkins passed for two touchdowns and rushed for his first career score, leading Colorado to a 42-0 rout of Miami (Ohio).

Colorado amassed 634 yards of total offense, the most for the Buffs since 1999, while the defense limited the RedHawks to 139 yards in posting CU’s first shutout since a 34-0 win over Oklahoma State in 2005.

The Buffs started methodically. After the teams exchanged punts to open the game, the Colorado offense put together a 16-play, 72-yard touchdown drive which ate up most of the first quarter. Still, it took a one-yard pass from Hawkins to tight end Tyson DeVree on fourth-and-goal from the Miami one yard line to put the Buffs up 7-0. The Buffs’ next drive, which carried over into the second quarter, consumed 80 yards in ten plays. This time, running back Demetrius Sumler did the honors from a yard out to raise the lead to 14-0.

Two more scores in the second quarter put the game out of reach. The Buffs’ shortest drive of the game (three plays, 54 yards) was highlighted by a 37-yard pass from Hawkins to receiver Kendrick Celestine. The freshman’s first career catch set up the Buffs at the RedHawk two yard line. Two plays later, Hawkins did the honors from a yard out. Just before halftime, Hawkins connected with Patrick Devenny, who made his first career catch a memorable one. The sophomore tight end’s three yard touchdown put the Buffs up 28-0 with 15 seconds left before the break.

The second half was more of the same, as the Buffs continued to pile up superlative statistics. Senior tailback Hugh Charles, having seen limited playing time since being injured early in the opener against Colorado State, scored on a 17-yard run late in the third quarter. For the day, Charles ran for 123 yards on 17 carries to lead the Buffs’ 359-yard rushing attack. On the Buffs’ next possession, freshman tailback Brian Lockridge scored his first touchdown at CU, scoring from 43 yards out to close out the scoring.

Even the 42-0 final score was not indicative of the total dominance by the Buffs. Colorado turned the ball over three times, including a fumble by wide receiver Patrick Williams at the RedHawk four yard line. Another score was called back by penalty, and the Buffs ended the game taking a knee at the Miami five yard line. A score in the 50’s or 60’s, common for fellow Big 12 members against lesser opponents, was not out of the question.

Dan Hawkins was understandably pleased over the win. “I totally believed we were going to win. We had a few issues and stubbed our toe. I expected to win.”

Overall, the Buffs put together their best effort in the Hawkins’ era. While no team records were set, there were many “best since … ” records posted, including the Buffs’ first shutout in almost two seasons. “Anytime you make them finish with a zero on the board I think it makes your defense feel complete,” said Hawkins.

Defensive tackle George Hypolite echoed his coach: “All throughout the preseason we have been talking about putting together four quarters. Against CSU, we felt like we played a good third and fourth quarter, and against Arizona State we played a good first two quarters. Last week we played a great game except for a few plays. We have been talking about doing our job for four quarters, and we felt like we did that today.”

Still, even when enjoying only just the fourth win in 16 tries under Dan Hawkins, the Buffs could not help but look beyond Miami at the next game on the schedule – Oklahoma. The fourth ranked Sooners were scoring at the rate of 61.5 points per game. The post game quotes were riddled with Oklahoma references. Quarterback Cody Hawkins: “We still don’t have it down to perfection, and if you want to beat a team like Oklahoma, you have to minimize your mistakes”. Running back Hugh Charles: “Their ranking speaks for itself. They run the ball well, throw the ball well, and their defense is fast”. Safety Ryan Walters: “Oklahoma is going to be a tough game, but if we go out and execute and do our jobs nothing is impossible”.

Not impossible, but certainly difficult. All in all, the 2-2 non-conference record was about where most expected the Buffs to be heading into conference play. The Miami game was one of the few Buff fans circled in August as one which CU was expected to win. The Buffs had come through in spectacular fashion, playing the most complete game of the Hawkins’ era.

How that would translate against one of the elite teams in the country remained to be seen.

“The Last time …. ”

While there were no new school records set in the rout of Miami, there were a number of significant milestones which had not been reached in Boulder in sometime. In addition to recording the first shutout of an opponent in two seasons, the Buffs and their fans, for at least a day or two before having to turn their attentions to the Oklahoma game, could enjoy some of the following numbers:

– 30 first downs in a game (33) – The Last time: 34 v. New Mexico State, 9/10/05

– Held under 10 first downs, opponent (6) – The Last time: 7 by New Mexico State, 9/10/05

– 600 yards of total offense (634) – The Last time: 767 (school record) v. San Jose State, 9/11/99

– Held under 200 yards of total offense, opponent (139) – The Last time: 181 by New Mexico State, 9/10/05

– 300 yards rushing, game (359) – The Last time: 331 v. Iowa State, 11/16/02

– Held under 100 yards passing, game, opponent (95) – The Last time: 71, by Texas, 10/30/04

– Held under three yards per play, game, opponent (2.8) – The Last time: 2.8, by Kansas State, 10/6/01

– Forty minute time of possession (40:24) – The Last time: 40:14 v. New Mexico State, 9/10/05

In addition, the Buffs came close to some individual records as well. Hugh Charles put up 123 yards. He was followed closely by Demetrius Sumler, who had 91 yards and a score, and Brian Lockridge, who put up 90 yards and a touchdown. Had either Sumler or Lockridge had ten more yards rushing, the Miami game would have represented the first game that two Buffs had over 100 yards rushing in the same game since Chris Brown and Bobby Purify each had over 100 yards against Iowa State in 2002. If both Sumler and Lockridge had a few more carries on the afternoon, the Buffs would have had their first game with three 100 yard rushing efforts since three Buffs (including Jon Keyworth) turned the trick against Air Force in 1970 (lest you think the Falcons were overmatched – the 49-19 rout by CU was against an Air Force team ranked 10th in the country at the time).

Yes, there is likely a dose of reality awaiting Colorado and their fans next weekend against Oklahoma. Still, when CU is 2-2 and playing about as well as any other team in the Big 12 North, there is reason for enjoying this complete effort by the Buffs.

Game Notes –

– How much better is the CU defense this year? In 2006, the Buffs allowed opponents to convert third downs at a clip of 47.8%, one of the worst marks in the country. This season, after four games, the Buffs have allowed conversions at a 31.2% rate (and only 4 of 27, or 14.8%, the last two games).

– Similarly, the Buff defense allowed completions at a 50% or better rate in 19 consecutive games before holding Florida State to 8-of-18 passing (44.4%). That figure was bettered against Miami, with only 11-of-32 passes being completed (34.3%).

– Linebacker Michael Sipili was suspended for the remainder of the semester by the CU administration the day before the Miami game. Sipili had been suspended for three games by the team, but was expected to play against the RedHawks. Sipili was involved in a fight in June, and pled guilty to misdemeanor assault on September 6th. While this may seem appropriate to some – compare the treatment of Nebraska’s star wideout Maurice Purify. Purify has been arrested for DUI and domestic abuse. His football “sentence”? He sat out the season opener against Nevada, but was on the field to score the winning touchdown Saturday.

… As if competing against the football factory schools wasn’t hard enough …..




Pregame Preview

What to look for this weekend:

1) A fast start by the Buffs. As you may know, the Buffs have outscored their first three opponents by a margin of 28-7 in the first quarter this season (and a sixty yard drive against Florida State went unrewarded when Kevin Eberhart missed a field goal attempt). What you may not know is that Miami has been outscored in the first quarter this season by a margin of 26-3! This certainly bodes well for the Buffs’ chances to get off to a quick start at home.

2) A comeback by the RedHawks. Just as efficiently as Colorado has opened games, Miami has been proficient at finishing. In the season opener, Miami scored in the last minute to defeat Ball State on the road, 14-13. A week later, the RedHawks erased a 28-12 deficit with seven minutes remaining against Minnesota, tying the score at 28-all before succumbing in three overtimes, 41-35. The Buffs, meanwhile, have been lackluster after the first quarter (to put in mildly).

3) An improved offensive attack by the Buffs. While CU has returned to ugly 2006-like numbers on offense the past two weeks, this Saturday is a chance to get healthy stats-wise. Miami is ranked 96th in rushing defense nationally; 85th in passing defense; 99th in total defense, and 98th in scoring defense. With Oklahoma coming to Boulder next weekend, this is the game to get the offense back on track.

4) The smallest crowd of the season. Some 8,500 tickets remain for this weekend’s game. With two 1-2 teams playing (both of whom were 2-10 last season), it will be hard to pull in the walkup crowd for a 1:30 kickoff on what I can only imagine will be a beautiful fall Boulder afternoon. Couple the matchup with the fact that this is the second of three consecutive home games (with the bookend games being against marquee opponents), and you can understand why the ticket office is offering four tickets to the game for $40.00.

5) Continued improved play. Head coach Dan Hawkins, in his weekly press conference, indicated that he had told the team after the Florida State loss that he was disappointed in the result (this from a coach who is now 3-12 as Buff head coach). His translation was that in 2006, he was not disappointed because “last year, I really felt that by and large we were doing what we could do, and that was the reality of it”. This year, though, they were not hoping to just hang around like last year with the likes of a Georgia, but fully expected to defeat the likes of a Florida State. Let’s hope for continued improvement, and a win total by 9/22 that we had at 11/22 last season. Go Buffs!



Trivia you’ll want to remember – Miami (Ohio)

– Entering the 2007 season, Miami (Ohio) has over 100 more all-time victories (641) than Miami (Florida) (532).

– For those uninitiated, there is no Miami, Ohio. The school is in Oxford, Ohio, and is often touted as one of the nation’s “public Ivies” for its strong academic standing.

– Miami (Ohio) is one of the charter members of the Mid-American Conference (1946, though Miami did not play in conference until 1948), and has won 14 conference championships, the latest coming in 2003.

– Known as the “Cradle of Coaches”, Miami (Ohio) has had a number of future Hall of Fame caliber coaches patrol its sidelines, including Paul Brown, Sid Gillman, Weeb Ewbank, Woody Hayes, Bo Schembechler, and Ara Parseghian.

– From 1969-73, the RedHawks, then known as the Redskins, were under the tutelage of Bill Mallory. Mallory went 39-12 in his five years at Oxford, including an 11-0 season in 1973 (capped by a 16-7 win over Florida in the Tangerine Bowl and a #15 ranking in the final polls). Mallory went on to become the head coach at Colorado in 1974, posting a 35-21-1 record in five seasons in Boulder.

– The nickname of Redskins came from the Oklahoma-based Miami tribe, for which the school is named. In 1997, the nickname was changed to the RedHawks.

– Famous alumni – football – most are coaches (see above). Miami (Ohio) has had only one consensus All-American, Brian Pillman (MG), in 1982. The best known player is probably Ben Roethlisberger, quarterback from 2001-03.

– Famous alumni – other – Benjamin Harrison (U.S. President); Paul Smucker (founder of Smuckers Jelly).

Bar Bet Winner: Colorado defeated Cincinnati, 56-14 in 1972, and Kent State, 42-0, in 1977.



Going Down in History

Jordon Dizon – senior linebacker

Career total tackles – 331 Rank: 11th

#13 – J.J. Billingsley (2003-06) 307

#12 – Jashon Sykes (1998-2001) 330

#10 – Mickey Pruitt* (1984-87) 332

*Mickey Pruitt held the career lead for tackles by a defensive back until his total of 332 was passed by Michael Lewis in 2001. Pruitt led the Buffs in interceptions in 1985 with five, and two of his six career picks were returned for touchdowns. Pruitt is one of only a handful of Buffs ever to be named first team all-conference three times, and Pruitt was a finalist for the inaugural Jim Thorpe award in 1986. In 1989, Pruitt was named to the Buffs’ All-Century team. Still, with all of the honors, Pruitt is best remembered by the CU faithful for one play. In 1985, CU opened with a win over Colorado State, equaling the total number of wins for all of 1984. In the second game of the season, the Buffs led Oregon, 21-17, late. The Ducks drove down field in the waning seconds, and it appeared that the Buffs were in line for a disappointing defeat, all too common in those years. With fourth-and-goal at the Buff three yard line, and only nine second remaining, Oregon quarterback Chris Miller rolled out. The Buffs sold out on the play, and safety Mickey Pruitt sacked Miller to preserve the win. The Buffs went on to finish 7-4 that season, earning the Buffs’ first trip to the post-season since 1976.

Terrence Wheatley – senior cornerback

Career Interceptions – 11 Rank: t6th

t6th – Steve Rosga (1992-96)* 11

t6th – Ben Kelly (1997-99)* 11

*Both names deserve some mention here. Steve Rosga has one of those records which can be equaled but never exceeded. On October 12, 1995, Rosga returned an interception against Oklahoma State from deep in the Buffs’ endzone all the way back for a touchdown. Rosga’s return, according to the CU record book, was 105 yards. However, in the NCAA records, you can only be credited with a 100-yard return. Rosga’s record, then ties him with two other Buffs (Dick Kearns and Johnny Zeigler) and numerous other players in NCAA history.

Ben Kelly meanwhile, didn’t cover 100 yards with all of his 11 interception returns combined. However, that doesn’t mean he couldn’t outrun the linebacker Rosga. In fact, Kelly stands atop the CU record book in kickoff returns. His 1,798 yards in returns is a full 600 yards better than the Buffs’ number two man, M.J. Nelson.

Hugh Charles – senior running back

Career rushing yards – 1,679 Rank: 21st

Up next: #20 – Byron White (1935-37)* 1,864

#19 – Bob Stransky (1955-57) 1,868

#18 – Tony Reed (1975-76) 1,938

*If you need help with this name, you are not a true Buff fan. Byron “Whizzer” White after leading Colorado to its first ever bowl game (the 1938 Cotton Bowl) as CU’s first consensus All-American, went on to become the Buffs’ third Rhodes Scholar before playing for three seasons in the emerging NFL. White served as a Justice on the U.S. Supreme Court from 1962-1993. Justice White was the initial inductee into the Colorado Athletic Hall of Fame, in 1998.

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