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

It’s Iowa State week! Okay, so that doesn’t have the same ring to it as “Nebraska week” or “CSU week”, but this game has just as much importance. Below are your “T.I.P.S.” for the week, all leading you to the conclusion that there just might be a reason why the Buffs are 10-point favorites …..

Read The Entire Preview!…

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

Colorado scored with 1:30 to play to take a 28-24 lead over Iowa State, then made a goal line stand which will be remembered for years. Safety D.J. Dykes and cornerback Jimmy Smith preserved the win – and the Buffs’ season – with a game saving tackle as time expired.

Below are all of details of the game. If you were at the game, you can probably relate to the title of this week’s essay, “I need a beer” …..

Read The Entire Review!…

Trivia you Need to Know – Iowa State

What is it about the Colorado/Iowa State rivalry which merits mention in the NCAA record books?

How is that the “Cyclones” have a bird marching around on their sidelines?

What ISU head coach has posted the most wins? The most bowl game appearances?

Read Trivia…

This Day in History – November 8th

Once you hit November in the college football schedule, you are bound to hit some significant games. Some I have found for you include:

1975. Georgia Tech on the road against Notre Dame. Sound familiar? What if I started chanting “Ru-dy!”, “Ru-dy!”, “Ru-dy!”. Yes, it is THE Rudy Ruettinger game.

1980. Georgia’s Buck Belue and Lindsay Scott hook up for a 93-yard touchdown against Florida which propelled the Bulldogs to the national championship.

For CU fans, there is the Colorado/Missouri game – 11/8/2003. Joel Klatt leads the Buffs to an upset over #22 Missouri.

Read On…

Want up to the minute recruiting information?

Well, you had better get on the email update list. Sure, it’s easy to check in on Thursdays and Sundays to get the previews and the reviews during the season, but how will you know when the Buffs pick up a four star recruit?

By sending me an email – – that’s how. You will be notified (it’s all free!) anytime a new post is made on the website. Don’t miss out – drop me a note right now!

Archive Game of the Week

Can there be a favorite game in a 1-10 season? Sure. It’s the “one”. In 1984, the Buffs were awful. Fortunately, Iowa State was just a little bit worse. The 1984 CU/ISU game had a little bit of everything. The Buffs gave up a safety ten seconds into the game, scored on an 85-yard pass, watched as ISU lined up for a chip shot field goal to win the game – but missed!

Be there as Coach Bill McCartney then lines up to go for a fourth-and-one at his own 29-yard line with less than a minute to play and nursing a 23-21 lead.

It was some game …

Go To The Archived Game of The Week…

CUatthegame Preview – Iowa State

Iowa State preview – 2008

Well, something has got to give. The worst offense in the Big 12 is going to square off against the worst defense in the Big 12. Here’s to the team with the home field advantage!

This week’s “T.I.P.S.”:

T – Talent

It will be a long time before Buff fans forget the name Bret Meyer. Meyer was a four year starter at quarterback for Iowa State between 2004 and 2007, posting a 2-2 record against Colorado. Not great? The last time ISU had that many wins against CU in as short a span? 1982-84. In Meyer’s stead this fall is sophomore Austen Arnaud, who has been decent, but inconsistent, thus far at quarterback in 2008. Arnaud has completed less than 60% of his passes, and has been sacked 12 times as the Cyclones have stumbled to a 2-7 record. However, it is important to bear in mind that Arnaud did put up 371 yards passing and 67 yards rushing against Texas A&M, numbers Buffs’ quarterbacks can only dream about.

Other than Arnaud, there is little to talk about when it comes to Cyclone talent. The ISU defense has been awful, giving up 682 yards to Oklahoma State last weekend in a 59-17 rout in Stillwater. Opposing quarterbacks in the Big 12 are completing over 75% of their passes against the Cyclone secondary, and for the year ISU is surrendering over 270 yards passing per game. These numbers may lead one to believe that the Cyclones’ record setting freshman cornerback, Leonard Johnson, may need a little more rest. (In case you didn’t see it, Johnson set a single-game kickoff return record against Oklahoma State, returning nine kickoffs for 319 yards.)

Which gives us a good segue into the enigma which is Josh Smith. The CU wide receiver/kick returner has been, by almost any objective measurement, less effective than what was hoped when the 2008 season kicked off. Smith stepped into the kick returner role when Jason Espinoza broke his collarbone in fall practice, and he has been an adrenaline rush every time he steps onto the field. Whenever Smith goes back in kick formation, he has everyone’s attention, as he can either make a spectacular play to help the Buffs, or a dangerous choice which hurts the team.

Like his counterpart Leonard Johnson at ISU, perhaps Smith is being used too much on special teams. Smith, for his part, seems to think so. Instead of being on the field for most of the offensive sets, he is being used only in certain personnel groupings, something Smith doesn’t like. “As you can see, (only playing in certain situations) is what we did last year ad I could never score doing that last year,” said Smith this week. “It’s just one of those deals where I don’t want them to tell me how to run the ball, and I don’t want to tell anyone how to coach.” When asked why Smith is not on the field for more offensive plays, Dan Hawkins replied, “Well, there are issues behind the scenes that an aspiring journalist doesn’t always see.”


Nothing pulls apart a struggling team like internal dissension. It is only natural for coaches and players on a team with a losing record to be frustrated. It’s another to air grievances through the press. It has long been intimated that Smith does not practice as hard as he should, and that he takes plays off. I’m not a coach or a scout, so I don’t know if these statements are true. I do know that if the Buffs, at home, against the 111th ranked pass defense in the nation, cannot come up with some big plays, including big plays involving one Josh Smith, the grumbling will grow even louder.

I – Intangibles

The loss of Rodney Stewart will hurt the Colorado offense. In truth, Stewart has been the only bright spot on a unit which ranks last in the Big 12 in passing, scoring, and total offense. Speedy was a spark plug who gave Buff fans hope for success while the rest of the offense struggled.

It says here that Rodney Stewart’s broken leg may actually help the Buffs in the long run.

Hear me out. With Stewart out, the Buffs’ running game can focus more on the blue chip freshman recruit, Darrell Scott. Scott, who has had a number of injuries of his own (including another sprained ankle against Texas A&M), is anxious to have a greater load in the offense. “I would say I need carries to warm up and build,” said Scott, who was used to 30 carries a game in high school, but who has had no more than 13 attempts in any game this season.

When better to have a coming out party than at home against a 2-7 team which is out of bowl contention? The Cyclones haven’t stopped anyone since routing South Dakota State and Kent State to open the season (the Golden Flashes are also 2-7, with one of their wins coming against Delaware State).

Yes, Demetrius Sumler and Kevin Moyd also deserve their opportunities, but the remainder of the 2008 season belongs to Darrell Scott. It’s time for Scott to regain the promise of signing day. For his part, Scott continues to say all the right things. When asked about his lack of playing time, Scott did acknowledge that he would like more carries, but added, “But it’s not about me. We have so many injuries to our offensive line this year it’s ridiculous. I just think we need to finish strong and try and make it to a bowl game. Win that and just regroup.”

I couldn’t have said it better myself. Look for Darrell Scott to post his first 100-yard rushing game as a Colorado Buffalo this Saturday.

P – Preparation / Schedule

The numbers are stark and real. 4-5. Three games to go. Two more wins required to earn a bowl berth. No one believes that a 4-6 Colorado team, with games against Oklahoma State and Nebraska still left to play, has any chance at a bowl game and a winning season.

Last week was a “must win”. The Iowa State game is beyond that. It is an “absolutely, positively, hafta, gotta win” if Colorado is going to be picked higher than fifth in the Big 12 North in 2009. It is not a stretch to say that if CU doesn’t not beat Iowa State on Saturday, the end of the Dan Hawkins era at Colorado may only be another 14 games away.

Fortunately, for a team backed so far into a corner, Colorado could not have picked a better opponent. Iowa State is on a seven game losing streak, is 0-5 in the Big 12, and is the only team in the conference eliminated from bowl contention. The last chance the Cyclones had at a bowl game effectively ended when ISU fell behind Oklahoma State 28-10 at halftime last weekend.

After Colorado, the Cyclones face Missouri at home before taking on Kansas State in Manhattan to close out the season. It is not too far a stretch to believe that Iowa State could finish 2-10, and on a ten game losing streak.

Before the Buffs can put the “W” on the schedule, though, a quick look back at history gives us pause. Last season, in their first year under Gene Chizik, the Cyclones opened with a 1-8 record, 0-5 in Big 12 play (sound familiar?). Iowa State then finished strong, with upset wins over Kansas State and Colorado. Don’t doubt for a minute that “finish strong like last season” isn’t the rallying cry this week in Ames.

For a Colorado team which has lost five of six itself, and has #8 Oklahoma State coming to Boulder next weekend, there is nothing here to take for granted.

The Buffs need a little “finish strong” karma, too.

S – Stats

Step right up. Get your reassuring stats here!

For the third and final time in the CU’s 2008 Big 12 schedule, the Buffs will square off against a defense begging to be dominated. Playing against a weak Kansas State defense, the Colorado offense generated just enough yards and points to hold on for a win. Against Texas A&M, the offense put up the best total yardage numbers of the season (392 yards), but made just enough mistakes and missed on just enough opportunities to cost the Buffs the game.

What about Iowa State?

Something has got to give. Iowa State is in the 100’s in every major defensive category except rushing defense, where the Cyclones come in at a robust 95th. The Colorado/Iowa State game will match the nation’s 100th-ranked total offense against the 109th total defense and the 107th-ranked scoring offense against the 108th-ranked scoring defense. Iowa State has surrendered 34 points or more in every Big 12 game this season, while the Buffs have yet to hit the 20-point mark in conference play.

You get the picture.

What about the other side of the ball? Iowa State has been decent at throwing the ball, but most of those yards have come in blowout losses, and the CU secondary has been one of the few pleasant surprises in Boulder this fall. The Cyclones are averaging over 25 points per game, but takeaway blowout wins over hapless South Dakota State (44-17) and Kent State (48-28), and ISU is averaging a much more pedestrian 19 points per game.

Bottom line. It’s time for the Colorado offense to present “glimpses of the future of the program”. If the Buffs are to give their fans reason to rest comfortably over the next ten months as we wait for the September 5, 2009, kickoff in Folsom Field against Colorado State, there has to be significant inroads made this weekend. Another lackluster offensive performance, followed by struggles against Oklahoma State and Nebraska, and it will be difficult to call 2008 anything short of a failure. Yes, the offensive line has suffered a number of injuries. Yes, the schedule has been tough, and the Big 12 is one of the tougher conferences in the country. Yes, the team remains young and inexperienced.

Those excuses will fall on deaf ears if the Buffs finish the season losing eight of their last nine games.

Go Buffs. Iowa State is there for the taking. Get ‘er done!

[Your comments… ]

Postgame Review

November 8th – Boulder Colorado 28, Iowa State 24

Senior safety D.J. Dykes and sophomore cornerback Jimmy Smith teamed up to tackle Iowa State running back Alexander Robinson for a two yard loss at the CU three yard line as time expired to preserve a wild 28-24 win for Colorado. The comeback win over the Cyclones was sparked by Buff quarterback Cody Hawkins, who threw for a career high four touchdowns, with all four scoring passes coming in the second half after CU staked Iowa State to a 10-0 halftime lead.

The late morning (11:30 a.m. kickoff) started ominously for the Buffs and their fans. Josh Smith returned the opening kickoff 42 yards to the CU 46. A facemask penalty on the play by the Cyclones set up the Buffs on the ISU 41-yard line to open the game. The Colorado offense managed one first down, but could penetrate no further than the Iowa State 21, where Jameson Davis missed a 38-yard field goal attempt wide left.

Taking advantage of the change in momentum, the Cyclones marched 72 yards in 11 plays, with the drive finally halted at the CU seven yard line. An ISU 24-yard field goal attempt was true, giving the Cyclones a 3-0 lead. With the drive, Iowa State became the sixth team in the first ten games of the 2008 season to score on the Buffs’ defense on their opening drive of the contest.

For the remainder of the first half, the Colorado defense did its part to keep the Buffs in the game. Meanwhile, the play of the CU offense and special teams continued to make most of the 46,440 in attendance wonder if the efforts of the defense were going to be wasted.

The Colorado offense managed only two first downs in the first quarter, and no passing yards, as freshman quarterback Tyler Hansen could not find his receivers. After a punt return of 25 yards set up the CU offense at the ISU 32-yard line, the Buffs were in prime position for a score. The Buff offense drove as close as the Cyclone ten yard line, but then stalled. Jameson Davis missed his second field goal attempt of the quarter, this time from 29 yards out, to preserve the Cyclones’ lead.

On Iowa State’s ensuing drive, the Buffs’ special teams ran into the Cyclone punter not once, but twice, to extend the ISU drive. After a third punt on the same drive actually gave the ball to the CU offense, quarterback Tyler Hansen promptly gave the ball back, being picked off at the Iowa State 35 yard line. This time, the Cyclones took advantage of their hosts generosity, marching 65 yards in 13 plays. Jason Scales did the honors from a yard out, giving Iowa State a 10-0 lead less than a minute before halftime.

At the game’s midpoint, Colorado had amassed all of 106 yards in offense. The Buffs had six first downs and two missed field goals against one of the worst defenses in the nation. Tyler Hansen had completed only four of 12 passes, for 48 yards, with no touchdowns, one interception, and a sack.

It was time for a change.

Cody Hawkins, who did not practice with the first team offense on Thursday and Friday in order to give the freshman Hansen as much preparation time as possible, came in for the Buffs’ first possession of the second half. Darrell Scott, making his first start in place of the injured Rodney Stewart, carried the ball on the first three plays of the drive, gaining, respectively, eight, 37, and six yards to set up the Colorado offense at the Iowa State 18 yard line. Five plays later, the Buffs were faced with a fourth-and-goal at the ISU four. Eschewing a third field goal attempt, the Buffs went for a touchdown, and were rewarded when Cody Hawkins’ offering fell into the arms of Scotty McKnight in the back corner of the endzone. The extra point attempt was blocked, but the Buffs were back in the game with 9:50 to go in the third quarter, 10-6.

On their next possession, the Buffs took their first lead of the game. Taking over at the CU 16 yard line after an ISU punt, Hawkins led the CU offense on a nine-play, 84-yard drive, culminated on a 22-yard scoring pass from Hawkins to McKnight. This time, the extra point attempt was good. 13-10, Colorado.

The CU lead, however, lasted less than a minute.

Aided by a 28-yard kickoff return to set up the drive, and a facemask penalty to enhance it, Iowa State needed only 52 seconds of game time to regain the lead. Alexander Robinson took the ball in from 14 yards out, and, with just over a minute left to play in the third quarter, the Cyclones had a 17-13 lead.

The next two drives by the Colorado offense netted a total of four yards, and Iowa State looked to have the game well in hand when Alexander Robinson scored from a yard out to push the lead to 24-13 with 9:14 to play.

With disgruntled Colorado fans heading for the exits, Cody Hawkins and the CU offense took the field at their own 20 yard line. Utilizing a two-minute drill, the Buffs kept the Cyclone defense on its heels, marching quickly down the field. Taking only 2:02 of time off the clock, Cody Hawkins went 7-for-8 on the 80-yard drive, finished off when Hawkins hit senior wide receiver Patrick Williams for a 14-yard score with 7:05 still to play. A two-point conversion pass from Hawkins to junior fullback Jake Behrens made the score 24-21, Iowa State.

The Buff defense, which had played well enough to win all afternoon, gave the CU offense one last opportunity. Iowa State, despite starting their drive at their own 40 yard line, was not able to muster a first down, punting the ball back to CU. Cody Hawkins and the Buffs took over at their own 19 with 4:32 left in regulation.

Facing only two third down attempts (both being third-and-one opportunities), the Buffs pieced together an 11 play drive. Highlighted by a 15-yard completion to Scotty McKnight and a 19-yard completion to Cody Crawford, Colorado was quickly in ISU territory. With no one on the field or in the stands even thinking about a tying field goal attempt, the much maligned CU offense found itself with a first-and-goal at the Cyclone eight yard line with just over two minutes left to play.

A three yard run by Demetrius Sumler put the ball at the five, and, with the clock now down under two minutes, Cody Hawkins hit senior Cody Crawford for a five yard touchdown. For only the second time in the game, the Buffs led. With the CU faithful holding its collective breath, Aric Goodman put the extra point through the uprights to give the Buffs a 28-24 lead.

The game clock still showed 1:30, though, and Iowa State was not done. A 37-yard kickoff return set up the Cyclones at their own 39, and it took only three plays and 50 seconds to get to the CU 14-yard line. Three plays netted nine yards, and, on fourth-and-one at the Buff five yard line, ISU quarterback Austen Arnaud hit Darius Darks for a first down to the Colorado one yard line. A spiked ball stopped the clock with three seconds to play.

One play to decide the game. Sophomore quarterback Austen Arnaud came into the game with 237 yards rushing on the season, and led the Cyclones with five rushing touchdowns. Rather than go for a quarterback sneak, however, ISU head coach Gene Chizik opted to go for the option play which had led to a score earlier in the quarter. This time, though, the Buff defense was ready for the option and the pitch to Alexander Robinson. Robinson never had a chance at the endzone, being hit by cornerback Jimmy Smith low and safety D.J. Dykes high back at the three yard line.

Game over. Colorado 28, Iowa State 24.

“I had a feeling they were going to run the option, but I didn’t want to anticipate too much,” said senior safety D.J. Dykes of his game-saving tackle. “We were in man coverage, so I had to keep my eyes on my guy. But as soon as they went option, I just took off and made the play.”

Dykes’ fellow senior safety, Ryan Walters, who led the Buffs with 16 tackles, saw the final play coming. “Everyone on the field was screaming ‘option’. Even coach (Greg) Brown was yelling it from the sideline,” said Walters. “It might have been a quarterback sneak at first, but when they went into the shotgun, I thought it was the option. We had our guys coming off the edge. It was a great way to end the game.”

On the day, the Buffs posted 422 yards of total offense, the highest total of the season (besting the 392 yards put up against Texas A&M last weekend). Cody Hawkins hit on 20-29 passes for 226 yards and four touchdowns. Of the quarterback shuffling, which was supposed to come to an end this week, with Tyler Hansen taking the reins full-time, Dan Hawkins had this to say: “So much of great football and great teams is being able to work through the bumps and hang in there. You set your ego aside and your ready. Cody has had to tag out for Tyler; Tyler has had to tag out for him. It’s not fun for either of them or for us, but they’ve handled it awesome.”

The game ended with CU back in the hunt for a bowl bid. The Buffs raised their season record to 5-5, with two more opportunities to post a sixth (and likely bowl-clinching) win.

The sixth win, however, will have to come against a team with a winning record. Oklahoma State, the Buffs’ final Folsom Field opponent, fell to 8-2 (and #11 in the rankings) after falling hard to #2 Texas Tech, 56-20. After the Cowboys and a bye week, Colorado will travel to Lincoln, where the 6-4 Cornhuskers will be waiting.

After a first half of mistakes, miscues, and flat out bad play against the worst team in the Big 12, and after coming a foot away from a season-crushing sixth defeat, the Buffs’ chances at a winning season remain alive.

Improbable, but not impossible.

“I need a beer”

My mind was reeling.

That the 4-5 Buffs entered the Iowa State game staring at a third consecutive losing season was not news. A 5-7 season, with a win over hapless Iowa State followed by disheartening losses to Oklahoma State and Nebraska, seemed a given.

But this was worse. Much worse.

Walking out of Folsom Field at halftime of the Iowa State game, the headlines going through my mind were much more grim. “Buffs last in Big 12 North”; “Hawkins’ seat grows white hot”; “CU faces long road back to relevance”.

The Buffs had looked absolutely awful against what was supposed to be one of the worst teams, not only in the Big 12, but in the nation. CU had generated just over 100 yards in total offense against a team which ranked in th 100’s nationally in virtually every defensive category except rushing defense (where the stalwart Cyclones checked in at 95th nationally). The CU special teams were a disaster, with two missed field goals almost laughably forgivable in light of two roughing the punter penalties called against the Buffs – on the same ISU drive! Tyler Hansen, the quarterback of the future, didn’t complete his first pass until the second quarter. Hansen, was, though, leading the team in rushing, as Darrell Scott, making his starting debut, had been held to 18 yards on eight carries.

10-0. Iowa State. It may have just as well have been 21-0 (the halftime lead held by Texas), or 34-0 (the halftime lead held by Missouri). The Buffs were so inept on offense that almost any lead seemed insurmountable.

When Julie and I made it to Kim’s tailgate party before the game, we were offered a number of beverages, many of the alcoholic variety. As it was still only 11 a.m., I declined. After one of the worst halves of Colorado football since …. the Missouri game? …. I was now ready for some assistance.

“I need a beer”, was all I could get out when we found the tailgate crew.

Many of those huddled around the tailgate table were veterans of the early 80’s. The Fairbanks’ era. The baby blue uniforms. The 1-10 seasons. It seemed, sadly, just like old times.

A loss to an Iowa State team which had not won since September 6th (with that win over Kent State) had seemed all but incomprehensible just an hour and a half earlier. Now it was halfway to reality.

Something, though, happened at halftime. “Our staff was very poised at halftime, and I thought our team was as well” said head coach Dan Hawkins. “We put a lot of credence on the first two drives of the second half and I think that’s always big for setting the tempo of the game. For the first time, we answered on offense and defense, and that really set the tone for the half.”

The CU defense, which had surrendered touchdown drives to open the second half against both Kansas State and Texas A&M to change the flow of both of those games, forced a three-and-out against Iowa State. Then the CU offense, behind Darrell Scott, quickly found the redzone. Instead of folding under the pressure, the Buffs found the endzone, with Cody Hawkins finding Scotty McKnight on fourth down.

What more can be said about Cody Hawkins? Granted, Hawkins is not of the caliber of most of the quarterbacks in the Big 12, but few are. Hawkins, knowing that Tyler Hansen was going to get the start against the Cyclones, and, in fact, most likely all of the snaps for the remainder of the season, could have mailed it in this past week. Hawkins didn’t practice with the first team on Thursday or Friday for the first time all season, giving up practice reps to Hansen so that the freshman could be better prepared.

Under those circumstances, it could have been an ill-prepared Cody Hawkins who took the field in the third quarter against the Cyclones. Instead, Hawkins put up a career high four touchdown passes. Hawkins led the Buffs on three scoring drives of over 80 yards – this from an offense which had posted only five such drives total in the first nine games of the season.

Does a 300-yard half against a porous defense mean that the Buffs’ offense has turned a corner? Not likely. Still, the win is huge. A loss would have likely meant the reeling Buffs would finish the 2008 season on a five game losing streak – and losers of eight of nine games to end the season. There would be a full throated calls for the end of the Dan Hawkins’ era. The frustration and self-doubt would have hung over the program all winter, spring, and summer.

The 28-24 is not a program turning event. It does call to mind, though, pleasant memories of several other goal-line stands. First to come to mind is the tackle of CSU running back Tristen Walke by J.J. Billingsley and Lorenzo Sims on the game’s final play to preserve a 27-24 win against the Rams in 2004. For those of us old enough to remember, the tackle of future NFL quarterback Chris Miller of Oregon by Mickey Pruitt in 1985 remains a favorite. The Buffs were clinging to a 21-17 lead with nine seconds to play and the ball at the CU three yard line. The Ducks’ Miller was flushed out of the pocket, sacked for a loss by Pruitt to win the game (the Buffs, having endured six straight losing seasons, would build on that win to go on to post a 7-5 season in 1985).

While the names Dykes and Smith are now etched into CU lore, there is still much work to be done if the 2008 season as a whole is to be remembered fondly. The path gets much steeper next week. The challenge of a winning season remains a long shot.

But next week is next week. Finding our way out of Folsom after the exciting climax to the game Saturday, I was again ready for a beer.

Not to help me forget.

But to help me savor.

[Your comments… ]

Trivia you Need to Know – Iowa State

– The Buffs have dominated the rivalry with the Cyclones more than they have against any other Big 12 rival. CU leads the all-time series, 47-14-1, including a run of 16 consecutive wins between 1985 and 2000, which ranks 21st on the NCAA all-time list of consecutive wins over an opponent. The Buffs have lost the last two trips to Ames, however, the first time the Buffs have suffered consecutive losses on the road in the series since losing three in a row in 1979, ‘81, and ‘83.

– The Cyclones are not known, like Miami (Ohio), as the “cradle of coaches”. At ISU, it is more like the “weigh station” of coaches. A number of famous names have spent a short time in Ames before moving on, starting with Glenn “Pop” Warner, who came to Iowa State in 1895, but that was only until Georgia offered more money. Other head coaches who went on to bigger and better results include Johnny Majors (four years at Ames) and Earle Bruce (six seasons). Assistants with ties to the Cyclones include Mack Brown, Pete Carroll, Jimmy Johnson, and Jackie Sherill.

– A measure of what Dan McCarney’s success in his 12 years at Ames (1995-2006) was his taking Iowa State to five of the nine bowl games the Cyclones have ever played. Still, McCarney’s overall record of 56-85 is indicative of how hard it is to win in Ames. Earl Bruce, with a 36-32 record (1973-78), is the only coach to leave ISU with a winning record since 1919 (out of 20 coaches during that span).

– How to dress up a Cyclone mascot? That was the Iowa State dilemma. Unable to come up with a suitable mascot, Iowa State in 1954 reverted to the original team nickname, and dressed a Cardinal on the sidelines, nicknaming the bird “Cy”.

– The only conference championships won by Iowa State came in 1911 and 1912, when the Cyclones won the Missouri Valley Intercollegiate Athletic Association titles. In those seasons, ISU posted wins over such luminaries as Coe, Grinnell, Simpson, and Cornell College.

– To be fair, the Cyclones were a decent kicker away from winning the Big 12 North in 2004 and 2005. In each season, Iowa State lost their final regular season game. Both losses came in overtime; both losses the result of missed field goals. The benefactor both times? Colorado.

– Famous alumni – football – With a lack of history of success, it is not surprising that there are few famous former players. Iowa State has produced only three consensus All-Americans (CU has had 25), and only one first-round NFL draft pick (CU has had 22). On both short lists for ISU is running back Troy Davis, who is the only player in Division 1-A to rush for over 2,000 yards in a season twice (1995 and 1996).

– Famous alumni – other – George Washington Carver (inventor), Henry A. Wallace (U.S. Vice-President).

[Your comments… ]

This Day in History – November 8th

November 8th

1969 – #9 Missouri 44, #20 Oklahoma 10. Ninth-ranked Missouri ran its record to 7-1 with a record-setting 44-10 win over 20th-ranked Oklahoma. The win marks the largest margin of victory for the Tigers in the series dominated by the Sooners (in fact, Missouri would not defeat Oklahoma again until 1981). The hero of the game for Missouri in the 44-10 rout was wide receiver Mel Gray, catching six passes for 171 yards and two touchdowns. Missouri would go on to finish 6th in the final 1969 poll, its highest ranking ever (before finishing 4th at the end of the 2007 season).

1975 – #12 Notre Dame 24, Georgia Tech 3. So, how big a fan of college football are you? Check out the date and teams. Check the score. Look familiar? What if I were to start chanting, “Ru-dy! Ru-dy! Ru-dy!”? Better? Yes, this is the famous/infamous final home game of the 1975 Notre Dame season, when Rudy Ruettiger made a tackle against Georgia Tech and was carried off the field by teammates. The game did happen; the Irish did win 24-3; and Ruettiger, a walk-on, did play and make a tackle. It is also true that Ruettiger is the only player in Notre Dame history carried off the field (the scene in the movie was re-created during the Notre Dame/Boston College game in 1992 – a game the Irish won handily, 54-7). The real Notre Dame team in 1975 was led by quarterback Rick Slager and running back Jerome Heavens (Joe Montana was on the team, but would not be the main starter until 1977). The Irish finished 8-3, but did not go bowling. Georgia Tech concluded 1975 with a 7-4 overall record, and also went uninvited.

1980 – #2 Georgia 26, #20 Florida 21. At the “World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party”, Georgia staked its claim to the #1 spot in the polls with a last minute, 26-21 win over rival Florida. Down 21-20, Georgia found itself at its own eight yard line with only 95 seconds to play. After two plays netted a loss of a yard, Bulldog quarterback Buck Belue (ask any Georgia fan about that name, and watch a smile come across their face) hit wide receiver Lindsay Scott at the 26 yard line. A few twists by Scott, and a few missed tackles by Gator defensive backs later, Scott was gone for a 93-yard touchdown and an improbable 26-21 win for Georgia. The next week, Georgia was the number one team in the nation thanks to help from an unlikely source. While the Bulldogs were escaping Jacksonville with a narrow win, arch-rival Georgia Tech, sporting a 1-7 record, tied #1 Notre Dame, 3-3 (perhaps as retribution for the ‘75 game, above). The Irish loss put Georgia at the top spot in the polls for the first time since 1942. (Georgia went on to claim the title with a 17-10 win over Notre Dame in the Sugar Bowl).

1986 – #4 Oklahoma 77, Missouri 0. It looked like a mismatch as 2-6 Missouri headed to Norman to face the 7-1 Sooners. Yep. Oklahoma quarterback Jamelle Holleway had 117 of Oklahoma’s mind-boggling 681 yards rushing. The Sooners scored on their first seven possessions, with 10 of the 11 scores coming on the ground. Oklahoma kicker Tim Lasher’s 11 extra points set a Big Eight record. Biggest win in OU history? Not even close. One time, Oklahoma put up 157 points in a game! Of course, it was 1919, and the opponent was Kingfisher College (a Congregational College from – as you might have guessed – Kingfisher, Oklahoma).

1997 – #1 Nebraska 45, Missouri 38 (OT). The “Game of the Year” in 1997, as the top-ranked Cornhuskers needed an “immaculate reception” to get past the Tigers in overtime. On the final play of regulation, with Nebraska down 38-31, Cornhusker quarterback Scott Frost passed the ball in the direction of wingback Shevin Wiggins at the goalline, but the ball was tipped. In falling backward, Wiggins kicked the ball over his head and into the endzone, where a diving catch was made by NU freshman wide receiver Matt Davison. The score tied the game on the last play of regulation, as stunned Missouri students, poised to rush the field, could only look on in horror. (Wiggins later acknowledged/claimed that the kick was intentional – and therefore illegal.) It was almost anticlimactic when Nebraska scored in overtime to claim the win.

Still, the victory was a Pyrrhic one for the Cornhuskers. Nebraska had come into the game ranked #1 in the nation, with 46 first place votes out of a possible 70. The week after the win, Nebraska, still undefeated, slipped to 3rd, garnering only three first place votes (Missouri, for its part, despite being 6-4 and coming off of the loss, entered the rankings as the #25 team in the country the following week). As it turned out, Nebraska, despite a 13-0 record, had to share the national championship with Michigan, with the Wolverines being given top honors by the Associated Press at the end of the season in its poll.

2003 – Clemson 26, #3 Florida State 10. In the fifth “Bowden Bowl”, son Tommy finally got his first win, as Clemson upset #3 Florida State, 26-10. Coming off an ugly 45-17 loss to Wake Forest, the Tigers were 5-4, and the wolves were at Tommy Bowden’s door. His team bailed him out, though, as quarterback Charlie Whitehurst threw for 272 yards in leading Clemson to its first win in the series with Florida State in 12 tries. Florida State, losing on head coach Bobby Bowden’s 74th birthday) was out of the national championship race after its second loss, finished with a 10-3 record (and a #11 ranking) after losing, 16-14, to Miami in the Orange Bowl. Son Tommy’s Tigers, meanwhile, won out, defeating Tennessee, 27-14, in the Peach Bowl to finish 9-4 and ranked 22nd.

November 8th – Colorado – best game on this date

Colorado 21, #22 Missouri 16 – November 8, 2003

Joel Klatt passed for 187 yards and two touchdowns, leading Colorado to a 21-16 upset of 22nd-ranked Missouri. Brian Calhoun rushed for 65 yards and a score, while D.J. Hackett caught five passes for 84 yards as the Buffs beat the Tigers for the fifth straight season.

The Buffs scored first, taking a 7-0 lead on a 16-yard pass from Klatt to Derek McCoy, culminating an 82-yard drive to open the contest. Missouri responded with a 77-yard drive of their own, but the 18-play, 8:22 marathon netted only a field goal. The Buffs countered with their second long drive, this one covering 80 yards. Klatt hit fullback Lawrence Vickers from three yards out to give Colorado a 14-3 lead.

Missouri cut the lead to 14-9 midway through the second quarter on a 17-yard pass from quarterback Brad Smith to receiver Victor Sesay (the two-point pass attempt failed). The Tigers had the chance to take the halftime lead, but on the 15th-play of their next drive, running back Zack Abron fumbled into the CU endzone.

The Buffs opened the second half as strongly as the first half, scoring on their first possession. A 75-yard drive was finished off by a three yard scoring run by Brian Calhoun, and the Buffs were up 21-9. The much-maligned Colorado defense made the lead hold up, but not without drama. One long Missouri drive ended on the Colorado 21 yard line on a Smith fumble, while another ended at the CU 40 on an incomplete pass on fourth down.

The Tigers did score with five minutes to play on a 48-yard screen pass from Smith to running back Damien Nash to make the score 21-16. The 47,722 CU faithful on hand to witness the event were on the edge of their seats when Missouri took over on their own 20 with 2:39 to play. A sack and an interception by Buff safety Dominique Brooks ended the threat, though, and the Buffs had a 21-16 win.

“I think this was our most complete game of the year,” said Gary Barnett said of his Buffs, now 4-6 on the season. “It was good to get this win. Missouri is obviously a good football team.” Said defensive coordinator Vince Okruch of his beleaguered charges: “It’s a huge tribute (to the defense), because I don’t know how they stayed the course. To a man, they bought in and believed, and they deserved this kind of game.”

While the Buffs could rightfully celebrate their second win over a ranked team in 2003, they still needed to win out in order to become bowl eligible. Colorado was now 4-6 (2-4 in Big 12 play), and would need wins over Iowa State and Nebraska to entertain post-season hopes. The Iowa State game would be in Ames, but was now looking to be a winnable contest. The Cyclones were 2-7, winless in conference play. ISU was mired in a seven game losing streak, having won its first two games against Northern Iowa and Ohio before giving up an average of over 40 points per game in losing its last seven. The Cyclones had been shut out in their last two games, 28-0 at Nebraska, and 45-0 at home against Kansas State. A win over Iowa State was not outside the realm of the reasonable.

A win over Nebraska Thanksgiving weekend was another story. The 18th– ranked Cornhuskers were 8-2 overall (4-2 in conference), and would be coming to Folsom Field for the first time since being embarrassed by the Buffs in 2001.

The Nebraska game, though, was three weeks away. If the Buffs were to entertain hopes of a December game in a warm climate, they could not look past Iowa State.

[The Buffs would go on to defeat Iowa State, 44-10, but fall to Nebraska, 31-22, to finish the 2003 season with a 5-7 record.]

One Reply to “Iowa State – “I Need a Beer””

  1. It was great to get a win. Doesn’t matter how it happens or whom it’s against a W is a W. One more and a potential secondary or tertiary bowl game. You are probably too young to remember when the team (the players) would vote on whether or not to accept a bid. And there were cases where they turned it down – I believe Notre Dame and others did from time to time. I’m sure the school would not permit that today ($$$s).

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