October 11th – at Kansas        No. 16 Kansas 30, Colorado 14

Junior quarterback Todd Reesing made it three-for-three against Colorado, passing for 256 yards and a touchdown in leading the Jayhawks to a 30-14 win over the Buffs. Reesing, who made his Kansas debut as a freshman against the Buffs in 2006, coming off the bench to lead the Jayhawks to a 20-15 victory, hit on 27 of 34 attempts as Kansas earned its third consecutive victory over Colorado for the first time since 1962-64.

In an improvement over the Florida State and Texas games, when the Buffs and their fans endured an opening drive touchdown from the opposition, Colorado played well for most of the first quarter. Kansas netted only one first down in its first three drives, and the Buffs took advantage of the field position. Josh Smith returned an Alonso Rojas punt 31 yards to the Kansas 35-yard line to set up the Buffs in scoring position. With a first down at the Kansas 18, though, a Cody Hawkins pass intended for Cody Crawford was wrestled away by Kendrick Harper at the KU four yard line.

A three-and-out and a short punt gave the Buffs another chance, starting their drive at the Kansas 28 yard line. This time, Colorado was successful, with Hawkins hitting Crawford from 11 yards out with 3:15 remaining in the first quarter. The resulting 7-0 lead was the first for the Buffs since the West Virginia game ended with a successful Aric Goodman field goal.

The lead would be short-lived.

On the Jayhawks’ first possession of the second quarter, Reesing quickly drove Kansas down the field. The touchdown drive covered 76 yards in only seven plays, with KU running back Jake Sharp going in from a yard out to tie the score with 8:56 remaining in the half.

Less than a minute later, the Buffs were behind to stay. On third-and-eleven at the CU sixteen yard line, Cody Hawkins backpedaled himself all the way to the endzone, being tackled by Jake Laptad for a safety and a 9-7 Kansas lead.

The Colorado defense did force a punt on the Jayhawks’ ensuing possession, and the Buff offense proceeded to put together its most impressive drive of the game. Piecing together four first downs, the Buffs drove 53 yards to KU’s 27 yard line. Then, on third-and-seven, Hawkins was intercepted by Darrel Stuckey at the Kansas ten yard line to end the threat. The teams went to the locker rooms with Kansas enjoying a 9-7 advantage.

Kansas upped the lead to 16-7 in the middle of the third stanza as Reesing hit wide receiver Dezmon Briscoe from five yards out. With the game starting to slip away, the Buffs needed a big play – and got two. Josh Smith returned the KU kickoff 59 yards to the Kansas 41, and two plays later Smith snagged a Cody Hawkins’ offering for a 38 yard gain down to the one yard line. Seconds later, Hawkins snuck it in and the Buffs had new life at the 1:03 mark of the third quarter.

Kansas 16, Colorado 14.

Then Reesing stepped in again, extinguishing any hopes of an upset. For the second time in the game, Kansas put together a seven-play, 76-yard drive. As with the first drive of equal length and duration, Jake Sharp finished off the effort with a touchdown run. Sharp’s scored from eight yards out, giving Kansas a 23-14 lead.

A three-and-out for the CU offense ended Cody Hawkins’ day, as the Jayhawks took advantage of a short field to give the 49,566 in attendance a leisurely fourth quarter. Set up by a 36 yard punt return, the Jayhawks only required six plays to cover 43 yards, with Jake Sharp scoring his third touchdown of the afternoon on a seven yard run to close out the scoring with 10:29 left to play.

Freshman Matt Ballenger took over for Cody Hawkins for the Buffs’ final three drives, but Ballenger was equally ineffective in moving the ball. The first nine plays Ballenger was under center, the Colorado offense generated eight yards (though the Buffs in the last few minutes of the game did string together three first downs, but that only served to push the total offensive output for the day over 200 yards).

It didn’t take a magnifying glass to discern from the stats sheet why the Buffs had dropped their third game in a row for the first time since Dan Hawkins’ first season. The Colorado defense surrendered 407 yards, but the CU offense had generated only 233. Cody Hawkins completed only 8-22 passes for 90 yards, with two interceptions and a sack for a safety. Rodney Stewart did manage 77 yards on the ground, but the CU running game, including sacks, managed only 86 total yards on the day.

Offensive coordinator Mark Helfrich didn’t have any immediate answers on how to get the Buffs, who were held to less than 20 points for the third time in four weeks (with the fourth game a 39-21 loss to Florida State), back on track offensively. “We’ve got to figure out a way,” said Helfrich. “We’ve got to find a way that our guys when they see a play called, they’re going ‘Yes’. We’ve got to find a way and we will. We will.”

“They played better than we did,” said Dan Hawkins matter-of-factly. “We’ve got to move the ball. We’ve got to stop people. Play better on special teams. We’ve got to coach better. It’s the whole deal.”

There was little time for the “whole deal” to come together. Up next was 4-2 Kansas State, fresh off a 44-30 victory over Texas A&M. The Wildcats two losses were to Louisville (38-29) and Texas Tech (58-28). Even in their losses, the Wildcats had scored early and often, with their 29 points against Louisville and 28 points against Texas Tech being their lows for the season.

If the Buffs were to pull off what was now a “must win” over the Wildcats, the Colorado offense, with the assistance of the CU defense and special teams, would have to find a way to put points on the board.

It would take the “whole deal” from the Buffs against Kansas State to turn the 2008 season around.

Mid-season Blues

For those of us who remember the giddy days of 3-0 – say, three weeks ago – it is hard not to look at the state of the Colorado program and wonder if the Buffs will be able to get their act together and put some wins on the board before the calendar turns to 2009.

The questions are many:

Will the offense ever be a consistent threat? Will the offensive line ever become a cohesive unit capable of producing holes and forming a pocket for the quarterback? Will Cody Hawkins hang on to the football and make smart decisions? Will the Colorado defensive line, supposedly the strength of the defense, start living up to its pre-season billing? Will any of the linebackers step and become a play maker? Will the Colorado special teams ever warrant the title “special”? Will the freshmen of last season, who showed such promise, mature into productive sophomores? Will the Darrell Scott era finally take off, or is his story destined to become that of another #1 running back who came to Colorado with such flair and promise, only to leave a sad legacy (Marcus Houston)?

As I crawl out from my bunker, though, I begin to see the 2008 Buffs as still being a work in progress. I see a team which is still being molded, one which is still growing. Granted, it is not on the pace we had hoped for only three weeks ago, but it is still on pace for what we expected seven weeks ago.

I offer you the following:

“There are two ways to break down the 2008 Colorado schedule. One way is to work from the extremes towards the middle. In that respect, Colorado State, Eastern Washington, Kansas State, and Iowa State are the most likely wins. West Virginia, Texas, Kansas, and Missouri will all likely be ranked when the Buffs play them (perhaps all undefeated and in the top ten), so there are four losses. This means the 2008 schedule comes down to four games: at Florida State, at Texas A&M, Oklahoma State, and at Nebraska. In order to improve on the 6-6 regular season record of 2007, the Buffs will need to win three of those four games. With three of those games being on the road, such an improvement may be a tall order for Colorado.

I prefer to break down the 2008 schedule into segments. The first segment contains the first two games: v. CSU in Denver, and at home against Eastern Washington. This is easy: for the Buffs to have a winning season, both of these games must be victories.

The second segment of the season stretches four games: West Virginia; at Florida State; Texas; and at Kansas. All but Florida State will be ranked, the remaining three likely ranked in the top ten when playing the Buffs. Colorado needs to win at least one of these games. Not just to make a splash in the national media. Not just to enhance the overall record. But to set up a stretch run to a bowl game in 2008. Florida State is the easiest pick for a CU win, but the game is at Jacksonville, and the Seminoles remain an enigma. A win over Texas at home, or even over Kansas on the road, is not inconceivable. This is the crucial stretch of the season. 0-4 could send the Buffs reeling. 1-3 gives the Buffs life in the bowl chase. 2-2 (or better!), and the set up for a magical season will be in place.

The third segment of the season stretches three games: Kansas State; at Missouri; at Texas A&M. If the Buffs fail to win two games in the first segment, or fail to win one in the second segment, this stretch of the season will decide Colorado’s fate in 2008. Should the Buffs get through the first half 3-3, a bowl bid becomes a strong possibility, as the Buffs will only need one win in this segment. A victory over Kansas State leaves the Buffs playing with house money against Missouri and Texas A&M. A win over either would be gravy.

The final segment of the 2008 campaign involves three games: Iowa State; Oklahoma State; and at Nebraska. A 4-5 Buff team will not need to panic, as both Iowa State and Oklahoma State are winnable games. Should the Buffs enter the final phase of the season with a winning record, the speculation will now be over which bowl the Buffs will be invited to attend.

A tough schedule; a long season. I see great improvement in the overall talent and attitude in Boulder. How that manifests itself on the playing field remains to be seen. This could be a breakout season for the Buffs, but I believe that will come in 2009 (when the non-conference slate is much more manageable). Most breakout teams, the season before they make their move on the national stage, post eight wins the year before (including Colorado, which finished 8-4 before going 11-1 and 11-1-1 in 1989 and 1990). I see seven regular season wins, and a bowl win to conclude the season on a high note, and to set the stage for 2009.

Others may want more out of 2008, but for me – ‘Eight is Enough’.”

This was my preseason projection, and, for the most part, it has held up. Eastern Washington certainly wasn’t an easy victory, but it was a victory. Realistically, a 3-3 record at the midway point, when viewed in August, was a reasonable goal.

In the second half of the season, some revisions are necessary. Oklahoma State looks like a much more difficult game, though Texas A&M looks more inviting. Wins over Kansas State and Iowa State are still mandatory if the Buffs hope to be successful.

Preseason’s over. The gauntlet has been run. The Buffs are a 3-3 team, with four winnable games in the final six. Beat Kansas State, and the 2008 season is still filled with possibilities. Lose to KSU, with Missouri up next …..

Let’s not go there.

Just to make you feel better – Misery Loves Company

For those of you still staring off into space at the thought of Colorado being 3-3 at the midway point of the 2008 season, I offer you the misery of the fans of the following teams:

Clemson – #8 preseason – now 3-3, 1-2 in the ACC

Auburn – #9 preseason – now 4-3, 2-3 in the SEC

Wisconsin – #13 preseason – now 3-3, 0-3 in the Big Ten

Arizona State – #15 preseason – now 2-4, 1-2 in the Pac 10

Tennessee – #18 preseason – now 2-4, 0-3 in the SEC, and

Illinois – #20 preseason – now 3-3, 1-2 in the Big Ten

This list does not include some big name teams who were unranked to start the 2008 season, yet are still not pleased with the first half results, such as:

Miami – 3-3, 0-2 in the ACC

UCLA – 2-4, 1-2 in the Pac 10

Michigan – 2-4, 1-1 in the Big Ten, and our own

Texas A&M 2-4, 0-2 in the Big 12

Feel any better? Maybe a little?

Sometimes having others to commiserate with makes the day go by just a bit easier.

Tomorrow’s another day. Kansas State is just another opportunity to stay on pace for a winning season.

Go Buffs!

Pregame Preview

Kansas preview – 2008

Kansas is 4-1 and ranked 16th in the nation. The Jayhawks are coming off of a 12-1 season in 2007, the best in school history. What can Buff fans expect from a team which held off CU, 19-14, in Boulder last fall, and 20-15 in Lawrence in 2006?

Here are your “T.I.P.S.” for the Kansas game:

T – Talent

Colorado’s last three opponents – West Virginia, Florida State, and Texas – all boast rosters containing more future NFL players (at least in the near term) than does the roster of Colorado. Kansas, on the other hand, has a lineup more on par with that of the Buffs. That fact alone gives the Buffs a better chance at victory than they have had taking the field the past few weeks.

There are two units, though, in which the Jayhawks have a decided advantage: offensive line and quarterback. The decimation of the Colorado offensive line this fall has been well documented, so let’s focus on the quarterback position.

Cody Hawkins certainly chose the wrong time to be born. In most other eras of Colorado football, indeed in most other conferences this season, Hawkins would be respected as an up-and-coming talent and leader (remember, Hawkins is just a sophomore). In the Big 12, however, in a year where there are at least four legitimate Heisman trophy candidates at the position (Missouri’s Chase Daniel, Oklahoma’s Sam Bradford, Texas’ Colt McCoy, and Texas Tech’s Graham Harrell – not to mention Todd Reesing of Kansas and Zac Robinson of Oklahoma State), it’s difficult for Hawkins to look good by comparison, much less spectacular. Throw in a mix-and-match offensive line, and you are destined to have some disappointed fans.

Red-shirt freshman Matt Ballenger looked good in leading the Buffs to a fourth quarter score against Texas. Should there be a quarterback controversy? No. Ballenger, as you will recall, had every opportunity to unseat Hawkins during spring practice. The battle for the starting job was slated to last deep into fall camp – but nothing materialized. Hawkins was so clearly the better option that the battle for the starting job was over before fall camp opened. Does anyone really want to throw an untested freshman (with, again, no steady production from the offensive line) to the Big 12 wolves? The move would smack of desperation, and would only serve to undermine what confidence the Buff players still retain.

This is not to say that I would object to seeing Ballenger play in specific instances. Sonny Lubick routinely allowed his backup to play a series or two in the first half of each game, always keeping an eye on the future. A change of pace with a new quarterback could add spice and vitality to the offensive scheme. Ballenger could also be used in specific situations. (Anyone believe that teams scouting CU are spending a great deal of time preparing for the quarterback draw?)

This week, head coach Dan Hawkins and offensive coordinator Mark Helfrich hinted that Ballenger may see more time sooner than later, though Helfrich was quoted as saying, “We’re not even saying this is something that is going to happen. It’s sort-of a ‘what-if’ scenario.”

Ballenger in spot duty? Fine. As a replacement? No.

Cody should have the rest of 2008 to prove he should be the quarterback in 2009.

I – Intangibles

If I were allowed to travel back in time, and was given the opportunity to change two plays in the Buffs’ 2007 season, I know exactly which two I would choose. The first was the decision to go for a first down on fourth down early in the third quarter against Iowa State. The Buffs, up 21-0, failed to secure a first down, completely shifting momentum. The next we knew, Colorado was on the short end of a 31-28 score.

The second play involved Kansas. The Buffs were hanging tough at home against the undefeated and 15th-ranked Jayhawks. It was early in the second quarter, with the score 3-0, Colorado. The CU defense had stifled a Kansas offense which had averaged over 50 points per game in the first half of the ‘07 season. Colorado had Kansas pinned back at their 17 yard line. Third-and-four. The Buff defense forced KU quarterback Todd Reesing to scramble, and it looked as if the Buffs would get the ball back with a chance to add to their lead. Instead, Reesing sliced his way through the Colorado defense for 53 yards. Kansas managed only a field goal in the drive, but the tone of the game had been altered. Reesing went on to lead the Jayhawks in passing and rushing on the day, almost single-handedly beating the Buffs for the second year in a row.

This past off-season, and into fall camp, the Buff players were often quoted that there were three games in 2007 which they felt had let slip away – games they felt they had out-played the opposition but had not capitalized on their opportunities. Those three games were Florida State, Iowa State, and Kansas.

The Florida State “payback” game did not work out for Colorado. If the Kansas game is to be one of redemption for the Buff players, there is little issue as to how to do that:

Stop Todd Reesing.

P – Preparation / Schedule

Colorado fans certainly won’t want to hear this, but, if you are a Kansas Jayhawk fan, you are looking at the game against Colorado as being the easiest game on the remaining schedule.

Actually, Buff fans shouldn’t take too much offense. Take a look. After playing Colorado, Kansas plays, in order:

at #1 Oklahoma (the “Oklahoma effect” didn’t work on Texas; perhaps it will on Kansas)

#7 Texas Tech

Kansas State (rivalry game)

at Nebraska

#5 Texas

v. #3 Missouri (at Kansas City)

See any gimmes in there? Me, neither. As much as Colorado fans have been bemoaning their early season schedule, Kansas fans must have been pleased that there schedule was so front-end loaded for success. Florida International, Louisiana Tech, and Sam Houston State were of little consequence. In their only loss, a 37-34 defeat on the road against South Florida, the Jayhawks came back from a 34-20 deficit early in the fourth quarter to nearly pull off the upset.

What to make of the close game Kansas played last Saturday at Ames? Colorado fans could certainly be heartened by the fact that Iowa State was able to build a 20-0 halftime lead over the 16th– ranked Jayhawks. Kansas fans, meanwhile, can point to the five touchdown explosion in the second half as evidence of the quality of their team and the “never give up” attitude of their players.

Kansas ultimately prevailed against Iowa State, 35-33. Does this victory represent a boost of confidence for the Jayhawks and their players, or does the near miss represent a chink in the Kansas armor? Tough call.

Last season, Kansas avoided Oklahoma, Texas, and Texas Tech in the schedule. They play all three this year. My guess is that the Jayhawks will lose all three of those games, plus the Missouri game. The other games: CU, Kansas State, and Nebraska, are far from easy.

I believe there is a good chance Kansas will end the season unranked. They will be exposed by the top teams in the Big 12, all of which are still left to play on the Jayhawk schedule.

I just wish they had played one of those teams last week.

We could use the game films.

S – Stats

There are stats which always seem to jump right off the page. (Okay, I’m a stats freak).

If you happen to have a long lost relative stop by this weekend, one who is fresh from three years in the Amazon, and he asks “How the Buffs are doing this season?” Just show him the stat labeled: “Game Opening Drives – Opponent”.

CSU – zero points; one first down; 18 yards

Eastern Washington – seven points; three first downs; 84 yards

West Virginia – zero points; one first down; 8 yards (turnover)

Florida State – seven points; two first downs; 27 yards

Texas – seven points; one first down; 69 yards

See a pattern here? Yes, I know that Colorado came back to win the Eastern Washington game, but it was a struggle from the first minute of the contest. The math is really simple: If Colorado stops the opposition right from the start, the Buffs play well and win. If the Buffs give up a touchdown on the first drive, the Buffs struggle the remainder of the contest.

In their only two games against BCS opposition, Kansas fell behind early to both South Florida and Iowa State. South Florida held on; Iowa State did not.

The Colorado/Kansas game kicks off at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday.

Let’s hope the Buffs receive their wake up call.

Other significant numbers which will have an impact Saturday:

6; 96 – The first is the national ranking of KU’s pass offense; the other is the ranking of the KU rushing offense. Todd Reesing to Kerry Meier / Todd Reesing to Kerry Meier / Todd Reesing to Kerry Meier – the more times you hear that Saturday, the worse it will be for the Buffs.

17; 84 – The first is the national ranking of KU’s rushing defense (the third game in a row that the Buffs will be facing a top 20 rushing defense); the other is the ranking of the KU pass defense. Cody Hawkins to Josh Smith / Cody Hawkins to Scotty McKnight / Cody Hawkins to Patrick Williams – the more times you hear that Saturday, the better the Buffs’ chances.

Kansas, despite its top twenty ranking, has trouble running the ball and has trouble stopping the pass. Game plan for the Buffs? Stop Reesing / protect Hawkins so he can find open receivers.

Nothing to it.

Buffalo Bits – new recruit / new contract

The Buffs picked up their fifth verbal commitment over the weekend, as offensive tackle Jack Harris of Parker, Colorado, said “yes” to the Buffs. Harris, a three star recruit, is rated as the second best player in the state (the top-rated in-state player, defensive end Nick Kasa of Broomfield, is reportedly choosing between Colorado and Florida). Harris chose CU over other BCS schools Texas Tech, Oregon, and Arizona State.

Also this week, Colorado head coach Dan Hawkins signed a contract extension. The new contract, which lasts through the end of the 2012 season, will earn Hawkins $951,720.00 this season (more with met incentives). With pay increases and incentives, Hawkins could earn over $2 million per year in 2011 and 2012.

I certainly have no problem with the contract extension, and I am a big fan of incentive laden packages. Still, if the Buffs fail to put together a winning season in 2008, there will be significant heat for both the coaching staff and Mike Bohn.

It’s time for the Buffs to take the off-field improvements and demonstrate them on the field.

Starting Saturday.

Trivia you Need to Know – Kansas

In the Jayhawk fight song, the six of the other members from the Big Eight Conference are mentioned by name. Which one is not?

“Talk about the Sooners, the Cowboys and the Buffs,

Talk about the Tiger and his tail,

Talk about the Wildcats and those Cornhuskin’ boys,

But I’m the bird to make ‘em weep and wail …. ”

Answer: The Iowa State Cyclones. (Oddly enough, the song goes on to mention the Tigers of Missouri and the Cornhuskers of Nebraska twice. In-state rival Kansas State merits only the one mention).

– The one – and only – conference title won by Kansas in football since the inception of the Big Seven in 1948 came in 1968, when quarterback Bobby Douglas and running back John Riggins led the Jayhawks to a 6-1 conference record. Kansas tied with Oklahoma for the Big Eight title, and, despite losing to the Sooners, 27-23, earned the trip to the Orange Bowl since Oklahoma had been to Miami the year before. In the Orange Bowl, the Jayhawks lost to Penn State, 15-14, to finish with a 9-2 record and a #7 ranking.

– The 2007 Jayhawks matched the1968 team’s final ranking, finishing 7th after a 24-21 win over Virginia Tech in the Orange Bowl gave Kansas a 12-1 final record. Last season marked just the third time that the Jayhawks have finished in the top ten ever. The 1995 team finished with a #9 ranking on the heels of a 10-2 season (still, that #9 national ranking was only good enough for fourth in the Big Eight, as in ‘95 Nebraska finished #1, Colorado was #5, and Kansas State finished ranked #7).

– Kansas did finish the 1960 season with a 6-0-1 conference record, but forfeited wins over Colorado and Missouri for using an ineligible player.

– The Jayhawks 40-15 win over Nebraska in 2005 broke a 36-game losing streak, the second longest in Division 1-A history (Notre Dame over Navy was finally halted in 2007 at 43 straight with Navy’s overtime win in South Bend). The KU/NU series, dating back to 1906, stands as the longest uninterrupted series in Division 1-A (The Minnesota/Wisconsin series started earlier, but the teams did not play in 1906).

– The “Rock Chalk Jayhawk” cheer – the origins date back to 1886. A KU chemistry professor came up with a cheer for his Science club. Patterning a chant after the cadence of a train, the professor came up with “Rah, Rah, Jayhawk, KU”. The “Rock Chalk” was added later. It was added as an allusion to the limestone formations on nearby Mount Oread – and because it rhymed.

– The “Jayhawk” is a mythical bird. It portends to combine the traits of a blue jay (a noisy, contentious raider) and a sparrow hawk (a stealthy hunter).

– Famous alumni – football – including Bobby Douglas and John Riggins, above, the Jayhawks have had three consensus All-Americans: Gale Sayers (1963-64), John Zook (1968), and David Jaynes (1973).

This Day in History – October 11th

1969 – Mississippi 25, #6 Georgia 17. Archie Manning and the Rebels had lost the previous week to Alabama, 33-32, in the waning moments. This time, though, Manning would not be denied, passing for 195 yards and two touchdowns. The win over Georgia was a springboard for Mississippi, which finished 9-3 after a 27-22 win over Arkansas in the Sugar Bowl. The Rebels finished with a #8 final ranking, and Archie Manning, as a junior, was fourth in the Heisman balloting. Georgia, after being undefeated and ranked 6th going into the contest against Mississippi, would win only two of its remaining games after the loss, concluding 1969 with a 5-5-1 overall record.

1975 – #15 Notre Dame 21, North Carolina 14. Notre Dame trailed North Carolina, 14-7, in the fourth quarter. Injured Irish quarterback Rick Slager was replaced by a sophomore by the name of Joe Montana. Montana hit on only three of four total passes, but they went for 128 yards and two touchdowns in leading Notre Dame to a 21-14 win. Notre Dame would go on to an 8-3 finish, while North Carolina stumbled to a 3-7-1 record in 1975.

1980 – #11 Florida State 36, #4 Pittsburgh 22. A week after upsetting #3 Nebraska, the Seminoles knocked off #4 Pittsburgh, 36-22. Pitt suffered from seven turnovers, including three interceptions by quarterback Dan Marino. Pittsburgh would not lose again in 1980, defeating South Carolina, 37-9, in the Gator Bowl to finish 2nd in the final poll. Florida State, meanwhile, dropped from 3rd to 5th in the final polls after losing to Oklahoma, 18-17, in the Orange Bowl.

1986 – Washington State 34, #9 USC 14. USC quarterback Rodney Peete threw for 253 yards, but lost two fumbles and threw two interceptions as the Trojans lost to Washington State, 34-14. It was the first win for the Cougars over the Trojans in 29 seasons. USC, after starting the season 4-0, would win only three of its last eight games to finish 7-5 in the Trojans final season under Ted Tollner (replaced by Larry Smith). Washington State, after its upset of USC, would not win another game in 1986, finishing 3-7-1 in what proved to be the last season under Jim Walden (replaced by Dennis Erickson.

1997 – #14 LSU 28, #1 Florida 14. It was a typical Saturday night in Death Valley as LSU took advantage of its home field in defeating Florida, 28-14. The win for the Tigers represented the first win for LSU over a #1 ranked team in its history. Florida had two long SEC streaks snapped: 25 consecutive wins; 19 consecutive road wins. Florida would have the final say in the matter, as the Gators finished 4th in the final poll; LSU 13th.

2003 – Missouri 41, #10 Nebraska 24. Missouri scored 27 points in the fourth quarter to upset 10th-ranked Nebraska, 41-24. Tiger quarterback Brad Smith threw for 180 yards and scored on runs of 39, one, and nine yards as Missouri defeated Nebraska for the first time since 1978. On the same day in 2003, #1 Oklahoma routed #11 Texas, 65-13, won by the biggest margin and for the fourth time in the Red River Shootout. Of the four teams mentioned, Oklahoma (12-2) had the highest finish, 3rd, despite its 21-14 loss to LSU in the Sugar Bowl. Texas (9-3) also lost its bowl game, a 28-20 setback to Washington State in the Holiday Bowl, to finish 12th. Nebraska, for its part, did hold up its end of the bargain, defeating Michigan State, 17-3, under interim head coach Bo Pelini, to finish 10-3 (and 19th). Missouri lost its bowl game, 27-14 to Arkansas in the Independence Bowl, to complete an 8-5 season unranked.

October 11th – Colorado – best game to date

Colorado 50, Kansas 47 OT – October 11, 2003.

Brian Calhoun scored on a 12 yard run up the middle of the Kansas defense on Colorado’s third play of overtime, lifting the Buffs to a wild 50-47 win. Both teams had double digit leads on a day which witnessed Colorado come back five different times to tie the game or take the lead.

The Buffs rallied from deficits which, at various stages of the game stood at: 7-0, 21-17, 35-24, 38-30, 44-38 and 47-44 in a scoring display in which the two teams combined for 1,184 yards of total offense. Colorado posted 598 of those, led by quarterback Joel Klatt, back for his first start since separating his shoulder against Washington State. Klatt passed for 419 yards and two touchdowns, scoring a third on a one yard run. His 54 passes overall set a school record, as did his 38 completions.

Colorado won the overtime coin toss, putting the Kansas offense on the field first. The Jayhawks did not manage a first down, settling for a 35-yard field goal and a 47-44 lead. Calhoun did all the work for the Buffs in overtime, running for nine yards, for four yards and a first down, and for 12 yards up the middle for the game-winner.

“That was an exciting and fun game to play,” said Klatt. “This team battled back like we did in the first two games. This was a huge boost for us.” Said Gary Barnett of the win: “That was just great resiliency by our guys. It wasn’t a gem, but it was a tremendous effort.”

There were heroes aplenty for the Buffs. In addition to the numbers put up by Klatt, Calhoun, and Crosby (who had three field goals, including the game-tying field goal with 14 seconds left), there were the 179 total yards rushing by the Buffs, the most in a game all season. Jeremy Bloom finished with 159 all-purpose yards, including five catches for 97 yards. Daniel Jolly, who only had six carries on the afternoon, made the most of his opportunities, scoring twice.


4 Replies to “No. 16 Kansas – Mid-Season Blues”

  1. It’s always easy to point fingers after such a loss; so I’m going to take the easy way and point fingers at 1) Josh (I’m no Rhodes Scholar, but I know Scott’s mother) Smith. This guy is hurting the team. 2) Cody (oh the painted grass is the end zone) Hawkins 3) The offensive line. I don’t care how young they are. These guys have been playing football for 10 years, and should know the rules by now. 4) Finally, Dan (let’s keep running the same plays over and over) Hawkins. I knew we should have hired the guy from Fresno State.

  2. Nice analysis, Stewart. Too bad the theory of stopping the opponent or making them struggle pn their first possession didn’t hold true yesterday. Hopefully they can get it together for K-State.

  3. I thought there was a QB controversy after the spring game. Ballenger was a dominating force on the field and his size was refreshing.
    After watching so amny passes get stuffed into cody’s face we have to change up something. The excuse that you can’t use roll out passes because it cuts the field in half is getting tedious.

  4. Great insight into this week’s game! I agree that Ballenger should be used in a few series if nothing else other than to give the opposition something else to worry about and have to game plan for.

    It’s funny that you made note of the opponent’s opening drive and the end result of the game since I was just thinking today that it was odd that the Buffs won the coin toss and elected to receive the kick rather than starting out on defense. In my opinion when the Buffs play at home they should always elect to start on defense and let the crowd get involved in the game and have the defense feed off that in order to start out with good field position for the offense.

    Thanks for all the work you put into the website.

    Go Buffs!!

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