October 10, 2009           No. 2 Texas 38, Colorado 14

Colorado jumped out to 14-3 lead over 2nd-ranked Texas, but special teams miscues, penalties, and missed opportunities by the offense allowed the Longhorns to run away with a 38-14 victory. In less a quarter of playing time in the second half, Texas scored on a blocked punt, an interception return, and a punt return, as the Buffs fell to 1-4 in losing to the Longhorns for the fifth consecutive time.

For Colorado fans, the game in Austin began better than even the most ardent of supporters could have hoped. Brian Lockridge brought the opening kickoff back to the 34, and the Buffs went to work. An eight-play, 66-yard drive gave Colorado the early lead. The Buffs converted a third-and-two with a 14-yard pass from Cody Hawkins to fullback Jake Behrens (with a 15-yard facemask penalty tacked onto the completion). Later, on third-and-21 at the Texas 25, Hawkins completed a 25-yard touchdown pass to tight end Patrick Devenny. The over-the-shoulder catch by Devenny was reminiscent of his touchdown catch against West Virginia in 2008 – the last time the Buffs defeated a ranked team.

Then it was the Longhorns’ turn. In each of the Buffs three losses, the opposition scored a touchdown on its opening drive. Texas looked to continue the trend, but the Longhorn drive stalled at the Colorado 16-yard line. Even though the Longhorns cut the Colorado lead to 7-3 with a field goal, the Buff defense had its first moral victory of the night.

On their second possession, the Longhorns again drove deep into Colorado territory. The second quarter opened with Texas lining up with a first-and-goal at the Colorado eight yard line. A timely sack of Texas quarterback Colt McCoy by Buff defensive linemen Curtis Cunningham and Marquez Herrod pushed the ball back to the 13, where 6’8″ offensive lineman Ryan Miller blocked the field goal attempt, with Jeff Smart returning the kick out to the Colorado 43-yard line.

It was still 7-3, Colorado, and it was beginning to look as if it was going to the be the night of the underdog.

With 3:02 left before half, Colt McCoy was sacked by linebacker Marcus Burton, fumbling the ball. Cornerback Jimmy Smith scooped up the ball, taking the ball down to the Texas six yard line. After a false start penalty pushed the ball back to the 11, Hawkins connected with tight end Riar Geer for an 11-yard touchdown. The Buffs were up, 14-3, with less than three minutes to play before halftime.

If only the game had ended right then and there.

The last time the Buffs led the Longhorns at halftime, it was the 2001 Big 12 title game. In that game, Major Applewhite came on in relief of Chris Simms, and promptly connected with B.J. Johnson on a 79-yard scoring strike just before halftime to bring the Longhorns closer. In 2009, Colt McCoy and wide receiver Jordan Shipley gave the Longhorn faithful something cheer about, with a 39-yard touchdown with 46 seconds to play bringing the Longhorns back to within a score.

Halftime score: Colorado 14, Texas 10.

The Buffs were out-gained in the first half, 215 yards to 97, and the Longhorns had held the ball for almost 20 minutes, but the Buffs had the lead.

The Colorado defense came out after halftime determined to keep the Buffs in the lead. The drive sheet for Texas in the third quarter: three plays, punt; three plays, punt; two plays, interception; six plays, punt. Yet, by the end of the third quarter, the score had gone from Colorado 14, Texas 10, to Texas 24, Colorado 14.

What happened?

The Buffs did what poor teams do, and the Longhorns did what good teams do.

First, a Matt DiLallo punt was blocked by Longhorn Marqui Goodwin, with the ball bouncing into the arms of Ben Wells at the Colorado three yard line. Two steps later, the Longhorns had their first lead of the game, 17-14. The Buffs went three-and-out on their next offensive possession, but looked to be back in business two plays later, as a Colt McCoy pass was tipped and intercepted by Jalil Brown. Colorado was down, but had a first down at the Texas 17-yard line.

Midway through the third quarter, the improbable was still possible.

Three plays later, the game’s momentum shifted for the final time.

At third-and-five at the Texas 12, the 101,152 in attendance were in full voice (for the record, it was at this moment I turned to Brad and said, “This may be the most important play of the Buffs’ season”. It may have turned out to be, but not for the reason I envisioned). Cody Hawkins dropped back to pass, but instead of drilling a pass to the flat to intended receiver Scotty McKnight, the pass floated, and was easily picked off by Longhorn Earl Thomas. The Texas cornerback returned the ball 92 yards for a score. A few seconds earlier, Colorado looked to retake the lead. Instead, the scoreboard read: Texas 24; Colorado 14.

On the Buffs’ next possession, Cody Hawkins was intercepted again, setting a new all-time record in Buff history (34). Apparently this was enough for father Dan Hawkins, who put Tyler Hansen in the game, taking the sophomore’s red-shirt off at mid-season for the second year in succession. Hansen was ineffective, as the Longhorn defense, with a two-score lead, teed off. The game was already over, but a 74-yard punt return for a touchdown by Jordan Shipley and a 12-yard touchdown run by Foswitt Whittaker in the fourth quarter helped to send the Longhorn faithful home with a better looking final score.

Final Score:  No. 2 Texas 38, Colorado 14.

The game statistics, despite the three non-offensive touchdowns, bore out a dominating win by the Longhorns. The Buffs were held to 127 total yards, almost 200 yards lower than the previous low for the season (326 total yards v. Wyoming). Colorado, with sacks included, had only 42 yards rushing on 34 carries. Cody Hawkins hit on only 6-of-18 passes for 68 yards, with two touchdowns offset by his two interceptions (Hansen was three-of-five for 17 yards in relief).

“Tyler is our guy”

Of the game-changing interception, Dan Hawkins echoed what many Buff fans have been saying for the past 2 1/2 seasons: “(Cody’s) got to make that throw,” said coach Hawkins. “We can’t turn it over like that, and you certainly can’t give it up for a touchdown.”

Will there be a quarterback controversy, now that Tyler Hansen’s planned for red-shirt season has come to an end? Surprisingly, the answer is “no”, but not the way Buff fans might have thought. “I don’t want to go back and forth, back and forth or having packages,” said offensive coordinator Eric Kiesau. “I want to have a guy. I want the team to see that, and right now, today, Tyler is our guy.” Kiesau indicated that, barring injury or ineffective play, Hansen will be the starter for the rest of the season.

What does Hansen think of losing his red-shirt at the midway point of the year for the second season in a row? “I feel good. I guess I’m getting kind of used to burning this redshirt,” said Hansen. “They came to me last week, and gave me a couple of days to decide. It pretty much came down to – I can get an injury tomorrow and never play again. So when you have the opportunity to play, especially in college at the D-1 level in this atmosphere, you take it.”

It is often said that there is no player more popular than the back up quarterback. Hopefully, Hansen will provide the anemic Colorado offense with a spark …

The members of the Colorado defense, however, can hold their heads high after their performance against Texas. Other than one lapse just before halftime, the Buffs held the Texas offense (and its nation-leading 49.5 ppg. average) without a touchdown until the game was out of hand late in the fourth quarter. The Longhorns were held to 313 yards of total offense, well below their season average of 521 yds/game (4th nationally). “They battled,” said Dan Hawkins of his defense. “I was proud of them. They did an awesome job. Great job.’

So, what’s next for the 1-4 Buffs? The undefeated and 17th-ranked Kansas. The Jayhawks are 5-0, and do own a three-game winning streak in the series. Still, Kansas has not been overwhelming its opponents. A 35-28 win over Southern Mississippi is the Jayhawks’ “signature win”. A 41-36 win over Iowa State almost became a 42-41 loss Saturday at home, as an Austen Arnaud pass was just overthrown in the endzone in the final minute. By the same token, KU quarterback Todd Reesing, who passed for a career-high 442 yards against the Cyclones, has owned the Buffs the last three seasons.

The Buffs, who have now gone 3-11 since upsetting West Virginia last season, have no reason to get cocky. The only important numbers here are – Kansas, 5-0; Colorado, 1-4.

Here are the YouTube videos from the game, courtesy of CU at the Gamer Paul:


Game Notes –

– Cody Hawkins may be sitting for the rest of the season, and potentially, for the rest of his Buff career. However, even if he never throws another pass, he will end his Colorado career as the all-time leader in touchdown passes. His two against Texas set a new standard, with 45, passing the 44 posted by Joel Klatt. At the same time, Hawkins is now the all-time leader in career interceptions, as his 34 picks surpasses the 33 thrown by Joel Klatt and Steve Vogel.

– Red-zone streaks. Texas had scored every time it had ventured inside the opponents’ 20-yard line this season, that was until Ryan Miller blocked a field goal attempt in the second quarter. The Buffs’ perfect red-zone streak came to an end when Hawkins was intercepted in the third quarter.

– Colorado set a new record for penalties against Texas, being flagged 20 times for 140 yards. The previous worst game for a Colorado team came in 1950, when the Buffs were flagged 18 times against Kansas State. The 140 yards in penalties was only the second-worst ever, as Colorado had 153 yards walked off in a game against Arizona in 1958 (Ironically enough, the Buffs won both of those games handily, beating Kansas State 34-6 in the 1950 game; and rolling over Arizona, 65-12, in 1958).

– It has certainly been awhile since any team scored more than one non-offensive touchdown against Colorado in a single game, much less three. Previously, the Buffs did not have a blocked punt for a touchdown or an interception return for a touchdown since 2007; and no punt returns for a touchdown since 2003.

– In case you are wondering, the 92-yard interception return for a touchdown was not the best effort by a Colorado opponent. It actually only ranks fourth, with the longest being a 98-yard interception return by David Parks of Texas Tech in 1962.

– The last time the Buffs blocked a field goal attempt was in 2005, when defensive end James Garee blocked a kick against New Mexico.

– The final score of 38-14 was the same as last year’s result. The identical score was the first such occurrence for Colorado since 1946-47, when Missouri defeated the Buffs 21-0 in consecutive seasons.

And the Buffs shall Rise Again!

Despite the three non-offensive scores given up against Texas (the most given up by any team in FBS in one game this season – and the Buffs pulled off the trifecta in less than a quarter of playing time), there was more to the 38-14 loss to the Longhorns than the casual observer would assume. After reading the inscription at a memorial on the statehouse grounds in Austin, I am pleased to report to the Buff Nation that victory would have/could have/ and, by rights, should have – been ours.

The Longhorns didn’t just fight fair.

Let me explain …

But for about a quarter and a half of football Saturday, Brad, Randy, and I had a good time this weekend in Austin. We checked out a high school game between two top 5-A schools in Austin (a full report on our adventurous excursion to witness “Friday Night Lights” for ourselves will be posted Monday night). We toured the UT campus, 6th street, and the state capitol. It was on the grounds of the state house where we encountered several memorials. There was one for the Texas Rangers, one for the Alamo defenders … and one for the honored dead from the Civil War.

And it is there where our story begins.

On the monument, on three sides, is a list of all of the battles of the Civil War in which a regiment from Texas participated. On the fourth side, there is the following (and no, I didn’t make this up):


The people of the South, animated by the spirit of 1776, to preserve their rights, withdrew from the Federal Compact in 1861. The North resorted to coercion. The South, against overwhelming numbers and resources, fought until exhausted.

During the war, there were 2,257 engagements. In 1,882 of these, at least one (Texas) regiment took part.

Number of men enlisted: Confederate Armies, 800,000; Federal Armies, 2,859,132.

Losses from all causes: Confederate, 437,000; Federal, 485,216.

Mind you, this memorial was erected over 35 years after the Civil War had ended. It’s clear from the language, though, that many in Texas did not see conflict as having been properly resolved. The boys from the South inflicted more casualties, despite being out-numbered almost four-to-one. If it were not for the “overwhelming numbers and resources”, the monument implies, the coercive hordes from the North surely would have been defeated.

The South didn’t lose the Civil War – the North just didn’t fight fair.

Which brings us back to the Colorado/Texas game.

Want to talk about “overwhelming numbers and resources”?

There were 101,152 in attendance at the game Saturday, with about 1,152 Colorado fans offset by an even 100,000 decked out in head-to-toe burnt orange.

The entire CU athletic department budget hovers around $45 million. Revenue from football alone brings in $70 million to the Longhorn coffers.

Texas already has 19 commitments for the 2010 class (ranked #1 by Rivals), including 16 four-star recruits. Colorado hasn’t had 16 four-star recruits this decade.

Each ticket to Darrell Royal Stadium is sold out, with a jumbo-tron surrounded by multiple high-paying sponsors. At Colorado, even when there is a sell-out (on average, about once a season), Folsom Field holds roughly half the number of fans in attendance. The Buffs could play every game at home, every season, and still not match the attendance numbers (and dollars) generated at Texas.

Want to talk about “fought until exhausted”?

The Buffs committed a school-record 20 penalties Saturday, on the road, against the #2 team in the nation. Still, the Colorado defense held the Longhorns to 313 yards of total offense. In the third quarter, when the wheels fell off the Colorado bus, it wasn’t because of the defense. The offensive possessions for Texas in the third quarter went as follows: three-and-out; three-and-out; two plays and an interception; six plays and a punt. It wasn’t until there were only six minutes remaining in the game, with the Buffs already down 31-14, that the defense surrendered its first points of the second half.

Truly, the Buffs’ defense “fought until exhausted”.

So, if the Texas rationale about the Civil War holds true, there are a few changes which need to be made in the Big 12:

1) Teams will evenly divide all revenues from ticket sales, advertising and licensing. Want a 100,000 seat stadium? Fine. But you have to share the revenue with every other conference team;

2) Players will be recruited to the “Big 12” as a whole, not individual teams. A lottery of five-star and four-star players will be implemented, ensuring that every team has an equal number of quality players;

3) Coaches will be rotated, just to make sure that no one team has the advantage of a better coach; and

4) Teams with a worse record coming into a game will be allocated an extra touchdown for each extra loss, and another extra touchdown if the team with the worse record is playing on the road (Final score Saturday: Colorado 42; Texas 38). Or, if you like, we can go with the fact that Colorado held the lead for over half the game. From 11:26 in the first quarter, until 8:49 of the third quarter, the Buffs were in the lead. That Colorado, a 31.5 point underdog, held the lead for over half the game, should count for at least half a win, shouldn’t it?

See? It’s simple. It’s not just that the Buffs imploded when they had the chance to defeat the #2 team. It’s not just that Colorado gave up three scores with the defense on the sidelines. It’s not just that the offensive line (when they were not committing penalties) could not create holes for the running backs, nor time for the quarterbacks to throw.

Texas just didn’t fight fair.

If Texas believes that the Civil War turned out the way it did due to an uneven playing field, there should be no objection to leveling the college football playing field.


That’s okay – The Buffs shall Rise Again! (We’ll just hope that it’s not a century or more in coming) …


One Reply to “No. 2 Texas 38, Colorado 14”

  1. Very clever! This loss had nothing to do with Texas. This is the worst offensive line in CU history and until this is resolved you can forget about winning anymore games. I still have some faith that KU will be humiliated after watching the D tear the Texas O apart. How long until Dan Hawkins becomes offensive coordinator and Eric goes back to the wide receivers? Hey! Let Cody coach the wide receivers! If he is gonna sit on the sidelines he might as well start learning how to coach with dad, he might be better suited as the Defensive Backs coach since he is not really used to seeing wide receivers but throws to the DB’s weekly!
    Seriously I just needed to vent, I love both Hawks and I hope they can figure it out. Dan is gonna be here for a while obviously, this is not the NFL. If you don’t like the idea then organize a bake sale to raise 3 million to buy out his contract and another 1.5 million to find a worthy coach, for one season!

    Go CU!

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