October 17th – Boulder          Colorado 34, No. 17 Kansas 30

Colorado used two first half turnovers inside the Kansas five yard line to build a 24-3 lead, then hung on for a 34-30 victory with a deflected pass in the endzone as time expired. Sophomore quarterback Tyler Hansen, making his first start of the 2009 season, completed 14-of-25 passes for 175 yards and a score, adding 34 yards on 11 carries. Rodney Stewart led the rushing attack for the Buffs, with 108 yards and two touchdowns.

For the first time this season, Colorado fans did not see a score in the opening drive by at least one of the teams. The Buffs had surrendered points on the first drive of the game to every opponent except for Wyoming, and had posted points on their initial drive against Wyoming and Texas. The Family Weekend crowd of 51,146 was allowed to get settled into their seats, though, as the Buffs and the Jayhawks each went three-and-out in their first two possessions. The first first down of the game came on a 28-yard pass from Kansas quarterback Todd Reesing to wide receiver Brad McDougal midway through the first quarter, setting up the Jayhawks deep inside Buff territory. The Colorado defense stiffened, though, and the Jayhawks had to settle for a 37-yard field goal by Jacob Branstetter.

Colorado evened the score on a 45-yard field goal by Aric Goodman on the first play of the second quarter. Goodman’s first successful kick from the 40-49 yard range (he had been 0-of-8, but did have a 54-yarder against CSU), bounced off the right upright and through. For Goodman and the Buffs, who had been “thisclose” to  success all season, the opening play of the quarter proved to be a good omen. Before halftime, the Buffs would post 24 points, their best output in a quarter since putting up 28 against CSU in 2003 (a 45-28 CU victory).

The onslaught began two plays into the next Jayhawk drive, as Todd Reesing fumbled the ball back at his own four yard line. Red-shirt freshman defensive lineman Will Pericak fell on the ball, and the Buffs took only one play to take the lead. Rodney Stewart bullied his way in from the three, giving Colorado a 10-3 lead less than 30 seconds into the quarter.

After forcing a Kansas punt, the Buffs put together a drive behind Tyler Hansen that Colorado fans have been clamouring for all season. On second-and-14 at the CU 17-yard line, Hansen was flushed out of the pocket. Instead of launching the ball into the third row, Hansen took off, racing down the left sideline for 20 yards and a first down. Later, on third-and-eight, Hansen connected with Scotty McKnight for eight yards and another first down. Next, Hansen showed his arm strength and touch, hitting Markques Simas in stride for a 36-yard gain. On the next play, Hansen found tight end Riar Geer on a crossing pattern for a 12-yard touchdown. Eight plays, 79 yards. 17-3, Colorado.

Two possessions later, the Colorado defense forced a third-and-ten. Todd Reesing’s pass, intended for wide receiver Dezmon Briscoe, was intercepted by junior cornerback Jalil Brown, who returned the ball 35 yards down to the Kansas one yard line. On second down, Tyler Hansen punched the ball in, giving the Buffs a 24-3 lead with just 2:24 to go before halftime.

Todd Reesing would need only 2:13 to bring Kansas back into the game. Completing seven-of-nine passes on the drive, Reesing, who had struggled the entire first half, made it look easy, hitting wide receiver Kerry Meier from four yards out with just 11 seconds to go before the half. Kansas, undefeated and a ten-point favorite, had no intentions of going quietly.

Halftime score: Colorado 24, No. 17 Kansas 10

Colorado, which had been ambushed in the third quarter by Texas the week before, came out after halftime looking fully prepared to keep Kansas at bay. The first three plays of the Buffs’ opening drive went for first downs, as Tyler Hansen scrambled for 11 yards before Rodney Stewart put together rushes of 18 and ten yards. A screen pass to Darrell Scott (a screen pass!) netted 19 yards, but later a holding penalty at the Kansas 17 yard line stalled the drive. Aric Goodman was called upon to extend the Buffs’ lead, and Goodman was successful from 39 yards out, giving Colorado a 27-10 lead early in the third quarter.

Kansas quickly showed that the long drive at the end of the second quarter was no fluke, marching smartly down the field. It took Todd Reesing only eight plays to negotiate 80 yards, with Toben Opurum scoring from two yards out to make the new score 27-17, midway through the third quarter.

Three plays later, the roof fell in on the Buffs.

On third-and-two at the CU 43-yard line, Tyler Hansen faded back, setting up another screen pass. This attempt, though, was sniffed out by the Kansas defense, and Hansen was smothered back at the Colorado 24, fumbling the ball back to the Jayhawks. Moans of recognition could be heard throughout the Front Range.

Colorado had been here before.

The Colorado defense, however, did not surrender a first down, forcing Kansas to settle for a 42-yard field goal. A bullet had been dodged. Colorado 27, Kansas 23. Still, the momentum had clearly turned. As the third quarter came to a close, the Buffs held the lead, but the Jayhawks were in charge.

A short Matt DiLallo punt on the second play of the fourth quarter set the Jayhawks up at their own 42. Four plays later, Kansas had the lead for the first time since early in the second quarter. Todd Reesing hit Dezmon Briscoe for a 25-yard score, and Kansas, down three touchdowns only 20 minutes earlier, now held a 30-27 lead.

The Buffs, though, refused to fold. Twice on the ensuing drive, on third-and-15 and again on third-and-three, Tyler Hansen hit tight end Riar Geer for big first downs. After that, Rodney Stewart took over, gaining 21 of the remaining 25 yards, including a 13-yard touchdown run with 8:36 to play. Colorado had regained the lead, 34-30.

Twice in the final minutes, Kansas penetrated the Colorado red zone, only to come up empty.

On the first drive, the Jayhawks had a first-and-goal at the Colorado two yard line. On second-and-goal at the one, the Jayhawks attempted to pass for the score, but were called for offensive pass interference. The 15-yard penalty gave the Buff defense new life, and, on fourth-and-goal at the CU six, a Reesing pass to Briscoe was broken up by junior cornerback Jimmy Smith. The Buffs took over on downs, and did punch the ball out to the 27 yard line before punting.

The Jayhawks took over at their 25-yard line with 59 seconds to play and no time outs. Completions to Meier and Briscoe quickly moved Kansas into Colorado territory. A 26-yard completion to Briscoe set up the Jayhawks at the Colorado 19. Reesing quickly spiked the ball.

Seven seconds remained.

Reesing, who had defeated the Buffs three times, was now poised to lead Kansas to a fourth consecutive victory over Colorado for the first time in school history. His first attempt, to the ever-present Kerry Meier (11 catches, 103 yards and a touchdown), was broken up by Jalil Brown.

Three seconds remained.

One last play. The Buffs, who had been rushing just four, blitzed. The Kansas offensive line, though, held, and Reesing had time to throw. Reesing lofted the ball to the end zone, where Dezmon Briscoe, who already had eight catches for 154 yards and a touchdown on the evening, waited. Briscoe, at 6’3″, jumped up with 5’7″ Colorado cornerback Cha’pelle Brown … but Brown got just enough of the ball to keep Briscoe from coming down with the winning score.

Final Score: Colorado 34, No. 17 Kansas 30.

Kansas, which played from behind most of the game, had a lopsided stats sheet. Todd Reesing had 401 yards passing, but it took him 51 attempts to get there. The Kansas rushing game, with five sacks by the Buffs counting against them, had minus-eight rushing yards. Colorado put togehter 322 yards of total offense. Not great, but almost three times the yards generated against Texas. Tyler Hansen went 14-for-25 for 175 yards and a touchdown. Hansen did have an interception, and was sacked three times, but it was the times he wasn’t sacked, and his 64 yards rushing (34 with the sacks included), which was the cause of most of the post-game discussion.

“He’s a heckuva player,” said Kansas head coach Mark Magino of Hansen. ‘He made the difference tonight in my opinion.” Senior tight end Riar Geer agreed. “He did great,” said Geer, who had four catches for 65 yards and a touchdown. “He brings a whole new type of quarterback to our offense, with his speed”.  Colorado head coach Dan Hawkins was not as quick to heap praise. “He did a nice job. He made a lot of plays with his legs and he made some good throws,” said Hawkins. “He and Cody from the get-go were being unselfish and that’s one of the cornerstones of our team.”

Still, despite Hansen’s good play, the Buffs still could have finished with their fifth loss of the season had Dezmon Briscoe come down with the ball on the game’s final play. “(Briscoe) is an amazing player, he’s one of those guys that makes things happen when things aren’t there,” said Kansas safety Darrel Stuckey. “Just a little disappointed that he didn’t make it.” The final drive was easy for Kansas, at least until the last two plays. ” ‘Do not let them get into the endzone’. That was the main thing we recognized,” said cornerback Jalil Brown. “Don’t let them get into the end zone, and we’re getting out of here with a win.”

Jalil Brown also had the last word on Buff-beater Todd Reesing. “All of these years we’ve been playing him, and he’s been beating us,” said Brown, who had the interception which gave Colorado the ball at the Kansas one yard line. “He’s been like the thorn that we couldn’t get out. This game, it felt great to go out there and finally get a win.”

Up next for the Buffs: The 4-3 – and Big 12 North leading – Kansas State Wildcats. Let’s try that again – the Big 12 North leading Kansas State Wildcats. After completely destroying Texas A&M, 62-14 (38-0 at halftime; 59-0 before the Aggies scored), Kansas State is 2-1 in conference play. Colorado, Nebraska, and Kansas are all 1-1. At the midway point of the 2009 season, the Buffs stand at 2-4 … and control their own destiny in the Big 12 North race.

Game Notes –

– The Kansas game marked the sixth time in school history (and first since 1999) that Colorado has held a team to minus-yardage rushing. Counting six sacks (which I personally think is a poor choice by the stats guys, but it is what it is), Kansas had 23 rushes for a minus-seven yards. The negative yardage is not close to the record (-40 by Wichita State in 1975, a 52-0 Buff whitewash), but it is close to the most recent negative game (-11 yards by Oklahoma in 1999 – a 38-24 CU win).

–  Rodney Stewart had 108 yards on 24 carries. It was the third time this season, and the sixth time in his career, that Stewart posted over 100 yards. The effort gives Stewart 1,040 yards for his career, the 49th player in Colorado history to put up over 1,000 rushing yards. Overall, Stewart moved up to 45th, passing such players as #50 Willie Beebe (967 yards) and #48 Sal Aunese (1,009 yards).

– True freshman Will Jefferson made his first start, finishing with one 11-yard catch.

– Tackle Bryce Givens did not play, so Blake Behrens, who had 11 starts at guard last season, played right guard against Kansas, with Ryan Miller moving back out to tackle. Then again, this is from the official stats sheet, which also lists linebacker Derrick Webb as the starting center (Webb, who is red-shirting, wears #56, the same number assigned to Keenan Stevens. As Stevens started the last two games at center, we’ll assume this is a typo, and not another position switch by the CU coaches).

– The Buffs scored a touchdown after a turnover twice in the second quarter. Before this game, Kansas had allowed only one touchdown after a turnover all season.

– Want to hazard a guess the last time that Colorado, Iowa State, and Kansas State all won on the same weekend when Nebraska, Missouri, and Kansas all lost? …

Returning the Favor

What will be remembered by Colorado fans as the night Tyler Hansen proved them right (“I told you we should have been starting Hansen all along!”), the 34-30 victory over #17 Kansas could have just as well be remembered as the night that Jayhawk quarterback Todd Reesing confounded the Buffs for the fourth consecutive year. Reesing passed for over 400 yards, had two touchdowns, and had the Jayhawks 19 yards from an epic comeback win. Before Reesing, no Kansas quarterback had beaten the Buffs three years in a row – not John Hadl, not Bobby Douglass, not Nolan Cromwell, not Frank Seuer. None before Todd Reesing. And he had two possessions in the red zone with his team down four points, the game in his hands. Two chances at a record which could only be matched, never bested.

You know the story. The Buffs were ahead of the Jayhawks, in Lawrence, 9-0 at halftime. The date – October 28, 2006. The 1-7 Buffs, with three Mason Crosby field goals, had taken a 9-0 lead behing a stout Colorado defensive effort. Despite the late date, the Kansas coaches decided to pull the red-shirt off of freshman quarterback Todd Reesing. The decision made Mark Magino and his coaching staff look brilliant, as in the second half Reesing passed for two touchdowns and ran for a third, leading the Jayhawks to a 20-15 victory.

In 2007, Reesing hit on 20-of-29 passes for 153 yards, but also ran for 84 yards on seven carries, as Kansas topped Colorado in Boulder, 19-14. Then, last season, Reesing led the Jayhawks to two fourth quarter scores, turning a close 16-14 game into a 30-14 victory. Three games; three victories.

Will Tyler Hansen be able to return the favor?

Okay, so the red-shirt came off last Saturday in Austin, but, for all intents and purposes, the Kansas game was Hansen’s debut. His stats are not spectacular – 14-of-25 passing, two touchdowns, one interception, one fumble; 11 rushes, 34 yards.

Buff fans, though, know that there was much more to the play of Hansen than what appears in the box score. His 20-yard scramble in the second quarter on 2nd-and-14 at the Colorado 17 got Buff fans off of their seats, and ignited a 79-yard scoring drive. His official rushing stats show a total of 34 yards, but that includes three sacks for 30 yards. His true rushing totals – eight carries for 64 yards. Hansen’s stats also show a 29-yard pass to tight end Riar Geer on third-and-15, a perfectly lofted 36-yard pass to Markques Simas, and a well-timed 19-yard screen pass to Darrell Scott.

“It’s unfortunate they picked this week to take his redshirt off,” said Kansas head coach Mark Mangino, “but I think they’ve found their quarterback, that’s for sure.”

What has Buff fans excited is that Hansen adds new dimensions to the Colorado offense. Cody Hawkins knew the plays, but he did not have the ability to fully execute them. His first choice, often due to a lack of time offered by his porous offensive line, was the six yard out to Scotty McKnight. When flushed, Cody did not have the speed to get away to create new options, and the ball was thrown away.

Hansen, meanwhile, cannot only create plays with his scrambling abilities; he can create time for his receivers. “We can count on him to get out of the pressure and then we can open up some more options,” said Riar Geer. Remember the first play of the fourth quarter? The Buffs nursing a 27-23 lead, third-and-five at the CU 25-yard line? Hansen scrambles, buying himself time. He finally buys enough time to loft the ball to a wide open Demetrius Sumler. Hansen led the senior running back just a bit too much, and the ball fell incomplete. On the Buffs’ next drive (one which ultimately would result in a Colorado touchdown), Hansen again scrambled, getting away long enough to launch a long pass downfield to Rodney Stewart. Again, the pass fell incomplete, but the precedent has been set.

The message is clear: Colorado receivers – don’t give up on your route or your quarterback. He’ll figure out a way to get you the ball.

The Buffs just played two ranked, undefeated teams, and led for most of both games. The next four games are against teams which will be unranked. Colorado now has a quarterback who can run and throw deep. Tyler Hansen’s red-shirt came off against Kansas, and he led the Buffs to victory.

He might well have two more chances to take down Kansas, giving him three wins over the Jayhawks to match those Todd Reesing had over the Buffs after Reesing tore off his red-shirt three years ago.

It sure would be nice to return the favor.

7 Replies to “Colorado 34, No. 17 Kansas 30”

  1. False starts. End the confusion right now . They need to call it on one every snap. Only call it on two just a few times a game, especially if they have to get the first down and then do a hard count . In the huddle never stress the count unless on two and repeat the count in the huddle only then. This frees up the line to think clearly about the assignment at hand and forget about the count. Also a no sound goose snap with no movement on the line but the snap itself should be good for one yard everytime with a guy like Hansen diving low picking the best hole . Take my advice and cut the false starts to zero a game and pick up an extra, must have first down or two every game. False starts are killing us! Leaders in the locker room need to stand up if they see something point it out. If you have a play that will work tell the coach during the game. Tell your quarterback. Tell your defensive captain. Just do it! Run onto field and do it if you have to. Be a leader. Have an anonymous suggestion box in the locker room. Communicate. Go around the locker room and let every person say one thing that would help the team win whatever it is. Just say it. The energy builds. Communication is key ! We still got a chance. This season is not over ! We can still take the North! We can still take it! Believe in yourselves! Come together right now! Fire up right now I say ! Fire it up! Fire up!!! FIRE IT UP RIGHT NOW!!!

  2. KU sportswriter was impressed. CU students should be congratulated for their contribution to the win. Go Buffs.

    “Also Folsom was a great place to see the game as always, Kansas fans were out in pretty good numbers but if there is one thing that will kill you in Boulder it’s letting that student section get into the game. Kansas allowed them to get into it and stay into it for four quarters. At times the Colorado crowd has the feeling of a European soccer match with their chants and cheers and they do a tremendous job getting loud in the right moments. After Kansas went up by 3 you could sense that if Kansas could get a stop and punch in another 7 we were about to witness a mass exodus from the Buffalo crowd. That obviously didn’t happen. Tyler Hansen led a touchdown drive, it clearly reignited the confidence in the Buffalo players and reignited the fire in the Buffalo fans.”

    http://www.rockchalktalk.com/2009/10/18/1090405/where-do-we-go-from-here

  3. Cody is one hell of a leader, teammate, and someday coach. He deserves a round for keeping his head up (no excuses, never blamed a porous O-line once) and trying the best with what he had. That being said, it is Hansen’s show now as it should have been all season. I hope that just as Hansen matured over the past year, Coach Hawkins matures as a Div. 1 Big XII Coach. If he trusts his assistants, and sticks to his core strenghts then I see Big XII North in the Buffs future.
    RUN BUFF RUN

  4. Well I don’t see how Dan Hawkins could possibly think Cody was the #1 QB for so long, there is no comparison as to who the true #1 actually is. The old adage “Love is blind” is definitely true. I now know that a Hawkins was at fault for this 3 year demise, Dan NOT Cody.
    Go Tyler!!!!!!! Keep up the intensity.

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