October 31st – Boulder          Missouri 36, Colorado 17

Missouri sacked Colorado quarterback Tyler Hansen eight times and forced four turnovers, racing out to a 33-0 lead en route to a 36-17 victory. The Buffs out-scored the Tigers 14-0 in the third quarter to make it interesting, but four possessions with the score 33-17 netted two turnovers on downs, an interception, and a punt, as Colorado fell to 2-6, 1-3 on the season. A homecoming crowd of 45,634, the smallest crowd of the season, was on hand to witness a fourth straight win for Missouri in the series.

Missouri had out-scored Colorado 113-10 the past two seasons, and, in the first half of the 2009 game, it appeared as if the scores of 55-10 and 58-0 were mere preludes to the hurt the Tigers were going to put on the Buffs in 2009. The Tigers took the opening kickoff, and smartly marched 80 yards down the field. The Colorado defense did force two third downs – 3rd-and-two at the Missouri 28 yard line, and third-and-nine at the Missouri 47, giving Buff fans hope (after all, Colorado was ranked 19th in the nation in 3rd-down defense, at 32%; and was even better at Folsom) – but Missouri easily converted both chances. An 11-play drive was capped off by a one-yard run by Derrick Washington 4:27 into the game.

Colorado tried to answer, and mustered one first down before punting the ball back to Missouri. The Tigers’ second drive was as quick as the first had been methodical. On third-and-three, Missouri quarterback Blaine Gabbert hit Danario Alexander in stride, with Alexander taking the ball 73 yards for 14-0 Missouri lead midway through the first quarter.

When quarterback Tyler Hansen fumbled the ball while being sacked on the Buffs’ next play from scrimmage, memories of the last game Colorado played on Halloween (the 52-7 massacre in Lincoln in 1992) rose from the dead. The Tigers took over at the Colorado six yard line, but the CU defense, unable to stop Missouri early, finally made a stand. On four-and-goal at the Colorado one yard line, Missouri running back Derrick Washington was stopped by linebacker B.J. Beatty. The Buffs took over at their two yard line, but were unable to get out from the shadow of their own goalposts. Starting at the Colorado 33-yard line, Missouri needed only two plays to score. A 31-yard run by De’Vion Moore put the ball the ball back inside the Colorado five yard line, and this time the Tigers were not denied. A two-yard touchdown pass from Gabbert to Alexander gave both players their second score of the quarter, and the rout was on.

Missouri 21, Colorado 0 – with 2:34 still to play in the first quarter.

A 30-yard scramble by Tyler Hansen put the Buffs into Missouri territory on their next drive, but Hansen was sacked back on the Missouri 49-yard line on the first play of the second quarter, forcing a Matt DiLallo punt. The Tigers were well on their way to their fourth touchdown in five first half drives, but Blaine Gabbert was intercepted by cornerback Jalil Brown at the CU ten yard line. The Buffs’ offense was not able to take advantage, though, giving the ball back on the very next play, with Tyler Hansen fumbling the snap at the Colorado nine yard line.

Once again, the Colorado defense held after a turnover inside the ten yard line, as Missouri netted a loss of two yards in three plays. Still, the turnover resulted in a 29-yard field goal, with Missouri taking a 24-0 lead early in the second quarter.

It was 26-0 one play later.

The Missouri kickoff was returned by Brian Lockridge to the 14-yard line, but a block in the back penalty forced the Buffs to start at their seven yard line. On first down, Tyler Hansen was sacked in the endzone for a safety. The two series started in the second quarter for Colorado now read as follows: one play, fumble; one play, sack for a safety.

Just when it appeared as if the Buffs had found every way imaginable to lose to the Tigers in falling behind 26-0 … the they found a new way.

Taking over after the free kick, Missouri quickly drove into Colorado territory. The Tigers’ drive stalled at the Colorado 24-yard line, and the Tigers lined up for a 42-yard field goal attempt. Despite having defeated Colorado by a combined score of 113-10 in 2007 and 2008, and despite having a 26-0 lead, Missouri head coach Gary Pinkel opted to go for a fake field goal. The play worked to perfection, with holder Forrest Shock pitching the ball to Jacquies Smith for a 24-yard touchdown.

Down 33-0, the Buffs put together their first scoring drive since the opening drive of the Kansas State game. Assisted by a pass interference penalty and a 15-yard gain on a reverse by Andre Simmons, Colorado drove as close as the Missouri 18-yard line. A 14-yard sack of Tyler Hansen put the ball back at the 31 yard line, but Aric Goodman was undaunted, hitting a 48-yard field goal with a minute to play before halftime.

With the score, the Buffs halted a scoring streak by the Tigers, dating back to the second half of the 2007 game of ….. wait for it ….. 139 unanswered points.

Small consolation.

Halftime score: Missouri 33, Colorado 3.

Perhaps buoyed by a traditional “let’s win the second half!” pep talk, Colorado quickly drove down the field to start the second half.  Tyler Hansen hit Scotty McKnight for 28 yard and 12 yard completions before Rodney Stewart scored from three yards out to cap the ten play drive – The first touchdown drive for the Colorado offense in six quarters of play.

The Colorado defense also was up to the task early, forcing a three-and-out, giving the ball back to the Colorado offense at the CU 41 yard line. Still down 33-10, there was a least a murmur of hope amongst the fans remaining in the stands. That hope was quickly dashed, however, as the offense again shifted into reverse gear. The drive chart on the Buffs’ second offensive series: sack for loss of 13 yards; completed pass for a loss of five yards; sack for loss of five yards – with a fumble on the third-and-18 play.

Missouri took over at the Colorado 35, and it appeared that the rout, after a brief interlude of success by the Buffs, was about to continue.

Instead, the game got closer.

Missouri drove to the Colorado 15-yard line, but then, after a holding penalty pushed the Tigers back to the 25, a Blaine Gabbert pass was picked off by senior cornerback Benjamin Burney, who returned the interception 78 yards for a Colorado touchdown.

The rout was now a ball game – Missouri 33, Colorado 17.

Missouri did manage two first downs before safety Anthony Perkins sacked Gabbert on third-and-14 to force a punt. Energized, the Colorado offense, which had yet to pass the century mark in terms of total yards on the day, found new life. Hansen hit McKnight for ten yards, then 14 more. On third-and-three at the Missouri 32, Hansen kept the ball for an eight yard gain and a first down. The final play of the third quarter was an eight yard completion from Hansen to Markques Simas. Second-and-two at the Missouri 14.

Momentum had shifted completely to the Colorado sideline. Down two scores, but with the ball in the Missouri red zone, and with a full quarter to play, the greatest comeback in Colorado history seemed plausible.

Then, the fourth quarter started.

Shifting sides of the field seemed to sap the energy from the Colorado offense. Faced with a second-and-two, Rodney Stewart was given the ball three times, but the Buffs could not generate a first down, with Missouri taking over on downs after Stewart was thrown for a two yard loss on fourth-and-one.

Still, Colorado had its chances. Three more times in the fourth quarter, the Buffs had the ball with the score 33-17. Missouri had five possessions in the final stanza, and gained only two first downs – but the Buffs could not take advantage. Colorado’s offense generated only one first down of its own, with an interception, a punt, and three failed attempts on fourth down sealing the Buffs’ fate. On one of those occasions, Colorado turned the ball back to Missouri at the CU 22 yard line. After the defense held one last time, Missouri closed out the scoring with a 33-yard field goal with 3:51 to play.

Final score: Missouri 36, Colorado 17.

The game statistics were about as bad as one would have imagined. With eight sacks counting as negative rushing yards, Colorado netted a minus-14 yards rushing, the third worst game in Colorado history (only a minus-27 yards against Florida State in 2007, and a minus-16 yards against Iowa State in 1984, have been worse). Colorado had the the Big 12’s worst offense coming into the game (301.9 yards per game, over 50 yards per game behind No. 11 Baylor), and held true to form, as the Buffs managed only 176 total yards for the game. Missouri, which had managed only 263.7 yards per game in three Big 12 losses, posted an even 400 against Colorado.

Tyler Hansen, playing the entire game for the first time, had decent numbers – 22-of-36, 190 yards, one interception (compared to winning quarterback Blaine Gabbert’s numbers – 17-of-29, 192 yards, two touchdowns, two interceptions) – but his 40 yards rushing were more than offset by the 74 yards in losses with the eight sacks. Rodney Stewart was held in check all day, netting only three yards on ten carries.

With the loss, the Buffs fell to 2-6, and were all but eliminated from bowl contention. So, what did the Buffs’ head coach, now 15-30 in his career at Colorado, have to say? “We got off to a little bit of a slow start in the first half and had a hard time offensively getting it going,” said Dan Hawkins. “We were only two scores down for a long time … I was really proud of their effort in the second half and the way they came back.”

Really? Down 21-0 in the first quarter is a “slow start”? The Buffs “had a hard time offensively getting it going” … ya’ think? Only one offensive touchdown in each of the past two games?

What quotes would Buff fans like to hear from their embattled head coach? How’s about – “We played poorly early and that falls on me. It’s my job to get them prepared to play. It’s my job to have a game plan that they can execute. It’s my job to put the best players on the field, and put them in a position to make plays”, followed by – “The players showed a great deal of heart in the second half, and I’m proud of them. They did their jobs; I didn’t do mine.”

At least some of the players’ quotes were true to form. “People are waiting for other people to make plays,” said wide receiver Scotty McKnight.

“We’re practicing great, and that’s what makes this so frustrating,” said linebacker Marcus Burton.

“As an offense, you have to go out there and make plays from the first snap of the game,” said quarterback Tyler Hansen, “and not wait for someone else to make something happen just to fuel you with energy.”

With a 2-6 record, Colorado still has the potential to win out and qualify for a bowl game. With a 1-3 Big 12 record, Colorado still has the potential to win out and win the Big 12 North division.

Any takers? Anyone betting that Colorado, with two offensive touchdowns in two games, can put together a four game winning streak? Anyone truly believe that the Buffs, losers of 17 straight on the road, can put together a two game road winning streak in five days later this month?

The Buffs are saying the right things. “We are a trapped animal and we have to get out,” said Benjamin Burney. “If we play to our full potential, we can win games.”

The coach, though, is talking in platitudes. “Having some resolve and battling it out counts for somjething,” said Dan Hawkins. “Regardless of what’s on the line, we need to show up and put our best foot forward and give it our best effort.”

Up next for Colorado is 5-3 Texas A&M, 35-10 winners over Iowa State this past weekend. The Aggies are on a two game winning streak, having taken out No. 22 Texas Tech, 52-30, on October 24th.

It will take a better than “best effort” if Dan Hawkins is to avoid posting bookend 2-10 records.

Game Notes –

– As noted, the minus-14 yards rushing is the third worst effort in Colorado history. The last time the Buffs gave up eight sacks, against Iowa State in 1984, was, not coincidentally, the second worst rushing game (minus-16).

– The safety given up in the sack of Tyler Hansen in the second quarter was the first safety given up by the Buffs since Cody Hawkins was tackled in the endzone by Kansas last season. (The last safety scored by the Buffs was against Kansas in 2005).

– Tight end Riar Geer had two receptions for 19 yards against Missouri. The numbers were not great, but the two catches were good enough to move Geer into fourth place on the all-time list for tight ends, passing two Buff greats, Jon Embree and Joe Klopfenstein, both of whom had 80 catches in their CU careers).

– Benjamin Burney’s interception for a touchdown was the Buffs’ first non-offensive touchdown of the season, and the 78-yard return was the 14th longest interception return in school history.

– Scotty McKnight had nine catches for 104 yards, extending his school record streak of consecutive games with a catch to 32. The nine catches moved McKnight from sixth to third on the all-time list. The junior’s new total, 139, passed Derek McCoy (134), Rae Carruth (135), and Javon Green (136). Up next: 2nd-ranked Phil Savoy, at 152, with the all-time leader, Michael Westbrook (167) well within reach next season.

– The 73-yard touchdown pass from Blaine Gabbert to Danario Alexander was the third 70-yard play the Buffs have given up this season. The longest play for the Buffs this season was a 44-yard pass from Cody Hawkins to Andre Simmons in the opener against Colorado State. The longest scoring play was a 36-yard run by Rodney Stewart against West Virginia. (The Buffs have now given up 13 plays of over 40 yards this season).

 One Last Record …

If you were with us last week, you know that I am a big fan of football statistics, particularly Colorado statistics. You also know that it has pained me as, over the past three-plus seasons, the Dan Hawkins’ regime has made a mockery of what has been built over the past twenty seasons. There are a number of statistical categories which Dave Plati, Associate Athletic Director / Sports Information, has been pushing in his media game day releases, all of which have been going south:

When Dan Hawkins took over, the Buffs had the 8th-best record in the nation since 1989 – now Colorado is at 23rd, and falling;

When Dan Hawkins took over, the Buffs had the 8th-best road record in the nation since 1988 – now Colorado is 13th, and falling (fast);

When Dan Hawkins took over, the Buffs had been ranked in over 70% of the polls since 1989 – now Colorado is hovering near 50%, and falling.

Dave Plati also charts Colorado in comparison to the rest of the Big 12 with respect to conference road wins, intra-division records, and inter-division records since 1996.

Guess which way the Buffs have been moving since 2006?

Perhaps the record blown during the Dan Hawkins tenure which is most egregious is the Buffs’ scoring streak. Dating back to the 7-0 loss to Nebraska in 1988 (somewhere J.J. Flannigan, who inexplicably fumbled the ball while in the clear in the second quarter, is cringing), Colorado had scored in every game. The streak reached 235 games before the Buffs were humiliated by Missouri, 58-0, in Columbia last season. The streak was the ninth longest in NCAA history – and it will take the Buffs until sometime in 2027 to match it.

There will also be another standard set this season. This year will – in all likelihood be the Buffs’ fourth consecutive losing season. It will mark only the second time in school history Colorado fans have endured four consecutive losing seasons (six seasons – 1979-1984).

There is one last record, though, which even the Buffs under Dan Hawkins hasn’t set – a record even Dave Plati fails to mention.

The University of Colorado joined the Big Six in 1948. Not once during the Buffs’ tenure in the Big Seven, the Big Eight (Oklahoma State joined in 1958), nor the Big 12 (since 1996), has Colorado finished in last place in football.

Let me state that again. Not once, as in NEVER, have the Buffs finished last alone in Big Seven, Big Eight, or Big 12 play. True, the Buffs have finished in sixth in the Big Seven, tied for seventh in the Big Eight, and 5th in the Big 12 North, but Colorado has never finished alone in the Conference basement.

In fact, you have to go back to 1915, when Colorado finished with an 0-5 record in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference, to find the Buffs (who were not even the “Buffs” back then) alone in last place.

In 2009, the 92-year old record will likely be broken. True, Colorado wakes up this morning with a 1-3 Big 12 record, tied with Missouri and Kansas in the cellar. Those two teams will play each other to end the season, a game which one team will win. Kansas does have the tougher road to a second conference win, with games against Kansas State, Nebraska, and Texas before the Missouri game. As a result, if Colorado can beat Texas A&M to post a second Big 12 victory, the Buffs maybe – just maybe – can avoid finishing alone in last place this season.

Maybe.

Dan Hawkins currently has a record of 15-30. He has a losing record against every other Big 12 North team except Iowa State. His teams have endured some of the most embarassing losses (see: Montana State, 2006), and lopsided losses (see: Missouri, 2008) in school history.

I’ve been on board with 2009 being the last season for Dan Hawkins since the Toledo debacle.

He has blown or decimated almost every record of accomplishment the program has posted over the past twenty seasons.

One last record to go …

7 Replies to “Missouri 36, Colorado 17”

  1. You put into excellent statistical perspective just how much this program has declined in the past four years. Coach Hawkins assessment, pre-season, was that this team could win 10 games. How could any Div I coach have be so out of touch with his team.

  2. Dan Hawkins don’t want to win it’s his way of paying back the fans who wanted to bench HIS son. Boise State continues to win without Dan Hawkins. The Buffs were hoodwinked. Gary Barnett never had a losing streak like this and HE played speed, went to bowl games, played for the Big 12 Championship and more. He won’t listen to other coaches, he won’t listen to Buff alumni, he thinks he can do the same things and win. INSANE!!!!! Dumb Hawkins is INSANE!!!

  3. Of all the problems the team seems to have, I’m convinced the offensive line is the biggest. Second and two and we can’t run for a first down is inexcusable. All we heard about from spring practices until the CSU game is how good the offensive line is now that they’re healthy. We have a clear view of that assessment. Unfortunately, it’s a problem that won’t be easily fixed. We won’t be able to recruit the needed talent, and even if we could, it will take a good two years to mature the recruits bodies and skills.

  4. I was at this debacle yesterday and saw my beloved buffs get completely outcoached. Hawkins deficiencies are overshadowing what little talent exists.
    As I walked back to my car, every group of guys I passed had the same conversation, that is, who is the next CU coach. My fav as you all know is Dave Logan and my opinion was shared by many. Some also want Kevin Sumlin. I also heard that there is a person ready to write a check for 3.6 million to buy out Hawkins contract. If Bohn doesn’t fire Hawkins after this season, he needs to go too. The Denver Post published yesterday that CU Chancellor Phil DiStefano publicly supports Hawkins retention. Yep, when the leaders give you that vote of confidence the end is near, we can only hope….

  5. 139 unanswered points against Missouri ? 139……….139 before we answered the bell with our first field goal. That is REALLY amazing when you think about it. …. It is shocking.

  6. What will be the excuse this time???
    We are young?
    We have some injuries?
    It snowed the days before?
    We are there, we played with them in the 2nd half? That is my favorite, how Hawkins says they were there with Texas, right there with WV and I’m sure they were there with Mizzou in the 3rd quarter.
    What will it take for the University to see that this guy is a 3rd rate head coach at best. They will NOT go anywhere with him at the helm.
    PLEASE FIRE HAWKINS NOW!!!!!!!!!!!!

  7. Its midway through the third quarter and your team is down 33-17. You manage to get inside of the 10 yard line before the drive stalls. You need to score three times to even tie the game so on 4th and 1 you kick the field goal to make it 33-20 right? WRONG! Not if you are Dan Hawkins, If you are Dan Hawkins you go for it because that is what the Russian mafia payed you off to do! I say this because surely he is not actually this stupid, right? Wrong again!
    This is just like the failed fourth down fake punt out of the End Zone last week. Every game this coaching staff pulls this crap! We need to lead the crowd with this mantra next week. BRING BACK BILL! BRING BACK BILL! Tom Osbourne rescued his boys, well at least temporarily, BILL MCARTNEY! YOUR TEAM NEEDS YOU! PLEASE HELP US!!!!!!! Lets pay off those Russian Mobsters that fix Vegas to rough up the Hawk, This is not a game! THIS IS WAR!!!!! Who will the hero’s be?
    Get Healthy Darrell Scott, I have a feeling that you will make it happen if you can get healthy and before anybody says anything about Darrell or Rodney remember that it is not their fault that CU’s extremely offensive line cannot even compete against Fairview High Schools jr varsity squad.
    Don’t worry about destroying all progress by firing Hawk you guys, he has not done a damned thing to rebuild this program. He has completely destroyed it.

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