Colorado on October 1st – 13-3 – 1900 – W State Prep School 23-5; 1904 – W Utah 33-6; 1907 – W State Prep School 40-0; 1910 – W State Prep School 20-0;  1927 – W Western State 25-6; 1932 – W Colorado Mines 31-0; 1938 – L Missouri 14-7; 1949 – L Kansas State 27-13; 1955 – W Kansas 12-0; 1960 – W Kansas State 27-7; 1966 – W Kansas State 10-0; 1977 – W Army 31-0; 1983 – L Notre Dame 23-7; 1988 – W Colorado State 27-23; 1994 – W Texas 34-31; 2005 – W Oklahoma State 34-0

October 1st – Colorado – best game on this date

#5 Colorado at #16 Texas – October 1, 1994

No rest for the weary. 

With the “Miracle in Michigan” in the record books, CU was 3-0, up to #5 in the polls, and the talk of the nation.  But the Texas Longhorns, 3-0 and ranked 16th, wanted their own share of the nation’s attention.  The Buffs only had seven days to celebrate, recuperate, and prepare for the showdown in Austin.

October 1st – @ Texas                 #5 Colorado 34, #16 Texas 31

 Texas was more than anxious to take a crack at the #5 Buffs.  Undefeated on the young season, the 16th-ranked Longhorns were 3-0 for the first time since 1985.  Playing at home in front of a sell-out crowd of 77,809, Texas players looked to avenge the 36-14 pasting laid on them by the Buffs in 1993 season-opener.  Eight returning starters on offense and nine on defense gave Longhorn fans plenty of confidence that the media-drunk Buffs would leave Austin in a different mood than they had Ann Arbor.

 But it was Texas and their fans that left the stadium displeased, as for the second week in a row, Colorado scratched out a last-second win against a ranked opponent on the opponent’s home field.  Junior place-kicker Neil Voskeritchian booted through a 24-yard field goal with one second remaining on the game clock to give the Buffs a 34-31 win.  Voskeritichian’s heroics came at the conclusion of the Buffs’ 13-play, 73-yard drive after Texas had tied the score with 4:49 remaining.

 Sharing the spotlight with Voskeritchian was junior tailback Rashaan Salaam, who made a splash in the national media with a record-setting performance.  Salaam rushed for 317 yards on 35 carries, marking only the second time in school history that a CU player had eclipsed the 300-yard barrier (Charlie Davis dominated Oklahoma State for 342 yards on 34 carries in 1971).  With his 45 yards receiving, Salaam set a school mark for all-purpose yards at 362.

 Salaam helped the Buffs run out to a 21-10 halftime lead over the Longhorns, only to see the lead evaporate in the third quarter.  A 44-yard Voskeritchian field goal and a two-yard scoring run by Herchell Troutman game the Buffs breathing room, 31-21, with 7:40 to play, but Texas did not quit.  A 67-yard bomb from quarterback Shea Morenz to wide receiver Eric Jackson brought the Longhorns to within three less than a minute of game clock later, and kicker Phil Dawson tied the game with a 47-yarder to set up the Buffs’ final game-winning drive.

 After the contest, there was plenty to celebrate in the victorious Buff locker room.  “These guys have a lot of grit,” said relieved head coach Bill McCartney.  “They’ve had to reach deep and they’ve been able to do it.  (Beating three straight ranked opponents -for the first time in school history) is a hard thing to do.”  And what of the two heroes, Voskeritchian and Salaam?  They were both saying the right things to the gathered media.  “It’s definitely fun to be part of the victory,” said the kicker nicknamed “Kavorkian”, “but you really have to look at it as just another kick.”  Said Salaam:  “We’ve shown the nation that we’re a top team, but we have to keep going and be successful week-in and week-out.  We feel good, but we have Missouri next week.”

 The 1-3 Missouri Tigers did not figure to be the equal of the Buffs’ three previous opponents, but it was to be the Buffs third straight game on the road.  As Salaam warned after the Texas game, “Every team is going to be gunning for us, so we can’t let up.”

 On Oxygen

 As exciting as last-second wins are, and as fun as it is to cheer for a successful team, the Texas game was almost the end of me.  The Colorado/Texas game was a regionally broadcast game on ABC.  Often regional games involving CU are shown in Bozeman, presumably on the theory of loyalty for Mountain Time Zone teams, but for the first weekend in October, 1994, the powers that be at ABC decided that Montana fans would be more interested in watching 12th-ranked Washington beat up on UCLA, 37-10.  For me, participation in watching the CU/Texas clash came down to updates from ABC during the Husky rout.

 At several times during the afternoon, I breathed sighs of relief, only to become tense once again.  Twice the Buffs built double-digit leads, only to see them evaporate.  After Texas scored 10 points in less than three minutes to tie the score at 31, I did what every loyal Buff fan should do in such situations.

 I called Brad.

 Brad, in Grand Junction, Colorado, was able to see the CU game on the local ABC affiliate.  What was intended to be a short call to get an update became a marathon call.  I listened as Brad gave me the play-by-play of the Buffs’ final, 13-play, 73-yard drive.  On second-and-seven to start the drive, Stewart’s throw to Salaam was tipped, only to fall into the waiting arms of Michael Westbrook.  Later, Salaam pushed the ball up field on runs of nine and 18 yards.  After two Herchell Troutman runs netted the Buffs only one yard, CU faced a critical third-and-nine at the Texas 39-yard line.  Colorado was still too far away to kick a field goal, and an unsuccessful fourth down try would give the Longhorns the ball with good field position and plenty of time on the clock.  CU called time out, and Brad and I discussed options while my wife, Lee, watched me with a mixture of confusion and bemusement.

 Enter Salaam.  The Buffs’ game-breaker broke the Longhorns on the crucial third down play, but not with a run.  CU crossed-up Texas with a screen pass to Salaam.  The play went for 15 yards down the right sideline, and the Buffs were in business.  Five plays later, Voskeritchian was called in.  Only seconds remained.

 Back in Bozeman, the goings on the television screen were long forgotten.  I held Lee’s hand as Brad described the scene leading up the field goal attempt.  While only a 24-yarder, there were no guarantees.  I knelt beside my bride of two months, who was likely having second thoughts about her wedding vows, and closed my eyes.  The kick was up   …..   and GOOD!  The Buffs were 4-0!  The seemingly impossible non-conference schedule was over, with Colorado’s national championship aspirations in tact.

 Before the Buffs now laid the Big Eight schedule, with three ranked opponents, Oklahoma, Kansas State, and Nebraska still to be played.  All three foes would come back-to-back-to-back after the Missouri game, so there was little time to enjoy the two last second wins.

 The real season was about to begin.


Best Games in College Football History – October 1st  

 1977 – #11 Notre Dame 16, Michigan 6 – Joe Montana made his first start for Notre Dame, and the Irish took out the Spartans, 16-6. Montana completed only nine passes to his teammates, with three others falling into the hands of Michigan State safety Mark Anderson. Linebacker Bob Golic led the Notre Dame defense, with 18 tackles, a sack, and an interception. Behind Montana, Notre Dame would not lose again, besting Texas 38-10 in the Cotton Bowl to win the national championship.

 1983 – #7 West Virginia 24, Pittsburgh 21 – Mountaineer Field was filled to capacity – plus 14,000 more – as West Virginia defeated Pittsburgh, 24-21. Quarterback Jeff Hostetler passed for only 164 yards, but led the Mountaineers on a 90-yard drive, scoring on a six-yard run late for the winning touchdown. West Virginia’s win was the first for the Mountaineers in the series since 1975. West Virginia finished the season ranked 16th; Pittsburgh 18th.

 1994 – #11 Alabama 29, Georgia 28 – Alabama quarterback Jay Barker passed for a career-high 396 yards, leading the Crimson Tide to a win over the Bulldogs. Eric Zeier passed for 263 yards and four touchdowns for Georgia, setting the SEC career passing yards record in the process, but it was not enough. Kicker Michael Proctor hit from 32 yards out with just over a minute to play to keep Alabama undefeated. At the end of 1994, Alabama was ranked 5th; Georgia, unranked.

 2005 – #3 Virginia Tech 34, West Virginia 17 – In 2003, West Virginia upset 3rd-ranked Virginia Tech, but was unable to repeat the magic in 2005. Quarterback Marcus Vick led the Hokies, passing for two touchdowns and rushing for 74 yards. While West Virginia did not win the game, it was a big game for the Mountaineers nonetheless. Quarterback Pat White and running back Steve Slaton, both freshmen, saw their first action for West Virginia. The rest of 2005 went well for both teams. West Virginia went 7-0 with White and Slaton starting, finishing the season ranked 12th. Virginia Tech, meanwhile, finished the season with a #5 ranking.

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