College football games played in early September remain a relatively new creation. The Buffs first played on September 6th in 1986. Overall, Colorado has played only five games on that date in their history, compiling a 4-1 overall record. Included on the list, ironically, was last season’s game against Eastern Washington.

CU on September 6th: 4-1. Games Played: 1986 – CSU – L 23-7; 1990 Stanford – W 21-17; 1997 – CSU W 31-21; 2003 – UCLA W 16-14; 2008 – Eastern Washington – W 31-24

September 6th – Colorado – best game on this date

#8 Colorado 31, #24 Colorado State 21 – September 6, 1997.

The 8th-ranked Buffs rallied from a 14-7 halftime deficit to defeat the Rams in Boulder, 31-21.

The game started well enough, as the Buffs took the opening kickoff down the field for a score. An 11-play drive was capped off by a one-yard plunge by Herchell Troutman, giving Colorado a 7-0 lead. The rest of the first half, though, was all Colorado State, and the Rams took a 14-7 lead into halftime.

On the third play of the second half, CSU quarterback Moses Moreno was picked off, with the interception by CU linebacker Rashidi Barnes returned 26 yards for a Colorado touchdown.

Deficit erased. 14-14.

On the fifth play of the next series, the Colorado secondary again rose to the occasion. Cornerback Marcus Washington this time did the honors, picking off Moreno and returning the ball to the CSU 32 yard line. With the sold-out crowd of 53,416 in full voice, the Buffs’ offense (despite a fifteen yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty after the interception) quickly drove 47 yards for the go-ahead score. Quarterback John Hessler, having shaken off an inconsistent start, hit receiver Phil Savoy in the back of the end zone with a four yard completion.

21-14, Buffs. The tide had turned, and the momentum carried the Buffs to another score (a 43 yard bomb from Hessler to Savoy) a few minutes later. The Rams did not score again until garbage time, collecting a consolation touchdown with four minutes left to make the final 31-21 Buffs. The win was the 7th straight for CU in the series.

Best Games in College Football History – September 6th

1980 – #16 Georgia 16, Tennessee 15. In his debut, freshman running back Herschel Walker scored both Bulldog touchdowns in leading Georgia to a win over Tennessee. Walker ran for 84 yards on 24 carries as Georgia overcame a 15-0 deficit. Walker, as a freshman, would finish third in the Heisman balloting in 1980, then second in 1981, finally winning the trophy in 1982. Georgia would use the early season win over Tennessee as a springboard for the Bulldogs’ first national championship, defeating Notre Dame, 17-10, in the Sugar Bowl.

1986 – #1 Oklahoma 38, #4 UCLA 3. The top-ranked Sooners completely dominated the 4th-ranked Bruins, rushing for 470 yards against a defense which had surrendered only 855 yards rushing in all of 1985. Later that night, #8 Nebraska defeated #11 Florida State, 34-17, in the first-ever night game in Lincoln. Of the four teams mentioned, all made it to bowls, with each winning their games. Oklahoma came in at #3 nationally on the heels of a 42-8 thrashing of Arkansas in the Orange Bowl. Nebraska wound up 6th after defeating LSU, 30-15, in the Sugar Bowl. UCLA utilized a 31-10 win over BYU to finish 15th. Only Florida State was unranked at season’s end. The Seminoles won their bowl game, 27-13, over Indiana in the now-defunct All-American Bowl, but the win only gave FSU a 7-4-1 final record.

1997 – #3 Tennessee 30, UCLA 24. Tennessee quarterback Peyton Manning led the Volunteers to a win over the Bruins, throwing for 341 yards and two touchdowns. Manning would go on to finish 2nd in the Heisman balloting in ‘97, finishing behind Michigan cornerback/kick returner Charles Woodson (Notorious – infamous – Washington State quarterback Ryan Leaf finished third). Peyton Manning’s final season would not end gracefully, as the Volunteers lost in the Orange Bowl to Nebraska, 42-17, completing an 11-1 season with a #7 final ranking.

2003 – #3 Miami 38, #21 Florida 33. Third-ranked Miami rallied from a 23-point deficit to defeat the 21st-ranked Gators. Hurricane quarterback Brock Berlin passed for 340 yards, including a streak of 12 consecutive completions, as Miami rallied from a 33-10 Florida advantage. Both schools completed the 2003 season ranked, with Miami 10th and Florida 17th.

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