November 13th – Boulder           Colorado 34, Iowa State 14

In the first game of the post-Dan Hawkins era at the University of Colorado, the Buffs played their most complete game of the 2010 season, defeating Iowa State, 34-14. Long-time assistant coach Brian Cabral won his first game as interim coach, as the Buffs held the Cyclones to just 229 yards of total offense.

The game, as almost every game in the 2010 season, began with Colorado on offense. For only the third time all year, though, the Buffs’ opening drive concluded with points. Two Rodney Stewart runs netted 11 yards and a first down before Cody Hawkins threw his first pass since his father was fired as head coach. The play was a simple one, a bubble screen pass to wide receiver Paul Richardson. The freshman wide receiver, though, evaded tacklers and out-raced Iowa State defenders for a 55 yard gain down to the Cyclone 14 yard line. Three more plays netted seven yards, leaving the Buffs with a fourth-and-three at the ISU seven yard line. After first appearing to be ready to go for a first down, head coach Brian Cabral called a time out, and, after discussion, opted for a field goal. Senior kicker Aric Goodman then connected on a 24-yard field goal attempt to give Colorado an early 3-0 lead.

The two teams traded punts over then next four possessions. Colorado registered four first downs in its two drives, but could not score. A 34-yard pass from Hawkins to Richardson set the Buffs up at the Iowa State 23 yard line late in the first quarter, but Rodney Stewart fumbled the ball on the next play, giving the ball back to the Cyclones. Iowa State then proceeded to put together its best drive of the day, covering 82 yards in nine plays. Buff killer Alexander Robinson (who had posted 100-yard games against Colorado in his first three seasons) took the ball in for an eight yard score with 12:03 to play before halftime.

The Iowa State lead of 7-3, however, would last only 55 seconds.

On the ensuing kickoff, junior Arthur Jaffee faked a reverse on the return, keeping the ball himself. Jaffee raced down the Buffs’ sideline, being caught at the Iowa State nine yard line after an 89-yard return. Two plays later, Hawkins hit junior tight end Ryan Deehan for a nine-yard touchdown. 10-7, Colorado, with 11:08 to play in the second quarter.

Iowa State did have a response, with the Cyclones’ next drive penetrating as deep as the Colorado 32-yard line before two false start penalties and a sack of Iowa State quarterback Austen Arnaud by true freshman defensive lineman Chidera Uzo-Diribe forced an Iowa State punt. Taking over at the 20 yard line, Colorado mounted a methodical drive Buff fans have been longing for – an 11-play, 80-yard effort which is capped off by a touchdown. A Rodney Stewart 11-yard run got the Buffs started before Cody Hawkins connected with Paul Richardson (on 3rd-and-nine) and Toney Clemons (on 3rd-and-eight) for first downs to keep the drive alive. Hawkins, who would go 16-of-24 for 266 yards on the day, then hit Toney Clemons in the corner of the endzone for a 26-yard touchdown to finish the drive with 2:27 to play.

Halftime score: Colorado 17, Iowa State 7.

The Buffs’ defense took center stage in the third quarter, holding the Cyclones without a first down in three straight possessions. The Buffs also went three-and-out in their first second half possession, but on the Buffs’ punt, ISU returner Josh Lanz was stripped of the ball by red-shirt freshman defensive back Deji Olatoye, with the fumble recovered by sophomore safety Ray Polk near midfield. Back on the field, the Colorado offense pushed the ball 27 yards downfield before settling for a 39-yard field goal by Aric Goodman.

20-7, Colorado.

After yet another Iowa State punt, the Buffs put the game out of reach, but not without a moment of consternation for Buff fans. Facing a fourth-and-one at the Colorado 40-yard line, the Buffs decided to go for a first down, with Cody Hawkins barely gaining enough yards to maintain possession. Overcoming a 2nd-and-23 a few moments later with a 19 yard pass to Scotty McKnight and an 11-yard completion to Paul Richardson, Cody Hawkins then hit Scotty McKnight for a 25-yard touchdown. The 13th touchdown connection set a new school standard, passing the 12 touchdowns Joel Klatt and Rae Carruth teamed up for between 1992 and 1996.

The third quarter ended with Colorado up 27-7, and with the ball in the hands of the Colorado offense after a third straight Iowa State punt.

The 42,722 who braved a cool 41-degree day to come out for the game, though, would have been forgiven for being skeptical about the Buffs’ chances, despite the 20-point lead with 15 minutes to play. After all, it had been only seven days earlier when the Buffs had allowed a 45-17 lead early in the fourth quarter disintegrate into a 52-45 defeat at the hands of the Kansas Jayhawks. Skepticism turned to consternation a few moments later when Rodney Stewart was stopped on fourth-and-one at the Iowa State 41-yard line, giving the ball – and momentum – back to Iowa State.

Consternation gave way to relief four plays later.

Iowa State quarterback Austen Arnaud was sacked by junior linebacker Patrick Mahnke near midfield, forcing a fumble. Senior linebacker Michael Sipili scooped up the loose ball, taking it back 45 yards for a touchdown. The Buffs’ first non-offensive score of the season, with 11:33 to play, gave Colorado a seemingly insurmountable lead of 34-7.

Seemingly insurmountable.

The Cyclones, stymied for the entire second half (one first down in four possessions to that point), then decided to try to put forward their best Jayhawk imitation, going 55 yards in nine plays to score. With Austen Arnaud injured on the play in which he fumbled, senior quarterback Jerome Tiller came in and ignited the Iowa State offense. Tiller hit Collin Franklin for a 24 yard touchdown to bring the Cyclones back to within shouting range, at 34-14, with 8:11 still to play.

Unlike the Kansas game, though, the Colorado defense made stands when it needed to, forcing Iowa State to turn the ball over on downs in its final three possessions.

Unlike the Kansas game, though, the Colorado offense did not pass the ball, opting instead to run the ball and the clock. The Buffs’ offense, which had been dominant through three quarters, had three fourth quarter possesions, each a three-and-out. In those three fourth quarter possessions, Colorado ran nine plays for a minus-13 total yards.

Buff fans didn’t care. The conservative approach ran out the clock, preserving the victory.

Final score: Colorado 34, Iowa State 14.

“How ’bout them Buffaloes!”, shouted Colorado head coach Brian Cabral, becoming the first Colorado head coach to win in his debut since Rick Neuheisel in 1995. “I couldn’t be more proud of our players. I couldn’t be more proud of our coaches … All I want is all out of  all of this is winning for our seniors and our team … I’m so happy for our coaches; to do what they did, to overcome what they had to overcome, and not just Kansas, but the loss of their head coach, that was pretty impressive. That was pretty incredible.”

On the day, Colorado, despite going for negative yardage in the fourth quarter, rolled up 384 yards of total offense. Cody Hawkins passed for 266 yards and three touchdowns. Rodney Stewart ran the ball 36 times, tied for fifth-most rushing attempts in Colorado history, for 123 yards. Stewart’s 13th career 100-yard game gave him 1,035 yards for the season, just the 14th time a Buff has ecliped the 1000-yard barrier.

Wide receivers set records, also. Senior Scotty McKnight teamed up with Cody Hawkins for a touchdown for the 13th time, the most ever by a duo in Colorado history. McKnight’s touchdown catch was also his 20th overall, tying him for the career lead with Rae Carruth and Derek McCoy. Meanwhile freshman wide receiver Paul Richardson had his second straight 100 yard game, collecting five passes for 121 yards, becoming the first freshman wide receiver to post two 100-yard games in their first season in Boulder.

The Colorado defense registered eight sacks on the day – two by sophomore defensive end Forrest West, and one each by Michael Sipili, Josh Hartigan, B.J. Beatty, Patrick Mahnke, Chidera Uzo-Diribe, and Nick Kasa. The eight sacks, for a total of 53 yards of losses, left Iowa State with a minus-six yards rushing overall. The negative number was a season best, but is not an all-time record (minus-40 yards rushing by Wichita State in 1975), but is the second best result in the past decade (the Buffs held Kansas to a minus-eight yards rushing in 2009). “I definitely came out with some fire and everybody else did, too,” said linebacker B.J. Beatty. “I think it was definitely because we rallied around each other. Coach Cabral got us all going, and it was a great feeling just all having fun. The way the defense was playing, there was nothing better to watch than that.”

Up next for Colorado – 6-4 Kansas State. The Wildcats were ranked 24th in the nation before falling to No. 17 Missouri, 38-28. The game was close in the first half, with Missouri up 21-14 at the break. The Tigers then scored 21 unanswered points in the second half to take control before Kansas State scored two consolation touchdowns in the last seven minutes of the game to make the final score more respectable.

The Buffs will have their hands full with the Wildcats next weekend, but the Buffs have not been eliminated from bowl contention, and it will be Senior Day next weekend.

“This is a three game series,” said interim head coach Brian Cabral, who may be auditioning to have the “interim” removed from his title. “So we’ll see what happens. It started today.”

Game Notes –

– Colorado posted eight sacks as a team, tied for the third-highest total in team history. (The most ever came in 2000, when the Buffs registered 14 sacks against Missouri).

– Cody Hawkins, along with Scotty McKnight, has set the new standard for a passing touchdowns, with 13 connections. Hawkins now has 7,044 career passing yards, becoming only the second Buff to pass that mark (Joel Klatt had 7,375). Already the Colorado leader in passing attempts (1,163), touchdowns (55), and interceptions (39), Hawkins is only 23 completions behind Klatt’s career mark of 689.  

– Scotty McKnight, as noted, has tied Rae Carruth and Derek McCoy for career receiving touchdowns, with 20. McKnight, with 2,437 career receiving yards needs only 10 more receiving yards to move into third place in receiving yards (Charles E. Johnson had 2,447), and only 111 yards to pass both Rae Carruth (2,540) and the all-time leader, Michael Westbrook (2,548).

– True freshman wide receiver Paul Richardson continues to impress. Richardson had his second 100-yard game (five catches, 121 yards), a first for a freshman wide receiver. His 442 receiving yards for the season is only 46 behind Scotty McKnight for the freshman single season receiving record.

– Richardson has teamed up with Rodney Stewart the past two weekends to post the 30th and 31st time in school history in which Colorado has had a 100-yard rusher and a 100-yard receiver in the same game. (Colorado is 23-8 in such contests; going 1-1 this season).

– Rodney Stewart also continues to rise in the career charts. His 13th career 100-yard game matches that of Charlie Davis, tying him for 4th on the all-time list. If Stewart rushes for over 100 yards in the next two games, he would stand alone in second place in that category, behind only Eric Bieniemy’s 22 career 100-yard games. In surpassing the 1,000-yard mark for the season, Stewart is only the 13th player to accomplish that feat (Bieniemy did it twice), and the first since Bobby Purify in 2004. His new season total of 1,035 places him 12th on the single season list … with two games to play.

– Stewart now has 2,461 career rushing yards, good enough for 9th on the all-time list. His 123 yards against Iowa State moved Stewart past Bobby Anderson (2,367; 1967-69). With two 100-yard games to close out his junior season, Stewart could move into the top five on the career rushing chart.

– Colorado closes out its conference afflilation with Iowa State with a 49-15-1 overall record in the series (25-6-1 in Boulder).

– With the victory, Colorado avoided finishing conference play without a victory for the first time since 1915. The last time the Buffs got this close to the end of the season without a conference win came in 1979, when the Buffs opened with an 0-5 record in Big Eight play (but did win the last two games of that season).

2 Replies to “Colorado 34, Iowa State 14”

  1. I saw a replay of the game and CU really played with confidence. As mentioned in the story, it has been a very long time when the offense looked liked it knew what it wanted to accomplish. CU is going to beat KState.

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