September 17th – at Denver          Colorado 28, Colorado State 14

Senior quarterback Tyler Hansen was in on all four Colorado touchdowns, as the Buffs doubled up the Colorado State Rams in Denver, 28-14. In leading the Buffs to the first win of the Jon Embree era, Hansen threw for two touchdowns and ran for two others, including a two-yard run to cap an epic 16-play, 85-yard drive in the fourth quarter to put the game out of reach.

On the day, Hansen threw for 215 yards and two touchdowns, also scoring on a pair of two-yard runs on the afternoon. Hansen’s second run, with 1:15 to play in the game, finished off a drive which took 10:03 off the fourth quarter clock. Backing up Hansen was senior running back Rodney Stewart, who had 98 yards on 19 carries, to go with 93 yards on seven catches.

First Half

Colorado State came into the Cinch Jeans Rocky Mountain Showdown at Sports Authority Field with a 2-0 record, but the Rams were a seven-point underdog to the 0-2 Buffs. In the first quarter, though, the Rams seemed determined to remind fans and pundits that they were, in fact, the undefeated team.

The Colorado defense had held its first two opponents of the season, Hawai’i and Cal, to a three-and-out on the first drive of the game. Not so with Colorado State. Sophomore CSU quarterback Pete Thomas, who would pass for 157 yards on the afternoon, led the Rams on a nine-play, 80-yard drive down the field, converting two third downs along the way. Thomas did the honors himself from four yards out with just over ten minutes remaining in the first quarter. Colorado State 7, Colorado 0.

After the Buffs failed to do anything on their first drive, the Rams looked to take control of the game. Colorado helped out on a third-and-four by jumping offsides to give the Rams a first down (the second of four first downs by penalty the Rams would enjoy on the day), but Colorado State could not take advantage. With a personal foul on captain Ryan Miller and a delay of game penalty, the Buffs went backwards on their next possession. In fact, the ugly first stanza ended with Colorado posting ten yards of total offense, but 40 yards in penalties.

The Buffs and Rams traded punts to open the second quarter before Colorado put together its first first half touchdown drive of the season. Taking over at their own 20-yard line, the Buffs went 80 yards in nine plays to tie the score. After Hansen hit senior wide receiver Toney Clemons for a 13-yard gain, Rodney Stewart took over. A screen pass to Speedy netted ten yards, then Stewart, who would pass Charlie Davis for fourth place on the Colorado all-time rushing list on the afternoon, had runs of 12 and 17 yards to put the ball at the CSU 11-yard line. After another Stewart run and pass reception put the ball at the CSU two yard line, Hansen scored on a keeper with 2:37 remaining before halftime. Colorado 7, Colorado State 7.

The Buff defense then forced a three-and-out, but the Colorado offense only gained four yards before lining up in punt formation with 1:40 to play before the break.

Then, the play of the game … Freshman punter Darragh O’Neill’s punt was partially blocked. Instead of running away from the ball as it bounced harmlessly around the Colorado 40-yard line, freshman linebacker Eric Niederberger’s leg got in the way. Colorado tight end Ryan Deehan fell on the ball at the 40 after the Niederberger touch, and the Colorado offense was back in business.

Hansen hit his favorite receiver, Rodney Stewart, for 20 yards to put the ball into Ram territory. Then, on third-and-18 at the CSU 48, Hansen scrambled for a 19-yard gain and a first down. A five yard sideline penalty put the ball at the CSU 24-yard line, but the Buffs appeared to be prepared to settle for a field goal attempt after two incompletions. Then, on third-and-ten, Hansen scrambled to his right, finding senior wide receiver Kyle Cefalo in the back corner of the endzone for a 24-yard touchdown with 12 seconds to play before the half.

Halftime score: Colorado 14; Colorado State 7

Second Half

Colorado, while being shut out of the endzone in the first half of its first two games, had managed to score touchdowns in their first drive of the second half of each of those contests. Such a score against Colorado State might have put the game on track for a Colorado rout. Instead, the Buffs managed only one first down before punting the ball away. A tense third quarter ensued, with neither offense able to generate much in the way of yardage. Colorado generated all of two first downs to CSU’s one when the Buffs took over at their own 32-yard line after a Ram punt late in the third.

Then senior running back Rodney Stewart, behind a patchwork offensive line, took charge of the game. An 11-yard run and a five-yard run, followed by a four-yard completion from Hansen to Ryan Deehan gave the Buffs a third-and-one at the CSU 48-yard line. A four yard run by Stewart for a first down set up the Ram defense. Primed for another Stewart run, the Rams bought the fake, allowing Tyler Hansen to hit a wide open Toney Clemons for a 44-yard touchdown. Colorado 21, Colorado State 7.

Colorado fans, making up the majority of a Rocky Mountain Showdown low crowd of 57,186, celebrated the two score lead. Unfortunately, Clemons also celebrated – a bit too much – costing the Buffs another 15 yards (Colorado, though more disciplined in the second half, still collected ten penalties for 114 yards on the afternoon). Kicking off from their own 15-yard line after the Clemons’ score, CSU set up camp at their own 36-yard line.

While only a few minutes remained in the third quater when the Rams took over trailing 21-7, the Colorado defense, which had played very well after the opening drive of the game, began playing like there were only a few minutes remaining in the game. The Rams took only eight plays to cover the 64 yards, with freshman wide receiver Charles Lovett, taking a long lateral from Pete Thomas, hitting a wide open tight end Crockett Gillmore for a 23-yard touchdown. Suddenly, it was a one score game once more. Colorado 21, Colorado State 14.

The two offenses traded three-and-outs before Colorado set off on one of the best – and second longest – drives in Colorado history.

The Drive …

Colorado ball, first-and-ten, Buff 14-yard line. 11:18 to play.

An 11-yard run by Rodney Stewart got the ball out from underneath the CU goalposts – First-and-ten, CU 26-yard line.

On third-and-seven at the 29, Hansen completes a 14-yard pass to Stewart to keep the drive alive – First-and-ten, CU 43-yard line.

Freshman running back Tony Jones, seeing the first action of his career, carried the ball for eight yards in two carries. On third-and-two, Stewart returned to the game, carrying the ball for three yards – First-and-ten, CSU 46-yard line.

A Tyler Hansen run for seven yards was then nullified by a holding call against the CU offensive line (the third of the day). An incompletion and a Stewart run for a loss of three yards seemingly put the Buffs at an impossible third-and-23, but Nuku Latu had grabbed Stewart’s face mask, giving the Buffs new life – First-and-ten, CSU 41-yard line.

Tony Jones returned, picking up nine yards on two carries. On third-and-one at the CSU 32-yard line, Tyler Hansen pushed forward for two yards and a new set of downs – First-and-ten, CSU 30-yard line.

A Hansen completion to fullback Evan Harrington of 16 yards was then nullified by yet another CU holding penalty (No. 4 on the day), pushing the ball back out of field goal range. First-and-20 at the CSU 40-yard line. No problem. Hansen hit Rodney Stewart for a 26-yard gain on a swing pass. First-and-ten, CSU 14-yard line.

After Stewart was stuffed for no gain, Hansen scrambled for eight yards to set up a third-and-two at the Ram six yard line. Stewart then took the ball for four yards to the two-yard line as the clock ticked under two minutes. First-and-goal, CSU two-yard line.

Hansen’s sneak for a touchdown on the next play was almost anti-climatic.

The Drive: 16-plays; 85 yards; time of possession, 10:03.

Two sacks on the Rams’ final drive gave the Colorado defense some much deserved positive stats, but the game had been decided by the Buffs’ scoring drive.

Final Score: Colorado 28; Colorado State 14

On the day, Colorado had 360 yards of total offense, to 243 for Colorado State. Tyler Hansen had 215 yards on 17-for-32 passes, with two touchdowns. Hansen also had 26 yards rushing and two touchdowns. Hansen’s passing was supplemented by a great effort by running back Rodney Stewart. The senior back had 98 yards rushing on 19 carries, and also picked up 93 yards receiving on seven catches.

The Colorado defense, in its best effort of the 2011 season, was led by senior safety Anthony Perkins, who had eight tackles, followed by sophomore defensive back Parker Orms, who had seven tackles in his successful return to the field where he suffered a season-ending injury in the first quarter of the 2010 season opener.

“It feels great,” said Jon Embree of his first victory as Colorado head coach. “My first win as a player was against these guys, so to do it as a coach means a lot … I thought my first win would be on the island and that I would have some flying time back home to enjoy it. I just think of all of the people who sacrificed for me to be here. It means a lot.”

Of the ten penalties for 114 yards, Embree took at least partial responsibility. “I take responsibility for the personal fouls, because I told the team in there today that I took the leash off – there were no rules,” said Embree. “We have to learn where the boundaries are, and I have to be better at this. I take full responsibility on the personal fouls today – that is Jon Embree, that is not the players.”

For the players, the win meant almost as much as it did for the head coach. “It means a lot, we love coach Embree,” said senior quarterback Tyler Hansen. “Huge win. It was a huge win for our senior class, huge win for the program, and an even bigger win for this coaching staff – those guys deserve it,” said senior wide receiever Toney Clemons, who had three catches for 65 yards, including the 44-yard touchdown reception in the third quarter. “We work hard, but they work much harder. We want to go out there and play for those guys and win for those guys.”

Up next for the Buffs – a trip to Ohio State to face the Buckeyes in the Horsehoe for the first time since 1971. The Buckeyes will come into the game with a 2-1 record, having fallen to Miami, 24-6, on the road Saturday night. For three Buffs, the game will have special meaning, as the will be returning to their home state. “The Ohio State game is a big game for us,” said Tyler Hansen. “For a couple of guys, like Rodney (Stewart), Doug (Rippy) and Ayodeji (Olatoye) really want this next one bac, so we are going to fight for them and work our butts off.”


Game Notes –

– Attendance at the 11th Rocky Mountain Showdown was the lowest in the series. Only 57,186 were in attendance, lower than the 60,989 who attended last season’s game. The high for the series came in 2003, when 76,219 watched unranked Colorado take out 23rd ranked Colorado State, 42-35;

– Since World War II, four Colorado head coaches have won their first game in game three of their careers. Jon Embree joins Colorado greats Dal Ward, Eddie Crowder, and Bill Mallory, who all got it right on their third try;

– The 10:03 scoring drive in the fourth quarter was the second-longest drive, time-wise, in Colorado history. The longest drive was only four seconds longer, 10:07, coming against Miami (Fla.), on a 21-play, 99-yard drive on October 14, 1961. That drive resulted in the Buffs’ only touchdown in a 9-7 victory for the 15th-ranked Buffs;

– Senior wide receiver Kyle Cefalo caught his first career touchdown pass in the last minute of the first half against the Rams. A running back in high school, the touchdown reception was a first-ever occurrence for Cefalo, a former walk-on who was granted a scholarship this fall;

– Freshman offensive tackle Alex Lewis became just the second true freshman to start for Colorado, joining Ryan Miller, who started the CSU game at right guard;

– Freshman running back Tony Jones had the first carries of his career, with six rushes for 23 yards;

– Senior running back Rodney Stewart continues his march up the charts in the Colorado record book. With 98 yards rushing, Stewart moved into fourth place on the all-time rushing list, with 2,967 yards (passing Charlie Davis, who had 2,958 (1971-73). His 200 yards from scrimmage (98 rushing; 93 receiving; nine on one punt return) moved Stewart from fourth to second on that list. Stewart now has 3,642 all-purpose yards, passing Rashaan Salaam (3,469, 1992-94) and Bobby Purify (3,524, 2000-04). On the all-purpose yards list, Stewart moved from seventh to third, with his total of 3,651 now trailing only Hugh Charles (3,622, 2004-07) and Eric Bieniemy (4,320, 1987-90).

– With all of the above yards, only nine have come from other than rushes or receptions. Stewart’s nine yard punt return against Colorado State was the first punt return of his career;

– Senior quarterback Tyler Hansen, with 215 yards passing and 26 yards rushing, became just the 10th player in Colorado history to top 4,000 yards in total offense (4,114). In so doing, Hansen passed Eric Bieniemy (4,003, 1987-90) for ninth place on the all-time list;

– Colorado has only one turnover on the 2011 season (an interception late against Hawai’i). Only two teams came into week three with zero turnovers, Texas A&M and San Diego State, but both the Aggies and the Aztecs had two turnovers Saturday, leaving Colorado leading the nation in fewest turnovers through three games.



8 Replies to “Colorado 28, Colorado State 14”

  1. Do not call someone an “Old man”. It is disrespectful. Someday, God willing, you too will be an old man and will understand. Regarding Clemons—the guy has an attitude and is not a team player. He dropped several passes and I did not see him block anyone—especially on kick returns.

  2. Have to congratulate the patchwork line for the 4th quarter drive…did it not seem to last the whole 4th quarter?

    Tyler is doing quite well behind that patchwork line. He is still working within a whole new system, and a completely rebuilt line. Getting a better feel for what works as each game moves on.

    The receivers dropped way too many passes. Some day that position will have that critical stat show up in their performance (maybe as an error, just like baseball), and maybe the end zone dancing will start to get subdued….that from an old lineman.


  3. I am in agreement with BuffLady. It was fun for a while to have the game in Denver, and it is a shorter drive for me from Centennial, but it has lost it’s appeal and the attendance will only go down. The programs don’t have the ability to draw 75,000+ fans each year to pay an additional fee to watch the team. The top level seats were $55 and many long time season ticket holders were sent to the upper levels. I think a season ticket holder that is required to pay for an additional game that is not in Boulder should not be taken for $55, especially if they have to be in seats that they need to hire a Sherpa to find.

  4. Get over it old man! It was a big play for him and he played well through out the entire game. Blocking doing it all. Thought Clemons played well!!! Keep a level head boys!

  5. Clemons needs to remember the “act like you’ve been there before” rule. Let’s just hope he gets more touchdown repetitions. He’s brought way more promise than production to Boulder, that’s for sure.


  6. I know we have a contract to play at Mile High but I really wish Mike Bohn (or the legal staff) could find a way to break it. The attendance has been going down steadily for the last few years and frankly I would rather see the money in Boulder or Fort Collins. College football should be played in a college stadium, period!!

  7. Didn’t think Clemons happy steps in the endzone were so blatant they deserved a penalty. That is one ncaa rule that needs to be rethought. Too subjective. It’s still a GAME, can’t they have 3 second to be glad about a score? Cheeez.

  8. Clemens needs to clean up his act. His celebration in the end zone cost us. Then after the penalty he was on the side lines laughing about it and showing off his little dance again. If I was the coach, that whole episode would cost him.

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