CU Games of the Day – October 10th

October 10th … CU has a 0-5 record on this date over the past 40 years … 1981: Nebraska routs CU, 59-0 … The Cornhuskers joined the AP poll the next week, and then stayed there for an NCAA record 348 polls (with video highlights – check out CU’s “baby blue” uniforms … 1987: No. 19 Oklahoma State – behind Thurman Thomas and Barry Sanders, rout CU, 42-17 … 1998: Buffs hold No. 5 Kansas State 41 points under its average – and still lose … 2009: Buffs hang with No. 2 Texas – for awhile – before falling in Austin, 38-14 (with game video) … 2015: The Buffs were close in yardage – 491 yards to 450 – and first downs – 21-to-19 – but fell behind 14-0 midway through the first quarter and never fully recovered in a 48-23 loss to Arizona State …

  • 1981: Nebraska 59, Colorado 0 … Nebraska head coach Tom Osborne: “Actually, in the fourth quarter there we were trying to run plays that would not result in points” … Total yards – Nebraska: 719; Colorado 146 …
  • 1987: No. 19 Oklahoma State 42, Colorado 17 … Well-known names: QB Mike Gundy; RB Thurman Thomas; and PR Barry Sanders all score in rout … 
  • 1998: No. 5 Kansas State 16, No. 14 Colorado 9 … Kansas State ran off Folsom Field with a hard-fought victory. The Buffs, meanwhile, walked slowly back to their locker room, heads held high, but still muttering about what might have been … Essay: “Happy Birthday”
  • 2009: No. 2 Texas 38, Colorado 14 … Buffs open the game with a 7-3 lead, but then it went south … Essay: “Friday Night Lights – CU at the Game takes in Texas High school football” …
  • 2015: Arizona State 48, Colorado 23 … “Everything we’re doing, we’re just going to keep doing it”, said Colorado head coach Mike MacIntyre, who fell to 1-19 in Pac-12 games … Essay: “Sisyphus”

October 10, 1981 – at Nebraska           Nebraska 59, Colorado 0

The Nebraska thrashing, 59-0, was not unique for the result, as Colorado went into the game on a thirteen game losing streak against the Cornhuskers (average score: 34-8). What was unique was that, of the three losses suffered after the Washington State game to open the season, this was the lone Buff loss against an unranked team.

Nebraska began the 1981 campaign 1-2, losing to Iowa 10-7 in Iowa City, and 30-24 to Penn State in Lincoln. Shortly after the demolition of Colorado, Nebraska regained a national ranking, and did not lose it until 2002. The streak of being ranked, which lasted 348 polls, is an NCAA record.

How bad was the game itself?

Nebraska head coach Tom Osborne was quoted after the game as saying: “Actually, in the fourth quarter there we were trying to run plays that would not result in points”, said Osborne. “But it was hard to run some plays and not end up gaining five yards.”


And this was from the lips of a coach with a team which entered the game with a 1-2 record.

What had become of the respectable Colorado defense? Gone with the wind of the Nebraska speed backs. Sophomore quarterback Turner Gill made his first start against the Buffs. By the time he left the game, early in the second half, he had tied a team record with four touchdown passes.

The Cornhuskers amassed 719 yards of total offense (to 146 for CU), and had set an NCAA record for the most first downs in a game – 42.

– Game Notes … 

– Colorado had its name in the record books for twenty years – and a day. The Buffs were finally relieved from being on the short end of Nebraska’s 42 first downs record when Texas Tech put up 45 first downs against Iowa State in a 52-21 rout of the Cyclones on October 11, 2003.

Here is part one of a five part recap of the game, with these video highlights courtesy of CU at the Gamer Paul:


And part two:


And part three:


And part four:


And part five (it says there are six, but there are only five … thank goodness!):

October 10, 1987 – at Oklahoma State           No. 19 Oklahoma State 42, Colorado 17

The last time the Buffs played on my birthday, they were thumped by Nebraska 59-0 in 1981.

I should have recognized the omen.

Beaten early and often, the Buffs surrendered three touchdowns and 237 yards on the ground. Leading the charge was Thurman Thomas, who sliced through the Buffs for 110 yards on 23 carries and a five-yard touchdown run. Through the air, Oklahoma State added 257 yards and two more scores. A sixth Cowboy touchdown came in the form of a 73-yard punt return by Thurman Thomas’ understudy, one Barry Sanders.

Still, when freshman kicker Eric Hannah connected on a 32-yard field goal just before halftime, the Buffs had cut the Oklahoma State lead to 14-10.

Two fumbles by Michael Simmons to start the second half, however, gave the Cowboys possession at the Buffs 20 and 23-yard lines. The result was two quick scores and an end to the issue of which team would emerge victorious.

In fact, the Cowboys played much of the game on Colorado’s side of the field. For Oklahoma State, the average starting position on the day was their 45-yard line.

Six turnovers doomed Colorado to a 42-17 loss and an 0-1 conference record. Mark Hatcher, who returned to the starting line-up following an injury to his ankle in the Stanford game, had a stat’s line for the day which was particularly telling: three-for-ten passing for only 35 yards and two interceptions, four carries for 14 yards.

Now 3-2 for the year, the Buffs were at a crossroads.

The Kansas Jayhawks were the next Colorado opponent. Kansas, sporting a 1-4 record for the 1987 campaign, represented easy pickings, at least on paper. The Jayhawks had only managed to defeat the Salukis of Southern Illinois, 16-15, and were coming off a 54-2 thrashing at the hands of Nebraska. Other losses had come to the likes of Kent State and Louisiana Tech. This effort had come from a Kansas team which dropped its final three games of 1986 by a combined score of 182-3.

Yes, on paper it looked like a mismatch.

The Buffs in the 1980’s had rarely faced a game which they were supposed to win easily, especially in conference. For the Kansas game, the Buffs were installed as 31-point favorites.

It was time for the 1987 squad to put up or shut up.

Game Notes … 

– The Cowboys were led by quarterback Mike Gundy, who went 21-for-28, for 257 yards and two touchdowns. Gundy would go on to be named as the head coach at Oklahoma State in 2005. When he graduated, Gundy was the all-time leading passer in Oklahoma State history (7,997 yards).

– Six Colorado turnovers led to 21 of Oklahoma State’s 42 points. Despite the lopsided 42-17 final, the teams actually registered the same number of first downs – 21.

– Senior linebacker Eric McCarty led Colorado with 20 tackles. McCarty would go on to lead the Buffs in tackles on the season, with 148 (88 of them unassisted).

– Senior running back Thurman Thomas would go on to finish 7th in the Heisman trophy balloting in 1987 (won by Notre Dame’s Tim Brown). His understudy, Barry Sanders, would go on to win the Heisman trophy in 1988.

– Oklahoma State would go on to defeat every team on their schedule except for the Big Two, Nebraska and Oklahoma. The Cowboys capped a 10-2 season with a 35-33 win over West Virginia in the Sun Bowl. Oklahoma State finished 11th in the polls. 1987 was only the second season (including 1984) in which Oklahoma State had recorded ten wins in a season.

– The first game for the Buffs outside of the state of Colorado was played before 42,800 in Stillwater. The loss dropped Colorado’s all-time record against the Cowboys in the state of Oklahoma (including one game – a CU victory – in Oklahoma City) to 7-9-1. Colorado still held the overall lead in the series, 15-14-1.

– The loss to Oklahoma State dropped the Buffs to 2-4 in Big Eight openers under Bill McCartney.

– Barry Sanders’ 73-yard punt return for a touchdown marked the first time an opponent had run a punt back for a score since Marcus Dupree took a punt back 77 yards for Oklahoma in 1982.

October 10, 1998 – Boulder           No. 5 Kansas State 16, No. 14 Colorado 9

Kansas State came to Boulder with a 2-24 all-time record in games played on the Buffs’ home turf.

The Wildcats in 1998, though, were not the Wildcats of old. In rising to a No. 5 national ranking, Kansas State came to Folsom Field beating their opponents by an average of 57 points a game, and had a defense which had allowed a total of 21 points in its first four contests.

Despite its lofty status and undefeated record, though, Kansas State had yet to garner much support as a national power. The Wildcats started the season ranked 6th, and despite the fact that several teams ranked above them had lost, the Wildcats had only risen to 5th in the polls.

Kansas State had something to prove in Boulder, both to themselves and the nation. For their part, the Colorado Buffaloes were a shaky 5-0 and were a 17-point underdog, at home, to a team they had lost to only once in the last 13 seasons.

The Buffs, too, had something to prove.

Both teams did.

Kansas State ran off Folsom Field and into the warm October night with a hard-fought victory. The Buffs, meanwhile, walked slowly back to their locker room, heads held high, but still muttering about what might have been.

Kansas State emerged from the game with a 16-9 victory, and could now make a rightful claim to their high ranking. Colorado, which had for much of the night looked as if its school-record string of 115 straight games without being shutout (dating back to November, 1988, when Nebraska shut out the Buffs, 7-0) would be coming to an end, had played into the final minute with an opportunity to win.

Points were hard to come by early.

Martin Gramatica hit on a 30-yard field goal attempt late in the first quarter to stake Kansas State to an early lead. Colorado did get inside the ten-yard line of the Wildcats early in the second quarter after a 43-yard pass from Mike Moschetti to fullback Andy Peeke, but a fumbled snap two plays later ended the threat. On the ensuing drive, a long hookup from Michael Bishop to Aaron Lockett set up the Wildcats at the six yard line. Three plays later, fullback Brian Goolsby scored from two yards out to give Kansas State a 10-0 halftime lead.

Two second half field goals by Gramatica, the second coming three minutes into the fourth quarter, staked the Wildcats to a 16-0 lead.

In the final stanza, though, the Buffs launched a furious comeback.

A fumble recovery by senior linebacker Terrell Cade set up the Buffs at the Kansas State 36-yard line. It took eight plays, but Colorado finally scored. On fourth-and-goal at the five yard line, Moschetti found Marcus Stiggers in the end zone with 5:42 to play. A two-point conversion would have made it a one score game, but the run failed, leaving the score at 16-6.

The Colorado defense forced a three-and-out, giving the Buffs’ offense another opportunity. Moschetti hit Darrin Chiaverini three times on the drive, including one for 19 yards on second-and-34, and another for 20 yards on fourth-and-15. The heroics, though, were not enough, as CU settled for a Jeremy Aldrich 20-yard field goal to make the score 16-9 with 1:46 to play.

The Buffs had one last chance, as the defense once again forced a Kansas State punt with 37 seconds left. Unfortunately, there would be no Hail Mary attempts, as an illegal participation penalty (12 men on the field) gave the ball back to the Wildcats, who could finally run out the clock and celebrate their win.

Both defenses dominated.

The Buffs held Kansas State, which was averaging 470 yards and 62 points per game, to 332 yards and 16 points. By forcing the Wildcats to settle for three field goals and only one touchdown, the defense earned the respect of its head coach. “Defensively,” said Neuheisel, “I take my hat off to the kids; they flew around and made plays.”

Starting middle linebacker Ty Gregorak agreed. “The defense played well,” said Gregorak, who had five tackles, including one for a loss of eight yards. “We did a lot of great things against a real good offense.”

The Buffs’ offense, conversely, couldn’t be called “real good”. Held scoreless for the first 54:18 of the game, the Buffs had only 225 yards of total offense, including 37 yards rushing … on 31 carries.

A measure of respect was afforded the Buffs in the polls despite the loss. The opening win over Colorado State had vaulted the Buffs to No. 16 in the polls. One week later, CU inched up to No. 15. There the Buffs sat for three weeks as teams with more impressive wins vaulted over them, despite CU’s continued winning ways. Finally, the Oklahoma win, coupled with a loss by No. 11 Syracuse, had allowed the Buffs to move up to No. 14.

The loss to Kansas State should have resulted in a free fall for the Buffs, as only one of the eight teams ranked behind CU also lost that weekend. Instead, though, CU fell only to 19th. In losing, the Buffs seemingly had garnered more respect from the pollsters than they had with their four previous wins.

Now it was left to the Buffs to face another undefeated team … 22nd-ranked, 6-0 Texas Tech.

Respect or no, if Colorado wished to stay in the hunt for a quality bowl game, moral victories would no longer be sufficient.

Happy Birthday … 

Useless stat of the week: coming into the Kansas State game, Colorado was 7-4 all-time on my birthday, October 10th.

The loss to the 5th-ranked Wildcats made the record 7-5, including 0-3 since my arrival in Boulder in 1980.

Other games on my birthday: In 1981, CU lost to an unranked Nebraska squad 59-0. Nebraska would rejoin the polls the next week, and would remain in the polls into the 21st century; In 1987, the Buffs lost to 19th-ranked Oklahoma State, 42-17.

(In case you are wondering about 1992, The Buffs should have played on my birthday, but the game against Missouri was moved to Thursday night for ESPN. CU won that game, 6-0).

My birthday wasn’t a total loss.

The beautiful fall day in Boulder (and the 5:00 p.m. kickoff) allowed for a pleasant round of golf in the morning. Heading off to the stadium, Randy and I were able to check in with some other games, and were able to witness Texas A&M run off to a 28-7 lead over Nebraska (holding on to win, 28-21). The weather in Boulder for the game was excellent, and our defense proved itself to be first rate.

To be honest, with five minutes to go in the game, I was relieved more that CU had scored at all (and preserved the 116-game scoring string) than I was excited about the possibility of a great comeback. But there we were, first-and-goal with over two minutes remaining, down 16-6. Going for the field goal to pull within seven points at 16-9 made sense after the Wildcats forced a fourth down. Despite the proximity to the goal line, the Buffs still needed two scores to tie.

Once again the defense held, and CU was to have one last chance with 37 seconds to play. But on the punt return, there was miscommunication between head coach Rick Neuheisel and special teams coach Bob Hauck, as each sent out a separate punt returner. The net result was 12 men on the field, with the ball returned to Kansas State.

In the stands, where many of the sell-out crowd of 51,581 had left late in the third quarter after CU had failed on fourth down attempt deep in Wildcat territory, the mood was one of frustration. One fan behind us booed incessantly, calling for Neuheisel’s head. Not one normally given to confrontation, I turned to the boo-bird as the final seconds ticked away and inquired: “Did you honestly expect to be this close at the end of the game?” His sarcastic response: “I was here when the Buffs were good!” My immediate reply: “Well, I was here when the Buffs were shitty!”

Neither of our retorts were classics of oratory, but I guess it did sum up my feeling about the game.

Yes, we had lost, and had been outplayed for much of the game. But we had lost by only seven points, and our defense, if nothing else, had proven its metal. All in all, Colorado was 5-1, and that was a helluva lot better than 5-6 from a year earlier. The team was young, decimated by injuries, and yet was showing character and grit. I decided that night that I liked the 1998 edition of the Colorado Buffaloes.

Happy Birthday.

Game Notes … 

– Injuries continued to hurt the Buffs. With senior guard Ben Nichols injured, junior Chris Morgan earned his first career start against Kansas State. Morgan would go on to start six of the last seven games of the season, including the bowl game against Oregon.

– Also making his first career start against the Wildcats was safety Michael Lewis. A freshman, Lewis had season highs in plays (74) and tackles (9) against Kansas State.

– CU quarterback Mike Moschetti had a season-high 34 pass attempts against Kansas State, but completed only 15 (for 225 yards and one touchdown).

– Coupled with the 37-20 victory over Colorado in 1997, Kansas State enjoyed its first two-game winning streak over the Buffs for the first time since 1973-74 (and only the third such streak in the series. The only other two-game winning streak for the Wildcats against the Buffs came in the first two games played between the two teams, with the games played in 1912 and 1939).

– The 16 points scored by Kansas State represented – by far – the lowest point total of the season for the Wildcats. After escaping Boulder, Kansas State went on to score 50 or more points in its next three games, with its lowest point total in any other game coming in a 31-25 win over Missouri.

– A little over a move after the victory over the Buffs, Kansas State was 11-0, ranked No. 2 in the nation, and primed for a national championship showdown against Tennessee. The Wildcats, though, were shocked by Texas A&M in the Big 12 championship game, losing 36-33 in double overtime. The loss hung over the program all the way to the bowl game, where Kansas State fell to Purdue in the Alamo Bowl, 37-34, to fall to a No. 10 ranking in the final poll.

October 10, 2009           No. 2 Texas 38, Colorado 14

Colorado jumped out to 14-3 lead over 2nd-ranked Texas, but special teams miscues, penalties, and missed opportunities by the offense allowed the Longhorns to run away with a 38-14 victory. In less a quarter of playing time in the second half, Texas scored on a blocked punt, an interception return, and a punt return, as the Buffs fell to 1-4 in losing to the Longhorns for the fifth consecutive time.

For Colorado fans, the game in Austin began better than even the most ardent of supporters could have hoped. Brian Lockridge brought the opening kickoff back to the 34, and the Buffs went to work. An eight-play, 66-yard drive gave Colorado the early lead. The Buffs converted a third-and-two with a 14-yard pass from Cody Hawkins to fullback Jake Behrens (with a 15-yard facemask penalty tacked onto the completion). Later, on third-and-21 at the Texas 25, Hawkins completed a 25-yard touchdown pass to tight end Patrick Devenny. The over-the-shoulder catch by Devenny was reminiscent of his touchdown catch against West Virginia in 2008 – the last time the Buffs defeated a ranked team.

Then it was the Longhorns’ turn. In each of the Buffs three losses, the opposition scored a touchdown on its opening drive. Texas looked to continue the trend, but the Longhorn drive stalled at the Colorado 16-yard line. Even though the Longhorns cut the Colorado lead to 7-3 with a field goal, the Buff defense had its first moral victory of the night.

On their second possession, the Longhorns again drove deep into Colorado territory. The second quarter opened with Texas lining up with a first-and-goal at the Colorado eight yard line. A timely sack of Texas quarterback Colt McCoy by Buff defensive linemen Curtis Cunningham and Marquez Herrod pushed the ball back to the 13, where 6’8″ offensive lineman Ryan Miller blocked the field goal attempt, with Jeff Smart returning the kick out to the Colorado 43-yard line.

It was still 7-3, Colorado, and it was beginning to look as if it was going to the be the night of the underdog.

Continue reading Game Story here

Here are the YouTube videos from the game, courtesy of CU at the Gamer Paul:

Friday Night Lights – CU at the Game takes in Texas High school football … 

October 9, 2009          Bastrop Bears 24, Westlake Chaparrals 21

Junior quarterback Josiah Monroe put up 335 total yards of offense in leading the undefeated Bastrop Bears to a 24-21 road win over Westlake. Monroe threw for three scores, including a 66-yard pass to Josh Taylor late in the fourth quarter to give Bastrop the lead. A last-minute attempt to tie the score for the Chaparrals fell short when cornerback Bernard Blake intercepted a pass from Westlake quarterback Tanner Price.

With the win, Bastrop is, in the words of the Austin American-Statesman, in the “25-5A driver’s seat”. The Bears are now 6-0 for the first time since 1998, and, more importantly, 3-0 in District 25-5A play. The home-standing Westlake Chaparrals, meanwhile, fell to 4-2, 2-1 in league play.

Okay, so you really aren’t interested in the District 25 5-A standings, but, rest assured, there are many, many fans in the greater Austin area who are.

Our adventure began innocently enough. We had no set plans for our Friday night in Austin, other than to check in on a few CU Alumni Association events at the hotel and a nearby bar. It was Brad who suggested we get a first-hand look at “Friday Night Lights” (I don’t watch the series, but I was a big fan of the book when it came out over a decade ago). He did the research. According to the Austin American-Statesman website, the regional game of the night was the tilt between 5-0 Bastrop and 4-1 Westlake.

We called for a cab, and our adventure began – with a thud. Our cab driver had no idea where Chaparral Stadium was. He consulted a map. He consulted the doorman at the hotel, getting directions. Still unsure as to whether we would ever find the game, we headed out. Eventually, we found the stadium (“Friday Night Lights” finally saved us, as “head for the light” took on a whole new meaning).

We sat with the visitors, as better seats were avaiable on the far side of Chaparral stadium. It was a cool night by Colorado standards (mid-50’s). This dip in temperature, however, was apparently too cold for some of the faithful, as the stadium (I’m guessing 10,000 capacity) was about 2/3 full. Our initial (disappointed) impression that Texas high school football was not all that different from other places was soon quelled. First, there was the scoreboard. It had its own jumbotron – one not all that far removed from what exists in Folsom Field. Next, there was the quality of play. The offenses were sophisticated (Bastrop, behind Josiah Monroe’s talented arm and legs, was a spread option offense, while Westlake, without the benefit of as gifted a quarterback, had a power running game).

Two aspects of the game bear special mention. They weren’t on the field, but definitely made you realize that we had stumbled upon something special.

Continue reading Game Essay here

October 10, 2015 – at Arizona State          Arizona State 48, Colorado 23

Arizona State quarterback Mike Bercovici threw for 260 yards and five touchdowns as the Sun Devils took advantage of Colorado mistakes to cruise to a 48-23 victory in Tempe. Sefo Liufau threw for 389 yards for the Buffs, but his one touchdown pass was more than offset by an early interception and a fumble which led to ASU points.

The Buffs were close in yardage – 491 yards to 450 – and first downs – 21-to-19 – but fell behind 14-0 midway through the first quarter and never fully recovered. The loss left the Buffs with an 0-7 all-time record against Arizona State, together with a 13-game conference losing streak (dating back to November of 2013) and a 13-game road conference losing streak (dating back to September of 2012).

“Everything we’re doing, we’re just going to keep doing it”, said Colorado head coach Mike MacIntyre, who fell to 1-19 in Pac-12 games. “Keep pushing with them, keep working with them, keep loving them, keep caring for them, keep believing in them. That’s what you do.  Find a way to uplift them and keep pushing them, but they’ve got to go out there and make the plays”.

Continue reading story here

Sisyphus … 

Most people know the story of Sisyphus.

Sisyphus is known to history as the former King of Corinth, who, according to Greek mythology, was condemned to spend eternity pushing a boulder up a hill, only to have the boulder roll back to the bottom of the hill.

For over ten years, the Colorado football program has been the Power Five conference equivalent of Sisyphus.

The Buffs – and their fans – have been condemned to push the boulder uphill towards restoration of their program, only to have the boulder drop back down to the bottom, forcing the Buffs – and their fans – to start all over again.

It started with the scandal which wasn’t; the rape accusations which never led to any arrests; the finding of guilt without the nuisance of actually having a trial.

Continue reading Game Essay here


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