CU Games of the Day – October 12th

October 12th … CU has a 4-1 record on this date over the past 40 years … 1985: Bill McCartney picks up his first win over his alma mater in a 38-7 win … 1991: The 25th-ranked Buffs scored on their first five possessions of the second half, holding Missouri scoreless until the scoreboard read 55-0 in a 55-7 rout … 1996: The Buffs, after falling behind 3-0 early, put together perhaps their best overall effort of the season in taking out Oklahoma State and head coach Bob Simmons, 35-13 … 2002: Chris Brown rushes for a career-high 309 yards and scored two touchdowns in leading Colorado to a 53-29 win over Kansas in Lawrence … 2013: Arizona State romped to a first quarter lead of 25-0 and a halftime bulge of 47-6 before settling for a 54-13 rout of Colorado …

  • 1985: Colorado 38, Missouri 7 … After being blasted 35-14, 59-20, and 52-7 in his first three attempts against Missouri, McCartney finally had a win against his alma mater …
  • 1991: No. 25 Colorado 55, Missouri 7 … In 101 years of football, Colorado had accumulated over 600 yards in total offense only seven times. Now, the Buffs surpassed 600 for the second time in three games, rolling up 656 yards against the Tigers … Essay: “Fear Factor” … 
  • 1996: No. 10 Colorado 35, Oklahoma State 13 … Steve Rosga returns an interception 105 yards for a score as Buffs handle Cowboys … Essay: “For the Record” …
  • 2002: Colorado 53, Kansas 29 … In becoming only the third player in school history to post a 300-yard rushing game (309), Brown carried the ball 25 times for a healthy 12.4 yards per carry … Essay: “Brown Sugar” …
  • 2013: Arizona State 54, Colorado 13 … Mike MacIntyre: “I did see progress this week in practice, I promise you I did. I was hoping we’d play a little better and we didn’t. But I have seen progress”… Essay: “Beaten Like a Red-Headed Step-Child” …

October 12, 1985 – Boulder           Colorado 38, Missouri 7

After a two week layoff to contemplate their 3-1 record, Colorado played its homecoming game against the Missouri Tigers.

For a change, Homecoming played out the way it was supposed to for the Buffs, with the home team beating up against an inferior opponent. True, Colorado had won its homecoming game against Iowa State in 1984, but that came in the last minute, and proved to be the Buffs only win of the year.

In 1985, all cylinders were clicking in a 38-7 rout of the Tigers.

The Tigers of 1985 were merely paper tigers, but the Buffs didn’t care. Missouri was winless coming into the game against the Buffs, struggling to an 0-4 non-conference record.

All the better for the win-hungry Buffs.

Quarterback Mark Hatcher had his best game of the season, running for 151 yards and three touchdowns on 25 carries, while completing three-of-six passes for 110 yards and a fourth score. On the afternoon, Colorado rolled up 505 yards of total offense, including 390 on the ground. In mauling the winless Tigers, the Buffs defeated Missouri for the first time since 1978, while scoring the most points and posting the largest margin of victory in the 56-year series.

The points came methodically, with the Buffs scoring in each quarter of play. After a three-yard scoring run by Hatcher gave the Buffs a 7-0 lead in the first quarter, Colorado scored three times in the second quarter, with two of the scores unusual. The first, a four-yard touchdown pass from Hatcher to sophomore halfback Mike Marquez, was the first touchdown pass of the season for the Buffs. The second score came on a 44-yard field goal by much maligned senior kicker Larry Eckel, the longest of his Colorado career.

Already up 24-0 at halftime, the Buffs pulled away in the second half. Mark Hatcher scored on a five yard run to give the Buffs a 31-0 lead. Then, after Missouri posted a consolation score, Colorado closed out the afternoon with a 27-yard touchdown run by sophomore Jo Jo Collins, the first touchdown of his career.

It had to be all the sweeter for head coach Bill McCartney. After being blasted 35-14, 59-20, and 52-7 in his first three attempts against Missouri, McCartney finally had a win against his alma mater. Referencing the 76-point turnaround from the 1984 game, McCartney understated: “In a chronological year, you can accomplish significant things.”

Colorado was now 4-1, 1-0 in the Big Eight. Four of the next five games, though, would be on the road.

Game Notes …

– In addition to posting their first touchdown pass of the 1985 campaign against Missouri, the Buffs also had the longest completion of the season, as Mark Hatcher connected with sophoore halfback Sam Smith for 71 yards. The play didn’t go for a touchdown, though, becoming the third longest non-scoring pass play in Colorado history (the longest: 87 yards. Zach Jordan to Frank Bernardi v. Kansas in 1952).

– Including the 71-yarder to Smith, Mark Hatcher had his highest passing yard total of 1985, going for a whopping 110 yards (connecting on three-of-six attempts).

– The Buffs also had the longest interception return of the season against Missouri, with junior linebacker Darin Schubeck picking off a pass and lumbering 52 yards before he was caught from behind.

– Colorado had the most passing yards (115), most rushing yards (390), and, not surprisingly, the most total yards (505) of the 1985 season against Missouri. The Buffs held onto the ball for 36:02 of playing time, denying the Tigers any opportunity to get back into the game.

– 1985 proved to be one of the worst in Missouri history. Under first-year head coach Woody Widenhofer, the Tigers would stumble to a 1-10 season. The only win came against Iowa State, 28-27, after opening the year 0-7. Widenhofer would last four seasons, never posting more than five wins in his 12-31-1 tenure.

October 12, 1991 – Boulder           No. 25 Colorado 55, Missouri 7

There is nothing like a loss to bring out the frustrations of a good team.

After being surprised by Baylor in the second game of the season, Colorado had responded with a 58-0 rout of Minnesota. On the heels of the disappointing setback at Stanford in game four, the Buffs again bounced back, this time with a 55-7 mauling of Missouri.

In 101 years of football, Colorado had accumulated over 600 yards in total offense only seven times. Now, the Buffs surpassed 600 for the second time in three games, rolling up 656 yards against the Tigers. The 656 yards represented the fourth highest total in school history.

Quarterback Darian Hagan connected with Michael Westbrook from 21 yards out on Colorado’s first drive of the game, and the Buffs never looked back. A five-yard touchdown run by fullback James Hill near the end of the first quarter pushed the lead to 14-0.

After a 21-yard field goal by Jim Harper, Hagan connected with senior tight end Sean Brown on an 11-yard score as Colorado moved to a 24-0 lead late in the second quarter. On the day, in limited duty, Hagan passed for 119 yards and rushed for 101 more.

In the second half, a number of players saw action as Colorado continued to dominate.

The Buffs scored on their first five possessions of the second half, holding Missouri scoreless until the scoreboard read 55-0. Backup quarterback Vance Joseph ran for one score (for 15 yards), and connected with Michael Westbrook (for 35 yards) for another. Red-shirt freshman wingback Erik Mitchell and senior fullback Tony Senna each scored their first career touchdowns for the Buffs. Mitchell took the ball in from 15 yards out; Senna from the one. In all, six different Buffs scored touchdowns in the rout.

“This whole team was more intense”, said junior nose tackle Joel Steed. “We had an incredible level of belief in what we were doing, and we had to send a message to the rest of the Big Eight.”

The sell-out homecoming crowd of 52,315 left Folsom Field satisfied, but there was no time to dwell on the success. Up next was Oklahoma. The Sooners were the Big Eight favorites, having opened the season 4-0 and climbing as high as No. 5 in the polls after opening the season with three routs.

Before the Buffs could take on the Sooners, though, Oklahoma  was stunned by unranked Texas, 10-7, to fall to No. 12 in the polls. Colorado, meanwhile, with the rout of Missouri, rose to No. 22.

Nebraska, meanwhile, opened its Big Eight campaign with a 49-15 rout of Oklahoma State, moving up to No. 9 in the polls.

Colorado was 1-0 in defense of its conference championship. If the Buffs were to three-peat, however, a second straight win in Norman (where the Buffs were 4-19 all-time) was mandatory.

Fear factor

As a numbers freak, there was more at stake for me as the Buffs headed into the Oklahoma game.

With the loss to Baylor, a record 15 game home winning steak had come to an end. Now at risk were a school record 16 straight conference wins and a record run in the polls – 41 weeks and counting. A loss to the Sooners would leave the Buffs 3-3, a record certain to drop them from the polls for the first time since the start of the 1989 season. It would also mean that the Buffs would be heavy underdogs to Nebraska, making a 7-4 season a distinct possibility.

Going from the penthouse of college football to begging for a minor bowl in one season would be hard to take.

But the Buffs were a resilient bunch, as Colorado fans and the nation were about to learn.

Game Notes …

– Red-shirt freshman wide receiver Michael Westbrook followed up his first career touchdown catch against Stanford with two more against Missouri. His three touchdown catches surpassed the freshman receiving record of two (Westbrook would go on to have five touchdown catches in his freshman season).

– On the afternoon, Colorado ran over 90 plays, held the ball for over 37 minutes, and rushed for over 500 yards.

– Lamont Warren (110 yards) and Darian Hagan (101) both surpassed the 100-yard barrier in limited playing time. The Missouri game marked the first time since the Stanford game in 1990 in which Colorado had two 100-yard rushers in the same game (and the 32nd time in school history).

– Despite not playing most of the second half, Darian Hagan still had the highest output of total offense in 1991, going for 220 yards (101 yards rushing; 119 passing). The 101 yards rushing against Missouri would prove to be a season high for Hagan in 1991.

– Sophomore wide receiver Charles E. Johnson, who would go on to become the first Colorado wide receiver to post over 2,000 career receiving yards (2,447 yards), earned his first start against Missouri. Against the Tigers, Johnson had two catches for 23 yards.

– Senior fullback Tony Senna saw action in 11 games in 1991, but his only carry of the season was his one yard touchdown run against Missouri. Senna came into the 1991 campaign with career totals of eight carries for 44 yards (all in 1989). Senna did lead the team in special teams points in 1991, including two fumble recoveries.

– Red-shirt freshman Erik Mitchell also made the most of his rushing opportunity. His only carry of the 1991 season was his 15-yard touchdown run against the Tigers. (Mitchell also had one reception in 1991, a two-yard gain against Minnesota).

– Red-shirt freshman quarterback Kordell Stewart made his second – and final – appearance on the field in 1991 in the Missouri game. After rushing for 73 yards and a touchdown in the rout of Minnesota, Stewart ran ten times for 71 yards against Missouri.

– Red-shirt freshman Darnell Brooks also saw action in the rout of Missouri. The Colorado Player-of-the-Year in 1989 and a Parade All-American, Brooks had 2,516 yards and 40 touchdowns his senior year at Thomas Jefferson high in Denver, but never got on track in Boulder. Switching between cornerback and tailback, Brooks did not see much time on either side of the ball. Playing five games on defense, Brooks recorded one tackle. On offense, Brooks’ first – and only – carries as a Colorado Buffalo came against Missouri, with Brooks going for 49 yards on seven carries. Despite having three years of eligibility remaining, Brooks did not return to the roster in 1992.

– The Buffs set a number of records in the long time series with Missouri. On the afternoon, the Buffs set new standards against the Tigers for points (55), first downs (37), yards rushing (502), and total offense (656).

– The 656 yards of total offense, the fourth highest in school history, came almost two years to the day after the Buffs put up 662 yards against Iowa State (Oct. 14, 1989). The other two higher totals came in 1971 (676 v. Oklahoma State) and in 1970 (675 v. Air Force).

– Missouri would go on to win only one more game in 1991, a 41-7 rout of Oklahoma State the week after the Colorado game. The Tigers would close out the season with a five game losing streak to end the year with a 3-7-1 record.

October 12, 1996 – Boulder          No. 9 Colorado 35, Oklahoma State 13

Former Colorado assistant head coach Bob Simmons brought his 3-2 Oklahoma State Cowboys to Boulder for Colorado’s first-ever Big 12 Conference home game.

Simmons was in his second season at Oklahoma State (7-10 overall), and was building for the future. His young team (on defense, OSU listed nine freshman and seven sophomores on the two-deep chart) was 3-0 against the likes of Southwest Missouri State, Utah State, and Tulsa, but 0-2 against conference foes, including a 71-14 humiliation at the hands of Texas the week before the Colorado game.

Ninth-ranked Colorado, which had moved back into the top ten during the Buffs’ second bye week, was installed as a 32½-point favorite for the 8:07 p.m. kickoff (the latest start in Colorado regular season history to that time).

The Buffs, after falling behind 3-0 early, put together perhaps their best overall effort of the season.

The offense, led by Koy Detmer’s 402 passing yards, scored on three Detmer touchdown passes to take control. On the Buffs’ first possession, the CU offense marched 85 yards in nine plays, scoring on a 25-yard touchdown pass from Detmer to Chris Anderson. After the Buff defense forced a three-and-out, CU scored on the next play from scrimmage, a 62-yard pass from Detmer to Rae Carruth.

The two teams traded touchdowns in the second quarter. Just before the half, the Buffs used just three plays to cover 66 yards. Detmer hit junior tight end Desmond Dennis for 18 yards  before connecting with tight end Brody Heffner for 26 yards down to the Oklahoma State 22-yard line. On the next play, Detmer hit Phil Savoy for a 22-yard touchdown, and the Buffs had a 21-10 cushion at halftime.

Midway through the third quarter, with the score still 21-10, the Buffs’ defense put the game away. Oklahoma State drove deep into CU territory, and faced a third-and-nine at the Colorado 19. There, Cowboy quarterback Tone Jones lofted a pass into the Buff endzone. Instead of finding a teammate and making the game a four-point contest, Jones’ pass found CU senior safety Steve Rosga. Eschewing the touchback, Rosga ran the ball out from five yards deep. Some 105 rumbling yards later, Rosga had a CU touchdown and a 28-10 CU lead. Although over 20 minutes remained to be played in the game, Rosga’s score, for all intents and purposes, decided the game.

On the Buff sidelines, head coach Rick Neuheisel, like most of the 53,005 in attendance, held their breath as Rosga took off with the interception. “As he was coming out of the endzone I was saying, ‘Gosh, he should’ve just taken a knee’ “, Neuheisel said after the game, “And when he got to the 15, I go, ‘Great decision, Roz.’ He, obviously, is a gifted athlete that can make good plays.”

For the Record

In the NCAA records, Steve Rosga’s 105-yard interception return is listed at 100 yards (the NCAA does not now allow for end zone yardage). In order to make room for Rosga in the CU record book, the category “Longest Interception Return” had to be amended. In 1938, when total return yardage was still counted, Dick Kearns returned an interception against the University of Denver 102 yards. Both returns would now be recognized as being a mere 100 yards. (Johnny Ziegler was also to be found in that category. Ziegler returned an interception for exactly 100 yards against Colorado Mines in 1942).

Game Notes … 

– Rae Carruth had 166 yards on six catches on the evening, marking the sixth-best receiving day in school history.

– Koy Detmer had 402 yards passing against Oklahoma State, the fourth time a CU quarterback had passed for over 400 yards in a game.

– Lendon Henry had 101 yards rushing against the Cowboys. The efforts of Carruth and Henry marked just the 16th time in CU history in which the Buffs had both a 100-yard rusher and a 100-yard receiver in the same game.

– In addition to his record-setting interception return, Steve Rosga led the team in tackles against Oklahoma State, posting 19 tackles (14 unassisted). In addition to Rosga, four other Buffs had double digits in tackles against the Cowboys: Ryan Black (15); Matt Russell (13); and Ryan Olson (10).

– The win over Oklahoma State was the eighth straight for Colorado in the series. The Buffs took an overall 23-15-1 advantage in the series, but had never before posted more than four straight wins over the Cowboys.

– Oklahoma State would go on to a 5-6 record in year two under Bob Simmons (2-6 in Big 12 play). Simmons would last six seasons in Stillwater, posting a career record of 30-38.

October 12, 2002 – at Kansas           Colorado 53, Kansas 29

Chris Brown rushed for a career-high 309 yards and scored two touchdowns in leading Colorado to a 53-29 win over Kansas in Lawrence.

In becoming only the third player in school history to post a 300-yard rushing game, Brown carried the ball 25 times for a healthy 12.4 yards per carry. Quarterback Robert Hodge continued his steady play as well, hitting on 12-of-19 passes for 119 yards and three touchdowns.

Only the Buffs’ porous defense kept the game from becoming a total rout.

For the second consecutive week, the Buffs raced out to an early 14-0 lead. Hodge hit receiver D.J. Hackett with an eight-yard scoring pass on the Buffs’ opening drive. On the Buffs’ second possession, Brown broke free on a second-and-six play from the Colorado 22-yard line for a 78-yard touchdown. The rout was on against the 112th-ranked defense (out of 117 teams).

For the second consecutive week, however, the Buffs had an early 14-0 lead erased. After Jeremy Bloom muffed a punt, pinning the Buffs deep in their own end, Brown was tackled in the endzone for a safety. 14-2, Colorado.

By the first play of the second quarter, the score was 15-14, Kansas, as the Jayhawks put together two scoring drives to take the lead (a two-point conversion after the second score failed).

Kansas would hold the lead for only 45 seconds, however, with Brown scoring on a 51-yard run to put the Buffs ahead to stay, 21-15. Hodge then hit Derek McCoy from 15 yards out for a 29-15 lead (Hodge to junior receiver John Donahoe for a two-point conversion). With the Jayhawks driving late in the second quarter, defensive back Donald Strickland seemed to put the game away with a 95-yard interception return for a touchdown.

The Jayhawks would not go away, though. A score just before half pulled Kansas to within two scores at 36-22.

A 43-yard field goal by Pat Brougham gave the Buffs a 39-22 cushion, but quarterback Bill Whittemore, who would rush for 121 yards and pass for 217 more on the day, ran the ball in from nine yards out to make the score 39-29.

That would be as close as the Jayhawks would come, as Derek McCoy scored his second touchdown of the game on an eight-yard reception, and fullback Brandon Drumm scored the first regular season touchdown of his career with a 21-yard run.

The final margin of 24 points belied how hard the Buffs had to work for the win. “Kansas played with great heart,” said Gary Barnett. “They fought and fought and fought, which is just what I told our kids. Give those guys credit, they made us play a whole game, and our guys didn’t necessarily think that would happen.”

The Jayhawks’ game effort, though, could not stop Chris Brown or the Colorado offense. In all, the Buffs had 546 yards of total offense, including 427 yards rushing. The offensive explosion distracted attention from the Buffs’ defensive effort. Kansas, with an offense ranked 102nd in the nation, racked up 450 yards of total offense against the Buffs. For the second week in a row, CU had squandered an early two-touchdown lead. Colorado’s special teams also had problems, some caused by the windy conditions in Lawrence, some by poor execution on the part of the Buffs.

Colorado would have one more opportunity to work out the kinks, with lightly regarded Baylor (3-3, 1-1 in Big 12 play) coming to Boulder. The Bears’ wins were over Division 1-AA Samford, winless Tulsa, and Kansas. If Colorado (4-2, 2-0, and back in the rankings at No. 23) was to play meaningful games in November, Baylor would have to be dispatched with a dominating performance.

Brown Sugar

Brown’s 309 rushing yards in a single game, third in school history only to Charlie Davis’ 342 vs. Oklahoma State in 1971 and Rashaan Salaam’s 317 vs. Texas in 1994, pushed Brown’s season total to 987 yards, just missing on becoming the second Buff to reach 1,000 yards in only six games (Salaam, 1994).

In the early going against Baylor, Brown would have the opportunity to reach 1,000 yards earlier than Salaam by measure of carries, if not games. Salaam took 149 carries to reach the 1,000-yard mark. Brown had taken 141 carries to reach 987.

With the career-best effort against Kansas, Brown also started to receive some national attention. Brown’s 164.5 yards/game average led the nation. Brown was named the Big 12 Conference offensive Player-of-the-Week for the second time (having received similar recognition for his 188-yard effort against UCLA). Brown also was now mentioned when All-Americans and even the Heisman Trophy candidates were discussed.

For his part, Brown remained humble, and credited his line and fullback, Brandon Drumm. “The line’s been great and Drumm’s incredible with his reads,” said Brown after the Kansas game. “When I’m in doubt, I just follow Drumm. He’ll get you to the right spot.” Brown was so into the game, he didn’t even know how many yards he had racked up. “I thought I was around 170 (yards) but I guess I was way off. Then someone informed me how many yards I had. I couldn’t believe it.”

Everyone around Chris Brown believed, though. Baylor was up next, and while the Bears’ rushing defense was considerably better than that of Kansas, it appeared that Brown and the Colorado offense would be looking for another record-setting day.

Colorado was installed as a 28-point favorite at home against Baylor. It was one last chance to put all of the pieces together before hitting the meat of the conference schedule.

This time, the Buffs would not disappoint.

Game Notes

– 53 points was the most ever scored by either team in the 62-game history of the rivalry. Colorado had twice previously scored 51 points (1994, 1999), while the Jayhawks’ best output to 2002 was 43 (1963).

– Donald Srickland’s 95-yard interception return only tied him for the sixth longest in Colorado history. Colorado had already posted three interception returns for scores of over 100 yards, the last being by Steve Rosga (v. OSU, 10/12/96).

– With his 309-yard effort v. Kansas, Brown also shot up the career rushing charts. With 1,933 yards, Brown had moved up 31 spots on the all-time list in just six games of the 2002 season, all the way to 17th.

October 12, 2013 – at Arizona State          Arizona State 54, Colorado 13

Arizona State romped to a first quarter lead of 25-0 and a halftime bulge of 47-6 before settling for a 54-13 rout of Colorado.

The Sun Devils ran up 532 yards of total offense, including an impressive 276 yards on the ground, in sending the Buffs to their third straight defeat – and second straight 41-point mauling.

True freshman quarterback Sefo Liufau played his first snaps at quarterback for Colorado, replacing the ineffective Connor Wood. Liufau went 18-for-26 for 169 yards in his debut, but also threw two interceptions.


Colorado regressed to its 2012 form against Arizona State, falling behind the Sun Devils 25-0 before posting its first first down of the game. Even the infusion of true freshman quarterback Sefo Liufau could not stem the tide, as the Buffs were completely outplayed in the desert.

The Buffs were 24-point underdogs coming into the game, but that was supposed to be for the full game … not the first quarter.

Arizona State struck quickly to open the game, needing only five plays and 92 seconds to score. Quarterback Taylor Kelly hit wide receiver Jaelen Strong on a short pass which turned into a 69-yard touchdown.

Colorado responded with … three plays for zero yards.

The Sun Devils, after an 18-yard punt return set up the offense at the CU 37-yard line, again needed only five plays to score, with running back Marion Grice scoring from eight yards out. A two-point conversion was unnecessary, but was there for the taking, giving Arizona State a 15-0 lead with 10:26 still to play in the first quarter.

Colorado responded with … three plays for minus-three yards.

Arizona State then quickly drove inside the Colorado ten yard line, but then apparently got tired, settling for a 26-yard field goal and an 18-0 lead.

Colorado responded with … three plays for minus-three yards, with quarterback Connor Wood throwing back late over the middle for an interception on third-and-13. The interception was returned to the CU 15-yard line, and three plays later, Marion Grice had his second touchdown, and Arizona State had a 25-0 lead.

Colorado then responded with … a new quarterback.

True freshman Sefo Liufau tore off his redshirt, and trotted onto the Tempe turf. With his first pass as a Colorado Buffalo, Liufau completed a six-yard pass to Nelson Spruce on third-and-four, giving Colorado its first first down of the game, and its first third down conversion in 18 attempts (after going 0-for-15 against Oregon, and 0-for-2 to open the Arizona State game).

Liufau then proceeded to lead Colorado on its first touchdown drive in four quarters, with the Buffs covering 80 yards in 11 plays. The drive included a 22-yard completion from Liufau to Christian Powell on fourth-and-six near midfield, and a 17-yard completion to D.D. Goodson. On the first play of the second quarter, Liufau hit Nelson Spruce for a touchdown (the two-point conversion pass by punter Darragh O’Neill fell incomplete).

Arizona State was unfazed, however, again needing only five plays to score a touchdown. This time, Davon Coleman was the recipient of a one-yard touchdown pass from Kelly. Arizona State 32, Colorado 6.

Two possessions later, Liufau was rudely introduced to Pac-12 football, being called for intentional grounding in the endzone, giving Arizona State a safety and the ball back. The Sun Devils’ next drive resulted in a field goal and a 37-6 lead.

With the next opportunity, Liufau posted his first interception as a Colorado quarterback, with that possession also resulting in a field goal for the Sun Devils.

Adding the final insult to first half injury, Arizona State scored again just before halftime, with Kelly running the ball in from 17 yards out with 16 seconds left before the break.

Halftime score: Arizona State 47, Colorado 6.

The halftime stats were as ridiculous as the score. Arizona State had 392 yards of total offense, while Colorado had 83. Connor Wood was 1-for-6 for minus-one yard and an interception before being yanked, and the Buffs’ playmaker, Paul Richardson, was shutout of the proceedings.

The second half was a slower version of the first, with both teams ready to move on to their next game.

Sefo Liufau led the Buffs on an impressive drive to open the third quarter. Mostly on the ground, with Christian Powell and Michael Adkins taking turns posting good runs, the Colorado offense moved to the Arizona State seven yard line.

Would Colorado post its first rushing touchdown of the season? Nope. A personal foul call on offensive lineman Jack Harris pushed the Buffs back, with Liufau throwing an interception in the endzone to halt the drive.

Against backups, the Colorado defense stopped the Sun Devil offense, but had to trot right back onto the field after cornerback Kenneth Crawley was called for roughing the ASU punter. Given back the ball, the Sun Devils went on to complete a 14-play, 80-yard drive which took up almost half of the third quarter. A one-yard run by R.J. Robinson pushed the scored to 54-6.

The Buffs second possession of the second half ended the same way the first did … with a turnover. This time, it was a fumble near midfield, again giving the ball back to Arizona State.

A rare three-and-out for Arizona State led to another lengthy drive by the Colorado offense. Liufau found Paul Richardson for the junior wideouts first his first double digit catches of the game, going for 17 and 13 yards. Completions to Tyler McCulloch for 17 and 15 yards set up the Buffs in the redzone. After two runs by Michael Adkins, sophomore running back Christian Powell posted the Buffs’ first rushing touchdown of the Mike MacIntyre era, going in from eight yards out.

Arizona State 54, Colorado 13, with 11 minutes left in the game.

The Sun Devils then ran out the clock … all 11 minutes of it. Never throwing the ball, Arizona State nonetheless was able to march down the field against the Buff defense. The first 15 plays of the drive got the ball to the Colorado two yard line, but, rather than punch the ball in for yet another touchdown, Arizona State took a knee for the game’s final two plays.

Final score: Arizona State 54, Colorado 13.

“I told the young men in the locker room, we’ve got to keep battling, keep fighting, keep working,” said Mike MacIntyre after the game. “The one thing I told them, and I truly believe this, you’ve got to give me your effort and you’ve also got to give me your heart. Sometimes you can give effort but you don’t give your heart. It’s kind of like you put your heart out there and get it stomped on, it hurts and you don’t want to do it again. Well, you’ve got to put your heart out there . . . I see them doing that.

“I did see progress this week in practice, I promise you I did. I was hoping we’d play a little better and we didn’t. But I have seen progress.”

The numbers did not suggest progress. In falling to a conference opponent for a school-record 11th straight game, the Buffs once again failed to be competitive in a Pac-12 game. Other than a 42-35 loss to Utah to close out the 2012 campaign, the Buffs had now lost the other ten games by a minimum of 25 points.

One potential shift came in the tearing off of the red-shirt of true freshman quarterback Sefo Liufau. And the move was not made as a one-time attempt to charge up the CU offense. “I’d like to look at the rest of the year (like) we took the redshirt off a young man that we think is very talented, very bright and is an excellent leader,” MacIntyre said of Liufau. “So we feel like we’d hopefully play him the rest of the year – if he plays good.”

Up next: the makeup game for the lost Fresno State contest. Instead of the Bulldogs, who were supposed to play in Boulder on September 14th, the Buffs were now slated to play Charleston-Southern from the Big South Conference. Trading a top 25 FBS team for a top 25 FCS team was seemingly a great trade for the Buffs, but, after losing – and losing badly – to Arizona State, absolutely nothing could be taken for granted.

Game Notes  … 

– Sefo Liufau became the ninth true freshman to play for the Buffs at quarterback, the last true freshman to take a snap being Tyler Hansen, a 14-13 winner over Kansas State in 2008.

– In just five games, true freshman linebacker Addison Gillam already has 55 tackles. Gillam is already 8th on the all-time list for tackles by a freshman, with the freshman record of 85, set by Matt Russell in 1993, well within his sights.

– Christian Powell’s eight-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter was the first rushing touchdown of the season for Colorado.

– Despite being held to a season low four catches for 39 yards against Arizona State, wide receiver Paul Richardson remained in the top three nationally in reception yards per game, with an average of 132.0 per contest.

– A week after setting a school record for futility on third downs (0-for-15 v. Oregon), the Buffs went 7-for-14 against Arizona State. Of course, the first conversion didn’t occur until the game was already 25-0 …

Beaten Like a Red-headed Stepchild … 

“Beaten like a red-headed stepchild” is an old phrase with a seemingly clear derivation.

Stepchildren are often seen as being the disfavored children in the family, and one with a clearly different genetic makeup from the stepparent – as in a different hair color and complexion – was easy to single out for scorn and ridicule.

And it’s a phrase I have been familiar with most of my life … but fortunately not literally.

My parents were divorced when I was about ten, and both were remarried within a few years. So, for going on about 40 years now, I have been, in fact, a red-headed stepchild.

In the world of college football, the phrase can be likened to the outcasts of a given conference. These are the teams which really don’t belong, but are either kept around simply due to tradition, or other benefits derived outside of the gridiron.

In the SEC, the red-headed stepchild is Vanderbilt. The Commodores were a power in the old (very old) Southern Conference. Vanderbilt enjoyed 19 consecutive winning seasons – between 1915 and 1933. But Vanderbilt joined the Southeastern Conference in 1933, and the fun soon stopped. Vanderbilt, the only private university in the SEC, has never won a conference championship in football, and has been to all of six bowl games in its history (one of those coming in 1984 under George MacIntyre, father of CU head coach Mike MacIntyre).

In the ACC, the red-headed stepchild is Duke. The Blue Devils, a charter member of the Atlantic Coast Conference, last won an outright ACC title in football in 1962. Duke has been to nine bowl games in its history … with only three of those coming in the past 50 years.

In the Big Ten, the red-headed stepchild used to be the Northwestern Wildcats. Northwestern, like Vanderbilt, is a private university in a league with powerful state schools as competition. Before Gary Barnett came along in the mid-1990’s, Northwestern hadn’t won a Big Ten title since 1936, and hadn’t been to the Rose Bowl since 1948. Even with the resurgence started by Barnett, and continued by one of his former players, Pat Fitzgerald, Northwestern still holds an all-time record against current members of the Big Ten of 259-458-22 (.366).

In the Pac 8/10, the red-headed stepchild was Washington State. The Cougars play in Pullman, a town so remote that visiting teams don’t fly into or stay there on road trips. In a league with teams in or around Los Angeles, Seattle, San Francisco and Phoenix, Washington State always seemed out of place. Dating back to the 1918 Rose Bowl, the Cougars have made all of ten bowl appearances in their history, and play in a stadium which seats 33,522 … roughly 1/3 the size of the Rose Bowl.

When Colorado joined the Pac-12 in 2011, the Buffs were not seen as the candidate to replace Washington State as the league’s red-headed stepchild. The Buffs had a proud history, a national championship, a Heisman trophy winner, and a long history of conference titles (at least one in every decade CU has played football, except for the 1950’s, when Bud Wilkinson’s Oklahoma teams dominated the Big Seven).

If anything, it was to be Utah, not Colorado, who would don the mantle of the scorned step-child in the new conference. The Utes were not the first choice of the league for an expansion partner, and Utah was making a step up from the Mountain West Conference, while Colorado was making a lateral move from the Big 12.

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