CU Games of the Day – October 13th

October 13th … CU has a 3-2 record on this date over the past 40 years … 1984: A gutsy call on fourth down with a minute to go gives CU its only win of an otherwise awful season … 1990: CU fell behind Iowa State 9-0 early in the first quarter, needing to rally to come away with a 28-12 home win over the Cyclones … 2001: Linebacker Joey Johnson scooped up a fumble by Aggie quarterback Mark Farris and returned the ball 52 yards for the deciding points in a 31-21 win over Texas A&M … 2007: Senior tailback Hugh Charles rushed ran for a career high 171 yards and a score, but it was not enough to keep the Buffs in the contest, as Colorado fell to Kansas State, 47-20 … 2018: USC freshman quarterback J.T. Daniels passed for 272 yards and three touchdowns, leading the Trojans to a 31-20 victory over No. 19 CU …

  • 1984: Colorado 23, Iowa State 21 … Buffs manage to stay out of the Big Eight cellar with a unique ploy that usually only works in junior high games …
  • 1990: No. 14 Colorado 28, Iowa State 12 … Still smarting from the 5th down game, the Buffs rally from an early deficit to take out the Cyclones … 
  • 2001: No. 20 Colorado 31, No. 25 Texas A&M 21 … It was 24-21 game with A&M driving when a fumbled scoop-and-score gave the Buffs a big win … Essay: “Thanks, Fred” … Longtime CU associate athletic director Fred Casotti was honored before the game, and I’m convinced that Fred had a hand in getting CU the victory in the final minutes …
  • 2007: Kansas State 47, Colorado 20 … In the darkness of the 47-20 thumping by Kansas State, there was one bright ray of light which burned brightly, illuminating the harsh reality – These Buffs were not yet ready for prime time … Essay: “Not Ready for Prime Time” …
  • 2018: USC 31, No. 19 Colorado 20 … The Buffs were ranked and had Laviska Shenault, but Shenault got hurt, and J.T. Daniels took it to the Buffs for the 13th time … Essay: “Un-Lucky 13 – Buffs fail to break through (again) against the Trojans” …

October 13, 1984 – Boulder           Colorado 23, Iowa State 21

Only 36,762 came out for Colorado’s Homecoming game against Iowa State.

Who could blame the fans for their apathy?

The game wasn’t much of a draw. The Buffs were 0-5. The Cyclones were 2-3, with both wins coming over inferior opponents (West Texas State and Drake). Unbeknownst to the faithful, however, as they filed into Folsom on the 55-degree, Chamber of Commerce postcard fall day, it would be the Buffs’ most exciting game of the year.

The game started as ominously for the Buffs as most of the others in 1984 …

Jo Jo Collins fumbled the opening kickoff, falling on the ball on the Buffs’ one yard line. On the first play from scrimmage, halfback Lee Rouson was tackled in the end zone.

Safety.

Down 2-0 just ten seconds into the game.

Not exactly an auspicious start.

Just a few minutes later, Colorado was behind 5-0. A 25-yard return of the Buffs’ free kick gave the Cyclones the ball at the Colorado 47 yard line. Six plays later, ISU had a 48-yard field goal.

Behind 5-0, the Buffs, who had actually been favored to win the game, began to play better.

Not well, mind you.

But Better.

Colorado took the lead with 11:00 left in the first half, when quarterback Steve Vogel found tight end Jon Embree on a 12-yard scoring strike. The two point conversion attempt failed, but the Buffs were ahead, 6-5. For a team outscored 109-12 in the first half of the first five games (average half-time score: 21-3), any points were welcome.

After falling behind 12-6 at half, Colorado struck quickly in the third quarter. Vogel connected with wingback Ron Brown on a 43-yard pass play, putting the Buffs up 13-12. After a Cyclone punt, the Buffs were on the move again. This time, Dave DeLine connected on a 52-yard field goal to put Colorado on top 16-12. (A 52-yard field goal? Larry Eckel and his four missed field goals against Michigan State were now a distant memory.)

Vogel and Brown were not finished yet. Taking over at the 20 yard line with two minutes left in the third quarter, the Buffs promptly lost five yards on first down. No problem. Vogel and Brown then connected on the third longest scoring pass play in Colorado history. The 85-yard catch and run put the Buffs up comfortably, 23-12.

Or so it seemed.

With 7:53 still left to play in the game, Iowa State had pulled to within two points, at 23-21.

A few minutes later, with 4:07 still left to play, the Cyclones were sitting pretty, first-and-goal at the Colorado eight yard line. An easy chip shot to win the game, Iowa State ran the ball twice to the Colorado four yard line. On third down, quarterback Alex Espinoza was tackled by Buff defensive tackle George Smith for a loss of five yards, back to the CU nine.

Cheers from the crowd, but no celebration. Iowa State kicker Marc Bachrodt trotted onto the field for a 26-yard attempt. Only 2:17 remained in the game. Smith’s sack had prevented the touchdown, but not the loss.

Or so it seemed.

Just as Colorado had its Larry Eckel, who had missed a 32-yard field goal attempt in the season opener against Michigan State to doom the Buffs, Iowa State had its Marc Bachrodt.

Wide right! Colorado retained its lead, 23-21.

Nothing left to do but run out the clock.

Perhaps from a lack of experience at doing so, however, the Buffs could not even accomplish this feat without excitement. Three runs took over a minute off the clock, and gained almost ten yards.

Almost ten yards.

Fourth-and-inches at the Buffs’ 29-yard line. 1:02 left on the clock and a two point lead.

The Buffs lined up to go for it.

TO GO FOR IT??

No, it was just the old “draw ’em offsides with a long count” ploy. Everyone used it. Everyone knew about it. No one ever fell for it.

Well, almost no one.

Vogel drew the Cyclone line offsides. First down, Colorado. Game over. 23-21. The Buffs had their first win of the year.

After the game, Iowa State head coach Jim Criner was incredulous. Speaking about the fourth down penalty which denied his team any opportunity for a win, Criner noted: “They (CU) were going to take the (delay of game) penalty. Sure, that’s the smart thing to do. Guys have been taught from day one to move on the football, that’s discipline. The smart thing (for the Buffs) to do is just sit there, take the penalty and then punt. Everybody in America knows that. That’s no great play.”

Well, it was a great play for the Buffs. 1-5. Ed Reinhardt was still lying in a coma in a hospital in Eugene, and Nebraska was up next, but at least they were in the win column.

Game Notes … 

– Despite the win, Colorado remained mired in one of the most infamous seasons in school history. Little did we know that the win against Iowa State that day in 1984 would begin a winning streak which would land the Buffs a mention in the official NCAA record book. The Buffs would go on to post 16 consecutive wins against the Cyclones (not losing to Iowa State until a 35-27 loss in 2000), one of the longest streaks by one school over another in NCAA history.

– The 85-yard touchdown pass from Steve Vogel to Ron Brown was the third-longest hookup in school history. Previously, there were two 87-yard plays: from Zack Jordan to Frank Bernardi against Kansas in 1952 (ironically not for a score), and from Randy Essington to Walter Stanley against Texas Tech in 1981.

– Dave DeLine’s 52-yard field goal was the fifth longest in school history to that date.

– Ron Brown had only five catches against Iowa State, but he made them work for him. His 158 yards receiving were a career high, and, at the time, tied for second most yards receiving in a single game in school history, tied with Cliff Branch (v. Missouri, 1970), and behind only Walter Stanley’s 222 yards against Texas Tech in 1981.

– The Buffs, despite the win, set an infamous school record. On the day, the Buffs “rushed” the ball 38 times, for a minus-16 yards. Helped by quarterback Steve Vogel’s stat line: nine rushes, minus-60 yards, Colorado broke a school record dating back to 1946, when Texas held the Buffs to minus-eight yards rushing. The only other game in which Colorado had been held to negative yardage prior to the Iowa State game in 1984 came in 1964, when the Buffs recorded minus-three yards against Nebraska.

– Iowa State would go on to post a 2-7-2 record in 1984, 0-5-2 in Big Eight play, a record which kept the Buffs from finishing in the conference cellar.

October 13, 1990 – Boulder           No. 14 Colorado 28, Iowa State 12

The controversy over the “Fifth Down” game continued to swirl around Boulder during the week after the Missouri game.

Playing as if the distraction had affected the team’s preparation for its next opponent (and who is to say it didn’t?), Colorado fell behind Iowa State 9-0 early in the first quarter, needing to rally to come away with a 28-12 home win over the Cyclones.

The Buffs utilized three quarterbacks on the afternoon, not pulling away from the Cyclones until the third quarter. Despite the early deficit, the win over Iowa State represented the first game of the 1990 season a Colorado game which was not decided in the final minute of play.

Early on, it appeared it would be a long afternoon for Colorado.

Iowa State, which had dropped six straight to Colorado, scored on its opening drive. The Cyclones drove 80 yards in eight plays, with quarterback Chris Pederson hitting fullback Sundiata Patterson with a six-yard pass and a 6-0 lead with only 3:26 gone in the first quarter (the extra point was botched). “I can’t explain why they went through us in the opening drive,” said head coach Bill McCartney. “They didn’t do anything we weren’t expecting.”

Matters didn’t improve for the Buffs when, a few moments later, Eric Bieniemy fumbled the ball back to the Cyclones. The Buff defense held, but Iowa State did register a 36-yard field goal for a 9-0 lead with 9:14 to play in the opening quarter.

Down by two scores, the Buffs, who were 22-point favorites, got their act together.

Quarterback Charles S. Johnson, making his second straight start (the only two of his career), led the Buffs on a ten-play, 84-yard drive, connecting with wingback Michael Simmons from 29 yards out to cut the deficit to 9-7.

Johnson was playing for Darian Hagan, who had suffered a shoulder injury against Missouri. Johnson himself then suffered a thigh injury, and was replaced by true freshman Vance Joseph. Joseph was ineffective, though, and the Cyclones took a 12-7 lead with a 46-yard field goal with 2:19 to play before halftime.

Enter Darian Hagan.

Hagan, who was not expected to play, shrugged off his shoulder sprain to lead the Buffs on a 12-play, 61-yard touchdown drive just before the break. Hagan hit junior tight end Sean Brown from three yards out with six seconds left for a 14-12 halftime advantage.

Buoyed by the return of Hagan, the Buffs dominated the remainder of the contest.

The Buffs’ first drive of the second half covered 80 yards in nine plays, with Eric Bieniemy scoring on a one-yard run to boost the lead to 21-12. Mike Pritchard later scored on a 30-yard reverse to give Colorado a 28-12 cushion. Iowa State was held to just 11 yards of total offense in the third, and never threatened the remainder of the game (once even punting once on third down (“I didn’t want to get slam-dunked (for a loss) on third down,” explained Iowa State head coach Jim Walden).

After giving up 80 yards on the game’s opening drive, the Colorado defense limited Iowa State to just 139 yards the remainder of the afternoon. Meanwhile, the Buffs played ball control, holding the ball for 76 plays (to 58 for Iowa State), and gaining 362 yards on the ground. “We just wore them down,” said Bill McCartney. “Our defense was dominant, and we just took over the game.”

The win had not been stylish, but it was the first double-digit victory for Colorado on the season. The Buffs were now 5-1-1 overall, but more importantly, 2-0 in Big Eight Conference play.

If the Buffs could not compete for the national title, they still could repeat as Big Eight Champions and play in the Orange Bowl. When the next poll came out, it was yet another case of “Good news, bad news” for Colorado. The bad news was that the Buffs did not move up in the polls, remaining at  No. 14. Two teams above the Buffs had lost, including No. 4 Oklahoma, which fell all the way to No. 16 after a 14-13 loss to Texas, but the pollsters allowed two teams below the Buffs to jump over Colorado, including Washington, which Colorado had beaten a few weeks earlier.

The good news was that, once again, the nation had a new No.1 team.

Michigan, which held the spot for all of one week, lost to Michigan State to fall to 3-2. Virginia, for the first time in school history, assumed the mantle of the top team in the nation. In all, six teams were still receiving votes for No.1, so the chase for the national title was still wide open.

The Buffs could still make a run for the national title, if only the Buffs could put themselves back into the national spotlight ….. and do so without needing a controversy to get there.

Game Notes … 

– Befitting the Buffs’ new “black hat” reputation nationally, Colorado wore all black uniforms against Iowa State, the first time the Buffs appeared in all black uniforms since 1988.

– For the seventh straight game in 1990, Colorado’s opponent scored the first points of the game.

– Colorado had 58 rushing attempts and 76 total offensive plays against Iowa State, both season highs.

– Junior tight end Sean Brown made his first catch as a Buff a memorable one. The junior college transfer’s first catch went for only three yards, but it went for a touchdown. Brown would go on to catch seven passes for 86 yards in 1990, including two touchdowns.

– Red-shirt freshman tailback Chuck Snowden had the best game of the season against the Cyclones, carrying the ball five times for 74 yards. In spot duty in 1990, Snowden had a total of 18 attempts for 121 yards.

– Wingback Michael Simmons had his most productive game of his senior season against Iowa State, catching two passes for 44 yards, including a 29-yard touchdown catch. Before moving to wingback, Simmons played two seasons at running back, carrying the ball 87 times for 472 yards and five touchdowns.

– The Colorado defense posted a season-best seven sacks against Iowa State, with senior defensive tackle Garry Howe getting credited with 1.5 sacks. Howe finished the 1990 season with 96 tackles, third best on the team (32 more tackles than fellow defensive lineman Joel Steed, who was named first-team All-Big Eight). Steed, who had one sack against Iowa State, had 7.5 sacks in 1990.

– Iowa State, 2-2-1 coming into the game against Colorado, would go on to upset Oklahoma, 33-31, the following week, but could not sustain the momentum. The Cyclones ended the season with a 4-6-1 record, 2-4-1 in Big Eight play.

October 13, 2001 – Boulder          No. 20 Colorado 31, No. 25 Texas A&M 21

Ranked for the first time in season under Gary Barnett, the Buffs endured a late Texas A&M rally to defeat the Aggies on Homecoming weekend, 31-21.

With less than a minute to play, the Aggies trailed only 24-21 and had the ball deep in CU territory.  A game-tying field goal attempt seemed imminent.  Then linebacker Joey Johnson, making his second start in place of injured star Jashon Sykes, scooped up a fumble by Aggie quarterback Mark Farris and returned the ball 52 yards for the deciding points.

With six minutes remaining, the Buffs seemed to have the game well in hand.

Up 24-14, Colorado marched the ball into A&M territory.  Taking time off the clock with a balanced attack which would net 353 yards on the afternoon, victory seemed secure.  On a third down in A&M territory, however, quarterback Craig Ochs threw an interception, giving the Aggies the ball and new life.

It took only two plays and 21 seconds for A&M to score to cut the Colorado lead to 24-21 with five minutes still remaining to play.  The Buffs were not able to run the remaining time off of the clock on their next possession, and the Aggies took over on their own nine-yard line with two minutes left.

Farris marched the Aggies quickly down the field, and had A&M on the edge of field goal range when a blitz by linebacker Kory Mossoni forced the Farris fumble.

“It was getting ugly out there for a while at the end,” Johnson said.  “We were definitely on our heels.”

Texas A&M coach R.C. Slocum agreed.  “We were confident the game was ours,” said Slocum.  “We had the momentum in the last drive and we felt good with how we were playing.  I have to give credit to Colorado for making the big plays.”

Colorado was held without a 100-rusher for the first time since the opening game loss to Fresno State, but the defense rose the occasion, holding A&M to 42 yards rushing.  Craig Ochs, despite the interception, was effective when he needed to be, connecting on 14-of-28 passing for 183 yards, including a touchdown and a two-point conversion completion to Derrick McCoy.  For his part, McCoy, replacing injured senior starter John Minardi, had a career-best 113 yards receiving on five catches.

The Buffs were now 5-1, 3-0 in Big 12 play.

The second consecutive win over a ranked team was enough to push the Buffs to a No. 14 ranking.  Discussion concerning the Buffs now centered on a run for the Big 12 Championship, a possibility which seemed ludicrous only a month earlier.  A win on the road against Texas, 5-1 and ranked No. 9, would possibly garner the Buffs a top ten ranking for the first time in four years.

The Buffs had won six of the last seven meetings with Texas, including three straight wins in Austin.  The Longhorns, despite the top ten ranking, were hurting.  A 14-3 loss to Oklahoma two weeks before the CU game had all but eliminated Texas from national title contention.  Texas handled Oklahoma State, 45-17, prior to meeting Colorado, but the 9th- ranked Longhorns still had something to prove.

The Buffs were about to face a reality check.

“Thanks, Fred”

Prior to the opening kickoff against Texas A&M, the 49,521 on hand for Homecoming were asked for a moment of silence in honor of Fred “The Count” Casotti, who had died the day before.  Casotti had suffered a series of strokes over the previous year, and had died from complications associated with recent setbacks.

Fred Casotti was the official historian for the University of Colorado Athletic Department.

He had first come to Boulder in the 1940’s, graduating from CU with a degree in journalism in 1949.  In 1952, after three years in his native Iowa, Fred returned to Boulder to take over as the Buffs’ sports publicity director.

He never left again.

Casotti worked for the next sixteen years in publicity, being elevated to associate athletic director in 1968 by CU head coach and athletic director Eddie Crowder.  Fred took the title of special assistant to the athletic director in 1985 under Bill Marolt, and was named the school’s official historian in 1987.  Casotti authored three books on CU football, and attended an incredible 477 CU football games.

But the numbers, as staggering as they are, do not tell the whole story.  The University of Colorado athletic department, particularly its football team, was Fred Casotti’s life.  The press box at Folsom Field had recently been named in his honor.

And I am honored to say that I knew him.

When I was looking through the CU media guide in 1996, in hopes of finding someone who would give me access to the CU historical records I would need to research this work, I noted the Staff Directory listing under the Director of Media Relations:

“Historian – Fred Casotti (Colorado ‘49) …………. 530-7072″.

It seemed like a good place to start, so I called.

Fred Casotti was not only accessible to this neophyte, he was supportive and accommodating.  He opened the doors to the Media Relations office to me and introduced me to Assistant Athletic Director / Media Relations Dave Plati.  While cautioning me that books about CU football, including all three of his, did not sell well, Casotti encouraged me to pursue my passion for CU football.

“What a special person Fred was,” said Bill Marolt the week of Casotti’s death.  “Fred didn’t have an agenda.  His agenda was CU and the athletic department.”

It was all too fitting that the Buffs played on the day after his death – in Folsom Field, on a crisp fall afternoon, on Homecoming, against a ranked opponent.

What would not have been appropriate would have been a Colorado loss.

Just when it looked like Texas A&M was going to rally for a win against Fred’s Buffs, Kory Mossoni forced a fumble which Joey Johnson picked up and returned for a touchdown.  It was the Buffs’ first fumble recovery of the season.

Was it just a coincidence?  Not to CU assistant coach John Wristen.  As he ran off of the field after the game, Wristen said, looking upwards: “You know that fumble at the end?  Thank you, Fred.”

Thank you, indeed.

 Game Notes … 

– Senior cornerback Terrence Wood had two interceptions against Texas A&M. Overall, Wood had four picks in his CU career. Ironically, enough, the four interceptions came in just two games, as Wood also had two against Colorado State (9/2/00).

– Texas A&M came to Boulder with a 5-0 record and a No. 25 national ranking. After losing to the Buffs, the Aggies lost three of its final five games to finish the regular season 7-4, 4-4 in Big 12 play. Texas A&M was invited to play TCU in the Galleryfurniture.com Bowl in Houston. The Aggies took out the Horned Frogs, 28-9, to finish the 2001 season with an 8-4 overall record.

– Fred Casotti wrote three books on Colorado football: Football: CU Style (1972); The Golden Buffaloes (1980); and CU Century: 100 Years of Colorado Football (1990).  I am proud to say that I have an autographed copy of the CU Century book. The inscription: “To Stuart – History can be fun – if it’s about the Colorado Buffaloes. I hope you enjoy these memories.”

October 13, 2007 – at Kansas State           Kansas State 47, Colorado 20

Senior tailback Hugh Charles rushed ran for a career high 171 yards and a score, but it was not enough to keep the Buffs in the contest, as Colorado fell to Kansas State, 47-20, in Manhattan. Kansas State running back James Johnson ran for 159 yards and two scores, and quarterback Josh Freeman threw for 214 yards and another score as the Wildcats became the first team to post over 40 points against the Buffs under Dan Hawkins.

The game was billed as a defensive struggle, with Colorado ranked 21st nationally in total defense; Kansas State 22nd. K-State came into the game ranked 23rd in scoring defense (19.6 points/game); Colorado 31st (20.7). The two teams, though, combined for 36 points in the first half alone.

Kansas State opened the scoring on their third possession as James Johnson scored from five yards out to cap a 69-yard drive. After the first of four Brooks Rossman field goals staked the Wildcats to a 10-0 lead, Kevin Eberhart hit from 50 yards out to pull the Buffs to within a touchdown.

A three-play, 69-yard drive by the Wildcats, though, gave the Wildcats a 17-3 lead late in the first quarter.

The Buffs looked to make a game of it in the second quarter, outscoring the Wildcats, 10-6. A Cody Hawkins to Jake Behrens one-yard touchdown pass was the only touchdown of the quarter. Later, Kevin Eberhart and Brooks Rossman traded field goals to make the score 20-13, Kansas State. With less than a minute remaining, the Buffs faced a fourth-and-one at the Wildcat 42-yard line. The attempt was unsuccessful, and KSU used the opportunity to move themselves into field goal position. A career best 52-yard field goal by Rossman gave the Wildcats a 23-13 lead at halftime.

The game was still very much in doubt until late in the third quarter. The Buffs and Wildcats traded touchdowns midway through the quarter, with Colorado’s score coming on a one-yard run by Hugh Charles.

With the score 33-20 after a fourth Rossman field goal, the Wildcats broke the game open when Buff punter Matt DiLallo dropped the snap from center. DiLallo’s punt was blocked and returned six yards for a touchdown, putting the game out of reach at 40-20.

The fourth quarter consisted mostly of a worn down CU defense surrendering yards, while the Buffs’ offense, no longer in a position to continues with its effective rushing attack, showing an inability to move the ball through the air. On the evening, Cody Hawkins connected on only 19 of 41 attempts, for 223 yards and three interceptions to go with his one touchdown.

“We got outplayed and we got out-coached,” said Dan Hawkins. “They really brought it to us.” Junior defensive tackle George Hypolite agreed. “They beat us in every phase of the game,”, said Hypolite. “They ran the ball well, threw the ball well, and played great on special teams. They beat us.”

One could argue that the Buffs had a hand in the loss as well. The Buffs actually had more first downs than the Wildcats (22-20), and, until the final few minutes of the game, when James Johnson ran for a 68-yard touchdown, more total yards on offense. Where the Buffs beat themselves was in turnovers (four, to none for the Wildcats), and penalties (10, for 91 yards). Colorado’s offense, despite generating 411 yards, sputtered when in mattered most, going 1-12 on third down conversions.

“I still like our team,” said Dan Hawkins. “I like our guys, and I like where we’re going.”

Where the Buffs were going, after two weeks on the road, was home. Home to face an undefeated (and 15th–ranked) Kansas Jayhawk team fresh from a 58-10 annihilation of Baylor. If Colorado was to be a player in the Big 12 North race, and not just another team looking for six wins and a bowl bid, the Buffs will have to play differently than they did on the road the last two weeks. They would have to play like they did the last time they were at home.

Like they had against Oklahoma.

Not Ready for Prime Time … 

It was all out there to be had. The Buffs were 4-2, 2-0 in Big 12 conference play. There was the No. 27 national ranking in the Associated Press poll. With the late start (7:21 p.m., MST), it was already clear that a win would result in Colorado being nationally ranked. Teams ranked 15th, 18th, 19th and 21st had already lost (along with the 26th ranked team), so a win would put the Buffs into the poll for the first time in two seasons. A win would leave Colorado, along with next week’s opponent, Kansas, as the only teams in the Big 12 undefeated in conference play. The Kansas/Colorado matchup would be the marquee game for the conference (who would have anticipated that two months earlier?).

In the darkness of the 47-20 thumping by Kansas State, there was one bright ray of light which burned brightly, illuminating the harsh reality.

These Buffs were not yet ready for prime time.

Yes, the Buffs were on prime time television Saturday night. Colorado was displayed before a national television audience on ESPN2, and the evening telecast did qualify as “prime time”. Still, this was not the prime time in the world of college football. Prime time was Saturday afternoon football, shown on ABC. Prime time was a match up between two nationally ranked teams, with the ESPN Game Day crew on hand to analyze every aspect of the game.

Prime time meant conference and national races would be impacted by the result.

Prime time was where the Colorado football program longed to return.,

The Buffs were not there – yet.

The Buffs made mistakes in every aspect of the game against Kansas State in looking more like the 2-10 2006 Buffs than the 4-2 2007 Buffs:

— The offense, despite a career high 171 yards from Hugh Charles, failed to consistently move the ball. Cody Hawkins reminded Buff fans that he was indeed a freshman quarterback. Hawkins forced the ball into difficult situations; he went for the long ball on third down instead of checking down and picking up the first down, trying to make every play a big play. And then every time it looked like the offense was in sync, a penalty stopped the momentum;

— The defense, which had stopped teams like Florida State and Oklahoma (which, by the way, placed speedy position players on the field equal to or superior to those of Kansas State), looked pedestrian against the Wildcats. Cornered runners were consistently able to outflank Buff defenders. Wide receivers were able to create separation.

— The special teams, which had contributed mightily to the Buffs’ upset win over Oklahoma, did not make any plays. Kevin Eberhart did make both of his field goal attempts, but Tyler Cope’s kickoffs never made the endzone, and Matt DiLallo’s fumble of the snap leading to a blocked punt for a touchdown turned the game into a rout. The Buffs did not surrender a big return to the Wildcats, but when Terrence Wheatley did have a long kickoff return, it was brought back on a penalty.

Four turnovers by the offense; none generated by the defense. Ten penalties for 91 yards. One-of-12 in third down conversions.

Those types of numbers would not defeat Baylor, much less a quality team on the road.

What now? Kansas, the surprise team of 2007 in the Big 12 (unless you want to count the complete meltdown in Lincoln), was coming to Boulder. The Jayhawks were 6-0, 2-0, and were celebrating their highest ranking (15th) since 1995. Kansas thumped Baylor, 58-10, with the Bears’ only touchdown coming on a kickoff return, to come through the weekend as the only remaining undefeated team in the conference, both in conference play and overall.

What did the Buffs have working for them?

First, the game was in Boulder. The Jayhawks were playing their first game outside of the Sunflower State (five home games; the only road game coming last weekend against Kansas State in Manhattan). Second, the game was to be played (mostly) in the afternoon. The game would be televised at 3:45 p.m., on ESPN. So far in 2007, the Buffs were 4-0 in games with kickoffs before 7:00 p.m.; 0-3 in games with later starts. Third, this figured to be an angry Buff team. Despite their youth, these Buffs played with a great deal of confidence. They knew they could play with anyone, and weren’t likely to be intimidated by a Kansas team which, despite its gaudy numbers, had yet to convert the national pundits of their merit as a national player.

A win for the Buffs would bring about much needed publicity to the Colorado program. A second win, over a ranked team, at home, will give the Buffs a fifth win on their way to six (and bowl eligibility), and bring CU one step closer to where it wanted to be.

A prime time program.

Extra Points … 

— Heralded freshman Ryan Miller made his first collegiate start against Kansas State. It marked the first start by a true freshman at the offensive tackle position in CU history;

— Hugh Charles, in running for a career-high 171 yards, posted his fourth consecutive 100-yard game, and ninth of his career. Charles moved past J.J. Flannigan Merwin Hodel, and Kayo Lam into 12th place on CU’s all time rushing list.

— Terrence Wheatley, with 128 yards in kickoff returns against the Wildcats, became only the fifth player in Buff history to accumulate over 1,000 yards in kickoff returns (1,065); and

— Against Kansas State, a new freshman record was set. Wide receiver Scotty McKnight moved his season receiving yards total to 374, eclipsing the record of 337 yards set by Chris McLemore in 1982.

Here is the YouTube video of the game, courtesy of CU at the Gamer Paul:

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October 13, 2018 – Los Angeles           USC 31, No. 19 Colorado 20

USC freshman quarterback J.T. Daniels passed for 272 yards and three touchdowns, leading the Trojans to a 31-20 victory over No. 19 Colorado. Daniels hit wide receiver Michael Pittman for two of those scores late in the second quarter, taking a 7-7 game and making it a 21-7 halftime lead for the Trojans.

CU all-everything wide receiver Laviska Shenault led the Buffs in both rushing and receiving. Shenault had nine receptions for 72 yards, but was held without a receiving touchdown for the first time all season. Shenault also had two carries for 46 yards, including a 49-yard scamper for a touchdown early in the second quarter, giving the Buffs a 7-0 advantage, the only CU lead of the game.

Steven Montez hit on 25-of-46 passes, well below his season average of over 75% completions. Montez had 168 yards passing, adding a 19-yard touchdown run late in the contest. Montez also threw a pick-six early in the third quarter, making it a 28-7 USC advantage.

“USC is a very good team, very experienced, very athletic”, said Mike MacIntyre, who fell to 0-6 against the Trojans. “We did a good job against the run. We gave up too many big plays against the pass. We made some fundamental errors”.

Continue reading Game Story here

Un-Lucky 13 – Buffs fail to break through (again) against the Trojans … 

The beatings date back to 1927.

On November 12, 1927, the University of Colorado Silver-and-Gold football team – still seven years away from taking the nickname “Buffaloes” – traveled to Los Angeles to take on the University of Southern California Trojans.

USC won that day, 46-7, setting the tone for the series, which now stands at 13-0 after the 31-20 setback in the Coliseum.

The Buffs tried again in the early 1960’s to earn a victory over the Trojans, but the result was a pair of shutout losses. USC triumphed in Boulder in 1963, 14-0, then won again the next year in Los Angeles, 21-0.

Nine more losses in the series followed, beginning in 2000 with a 17-14 loss, ending with a 38-24 loss in Boulder in 2017.

Twelve games … twelve losses … with most by lopsided scores (the Trojans had out-scored the Buffs 419-169 in those 12 games, for an average score of 35-14 … making the 31-20 final in 2018 right in line with tradition.

For their part, in the week leading up to match No. 13 against the Trojans, the Buffs tried to downplay the 0-12 all-time record.

“We are going to go in this game just like we’ve gone in these past five games,” said quarterback Steven Montez. “We come in, put in our work in the week and hopefully we play well on Saturdays. It is another game for us. It’s the next team on our schedule.”

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