CU Games of the Day – October 14th

October 14th … CU has a 3-1 record on this date over the past 40 years … 1989: No. 3 CU scored on all seven first half possessions en route to crushing Iowa State, 52-17 … 2000: Texas ran 35 of its 42 first half plays on the CU side of the field – but still only led 13-0 at halftime before pulling away for a 28-14 win … 2006: CU ended a school-record ten-game losing streak with a dominating 30-6 win over Texas Tech … 2017: Steven Montez threw a 13-yard touchdown to Bryce Bobo with 1:34 left and Colorado hung on for a 36-33 victory Saturday over Oregon State …

  • 1989: No. 3 Colorado 49, Missouri 3 … Colorado posted 662 yards of total offense, the third highest total ever.  The 9.19 yards/play average bettered the school mark by almost a full yard …
  • 2000: No. 25 Texas 28, Colorado 14 … For almost 55 minutes of their game against Colorado, the Longhorns allowed the struggling Buffs to stay in the game … 
  • 2006: Colorado 30, Texas Tech 6 … Bernard Jackson threw for two touchdowns and the Buffs took advantage of five Red Raider turnovers to collect their first victory under Dan Hawkins … Essay: “Be True to Your School” …
  • 2017: Colorado 36, Oregon State 33 … The Beavers made into the red zone seven times, but came away with only three touchdowns and four field goals. The Buffs, meanwhile, scored touchdowns on on four of its red zone opportunities … Essay: “Less Worse” … 

October 14, 1989 – at Iowa State          No. 3 Colorado 52, Iowa State 17

The 100th edition of the Colorado Buffaloes football team continued their assault on the record books as Colorado scored on all seven first half possessions en route to crushing Iowa State, 52-17.

The Cyclones stayed even with the Buffs through the first quarter, forging a 10-10 score with a 50-yard field goal on the first play of the second quarter.  Thereafter, though, it was all Buffs.  Colorado scored 35 points in the second quarter, setting a school record for points in that particular stanza.  The halftime total of 45 points was also a new school standard for one half, besting 41 points laid on Northwestern in 1978.

In all, Colorado posted 662 yards of total offense, the third highest total ever.  The 9.19 yards/play average bettered the school mark by almost a full yard.  Leading the slaughter was Darian Hagan, who ran for two scores and connected with Mike Pritchard through the air for two more.  For his 269 yards of total offense, which included a career-high 187 yards passing, Hagan was named the Big Eight Offensive Player-of-the-Week.

Still, the Buffs took a hit in the first quarter as Eric Bieniemy was injured.  Bieniemy broke the fibula bone in his right leg on his fifth carry of the afternoon.  In six games, Bieniemy had rushed for 561 yards and nine touchdowns.  Picking up the slack were senior J.J. Flannigan, who ran for 79 yards and two touchdowns against Iowa State, and redshirt freshman Todd Bell, who collected 85 yards on 12 carries, including his first career touchdown in the third quarter.

All phases of the Colorado game were on track.  The offense was spectacular; the defense dominant.  Even the special teams were excellent.  Ken Culbertson was on the brink of a school record for consecutive extra points; Tom Rouen was leading the nation in punting; and the kick coverage and return teams were amongst the conference’s best.

In sum, the Buffs were playing like a top five team …

… and the nation was noticing.

In the next poll of Associated Press writers, the Buffs picked up another first place vote, giving Colorado three No. 1 votes overall. Colorado also gained ground overall on both No. 1 Notre Dame and No. 2 Miami.  Colorado was now 6-0; 2-0 in Big Eight play.

A game against Kansas was all now stood between Colorado and the Oklahoma, Nebraska, Oklahoma State trifecta which would determine the Buffs’ conference and national fate.

Game Notes … 

– The 662 yards of total offense against Iowa State was the 3rd-highest in school history at the time (behind only the 676 yards put up against Oklahoma State in 1971, and the 675 yards posted against Air Force in 1970).

– The record for points in a single quarter remained at 38 points, which the Buffs scored against Colorado Mines in the third quarter of a 58-0 rout in 1935. The 35 put up against Iowa State in the second quarter of the 1989 game, however, did set a new standard for that particular quarter.

– The 45 points in the first half was also a new best, not surpassed until the Buffs put up 49 points against Northeast Louisiana in 1995. Though the overall record was broken in 1995, the 45 points remained the standard for a half in a Colorado road game.

– Darian Hagan had his best passing day of the 1989 season, completing eight-of-ten passes for 187 yards and two touchdowns. Coupled with his 87 yards rushing, Hagan’s 269 yards of total offense set a 1989 season standard. Despite not having to play the entire game, Hagan was named the Big Eight Offensive Player-of-the-Week.

– Surprisingly, despite a season high 662 yards of total offense and 29 first downs, Colorado did not have a single 100-yard rusher against Iowa State.

– The 1989 Iowa State game was a career highlight for freshman tailback Matt Bell. His 12 carries for 85 yards were career highs, and Bell scored his only touchdown as a Buff against the Cyclones. For the 1989 season, Bell, who had 19 carries coming into the game, would only have ten more carries the remainder of the season. He sat out the 1990 season on a disciplinary suspension, and was gone from the roster by 1991.

– Junior Tim James had two interceptions against Iowa State. James would go on to lead the team in interceptions in 1989, with four total.

– While the Buffs were in Iowa taking care of the Cyclones, No. 1 Notre Dame was in the Centennial State, besting previously unbeaten Air Force in Colorado Springs, 41-27. No. 2 Miami, meanwhile, was mauling San Jose State, 48-16, and No. 4 Nebraska, supplanted by the Buffs at the No.3 spot, took care of Missouri, 50-7.

– Despite the blowout loss to Colorado, Iowa State would go on to post a 6-5 record in 1989, the first – and only – winning record for the Cyclones in the eight year tenure of head coach Jim Walden.

October 14, 2000 – Boulder          No. 25 Texas 28, Colorado 14

For almost 55 minutes of their game against Colorado, the Texas Longhorns allowed the struggling Buffs to stay in the game.

Then, with 5:36 to play, Texas running back Hodges Mitchell, whose two fumbles had allowed the Buffs to keep in close, took a short pass and turned it into a 42-yard touchdown which sealed the 28-14 win for Texas.

It should not have been that close.

On the fourth play of the game, Colorado receiver Roman Hollowell fumbled at the Buffs’ 42-yard line. It would be the Buffs’ deepest penetration until the third quarter. In the first half, Colorado had only 22 total yards, including a minus-7 yard effort in the second quarter. Texas began most of its first half possessions near midfield or in Colorado territory, with its average starting position being the Colorado 48 yard line.

In all, the Longhorns ran 35 of its 42 first half plays on the CU side of the field – but still only led 13-0 at halftime.

The Colorado defense, it goes without saying, put in a solid effort.

When it appeared that the Buffs were on their way to being shutout for the first time since 1988, the defense took matters into their own hands. Early in the third quarter, Hodges Mitchell fumbled when hit by linebacker Andy Peeke, with Jashon Sykes picking up the loose ball and carrying it 50 yards for a score. Suddenly, the Buffs were back in the game, 13-7.

Just as quickly, though, Texas regained control.

Covering 95 yards in only five plays, the Longhorns went back on top, 21-7. On their next series, the Buffs were forced to punt, and some of the 52,030 picked up to leave. But Mitchell fumbled the punt, with the ball recovered by CU’s Robbie Robinson at the Texas 13-yard line. On the next play, Cortlen Johnson ran 13 yards for the score, and, once again, the Buffs were back in the game, 21-14.

Despite generating no offense on the day, Colorado remained competitive until Mitchell’s late touchdown.

“We got beat up-front early and lost our confidence in the running game”, lamented Gary Barnett. “Then when we tried to throw it, either Craig (Ochs) struggled or they covered us pretty well. Offenses in the 21st century are so quarterback-oriented that if your quarterback has a bad day, your going to struggle, and we did.”

With the win, the Longhorns ended six-game losing streak to Colorado. The Longhorns held the Buffs to 133 total yards (55 rushing; 78 passing), the lowest output by the Colorado offense in 15 years. Cortlen Johnson had 73 yards rushing on 18 carries, but Craig Ochs, making his first start in front of the Folsom Field faithful, went 11-for-32 for 69 yards, with two interceptions and six sacks (for a minus-53 yards rushing).

The loss left Colorado with a 1-5 record for the 2000 season.

With No. 1 Nebraska still looming on the horizon, the Buffs’ chances of post-season play were now virtually non-existent. The much talked about early season stretch of tough games was now history, and Colorado had failed to survive the test. Up next were the four “easy” games on the schedule: at Kansas; Oklahoma State; at Missouri;  and Iowa State. All four of those teams, though, while not as talented as all of the ranked teams Colorado had played in the first half of the season, had better records than did the Buffs.

Up first was Kansas, 3-3 and coming off of a 38-17 drubbing of Missouri. While the Buffs held a dominating 36-20-1 record in the series, the Jayhawks had managed two wins in the past five meetings.

Colorado did not have the right to look past anyone.

Game Notes … 

– In addition to recovering a fumble which directly led to a Colorado touchdown, junior safety Robbie Robinson also had 19 tackles (14 solo) against Texas. Both the total number of tackles and the number of solo tackles were season-highs for the Buff defense. Robinson would go on to finish third on the team in tackles in 2000, with 97 (66 solo).

–  Sophomore guard Justin Bates was injured during the Texas game with an ankle sprain. In his place, red-shirt freshman Marwan Hage had to step in. Both players would go on to have distinguished careers for the Buffs, but the loss of Bates helped the Longhorn defense post six sacks.

– The loss to Texas gave Colorado a four game home losing streak, the longest since the Buffs’ opened the 1982 season with six straight losses. (CU played seven home games in 1982, winning the seventh, 28-3, over Kansas).

– Colorado came into the 2000 contest against Texas having defeated the Longhorns in six consecutive contests.  The Buffs failed in their attempt to become the first to defeat Texas seven consecutive times, leaving Colorado in a tie with Oklahoma, SMU, and Texas A&M as the only teams to accomplish the feat six times.  The win was the first for Texas over Colorado since the 1975 Bluebonnet Bowl. Overall, Colorado still led the series, 6-5, with all four of the Longhorns’ previous four victories coming between 1940 and 1975.

– In an oddity in scoring, Texas had two touchdowns on the afternoon – with both coming on 42-yard passes – as well as two field goals – both 30 yards in length.

– Longtime Colorado Athletic Director and official historian, Fred Casotti, suffered a mild stroke the morning of the CU game, missing his first CU home game since 1952.  Casotti was reported to be in fair condition by the end of the day.

– The win over Colorado propelled Texas to a seven-game winning streak to close out the regular season. After taking out No. 24 Texas A&M, 43-17, to complete the regular season, the 9-2 and 12th-ranked Longhorns were invited to play No. 8 Oregon in the Holiday Bowl. The Ducks defeated the Longhorns, 35-30, with Texas finishing the 2000 season with a 9-3 record and a No. 12 national ranking.

October 14, 2006 – Boulder           Colorado 30, Texas Tech 6

Colorado ended a school-record ten-game losing streak with a dominating 30-6 win over Texas Tech. Bernard Jackson threw for two touchdowns and the Buffs took advantage of five Red Raider turnovers to collect their first victory under Dan Hawkins.

The Buffs scored on their first possession of the game for the sixth time in seven games, with a 28-yard pass from Bernard Jackson to tight end Riar Geer finishing off a five-play, 65-yard drive. Early in the second quarter, Jackson picked up touchdown pass No. 2 with a 29-yarder to Jarrell Yates.

Two field goals from All-American kicker Mason Crosby, including a 56-yarder, gave Colorado a 20-0 halftime advantage. Another long Crosby kick, this time from 53 yards out, upped the lead to 23-0 in the third quarter.

Texas Tech got on the scoreboard with an 11-yard touchdown pass from Graham Harrell to Danny Amendola early in the fourth quarter. The 50,233 on hand in Folsom Field had to wonder if another CU collapse was imminent, but the Buffs recovered the ensuing onsides kick, then took advantage of the short field to put the game away. A one yard run by Bernard Jackson with 3:27 to play closed out the scoring, giving the Buffs their first win since the previous November.

The Colorado offense went for 380 total yards on the day, with Hugh Charles going for 119 yards on 17 carries to lead the 228-yard rushing attack … the first time the Buffs had posted over 200 yards rushing in consecutive games since 2002.

The real stars of the game, though, played for the Buff defense. Overall, Colorado held an explosive Red Raider passing attack to 245 yards – 105 yards below its season average – and forcing five turnovers. Safety Ryan Walters collected the first two interceptions of his career, linebacker Jordon Dizon posted a career-high 16 tackles (11 unassisted), with defensive end Abraham Wright making a key fourth-down sack late in the first half when Texas Tech was still down only 14-0.

Up next for the 1-6 Buffs … a road trip to Norman to face No. 20 Oklahoma.

A winning streak for the still struggling Buffs was not likely in the offing – but they did get to enjoy a win for the first time in 11 months.

Be True to Your School … 

The Texas Tech game had long been on my fall calendar. There were only two CU home games in October, Baylor and Texas Tech. The Red Raiders were a pre-season top 25 pick, while the Bears were seen as one of the gimme wins on the schedule. As my custom has always been to make the 1,400 mile round trip only for the marque games, the CU/Texas Tech game was the easy choice when travel plans were made during the summer of 2006.

The logic behind the trip seemed less defensible, though, after the Baylor loss. The Buffs had just lost for the 10th time in a row, and, as gut-wrenching as the loss to Baylor had been, it was all the more exasperating because it was, well, Baylor. This was a team we were supposed to beat – always. Now the Buffs had a home game against a very potent Texas Tech squad, followed by two road games. The question the week before the game with the Red Raiders was not whether the Buffs would set the all-time record for futility, but how long the streak would extend before the saga would come to a merciful end.

Apparently, I was not the only one questioning whether the trip was worthwhile. I questioned Randy early in the week to see if he was still willing to make the pilgrimage with me. He was. I received emails from both Tony in Boulder and Brad in Denver asking if I was still planning on enduring the dull ride through desolate eastern Wyoming.

My email reply to both of my Colorado cohorts included the title of an old Beach Boys tune, “Be True to Your School“. For those who can’t summon the memory, the chorus goes like this:

So be true to your school now

Just like you would to your girl or boy

Be true to your school now

And let your colors fly

Be true to your school

I will admit that when we entered Folsom Field on that overcast afternoon, I did not harbor much hope for a Buff victory. Yes, Texas Tech had lost the previous weekend to Missouri – but it had taken five turnovers, including two interception returns for touchdowns, to do in the Red Raiders. I told Randy before kickoff that if we did receive five turnovers, we would have a chance, but my analysis was more gallows humor than a prediction.

The numbers were right there before us:

— Texas Tech had the third ranked passing attack in the country; Colorado’s pass defense was ranked 103rd;

— The Buffs’ passing attack was ranked a lowly 115th, with the Red Raider pass defense ranked 8th;

— Colorado’s scoring offense (even with the 31 points from the Baylor game), was ranked 109th; Tech’s scoring defense was 43rd.

Logic was not on our side. The Buffs’ pass defense, the weak link on the team, was going up against the offense which had won four straight NCAA passing titles. There was no television coverage, as for the second consecutive week, the Buffs were not deemed worthy of air time.

Still, they don’t play the game on paper, so there we were, alongside a surprisingly large crowd of 50,233, to cheer on the Buffs.

When the Buffs scored on their opening drive (which had become their custom), I was pleased but not sold. When the Buffs went up 20-0 just before halftime, I was just as shocked as everyone else. When the Buffs went up 23-0 late in the third quarter, I remarked to Brad and Randy, “I can’t remember ever being this nervous about a three-score lead”.

Would the Buffs hold on? Colorado had a 13-0 lead at Georgia, but let the game slip away. This 0-6 team had never finished off an opponent under Dan Hawkins. Could they now?

Oh, my, yes! When Bernard Jackson scored from a yard out with 3:27 to play to raise the lead to 30-6, I was ready to celebrate. So was everyone else. It was icing on the cake came when Thaddaeus Washington intercepted a Graham Harrell pass with just over a minute to play, giving the Buffs their fifth turnover on the afternoon. I flashed a smile at Randy – we had gotten our five turnovers.

I was a little upset that the students stormed the field after the clock hit 0:00. After all, it was just one win, and not even one over a ranked opponent. As Dan Hawkins put it, “I’d degrade the Buffalo tradition if I was going to do a back flip over 1-6”. Still, when I saw Hugh Charles and Bernard Jackson being hoisted on the shoulders of throngs of well-wishers, I had to concede that the students and the student athletes deserved to savor the moment. Though high up in the stands, I was enjoying the moment just as much as they.

The drive home was unusually short. It gets that way after a big win. The streak had come to an end. The gruesome finish to the 2005 season began to fade from memory. The ugly start to the Hawkins’ era seemed a little more palatable. There were good times to come in Boulder.

As always, enduring the struggles made the victories all the sweeter.

Be true to your school.

Game Notes …

– Colorado ran 40 of its 65 offensive plays in plus-territory.

– The Buffs did not commit a penalty against the Red Raiders, only the fourth time in school history – and the first time since September 21, 1985 – that a Colorado team played an entire game without a blemish.

– The touchdown catch by Jarrell Yates came on the first catch of his career, the first time a Buff scored on his first career catch since James Kidd in 1993.

– Halftime ceremonies honored former Buff star Bobby Anderson, just the fourth Colorado player inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame.

– For their efforts, Mason Crosby and Ryan Walters were named the Big 12 Conference Players-of-the-Week. Crosby earned special teams honors (3-of-3 field goal attempts, including two of over 50 yards), while Ryan Walters was the defensive honoree (four tackles, two interceptions, two third down stops).

– Texas Tech would go on to post an 8-5 record overall (4-4 in Big 12 play), including a 44-41 overtime win over Minnesota in the Bowl.

October 14, 2017 – at Oregon State           Colorado 36, Oregon State 33

Steven Montez threw a 13-yard touchdown to Bryce Bobo with 1:34 left and Colorado hung on for a 36-33 victory Saturday over Oregon State, which was playing its first game since the sudden departure of head coach Gary Andersen.

Montez threw for 168 yards and a pair of touchdowns and also caught a scoring pass from Bobo, who finished with nine catches for 126 yards. Phillip Lindsay ran for 185 yards and two touchdowns, falling just 5 yards short of reaching 1,000 yards rushing for the second-straight season.

Jordan Choukair’s 52-yard field goal attempt for the Beavers with 10 seconds left was short, denying Oregon State of the upset. Ryan Nall finished with 172 yards rushing and three touchdowns, but the Beavers, who punted only once all game, could not finish off its final drive of the game.

Continue reading story here

Less Worse … 

Colorado defeated Oregon State, 36-33, when Buff quarterback Steven Montez hit wide receiver Bryce Bobo for the go-ahead score with 1:34 remaining, with Beaver kicker Jordan Choukair missing wide right on a 52-yard attempt with ten seconds left.

The Buffs won, but that doesn’t mean they were the better team on the day.

They were just less worse than the Beavers, who hadn’t finished within four touchdowns of an FBS opponent all season.

Still, I refuse to allow the near miss loss to deter my satisfaction taken from the Buffs’ win.

I owe it to a little bit of added perspective I gained in the days and hours leading up to the fateful final moments at Reser Stadium.

Continue reading Game Essay here


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