CU Games of the Day – October 15th

October 15th … CU has a 3-3 record on this date over the past 40 years … 1983: Playing in a gusty wind, the Iowa State Cyclones blew away the bumbling Buffs, 22-10 … 1988: The Buffs moved to 5-1 for the first time in three years with a 21-9 win over Kansas … 1994: No. 22 Oklahoma, which had not been shut out in 123 games dating back to 1983, managed a consolation score with only 23 seconds remaining to make the final 45-7 in a rout (including video) … 2005: Texas quarterback Vince Young led the 2nd-ranked Longhorns to five first half touchdowns, leading the way to a 42-17 rout of 24th-ranked Colorado … 2011: The Washington Huskies, in their first game against Colorado since 2000, ran over, through and around the Buffs, dominating from start to finish in a  52-24 rout … 2016: Phillip Lindsay rushed for 219 yards and three touchdowns, leading the Colorado Buffaloes to their first win over Arizona State in their history, 40-16.

  • 1983: Iowa State 22, Colorado 10 … Steve Vogel was so ineffective at quarterback that Derek Marshall subbed in after Vogel went 3-for-16 passing, as the Buffs suffered a third straight loss to the Cyclones …
  • 1988: Colorado 21, Kansas 9 … If there was ever a team to provide a tonic for a 1988 Buff squad licking its collective wounds after a discouraging loss to Oklahoma State, it was Kansas … 
  • 1994: No. 4 Colorado 45, No. 22 Oklahoma 7 … The Rocky Mountain News banner headline after Colorado dismantled Oklahoma 45-7 before a national ESPN audience said it all:  “Buffs make a run for No. 1?” … Essay: “An Evening in Paradise”
  • 2005: No. 2 Texas 42, No. 24 Colorado 17 … Vince Young, the Heisman Trophy front-runner, connected on 25-of-29 passes for 336 yards and two touchdowns, rushing for another 58 yards and three more touchdowns, as the Longhorns scored touchdowns on their first five possessions.… Essay: “It was Nice While it Lasted” … 
  • 2011: Washington 52, Colorado 24 … Washington quarterback Keith Price had 230 yards and four yards touchdowns passing … at halftime, as the Huskies scored on all six first half possessions and never looked back … “Loyal, We Will Be To You” …
  • 2016: Colorado 40, No. 24 Arizona State 16 … What the Buffs did, however, in taking down Arizona State in dominating fashion, was to make a “statement”. They made a statement to their fans, to the national media, and, most importantly, to the rest of the Pac-12 … Essay: “Making A Statement”

October 15, 1983 – at Iowa State          Iowa State 22, Colorado 10

Playing in a gusty wind, the Iowa State Cyclones blew away the bumbling Buffs, 22-10.

The Iowa State homecoming crowd was sent home happy, as for the third straight game the Colorado offense had great difficulty in finding the opposition’s goal. Lee Rouson was switched from fullback to halfback for the game to try an add a spark to the offense. Rouson responded with 93 yards, but it took 29 carries to produce those yards. Steve Vogel was so ineffective at quarterback that Derek Marshall subbed in after Vogel went 3-for-16 passing.

Unlike the Notre Dame and Missouri games, the Buffs were in the game against the Cyclones throughout.

The score was 13-10 late in the first half, with the Buffs scoring on a 26-yard Tom Field field goal and a 14-yard touchdown pass from Steve Vogel to Loy Alexander. Cyclone quarterback David Archer, though, hit David Gantt for a 14-yard score and a 19-10 halftime lead for Iowa State (the PAT attempt was blocked).

After a scoreless third quarter, Colorado had a first-and-goal at the Iowa State nine yard line on the first series of the fourth quarter. Three plays netted one yard, however, forcing a field goal attempt. The snap on a 25-yard field goal attempt by Tom Field, however, was fumbled by quarterback Derek Marshall, leading to a miss by Field … and an end to the Buffs’ chances.

“We kept getting the opportunities, but we couldn’t do anything with them,” said Bill McCartney. “Those were two evenly balanced teams, and we had our opportunities, but we didn’t convert.”

Lee Rouson did manage to set an obscure team record in the game against Iowa State. Rouson, over the course of four possessions, had 14 consecutive carries. The record, though, was more of a comment about the lack of variety of weapons in the Colorado arsenal than it was about the talents of Lee Rouson …

Iowa State had been 2-3 coming into the contest, but the Buffs made the Cyclones look more like Sooners or Huskers.

Did someone say Huskers?

– Game Notes …

– The win gave Iowa State three consecutive wins over Colorado in the series for the first time since 1948-50. The win was also the fifth in six games by the Cyclones overall in the series.

– The Iowa State game marked the fifth straight game in which Derek Marshall saw action in place of Steve Vogel.

– The win gave Iowa State a 3-3 record for the 1983 season under first-year head coach Jim Criner. The Cyclones, though, would win only one game the remainder of the season, finishing with a 4-7 record (3-4 in Big Eight play).

– Junior running back Lee Rouson had a season-high 29 carries against Iowa State, gaining 93 yards. Rouson would go on to lead the team in rushing on the 1983 season, gaining 494 yards on 120 carries – and no touchdowns.

October 15, 1988 – at Kansas           Colorado 21, Kansas 9

If there was ever a team to provide a tonic for a 1988 Buff squad licking its collective wounds after a discouraging loss to Oklahoma State, it was Kansas.

The Jayhawks were 0-5 on the season, coming off of a 63-10 rout at the hands of the No. 9 Nebraska Cornhuskers. Overall, the Jayhawks had won only one game out of their previous 23, and were being outscored in 1988 by an average margin of 48-16.

While the CU/Kansas game was on the road – always a dangerous proposition for Colorado – the Buffs played well enough to take care of business and secure a 21-9 victory.

Eric Bieniemy was the offensive hero, scoring two touchdowns on his way to 195 yards rushing.

Bieniemy=s first score came just two minutes into the game, as the Buffs converted a turnover on the Jayhawks= first play from scrimmage. Colorado was up 7-0 with 12:39 still to play in the first quarter, and it appeared as if the rout was on. But the Jayhawks, playing before their homecoming crowd, made a game of it, pulling to within 7-6 before Bieniemy notched his second score from a yard out just before half.

In the third quarter, Bieniemy carried ten times, including eight times in a row, in an 80-yard march as the Buffs extended their lead. Quarterback Sal Aunese finished off the drive with a one-yard run, making it a 21-6, Colorado, late in the third. A Kansas field goal with just over six minutes remaining closed out the scoring, with the Jayhawks settling for a 21-9 final.

Overall, the Buffs rushed for 310 yards on the afternoon, with this number accounting for all of the Colorado offense. The Buffs attempted only four passes against the Jayhawks, and all four fell incomplete. The Kansas game, played in decent weather (the Jayhawks threw the ball 35 times) represented the first time Colorado had been held without a completion since 1966.

Nonetheless, the Buffs were now 5-1 for the first time in three years.

While still only a blip on the radar screen in the AP poll, Colorado, which had fallen from 19th to 25th in the USA Today/CNN coaches= poll after the loss to Oklahoma State, bounced back to 22nd with the victory over the Jayhawks.

Still, there remained an opportunity for the Buffs to make a national statement in 1988.

And it presented itself in the form of the 8th-ranked Oklahoma Sooners.

Game Notes … 

– Eric Bieniemy carried the ball 34 times against Kansas, a season-high for any Colorado rusher.

– Kansas managed only three field goals to offset the Buffs’ three touchdowns, but the game could have had a different outcome. The Colorado defense gave up yardage (Kansas out-gained Colorado, 378 yards to 310), but held when it mattered. The Jayhawks’ field goals were all from relatively short range – 25, 27, and 32 yards – but Kansas could not get the ball over the Colorado goal line.

– Sophomore linebacker Kanavis McGhee was the defensive star for Colorado against Kansas. McGhee had 14 tackles (12 solo), and also had an interception.

– The last time Colorado was held without a pass completion was back in 1966, when the Buffs went 0-for-5 passing in a 26-0 win over Missouri. Against Kansas, both Sal Aunese and Darian Hagan had two pass attempts, with all four pass falling incomplete.

– Kansas played the entire game without a penalty. It was the first time Colorado had been involved in a game without one team getting a flag since the Buffs went without a penalty against Ohio State in 1985.

– The win gave Colorado a four game winning streak in the series, the first such winning streak for the Buffs against the Jayhawks since 1969-72. The win was also the Buffs’ third straight in Lawrence, evening the series record in games played at Kansas at 11-11-3 (Colorado maintained a 15-7 record in Boulder; 1-0 in a 1905 game played in Denver).

– Kansas, in its first season under head coach Glen Mason, would win only one game in 1988. The Jayhawks made the win count, though, coming in a 30-12 win over rival Kansas State.

October 15, 1994 – Boulder                 No. 4 Colorado 45, No. 22 Oklahoma 7

It was now official.

What had been dreamed of since the “Miracle in Michigan” could now be spoken of openly.  The Rocky Mountain News banner headline after Colorado dismantled Oklahoma 45-7 before a national ESPN audience said it all:  “Buffs make a run for No. 1?”.

Not to be outdone, the Denver Post headline proclaimed:  “Taking aim at No. 1?”.

Before the Buffs took the field to set about defeating the Sooners by the largest margin in the history of the series, the players and fans all knew that the No. 1 team in the nation, Florida, had been defeated 36-33 by Auburn.  The 45-7 thrashing of the Sooners before a night game crowd of 53,199 proved to the nation that the undefeated Colorado Buffaloes had to be reckoned with on the national stage.

Colorado dominated the game from the outset, and the line score for the first half look like a series of misprints.

The Buffs’ first three scores:

Salaam 7-yard run (Voskeritchian kick);

Salaam 7-yard run (Voskeritchian kick); and

Salaam 7-yard run (Voskeritchian kick).

For Colorado’s final score of the first half, the Buffs threw the Sooners a curve:  “Salaam 9 yard run”.  Salaam’s fourth first half touchdown came with 7:19 to play in the second quarter, and gave the Buffs a commanding 28-0 lead.  Overall, Salaam contributed 161 yards rushing, 153 of which were procured by halftime.

The Buffs were also economic in dismantling the Sooners. The first touchdown drive, midway through the first quarter, took only five plays to cover 67 yards. The second touchdown drive, late in the first quarter, took eight plays to cover 41 yards, and, despite being the shortest of the four first-half scoring drives, was the only one to take over two minutes of game time.

The third touchdown drive, coming early in the second quarter, came after an Oklahoma turnover, and covered only 18 yards. Then, after allowing the Sooners their first first down of the game, Salaam scored his fourth touchdown of the first half, culminating a 66-yard touchdown drive which took all of four plays.

With a day’s work already in hand, Salaam carried the ball twice more in the third, then sat for the remainder of the game as his Buffs enjoyed a 28-0 lead.

Salaam finished the game with 161 rush yards and four touchdowns on 25 carries. He had officially topped the 1,000 yard mark in just six games while he continued to set the pace for most of the nation’s other top performers. His performance brought with it even more talk of his winning the Heisman Trophy but, as he did all year, Salaam continually deflected such conversation.

“It was a team playing out there,” said Salaam. “It wasn’t just me. It must be viewed as a team effort”.

In the second half, freshman tailbacks Herchell Troutman and Lendon Henry saw extensive action, each contributing a touchdown as Colorado built a 45-0 lead.  Oklahoma, which had not been shut out in 123 games dating back to 1983, managed a consolation score with only 23 seconds remaining to make the final 45-7.

For Colorado players, the lopsided win against the Sooners had to be kept in perspective.  “We know we can’t let down once this season,” said Salaam.   “None of the first (six) games – the ‘Miracle in Michigan’ or my 300 yards in Texas – will mean a thing if we lose just one Big Eight game.”

The “one game at a time” sentiment was echoed by defensive tackle Shannon Clavelle:  “Our job is too keep winning football games.  We’ll let the media take care of polls and decide whose No. 1.  But if we keep beating teams like we have, we’ve got to be getting close.”

Indeed.

With the win, the Buffs leap-frogged over Nebraska to the No. 2 spot in the nation, trailing No. 1 Penn State by only 13 overall points (1487-1474).  Nebraska fell from No. 2 to No. 3 despite defeating 16th-ranked Kansas State, 17-6.  The perception now was that the Buffs had the stronger team.  Colorado had faced four ranked teams, the most of any national contender.

Games against Kansas State and Nebraska were all that stood in the way of the Buffs first undefeated regular season since 1989, and first Big Eight title since 1991.

An evening in Paradise

For the second time in 1994, the Buffs had to move a game to a 7:45 p.m. kickoff in order to be the national ESPN game.  Also for the second time in 1994, the Buffs crushed a nationally ranked opponent on the national stage.  The 55-17 rout of No. 10 Wisconsin under the lights at Folsom was fun, but the shredding of the vaunted Oklahoma Sooners was special.

Sure, the Sooners were not the dynasty of old, and the Buffs now had a six game unbeaten streak (5-0-1) since 1989 against Oklahoma, but this game was almost too perfect.  The weather was a bit chilly (49 degrees at kickoff), but the game was unforgettable.

I was not alone in the sentiment.

For some of the players, even though they had never lost to Oklahoma, the game was still sweet payback.  “When I was a kid I used to dream about Colorado beating Oklahoma like this, but I never thought it could happen,” said senior right tackle Derek West, a product of Pomona High School in Arvada.  “Before the game I was thinking about the 82-42 loss Colorado had against Oklahoma (in 1980).  It’s a heck of a lot of fun to beat these guys like this.  It’s been a long time coming.”

The Denver Post’s Woody Paige spoke for the rest of us when he noted: “Buffaloes never forget.  They finally got revenge for 1962 … and 1971, 1974, 1977, 1979, 1980, 1981, 1982, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1986, and all those other seasons when the Sooners were rubbing the Buffs’ noses in the artificial turf of Boulder and Norman.”

The drive home to Montana that Sunday seemed that much shorter.  I read and re-read the newpapers’ accounts of the game.  Defeating Nebraska was always the No. 1 goal, but a lopsided win over Oklahoma was definitely sweet.  Contrary to my nature, I didn’t start worrying about Kansas State for a least a day or two.

1994 seemed to be a charmed season, and I was glad to be along for the ride.

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

– Game Notes –

– The 53,199 on hand for the Oklahoma game was the sixth-largest in Folsom Field history. The crowd, though, was only the second-best crowd of 1994, with 53,457 having been on hand for the Wisconsin game in September. The 53,199 was also only the third-best crowd ever for an Oklahoma game, with the 53,553 in attendance for the 1979 game against the Sooners the largest-ever Folsom Field crowd.

– The 45-7 victory marked the largest margin of victory for Colorado in a game against Oklahoma. The previous best for a Buff team against the Sooners were all 17-point victories, coming in 1989 (20-3), 1991 (34-17), and 1993 (27-10).

– The victory over the Sooners gave Colorado a 5-0-1 run against Oklahoma since 1989. Previous to the Buffs’ win in 1989, Oklahoma had won 12 straight games against Colorado. Even with the winning streak, Colorado only owned 14 wins all-time against Oklahoma, with the series now standing at a lopsided 34-13-2.

– Rashaan Salaam had 25 carries for 161 yards and four touchdowns against Oklahoma. Despite playing for only a little over a half, Salaam was named the Big Eight Offensive Player-of-the-Week.

– For the second time in 1994, Salaam matched the school record for touchdowns in a game. Salaam’s four touchdowns matched the four he had against Wisconsin earlier in the season, the 11th and 12th time in school history a Buff had posted four touchdowns in a single game. Salaam would go on to post the new record for touchdowns in a season, with 24, besting the 19 touchdowns scored by Bobby Anderson in 1969. Salaam’s point total, 144, would also be a new record, bettering the 122 points of Byron White way back in 1937 (White had 16 touchdowns, 23 PAT’s, and a field goal, while Salaam had 24 touchdowns).

– Chris Hudson, who would go on to win the Jim Thorpe Award, given to the nation’s top defensive back, was also the Buffs’ leading punt returner. Hudson had 29 punt returns in 1994, going for 248 yards (a 8.6 per return average). Hudson’s longest return of the season, 54 yards, came against the Sooners.

– Oklahoma, which had been ranked as high as No. 15 earlier in the 1994 season, fell out of the top 25 after losing to Colorado. The Sooners would go on to win three of their next four games, but a 13-3 to Nebraska in the regular season finale, followed by a 31-6 loss to BYU in the Copper Bowl, left Oklahoma with a 6-6 record in 1994, and signaled the end of the Gary Gibbs era in Norman. Gibbs had been hired prior to the 1989 season, and had managed only three minor bowl appearances (Gator, Sun, and Copper) in his six seasons. Gibbs left Oklahoma with an overall record of 44-23-2 … and an 0-5-1 record against Colorado. Howard Schnellenberger, who had guided Miami to a national championship in 1983, was hired to replace Gibbs.

October 15, 2005 – at Texas           No. 2 Texas 42, No. 24 Colorado 17

Texas quarterback Vince Young led the 2nd-ranked Longhorns to five first half touchdowns, leading the way to a 42-17 rout of 24th-ranked Colorado.

Young, a Heisman Trophy front-runner, connected on 25-of-29 passes for 336 yards and two touchdowns, rushing for another 58 yards and three more touchdowns, as the Longhorns scored touchdowns on their first five possessions to remove any doubts about a hangover after the win over Oklahoma the previous week.

After Colorado failed to secure a first down on its first possession of the game, Young led Texas on a methodical, 16-play, 90-yard drive, culminated on a one-yard run by Young to give the Longhorns a 7-0 lead.

On the Longhorns’ second possession, Young scored on a 16-yard run to finish off a 67 yard drive. After Joel Klatt threw his first interception in two games, Young hit Brian Carter for a 62 yard gain to set up a five-yard touchdown run by Selvin Young, and the rout was on.

A third touchdown run for Young, followed by a 35-yard touchdown pass to Limas Sweed, completed a near perfect first half for the Texas quarterback. The Buffs did manage to post two scores, a 48-yard field goal by Mason Crosby and an eight yard touchdown pass from Klatt to Evan Judge on the last play before halftime, making the score 35-10.

The second half was a mere formality.

Both teams scored touchdowns early in the fourth quarter. Young hit Sweed for a second time, this time from 13 yards out, and Klatt hit Joe Klopfenstein from four yards out to make the final score 42-17.

“Vince’s performance was the best today that I’ve ever seen him,” said Mack Brown, head coach of the Longhorns.

“He just takes off and adds another dimension,” said Colorado linebacker Jordon Dizon of Vince Young, “and it kills us.”

On the day, Texas accounted for 482 total yards, compared to 237 for the Buffs. Joel Klatt was not sacked, but was harassed and hit all day (not unlike his experience against Miami a few games earlier), connecting on only 19-of-39 passes for 189 yards. The Buffs’ rushing attack, good for 158 yards against Texas A&M, managed only 45 against Texas. “They just flat stopped us,” said Hugh Charles, limited to 38 yards on 13 carries. “Our game plan got shut out.”

The No. 2 Texas Longhorns almost made it to No. 1 on the afternoon. Top-ranked USC needed a touchdown in the last seven seconds of play to defeat No.9 Notre Dame, 34-31. Texas still had to face No. 13 Texas Tech, 59-20 winners over Kansas State that weekend, but the remainder of the schedule seemed tailored for a return visit to the Rose Bowl, this time to play for the national championship.

The goals were not as lofty for the 4-2 Buffs.

Now 2-1 in conference play, Colorado was tied with Missouri and Nebraska for the top spot in the Big 12 North. Up next for Colorado was Kansas, 0-3 in conference play after dropping a 19-3 decision to Oklahoma in a game played in Kansas City. The Jayhawks were 3-3 overall, but had played a weak non-conference schedule (Florida Atlantic, Appalachian State, and Louisiana Tech). The Jayhawks had scored only six total points in their last two games, and were coming to Boulder, where the Buffs had won nine of the last ten games played on the Buffs’ home field in the series.

If there was any team which could salve the wounds of the out-played, out-talented, and out-muscled Buffs, it would be Kansas.

Then again, the Jayhawks could say the same things about the Buffs.

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

 

It Was Nice While it Lasted

One week in the polls.

After breaking into the polls for the first time in two years, the Buffs had the chance against Texas to place themselves into the national college football consciousness for the remainder of the 2005 season.

Oh, well.

Granted, if in August you had offered Buff fans a 4-2 start, with losses only to two top ten teams, on the road, you would have had many takers (myself included). Yet, as satisfying as the win over Colorado State had been, and as dominant as the wins over New Mexico State, Oklahoma State, and Texas A&M had been, there was still something lacking.

The Buffs were not competitive as a national player. It was time to own up to that.

It was time to look at the reality of the Gary Barnett era.

Dave Plati, the Associate Athletic Director/Sports Information Director at Colorado, is a legend in the profession. He is routinely quoted by television commentators, as he often comes up with quirky statistics for each game. It goes without saying that his weekly press releases were always eagerly anticipated by this reader, and his annual media guide (before the NCAA ruled that it had to be gutted – i.e., limited to the number of pages allowed), was my CU bible.

Yet, as the Gary Barnett era marched on into its seventh year, some of the oft-quoted statistics were becoming dated.

Dave liked to rank almost everything based upon 1989 forward. This was only logical, as this was when the Buffs made a name for themselves nationally. It was not a unique ploy, as other schools also used their own points of reference, based upon what dates made them look the best (e.g., Kansas State routinely sang the praises of head coach Bill Snyder, but conveniently left out his first season – an 0-11 campaign in 1989 – when compiling statistics).

At Colorado, for years the front page of the weekly press release had a section called “In the Polls”. It cited that (as of the 2005 Texas game, for instance), that “CU has been ranked in 183 of the last 270 polls (AP, 69%)”. Sounds good, doesn’t it?

But under the surface is the reality that the vast majority of those numbers were accumulated between 1989 and 1997. Under Gary Barnett, the CU numbers were 32 out of 102, or 31%. Included in those numbers were the 1999 season (ranked in the preseason only), the 2000 season (preseason only), 2003 (two weeks), and 2004 (none). Now the Buffs had their one week of national ranking for 2005, and it would take some work to get a second week. Thus, in seven seasons under Gary Barnett, Buff fans were cheering on a team outside the national rankings for most of five of those seasons.

Dave Plati also liked to run a section in the media release entitled “Usually in ‘em”. Here, Dave reported that the Buffs, in their 59 losses from 1988 to present (to the 2005 Texas game), Colorado had been within eight points in 32 of those games. Translation: the Buffs had been blown out only 27 times in 16+ seasons.

Again, that doesn’t sound too bad, until you restrict the numbers to the Gary Barnett era. In the 1999 Colorado Media Guide, with new head coach Gary Barnett on the cover, Dave Plati reported that the Buffs 28 losses from 1988 to 1998, only two had been blowouts in which the Buffs hadn’t been competitive (1992 52-7 loss to Nebraska; 1997 27-3 loss to Michigan).

Now, under Gary Barnett, the Buffs were getting blown out two or three times per season. Yes, the Buffs had won three of the last four Big 12 North titles, and yes, the Buffs were in good position heading into the second half of 2005 to win for the fourth time in five years.

But you had to wonder just a little if this was as good as it was going to get under Gary Barnett. It could be much worse under someone new, and Colorado did not have the history, facilities, or fan base to steal a name coach from another program.

Better the devil you know? It’s always hard to say.

The new Colorado Athletic Director, Mike Bohn, had made positive strides in his first six months on the job. He had formed new alliances with the business community, rallied student support, and generally improved the atmosphere around the Boulder campus. It was his call as to whether or not to give Gary Barnett an extension on his contract, set to expire after the 2006 season. Much was already being made on recruiting websites that the Buffs were losing recruits due to the uncertainty of the future of the Colorado head coach. A tough decision had to be made.

What was better: A coach who had won titles, and a conference championship, over the past four years, or an unknown to-be-discovered head coach, who could take the Buffs to new heights, or cycle the program back into years of mediocrity?

Tough call.

A few more wins in 2005, and perhaps a return trip to the Big 12 conference title game, would make the decision easier.

Game Notes … 

– The Colorado first team defense had allowed only two touchdowns in the previous four games … but gave up six scores to the Longhorns’ offense.

– The Texas scoring drive on its first possession was the first score in an opening possession against the Buffs all season. The first five opponents had failed to secure so much as a first down in their opening possession.

– Joel Klatt’s 189 yards passing pushed him over the 6,000 mark for his career, only the second Buff to accomplish that feat (Kordell Stewart – 6,481).

October 15, 2011 – at Washington          Washington 52, Colorado 24

The Washington Huskies, in their first game against Colorado since 2000, ran over, through and around the Buffs, dominating from start to finish in a  52-24 rout. Washington quarterback Keith Price had 230 yards and four yards touchdowns passing … at halftime, as the Huskies scored on all six first half possessions and never looked back.

After the first two drives of the game, it appeared that it would be an offensive shootout in Seattle. Washington made quick work of the Colorado defense to open the game, going 65 yards in six plays on its first drive, facing no third downs (and only two second downs) in marching down the field.  Sophomore quarterback Keith Price hit a wide open Jermaine Kearse for a 17-yard touchdown before three minutes were gone in the game.

The Colorado offense, though, to the surprise of the 62,147 in attendance on a cool day in Seattle, responded with a touchdown drive of their own. The Buffs went 70 yards in seven plays, highlighted by a 33-yard run by Rodney Stewart and a 19-yard pass from Tyler Hansen to Keenan Canty on a third-and-ten at the Washington 26-yard line. Two plays later, Hansen hit Kyle Cefalo for a seven yard touchdown, and Colorado had its first first quarter touchdown of the season. Washington 7, Colorado 7.

On the ensuing possession by Washington, quarterback Keith Price missed on his first two passes, bringing up the first third down of the game for the Washington offense.

It was as close as the Buff defense would come to a defensive stand the entire first half …

Continue reading story here

“… Loyal, we will be to you …” … 

After the final gun in Colorado’s 52-24 debacle in Seattle, I was hard-pressed to come up with a proper opening for an essay about a Colorado team which had given up 100 points in the past two weeks, and had two high-scoring ranked opponents coming up in the next two weeks.

Thomas Paine? – “These are the times that try men’s souls”? Nah.

How about Winston Churchill? – “Let us therefore brace ourselves to our duties, and so bear ourselves, that if the British Empire and its Commonwealth last for a thousand years, men will still say, ‘This was their finest hour’ “. Close, but perhaps a bit too dramatic.

Let’s just stay with the CU alma mater.

Hail, all hail our alma mater / Ever will our hearts be true

In posting the Archive Game of the Week, I was reminded of the story about singing our alma mater at Husky Stadium back in 1989. For those of you who haven’t read the story of the 1989 game between the 5th-ranked Buffs and the 21st-ranked Washington Huskies, here is a brief synopsis:

It was the first game for the Buffs after Sal Aunese died. A year earlier, Aunese was the Colorado starting quarterback, and now the Buffs’ team leader was gone. How the collection of 19- and 20-year olds would react on the field was anyone’s guess, especially on the road against a tough opponent (Washington was also ranked, and had big plans of its own – this was a team which would go on to share the national championship with Miami two years later).

Instead of playing with distraction, the Buffs came out inspired, dominating the Huskies, 45-28. Up in Section 6, after the Buffs took a 45-14 lead in the fourth quarter, Brad and I led a small band of Buff faithful in a rendition of the alma mater. Okay, “led” is not entirely the right word. Then, as now, most Colorado fans do not know any of the words to the alma mater except for the last line, “Dear … old …  C …U!”. For Brad and I, though, the alma mater was something not to be taken lightly.  We sang with gusto, and with pride.

When you are a dedicated Buff fan, the words to the CU alma mater resonate.

“You will live with us forever / Loyal we will be to you”

Continue reading story here

October 15, 2016 – Boulder           Colorado 40, No. 24 Arizona State 16

Phillip Lindsay rushed for 219 yards and three touchdowns, leading the Colorado Buffaloes to their first win over Arizona State in their history, 40-16.

Lindsay averaged 8.4 yards on 26 carries and his big day included a 75-yard rumble on the first snap of the second half. He also scored from 13 yards out, capping off a memorable evening with a 4-yard scoring run in the final minute.

The Buffs ran for 315 yards overall.

“We didn’t play very well and my hat goes off to them because they ran the ball on us unlike anyone has ever run it the whole time I’ve been at Arizona State,” said Sun Devils fifth-year coach Todd Graham.

Sefo Liufau threw for 265 yards on 23 of 31 passing against the nation’s worst pass defense in his return to the Buffs starting lineup for the first time since spraining his left ankle at Michigan on Sept. 17.

His biggest play came when he slipped a sack, rolled left and found Bryce Bobo all alone for a 66-yard gain to the Sun Devils 9. Three plays later, Liufau took it in himself from the 3 to snap a 10-10 tie.

“We can enjoy the win tonight, but we have to go back to work on Monday and prove ourselves all over again,” Liufau said.

Continue reading Game Story here

Making A Statement … 

Just so we are clear, the 40-16 win over Arizona State was, in my opinion, not a “statement game”. It was not a “signature win”. It did not merit a Gatorade bath for coach MacIntyre, nor should the fans have stormed the field after the game.

“I thought tonight was a break-through win”, said Mike MacIntyre. “Sefo [Liufau] getting to come back and get his start tonight, and this team he played four years ago was the first time he ever played and it didn’t go great. I kept telling them they built the water up in the dam and the dam had cracks in it. I said you got to go punch it one more time, and now the water’s going to flow”.

A break-through game? Okay. I’ll give you that.

But it wasn’t a “statement game”.

What the Buffs did, however, in taking down Arizona State in dominating fashion, was to make a “statement”.

They made a statement to their fans, to the national media, and, most importantly, to the rest of the Pac-12.

Continue reading Game Essay here

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