CU Games of the Day – October 16th

October 16th … CU has a 2-2-1 record on this date over the past 40 years … 1982: Two interceptions by Victor Scott, both returned for touchdowns, put the Buffs in position to carve out a 25-25 tie against Cowboys … 1993: No. 20 CU tops No. 9 Oklahoma, 27-10, as Lamont Warren and Charles E. Johnson team up for the National Player of the Year, giving the Buffs three straight wins over the Sooners in Norman … 1999: Who needed Ricky Williams? Led by freshman running back Shaud Williams’ 230 yards rushing, Texas Tech ran all over the Buffs, 31-10 … 2004: Iowa State (2-3, 0-2) at Colorado (3-2, 0-2) drew little national attention, but the Buffs’ 19-14 win propelled the Buffs to a North Division title … 2010: CU drove as far as the Baylor 19-yard line in the final minute, but a desperation pass from Tyler Hansen to Toney Clemons fell incomplete, preserving a 31-25 victory for the Baylor Bears in Boulder …

  • 1982: Colorado 25, Oklahoma State 25 … Chuck Fairbanks went 7-26 at CU; In his first three years, Bill McCartney went 7-25-1, going on to become CU’s all-time leader in coaching victories … Essay: “It Must Have Been the Tie” …
  • 1993: No. Colorado 20, No. 9 Oklahoma 10 … CU becomes only the second team to beat Oklahoma in Norman three straight times (the streak would rise to a record five) … Essay: “Play of The Year” … 
  • 1999: Texas Tech 31, Colorado 10 … The loss to Texas Tech was Colorado’s third loss to an unranked team in 1999. In the ten previous seasons, 1989-98, the Buffs lost a total of three games to unranked opponents, posting a 61-3-2 record” …
  • 2004: Colorado 19, Iowa State 14 …CU kicker Mason Crosby set several Buff field goal kicking records on his way to leading Colorado to an “ugly” 19-14 win over Iowa State.  Crosby kicked four field goals, including a school record 60-yarder, on an afternoon otherwise marred by sloppy play by both teams. … Essay: “Ineptitude” … 
  • 2010: Baylor 31, Colorado 25 … The loss left the Buffs with a 3-3 record for the 2010 season, with bowl hopes, so much in view after Colorado upset Georgia to run its record to 3-1, suddenly fading … Essay: “The End of An Error?”

October 16, 1982 – at Oklahoma State           Colorado 25, Oklahoma State 25

It is hard to imagine that anyone would have a revenge factor in playing the Buffs in the early 1980’s, but that is what the Oklahoma State Cowboys were playing for in 1982.

Colorado had come from behind for an improbable, last second 11-10 win in 1981 in Boulder. Now it was Oklahoma State’s turn to right the wrong. Everyone else was getting healthy playing the powder-blue Buffs, and the homecoming crowd of 47,250 expected nothing less from their squad.

Fans of both teams were to be treated to another last second game, but it was the Cowboy fans who were again left with a bad taste in their mouths.

Colorado seemed to have matters well in hand with only 4:39 left in the game, when Colorado’s sensational cornerback Victor Scott had just scored his second touchdown of the game, returning a pass interception for a 22-10 Colorado lead. Oklahoma State, though, promptly marched down the field, scoring a touchdown with still over two minutes left to play. 22-17.

Colorado went three-and-out on its next possession, punting the ball back to the Cowboys at their 22-yard line. The Colorado defense did force a fourth-and-eight as Oklahoma State drove against the Buffs and the clock, but the Cowboys passed for 15 yards and a first down.

Backed against the shadow of their own goalpost, the Buff defense next forced a third-and-goal from the seven, but Oklahoma State punched it in with less than a minute remaining. The Cowboys added a two-point conversion for a 25-22 lead, and it appeared that the 11-10 loss of 1981 had been avenged.

Now it was Colorado’s turn.

The Buffs, with Randy Essington at the helm, moved quickly downfield. Essington connected with tight end Dave Hestera for 24 yards to the Cowboys 32 yard line. Three seconds remained. Out trotted junior placekicker Tom Field, who had earlier connected from 46, 27, and 34 yards. Field split the uprights from 49 yards, the Buffs had again denied Oklahoma State a win, salvaging a 25-25 tie.

“This is a perfect example of what happens when you don’t have the numbers and depth required to play in this conference,” said McCartney. “We just wore out in the second half. Oklahoma State was able to move the ball up and down the field on us in the second half, and they got right back into the game.”

It must have been the tie … 

No one knew it at the time, but the tie between Colorado and Oklahoma State arguably made the difference between Colorado remaining the cellar dweller of the Big Eight and rising to unprecedented heights by the end of the 1980’s.

In three years as head coach at the University of Colorado (1979-81), Chuck Fairbanks compiled a woeful record. He was vilified and is chastised as being the worst coach ever to lead the Buffs onto the turf of Folsom Field. Meanwhile, Coach Bill McCartney was given a contract extension while enduring the pitiful 1-10 1984 season. Coach Mac went on to become Colorado’s all-time winningest coach, and will always be remembered as the coach who led Colorado to it’s first national championship in football.

Coach Fairbanks’ record at Colorado: 7-26.

Coach McCartney’s record for his first three years at Colorado: 7-25-1.

The difference? The 1982 game against Oklahoma State.

It must have been the tie.

– Game Notes …

– Junior Victor Scott had three interceptions against Oklahoma State, and his two interception returns for touchdowns set a school record in a game. (How special is this record? Only one other Buff, Donald Strickland, has had two interception returns for a touchdown – in a season – with Strickland turning the trick in 2001). Not surprisingly, Scott was named the Big Eight Defensive Player of the Week.

– Colorado only had 215 yards of total offense against Oklahoma State – with only 20 yards rushing. Art Woods punted the ball nine times, just two shy of the school record.

– Kicker Tom Field tied his own school record with four field goals against Oklahoma State. Field missed a fifth attempt against Washington State, though, so his four-for-four against Oklahoma State set a new standard at Colorado. Both records would stand until Jeremy Aldrich went five-for-five against Kansas in 1999.

– The tie against Colorado was the second in a row for Oklahoma State, with the Cowboys having tied Kansas, 24-24, the week before. Oklahoma State would go on to finish the 1982 season with a 4-5-2 record, 3-2-2 in the Big Eight.

October 16, 1993 – at Oklahoma           No. 20 Colorado 27, No. 9 Oklahoma 10

Oklahoma’s defense came into the Colorado game ranked 6th in the nation, holding opponents to 11 points a game. Colorado’s defense, meanwhile, had been giving up yards and points in bunches.

Both trends came to a halt before 64,213 shocked Sooner fans as the Buffs became only the second team ever to defeat Oklahoma three straight times in Norman by beating Oklahoma soundly, 27-10.

The Buffs, 0-4-1 against top ten teams since the National Championship season, took out the frustration of the early-season losses on a surprised Oklahoma squad. Holding the Sooners to only 92 yards rushing on 28 attempts, the Buffs’ defense made a statement. “That was the issue this week,” said linebacker Sam Rogers, “to control the line of scrimmage.”

Rogers, who had six tackles (including two sacks) on the day, ended any hope for an Oklahoma comeback when he knocked Sooner quarterback Cale Gundy down – and out of the game with a concussion – with just under 12 minutes remaining and the Buffs nursing a 20-10 lead. Without Gundy, the Sooners never seriously threatened to score the remainder of the game.

For the offense, the running game again carried the load. Lamont Warren carried the ball 34 times for 182 yards including a 63-yard run to set up the Buffs’ first score, a Rashaan Salaam two-yard run midway through the first quarter (the extra point attempt failed). Kordell Stewart then connected with Charles E. Johnson for 64 yards and a touchdown on Colorado’s next possession to put Colorado up 13-0 late in the first quarter.

A second Charles E. Johnson touchdown reception, this time on a halfback option from Lamont Warren (see “Play-of-the-Year”, below), gave Colorado a 20-0 lead. A 44-yard field goal just before halftime gave the Sooner faithful some hope, but the 20-3 hafltime score was still a surprise to fans which had seen the home town team dominate Texas, 38-17, the week before.

Just before the end of the third quarter, Oklahoma scored to make cut the Colorado lead to 20-10, but, without quarterback Cale Gundy, the Sooners never again threatened. James Hill finished off the pleasant afternoon for the Buff Nation with a four yard touchdown run late in the game to make the final score 27-10.

“I really proud of this team,” said Bill McCartney after the game. “To come in here, in this great stadium, with the tradition that they have and the great athletes that they have, to come in here and play like that tells me that Colorado is moving forward with its program.”

The Buffs had overcome a large hurdle, but 5-1 Kansas State and an undefeated Nebraska loomed as the next two opponents. For 4-2 Colorado to “move forward with its program” in 1993, there could be no let down.

Play of the Year

Each week during the 1993 season, it seemed that senior wide receiver Charles E. Johnson was setting yet another Colorado record for receiving. Before departing for the NFL, Johnson would possess the Colorado records for reception yardage in a season (1.149 yards, in 1992) and for a career (2,447 yards), along with records for consecutive games catching passes (27), 100+ yard receiving games (12) and touchdown receptions (15 – tied with Michael Westbrook). In 1993, Johnson was voted by the coaches and the Associated Press to be the Big Eight Offensive Player-of-the-Year.

Against Oklahoma, Charles E. Johnson caught five passes for 136 yards and two touchdowns. It was his second touchdown catch against the Sooners, though, which may be the most memorable of his 15 career receiving scores.

With Colorado up 13-0 midway through the second quarter, and the Buffs on the Oklahoma 35-yard line, the Buffs called a tailback option. Lamont Warren took the pitch from Kordell Stewart and rolled to his right. Under pressure, Warren slipped, but still was able to loft the ball to the endzone. In the corner of the endzone was Johnson. Oklahoma cornerback Darrius Johnson was draped all over Charles E. Johnson, forcing the Buff receiver to his knees. Despite the interference (a flag was thrown on the play), “CJ” made the catch anyway. Touchdown, Colorado.

“It was just another play by CJ”, said McCartney. “He just continues to surprise you, and he’s got wonderful instincts.”

Warren’s effort, combined with Johnson’s heroics, earned the Buffs “National Play-of-the-Year” honors. Beginning in 1992, Nu Skin International teamed up with CoSIDA (the Sports Information Directors Association) to sponsor the play of the year. The Buffs’ spectacular touchdown against Oklahoma earned the award for 1993.

(The Buffs were to repeat as honoree for 1994. The 1994 National Play-of-the-Year, though, for a play against a certain team from Ann Arbor, Michigan, would receive much more notoriety.)

Game Notes … 

– The only other team to defeat Oklahom three straight times in Norman before Colorado was Nebraska, and those victories came in 1932, 1934, and 1936.

– Colorado amassed 499 yards of total offense against the Sooners, the most-ever in the 47-game series. The previous high for Colorado was 477 yards, gained in the 42-31 victory over Oklahoma in 1976.

– Over-shadowing his touhdown pass, Lamont Warren also had a great day running the ball. Warren had the most rushing attempts (34) and yards (182) of any Buff back all season. Warren’s efforts proved to be career highs, as the junior opted to make himself eligible for the NFL draft after the season. Warren, who led the Buffs with 900 yards in 1993, was drafted in the 6th round of the 1994 NFL draft by the Indianapolis Colts. Warren would go on to have a productive nine year career in the NFL with the Colts, New England Patriots, and Detroit Lions.

– The Colorado defense was helped by the Buff offense, which held onto the ball for a season-best 36:40 of game clock. No team ran fewer plays against Colorado than did Oklahoma, which was allowed only 52 plays. In the second half, Colorado held the ball for almost 25 minutes.

– Colorado sacked Oklahoma quarterbacks six times on the afternoon, while the Buff offensive line did not surrender a single sack.

– Oklahoma rushed for only 92 yards on the day, the fewest yards rushing by Oklahoma ever in the series. Previously, the best Colorado had managed was 137 yards, surrendered by the 1965 team in a 13-0 Colorado victory.

– Colorado was now 4-0-1 against Oklahoma between 1989-93, by far the best stretch for the Buffs in the series. Prior to this run, the Buffs had only managed to beat the Sooners twice in a row twice, in 1960-61 and 1965-66.

– Oklahoma would go on to win three of its last five games, but would fall to No. 25 Kansas State and No. 2 Nebraska by identical scores of 21-7 to finish the regular season with an 8-3 record (4-3 in Big Eight play). Invited to play Texas Tech in the Sun Bowl, the Sooners won 41-10 to finish 9-3 and ranked 17th in the final polls, one spot behind Colorado.

October 16, 1999 – at Texas Tech           Texas Tech 31, Colorado 10

Who needs Ricky Williams?

Not Texas Tech. With their star running back out for the season, the Red Raiders, just 2-3 on the year, seemed vulnerable. Colorado, with a 3-2 record, a 2-0 mark in Big 12 play, had fresh momentum after an overtime win over Missouri. Colorado seemed to be primed to take out Texas Tech, leaving the Red Raiders to contemplate a season of what “might have been” had Williams stayed healthy.

Instead, it was Colorado which looked in need of consolation.

Led by freshman running back Shaud Williams’ 230 yards rushing, the Red Raiders ran all over the Buffs. When the sun set over the Homecoming crowd in Lubbock, Texas Tech had a 31-10 win.

“Every time we felt like the defense had them wrapped up, we gave ‘em big plays,” said CU coach Gary Barnett. “Shoot, you can’t play like that.”

After a scoreless first quarter, the Red Raiders broke loose. A 13-yard touchdown pass from Rob Peters to Darrell Jones gave Texas Tech a 7-0 lead five minutes into the second quarter. On the ensuing kickoff, Damen Wheeler fumbled a short kickoff, giving the Red Raiders excellent field position. Three plays later, Williams posted a three-yard rushing touchdown, and, just like that, Colorado was down, 14-0.

Later in the quarter, Texas Tech converted an interception – one of six turnovers by Colorado on the day – into a field goal and a 17-0 halftime lead.

The Buffs showed life briefly in the third quarter. Texas Tech quarterback Rob Peters hit Tim Baker for a 50-yard catch and run, but Damen Wheeler forced a fumble on the play, with the ball picked up by Robbie Robinson and returned to the Tech 47-yard line. Three plays later,  Mike Moschetti hit wide receiver John Minardi for a 37-yard touchdown to bring the Buffs to within ten, at 17-7, less than a minute into the third quarter.

On the next play from scrimmage, though, Shaud Williams carried the ball for 66 yards, setting up a second 13-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Rob Peters to wide receiver Darrell Jones. Less than two minutes after the Buffs had pulled to within ten, it was again a 17-point disadvantage.

Jeremy Aldrich connected on a 45-yard field goal with 12:02 to play to make it a 24-10 game, but the Buffs could get no closer. On the Red Raiders’ next drive, Shaud Williams scored on a six-yard run to close out the scoring, leaving both teams with a 3-3, 2-1 record at mid-season.

“Our biggest problem as a team – defense, offense, and on special teams – (is) our consistency is so poor,” said a somber Ty Gregorak after the game. “I can’t give you (reporters) the answers for why. I don’t think we know why.”

The Buffs’ offense, held to its lowest point total of the season, gave up six turnovers, including four fumbles. The Buffs’ defense also had a tough day. Texas Tech put up 460 yards of total offense, including 279 yards rushing.

Up next for the Buffs was a road trip to Ames, Iowa, to face Iowa State and running back Darren Davis, the Big 12’s leading rusher. For their part, the Cyclones were coming off of a 24-21 upset win over Missouri on the road, raising their season record to 4-2.

In year’s past, the one game the Buffs could always count on as one for the win column was Iowa State. Colorado had not lost to Iowa State since 1983, a run of fifteen consecutive wins. But this was a new year, and the Cyclones were showing signs of life.

Just when the Buffs appeared ready to be left for dead.

Game Notes … 

– The loss to Texas Tech in Lubbock marked the end of a six-game winning streak for Colorado in games played in the state of Texas.

– The loss to Texas Tech was Colorado’s third loss to an unranked team in 1999. In the ten previous seasons, 1989-98, the Buffs lost a total of three games to unranked opponents, posting a 61-3-2 record.

– John Minardi’s touchdown reception was the first of his career. The sophomore would go on to finish the 1999 season with 20 catches for 312 yards and two touchdowns.

– Senior kicker Jeremy Aldrich made one of two field goal attempts v. Texas Tech.  His four points on the day gave him 192 for his career, surpassing Tom Field (1979-83) as the Buffs’ all-time leading kick scorer.  Ahead of Aldrich on the all time points list remained only Eric Bieniemy (254 points), Bobby Anderson (212) and Rashaan Salaam (198).  By the end of the season, Aldrich would go on to pass Salaam and Anderson to become the second leader scorer in school history.

– Cortlen Johnson rushed for a new career-high 107 yards against Texas Tech, surpassing his 104-yard effort against San Jose State earlier in the season (Johnson would go on to crush his own personal best the following week, going for 185 yards against Iowa State).

– Colorado had 341 yards of total offense against Texas Tech, but the yardage was hard-earned. The Buffs had just two plays of over 20 yards against the Red Raiders, after averaging six such plays per game over the first five games of the season.

– The game marked the second six-turnover game of the season for the Buffs, with the first being the 41-14 opening game loss to Colorado State.

– Quarterback Mike Moschetti, who finished 20-for-32 for 194 yards, one touchdown and one interception, was injured late against Texas Tech. Red-shirt freshman Zac Colvin, who threw two passes against the Red Raiders (one interception, one incompletion) would go on to earn his first career start the following week against Iowa State.

– Texas Tech would go on to finish the 1999 season with a 6-5 record, 5-3 in Big 12 play. Despite the winning record, the Red Raiders were not invited to a bowl game, with a 38-28 win over Oklahoma in the season finale proving to be the last game of the 13-year Spike Dykes era in Lubbock. Dykes left Texas Tech with an overall record of 82-67-1. He would be replaced by Mike Leach, the offensive coordinator at Oklahoma.

October 16, 2004  – Boulder           Colorado 19, Iowa State 14

There were certainly more attractive games on the Big 12 slate for the weekend of October 16th, as Missouri (4-1,2-0) was playing at No. 9 Texas, No. 2 Oklahoma was on the road against a desperate Kansas State squad, and No. 16 Oklahoma State hosted No. 23 Texas A&M.

Iowa State (2-3, 0-2) at Colorado (3-2, 0-2) drew little national attention.

Who knew the game would be for the Big 12 North title? …

Colorado kicker Mason Crosby set several Buff field goal kicking records on his way to leading Colorado to an “ugly” 19-14 win over Iowa State.  Crosby kicked four field goals, including a school record 60-yarder, on an afternoon otherwise marred by sloppy play by both teams.  A total of seven turnovers and 20 penalties combined to leave the 44,285 in attendance, the smallest crowd to ever witness a Big 12 game in Boulder, mumbling to themselves.

“We played hard”, said Colorado head coach Gary Barnett, “It wasn’t beautiful and not Top-20ish.”

Colorado sophomore James Cox received his first start as a Colorado quarterback against the Cyclones.  Cox directed the Buffs to a 13-0 second quarter lead which could have been much larger. Colorado scored early in the first quarter after recovering a muffed punt at the ISU 11-yard line.  Three plays later, Cox hit tight end Jesse Warren from three yards out for a 7-0 lead.  The Buffs had a first-and-goal later in the first quarter turn into a 28-yard Mason Crosby field goal, and could get Crosby no closer than the ISU 41-yard line in the second quarter before the sophomore kicker put through the 60-yarder just off the left upright.  Crosby’s record-setting effort was two yards longer than Jerry Hamilton’s 58-yard effort against the Cyclones in 1981.

Not satisfied with success, the Buffs let the Cyclones back into the game late in the first half. With 1:43 remaining, ISU cornerback Ellis Hobbs returned an interception 34 yards to cut the Colorado lead to 13-7.  After holding Colorado to a punt, the Cyclones muffed their second punt of the half, leading to another long field goal by Crosby, this one from 54 yards out, to improve the Buff advantage to 16-7 at the half.

The third quarter was dominated by Iowa State, but they did not capitalize.  On the day, the Cyclones were inside the Colorado 20-yard line, or red zone, five times, but came away with no points.  Two missed field goals from short range, a fumble, and two failed fourth down conversion attempts, sealed the Cyclones 13th consecutive conference defeat.  A long scoring pass with 2:38 left cut the Buff advantage to 19-14, but Colorado was able to run out the remaining clock to post its first conference win of 2004.

“It hasn’t been easy getting to 4-2, and we know, but that just may be the way it is,” Barnett said.  “It will be sunny for a week because of it.”

But the Buffs could not take the time to enjoy their win.  Up next was a trip to College Station for a game with the Aggies of Texas A&M.  Looked upon as a possible road breakthrough for the Buffs at the beginning of the season, A&M had turned things around under second year head coach Dennis Franchione.  A 4-8 team in 2003, Texas A&M was 5-1 in 2004, ranked 17th in the nation.  What was more discouraging for the Buffs and their fans was that A&M was coming off a convincing 36-20 win over Oklahoma State in Stillwater – the very same Cowboys who had manhandled the Buffs only a week before.

An ugly win over a struggling team, at home, had given the Buffs a 4-2 overall record, 1-2 in conference play.  A second conference win, with two nationally ranked Texas schools in the next two weeks, would be tough to find.

Ineptitude … 

Ineptitude, according to Webster’s New World College Dictionary, is the state of being inept, or acting in such a way as to be considered “clumsy or bungling; inefficient”.

For the Colorado Buffs and their opponents, the Cyclones of Iowa State, the battle on the warm, sunny October afternoon in Boulder was not a battle of teams trying to win their first conference game of 2004, it was a comedy of errors between two teams setting new standards for incompetence on the football field.  Colorado tried gamely all afternoon to allow Iowa State back into the game after taking a 13-0 lead, but the Cyclones were just as efficient at refusing the gifts of their hosts.

Other than the kicking game, the Buffs were atrocious.  Colorado’s lone touchdown drive – are you ready for this? – covered 11 yards, coming after a muffed punt return by Iowa State’s Todd Miller.  The Buffs could not even do the touchdown correctly, as Jesse Wallace, on the receiving end of a three-yard scoring pass from James Cox, received an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty for taunting the ISU defender.

On Colorado’s next possession, the Buffs put together a 56-yard drive.  After a 35-yard run by Bobby Purify to the Iowa State one yard line, Colorado was poised to take command of the game midway through the first quarter.  But the Buffs were called for a false start, moving the ball back to the six.  Three plays netted zero yards, and the Buffs had to settle for a Mason Crosby field goal attempt.  Even that didn’t go smoothly, as the Buffs were signaled for an illegal formation, and Crosby had to make the kick again to put the Buffs up 10-0.

Even though Colorado dominated the early going, errors of commission and omission continued to keep the Cyclones in the game:

1) On ISU’s next possession, Colorado junior cornerback Lorenzo Sims intercepted Cyclone quarterback Bret Meyer, returning the ball deep into ISU territory.  But …. an illegal block on the return put the Buffs back on their 26.  A three-and-out possession ensued;

2) After Mason Crosby’s historic 60-yard field goal put the Buffs up 13-0, the teams exchanged punts.  With 1:30 left, Colorado took over on their 25.  Time enough for another field goal drive before the half.  Instead, a one-play drive ensued, with James Cox being picked off for a touchdown by Cyclone Ellis Hobbs.  A 13-0 halftime lead was now looking like a 13-7 game, with ISU poised to receive the second half kickoff;

3) Still, the first half was not yet over. A Colorado three-and-out followed the Iowa State score, but the Cyclones again muffed the punt.  The Buffs took over at the ISU 18 with 43 seconds left before half.  Colorado could only muster two plays over the next 35 seconds, but were at the ISU six with eight seconds left.  Joel Klatt, in for James Cox, hit Jesse Warren for an apparent touchdown.  But …. Warren was called for offensive pass interference.  Not willing to settle for a field goal attempt from the ISU 21, the Buffs tacked on another unsportsmanlike penalty. What had been a first-and-goal from the ISU six yard line had turned into a 54-yard field goal attempt.  Thank goodness for Crosby.  The scoring line: Three plays, minus-eighteen yards.  Three points.

A gruesome display, all in one half, and the Buffs actually led the game, 16-7.

CU’s win, therefore, could not have come without the cooperation of the ISU Cyclones.  On the day, the Cyclones traveled into the Colorado red zone five times.  On none of those opportunities did ISU score.  None.  The Cyclone misery index:

1) second quarter – first-and-goal at the Colorado four.  Result: A missed 22-yard field goal;

2) third quarter – first-and-ten at the Colorado 16.  Result: running back Stevie Hicks stopped at the Buff seven on fourth-and-one;

3) third quarter – first-and-goal at the Colorado four.  Result: a missed 25-yard field goal;

4) fourth quarter – third-and-five at the Colorado 18.  Result: fumble by quarterback Bret Meyer; and

5) fourth quarter – first-and-ten at the Colorado 12.  Result: incomplete pass on fourth-and-ten.

Combine the above with the two muffed punts leading to ten Colorado points, a total of four turnovers, eight penalties, and four sacks, and you can begin to understand why ISU head coach Dan McCarney said, “I don’t know if I’ve ever had a more frustrating game in all my career as a player, graduate assistant, part-time coach, coordinator or head coach.  To play that hard and to have that many opportunities to win a road game in the Big 12, to come up short, boy, that’s a sickening feeling.  It really is.”

The Buffs were now 4-2 on the season, but finding two wins in the remaining schedule to become bowl eligible would be tough to find.  Two ranked Texas teams were up next, followed by a road game at improved Kansas, a home game against Kansas State, and the Thanksgiving showdown with Nebraska.  It was not likely that the Buffs would be favored in any of their remaining games, even though they were 4-2.

Colorado was playing like a team with a losing record.  The play on the field was “clumsy, bungling; inefficient”.

Colorado’s record did not yet reflect the Buffs’ situation on the field.

Thank goodness.

Game Notes … 

– It was Mason Crosby day at Folsom Field against Iowa State. The 60-yard field goal set a new team mark, surpassing the 58-yarder Jerry Hamilton had against Iowa State on 10/24/81 (a 17-10 loss). The Crosby kick also set a new Folsom Field standard, besting the 59-yarder by Johnny Beck for Kansas (part of a 27-16 CU win, 9/22/01).

– Crosby hit for four field goals against Iowa State, the best for a Buff kicker since Jeremy Aldrich hit for five (v. Kansas, a 51-17 CU win, 9/18/99).

– Punter John Torp had a good day against the Cyclones, punting five times for a 51.2 yard average, including two inside the twenty yard line. On the season, Torp would put 22 kicks inside the twenty, besting the school record of 21 by Keith English in 1988. Torp would go on to lead the Buffs to a 5th NCAA punting title in 2004.

– The Buffs ran their streak against the Cyclones to 20 wins in 21 games, the best such streak against any team since posting a 20-1-1 streak against Wyoming (1900–1975).

October 16, 2010 – Boulder           Baylor 31, Colorado 25

Colorado drove as far as the Baylor 19-yard line in the final minute, but a desperation pass from Tyler Hansen to Toney Clemons fell incomplete, preserving a 31-25 victory for the Baylor Bears in Boulder. The loss left the Buffs with a 3-3 record for the 2010 season, with bowl hopes, so much in view after Colorado upset Georgia to run its record to 3-1, suddenly fading.

The game started well for the Colorado offense, as the Buffs took the opening kickoff and marched from their 20-yard line to the 34-yard line of Baylor. The optimism which permeated through the sun-drenched crowd of 48,953 quickly dissipated, though, when junior quarterback Tyler Hansen was intercepted on a first-and-ten at the 34 by Baylor safety Byron Landor.

Setting up shop at the Colorado 46-yard line after Landor’s 32-yard return, Baylor quickly returned the favor of a turnover. On the Bears’ second play from scrimmage, running back Jay Findley fumbled, with junior safety Patrick Mahnke recovering for the Buffs at the Colorado 26-yard line.

A three-and-out by the Buffs and two 12-yard completions by Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin III set up the Bears in Colorado territory. On fourth-and-one at the Colorado 40-yard line, however, senior linebacker B.J. Beatty stopped Terrance Ganaway for no gain, and the Buffs took over.

A nine-play, 60-yard drive by the Buffs ensued, with Tyler Hansen twice completing third down passes to junior wide receiver Toney Clemons to keep the drive alive. A nineteen yard pass from Hansen to tight end Ryan Deehan set up the Buffs at the Baylor 18-yard line, and Rodney Stewart did the rest.

Taking off on a sweep to the right, Stewart evaded a number of Baylor defenders, cutting back to the middle of the field for a touchdown. Inexplicably, Colorado went for a two-point conversion after the score, but a Cody Hawkins pass to Ryan Deehan fell incomplete. Still, with 56 seconds remaining in the first quarter, Colorado had the lead, 6-0.

Continue reading Game Story here

The End of an Error? … 

Will the loss to Baylor be the final straw?

Will this be the game which finally brings to an end the all too frustrating Dan Hawkins’ era?

Well, “no” … and “yes”.

Dan Hawkins will be on the sidelines for the Texas Tech game next weekend. In all likelihood, Hawkins will be patrolling the sidelines at Memorial Stadium in Lincoln the day after Thanksgiving.

But that should be it.

Six weeks from now, the 31-25 loss to Baylor will be looked as being the turning point of the 2010 season.

A win over the Bears would have given the Buffs a 4-2 record at the midway point. With three winnable home games left on the calendar (plus a winnable game on the road against hapless Kansas), the Buffs would have been on their way to a winning season, or at least a 6-6 record and a bowl game. With his first winning season still a possibility, Dan Hawkins might have found a way to save his job for yet another year.

Now, with a 31-25 home loss to a good, but certainly not great, Baylor team, Colorado is 3-3, and it is difficult to imagine a scenario under which the Buffs will rebound and post a winning season. Texas Tech next weekend? The Red Raiders are on par with Baylor, and will present similar matchup problems for the Colorado defense. Oklahoma in Norman the following weekend? Yuck. The Sooners beat Iowa State Saturday, 52-0 – and it wasn’t that close. It could be Cal ugly (52-7); it could be 2008 Missouri ugly (58-0). The only reason to watch will be to see if the Buffs can score against the Sooners.

Continue reading Game Essay here


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