CU Games of the Day – October 17th

October 17th … CU has a 4-1-1 record on this date over the past 40 years … 1981: A 92-yard drive in the final 90 seconds, followed by a two-point conversion, gives CU an improbable 11-10 win over Oklahoma State … 1987: Buffs put together a season-high (and wishbone-high) 546 yards of total offense in a 35-10 rout of Kansas … 1992: No. 7 CU managed to pull out a 24-24 tie with Oklahoma only by scoring 10 points in the final 4:27 of the game … 1998: Buffs defeat No. 22 Texas Tech, 19-17, to become bowl-eligible a year after a disappointing 5-6 season … 2009: CU used two first half turnovers inside the Kansas five yard line to build a 24-3 lead, then hung on for a 34-30 victory over the 17th-ranked Jayhawks with a deflected pass in the endzone as time expired … 2015: A 38-31 loss to Arizona dropped CU to 3-4, 0-3, representing the Buffs’ 14th consecutive conference loss, a school record …

  • 1981: Colorado 11, Oklahoma State 11 … A two-point conversion after a touchdown with 11 seconds gives the Buffs an unusual (and rare) victory in the baby blue era … Essay: “The Comeback: How Exciting Was It?” …
  • 1987: Colorado 35, Kansas 10 … Homecoming for CU was successful for the fourth consecutive year as the Buffs finally pull away from the Jayhawks as Sal Aunese returns to the starting lineup … 
  • 1992: No. 7 Colorado 24, Oklahoma 24 … Freshman quarterback Koy Detmer eclipsed the single game record for passing completions and yardage in completing 33-of-50 passes for 418 yards.  Included in the 418 yards was a school record 92-yard touchdown pass to Charles E. Johnson …
  • 1998: Colorado 19, No. 22 Texas Tech 17 …The Red Raiders came to Boulder with a 6-0 record under head coach Mike Leach, ranked No. 22 in the nation, but left town disappointed as the Buffs dominated (more than the final score indicates) …
  • 2009: Colorado 34, No. 17 Kansas 30 … Only a final stand in the game’s final minutes prevented Kansas quarterback Todd Reesing from defeating the Buffs for a fourth consecutive season … Essay: “Returning the Favor”
  • 2015: Arizona 38, Colorado 31 … Silver uniforms the Buffs trotted out for their Homecoming game against Arizona were not dynamic, exciting or inspiring. They were just dull and lifeless … much like the CU program for the past ten seasons … Essay: “Shades of Silver Grey” …

October 17, 1981 – Boulder           Colorado 11, Oklahoma State 10

A homecoming crowd of 36,101 came out to watch one of the most improbable finishes in Colorado football history, with the Buffs prevailing, 11-10, on a last minute score against Oklahoma State.

The Colorado offense was stifled for most of the day by an Oklahoma State defense which came into the contest ranked No. 2 in the nation, having allowed a paltry 180 total yards per game. The Cowboys, coached by Jimmy Johnson (later of University of Miami, Dallas Cowboy, and Miami Dolphin fame), were 3-1 on the season, and held the Buffs to just three points for the first 59 minutes of the game.

Enter Steve Vogel.

Sophomore Steve Vogel had thrown precisely four passes in 1981 coming into the game, completing two for 14 yards. Starter Randy Essington went down early in the third quarter with bruised ribs, setting the stage for Vogel’s heroics.

Taking over on the Buffs eight yard line with 1:28 remaining in the game and down 10-3, Vogel engineered a ten-play drive, completing seven of ten passes, culminating in a nine yard touchdown pass to split end Brad Parker with 11 seconds remaining. Foregoing the tie (which probably would have been forgiven under the circumstances – one win in 1980, only one win through the first half of 1981), Chuck Fairbanks decided to go for two.

The play, which Oklahoma State coach Jimmy Johnson declared to be “illegal”, called for the Buff wingback to come in motion, and, upon the snap, cut into the middle of the Cowboy defense. Singleton, playing at halfback, ran out of the backfield and cut behind the wingback. The linebacker assigned to cover assigned to cover Singleton was, in effect, then blocked off by the wingback. Singleton sprinted to the corner of the endzone, where Vogel found him.

With the two-point conversion, Colorado had its second win of 1981, 11-10.

Jimmy Johnson was quoted in the Rocky Mountain News the next day as saying: “They pulled off an illegal pick on the play. You can’t block a defensive man in the manner they did in man-to-man coverage. It was a pretty good play, and I guess we’ll have to put that one in our playbook.”

Singleton defended his score: “He (the wingback) can’t block anybody because it’s illegal. But the idea is he might clog up the linebacker and shut off that side, and then I can go outside.”

It didn’t matter to the Buff faithful. A win was a win. Homecoming could be celebrated with a win for the second year in a row.

The comeback – how exciting was it? … 

I would like to say that for the great comeback win, only the third in a season and a half of being a Colorado fan, that I was in the student section, cheering for every pass dear old Steve Vogel threw. I would like to say that I look back at this game as a turning point, or, at the least, as one of the highlights for an otherwise dismal period of Colorado football.

In fact, as my season tickets for the 1980 and 1981 seasons attest, this was the one game I did not attend. As things turned out, it was the only Colorado home game I missed in my seven years in Boulder.

(Author’s note: yes, I was in Boulder for seven years. This is not to say that I was on the “six-credits-a-semester” plan. I received my B.A. in 1984 – with a double major in History and Political Science – and my J.D. in 1987. On the off chance that you did not read the “About the Author” tidbits before diving into this book, I have withheld the attorney part of my story in hopes of avoiding any undue prejudice against myself and my brethren. Now that you are hooked, let us proceed to find just why in the hell I wasn’t at Folsom Field for this special occasion.)

So … Where was I?

Back home in Bozeman, Montana, or, more precisely, 16 miles down the road in Manhattan, Montana. I was home that weekend for a wedding. One of my best friends from high school, Bob Hoth, was getting married, and I had been asked to be the best man. Had the invitation to be in the wedding party occurred during a home game from 1989 on, there might have been second thoughts. Had it been against a ranked opponent from 1989 on, I would have had to discuss the choice of dates with Bob. As it was, CU was 1-4, coming off a 59-0 thrashing, and playing against a 3-1 team with the second rated defense in the country.

It did not seem I would be missing much.

Perhaps, though, Bob can take some credit for the Buffs win. After all, the groom and his entourage (that’s a nice way of saying Bob’s brother and I) were dressed in -get this – baby blue tuxedos. While not at the game, I was at least in school colors. Looking at the wedding pictures, that is pretty much my only pleasant memory of the nuptials. I was 19, and wasn’t aware that the best man’s duties included more than just propping the groom up and not losing the ring.

I feel I can be forgiven for not organizing a bachelor party, as I only got into town the day before the wedding, and because I was underage to arrange for anything which would have been good at a bachelor party. But I still feel bad about the toast. I hadn’t been to a wedding since attending my uncle’s wedding when I was 10, so I was woefully unprepared to give the emotional sendoff to Bob and Sondra. Bob’s dad bailed me out with a more traditional rendition of the toast (as I recall, my speech went something along the lines of: “Best wishes. Thanks for inviting me.”). The reception was less than exhilarating, being held in basement of the church. I went home that night without any knowledge of – remember, this was pre-ESPN – nor real concern for, the outcome of the Colorado game.

The next morning, the sports pages of the Bozeman Daily Chronicle were primarily concerned with the account of the MSU Bobcat game the day before, but there was also this headline: “At last, CU’s a winner“.

The Associated Press story opened with:

“Colorado’s football team had been working hard on the two minute drill for three weeks in practice but when you get blown out 59-0, as the Buffs did last week against Nebraska, you don’t get much chance to use it. Saturday, the opportunity arose….”

Even in a wire service story, Colorado could not avoid being reminded of how far the program had fallen.

To this day, my feeling at the moment I read the Chronicle’s account of the Oklahoma State game has become my yardstick for defining “mixed emotions”. I was thrilled to read that Colorado had won a game, and excited by the means by which the upset was accomplished, but I knew that I would be hearing about it from my dormmates when I returned to Boulder. I was not to be disappointed. The accounts proved even more colorful than I had anticipated. “You had to be there” became the phrase of the next few weeks. I was often greeted in the hallway or the cafeteria with greetings such as “well, we finally won a close one” or “what about that comeback?” only to followed with a “oh, I’m sorry. I forgot you weren’t there”, accompanied by a laugh and a slap on the back.

Now, more than ever, I wanted the Buffs to start a winning streak.

Yeah, right. Like that was going to happen any time soon.

October 17, 1987 – Boulder          Colorado 35, Kansas 10

Homecoming for the Colorado Buffaloes was successful for the fourth consecutive year, as the Buffs put together a season-high (and wishbone-high) 546 yards of total offense in a 35-10 rout of Kansas.

As had become the pattern in 1987, a new face led the way.  Sophomore fullback Erich Kissick, who had carried the ball only nine times for 26 yards on the season coming into the game, lumbered for 122 yards and a touchdown on 18 carries.  Michael Simmons, who had started the season at fullback, chipped in 41 yards and a score on 12 carries.

Quarterback Sal Aunese, returning to the starting role in place of the ineffective Mark Hatcher, posted his second 100+ yard passing performance.  Aunese completed five-of-eight attempts for 105 yards, including receiving credit for a 28-yard touchdown pass to Drew Ferrando which he didn’t complete to Ferrando.

Come again?

Here’s what happened:  With less than a minute to play in the first half, and the Buffs struggling to pad a 7-3 lead, Aunese threw the ball to halfback Eric Bieniemy.  Bieniemy was hit from behind as he reached the Jayhawk four-yard line, with the ball popping free and rolling into the end zone.  Colorado split end Drew Ferrando was “Johnny-on-the-spot”, falling on the ball for a Colorado touchdown.  In the game statistics, Aunese was given credit for a 28-yard touchdown pass, Bieniemy was given credit for a 28-yard catch, and Ferrando was given a touchdown catch but no yardage.

Got it?

Colorado’s defense also came to play.

The Jayhawks managed just over two yards per carry, compiling only 84 yards on 39 rushing attempts.  Kansas did have 204 yards passing, but 98 of those came in the last minute of play, when the Colorado secondary had a mental lapse. Up 35-3, the Buffs’ secondary allowed Jayhawk quarterback Kelly Donohoe to connect with Willie Vaughn on a 98-yard touchdown, the longest play Colorado had ever allowed.

The final score of 35-10 was satisfying, but only in part.

The Buffs won comfortably, but still failed to score until mid-way through the second quarter against a defense which had allowed all of its Division 1-A opponents to score on its first offensive series.  In addition, the Buffs turned the ball over three times, and recovered their own fumbles three more times.

Such sloppy play was permissible against Kansas.  Unfortunately, the Big Eight did not allow the Buffs to play Kansas every weekend.

Up next:  Undefeated and No. 1-ranked Oklahoma.

Game Notes … 

– Ralphie III had been scheduled to make her first appearance at Homecoming game against Kansas.  Ralphie was given a few trial runs around Folsom Field the day before the game, but was deemed too wild to be trusted on game-day.  Ralphie III attended the Kansas game, but was kept in her pen.

– The win against Kansas also represented the Buffs 200th win at Folsom Field.  With the 35-10 triumph, Colorado’s record on the “hilltop” rose to 200-106-8.

– Prior to allowing the 98-yard touchdown pass to the Jayhawks, the longest completion allowed in Colorado history was surrendered to Kansas State, when Lane Brown hit Frances Starns for a 94-yard touchdown on October 20, 1951.

– Freshman outside linebacker Kanavis McGhee received his first career start against Kansas. McGhee would go on to start the remaining five games of his freshman season, and would miss only two more starts in his CU career (the last two games of the 1988 season after suffering a broken ankle against Nebraska). McGhee would go on to be a three-time first-team All-Big Eight performer, and would be honored as an All-American by the Walter Camp Foundation in 1989.

– Two other players also had their first starts against Kansas. Sophomore defensive end Arthur Walker started against the Jayhawks, and started every game the rest of the season. Walker finished the season with 25 tackles and two sacks … Freshman tight end/fullback George Heminway started in the Kansas game, and had four other starts in the 1987 season. Heminway finished the year with four catches, including a season-best 33 yard reception against the Jayhawks.

– 1987 was the second – and final – season as head coach at Kansas for Bob Valesente. The Jayhawks would go on to a 1-9-1 record in 1987 (defeating Southern Illinois, tying Kansas State), with Valesente leaving Lawrence after compiling a 4-17-1 overall record. He would be replaced for the 1988 season by Glen Mason, who would go on to coach nine seasons at Kansas.

October 17, 1992 – Boulder            No. 7 Colorado 24, Oklahoma 24

In 1952, the Colorado Buffaloes tied mighty Oklahoma 21-21 to mar an otherwise perfect conference run of the Bud Wilkinson Sooners of 1948-57 (a 57-0-1 streak).

Forty years later, the Buffs salvaged a 24-24 tie against a 3-2 Sooner squad led by 4th-year head coach Gary Gibbs.  Colorado managed to pull out the tie only by scoring 10 points in the final 4:27 of the game.

Freshman quarterback Koy Detmer, making his debut as a starter, made quite an impression, re-writing several pages of the Colorado record book.  Detmer eclipsed the single game record for passing completions and yardage in completing 33-of-50 passes for a school best 418 yards.  Included in the 418 yards was a school record 92-yard touchdown pass to Charles E. Johnson.

But not all of the records were positive.  Included in Detmer’s efforts were five interceptions (tying a record set by Jeff Austin against Texas Tech in 1976).

For every good play made by the freshman quarterback, there was a poor one to offset it. Oklahoma scored the first points of the game less than two minutes into the contest when a Detmer fumble was returned 58 yards for a touchdown by Sooner linebacker Aubrey Beavers. After a a 37-yard field goal late in the third quarter upped the Sooner lead to 10-0, Detmer hit Michael Westbrook for a 41-yard touchdown to pull the Buffs to within 10-7.

On the final play of the third quarter, the 52,454 in attendance at Folsom Field witnessed a 72-yard touchdown run by Dewell Brewer to give the Sooners a 17-7 lead.

The jeers turned to cheers two plays later when Detmer hit Charles E. Johnson for a 92-yard touchdown and a 17-14 score.

With less than six minutes to play, Colorado took over deep in its own territory. Koy Detmer had a chance to be a hero, but first played the role of a goat. Detmer was picked off by freshman defensive back Darrius Johnson, who returned the pick 17 yards for a for a Sooner score and a 24-14 Oklahoma lead with 5:09 to play.  The Johnson interception was Detmer’s fourth of the contest – to go with his two fumbles.  When Detmer threw his fifth pick moments later, the fate of the Buffs and their 23-game conference unbeaten streak seemed to be sealed.

But the Sooners could not hold the lead.  Oklahoma fullback Kenyon Rasheed fumbled on the Sooners first play after Detmer’s fifth interception, giving the Buffs new life.  Five plays later, sophomore tailback Lamont Warren scored from three yards out to pull the Buffs to within three, 24-21, with 3:14 to play.  The Buffs’ defense, called upon all night to bail out the error-prone offense, again rose to the challenge, returning the ball to the offense at the Buff 40-yard line.  Three plays netted 24 yards, and junior kicker Mitch Berger, forced into duty when Pat Blottiaux was unavailable due to a pulled quadricep muscle, booted a knuckleball of a kick through the uprights from 53 yards out as time expired.

The 24-24 tie was satisfying only because of the comeback.  The Sooners had been struggling in 1992, but the Buffs made Oklahoma look like world-beaters in surrendering seven turnovers.  “I feel very fortunate to get out of here with a tie under the circumstances,” said McCartney in his post-game comments.  “This keeps us unbeaten (5-0-1, 1-0-1 in Big Eight play) and keeps alive a lot of the things we want to do this season.”

Game Notes … 

 – Quarterback Koy Detmer set a number of school records against Oklahoma. Included on the list:

Most pass completions in a game (33) – previous record was 25, done twice by Steve Vogel (v. Kansas State in 1982; v. Michigan State in 1985);

Most passing yards in a quarter (192; 4th) – previous record was 176 by Randy Essington (v. Texas Tech, 1981);

Most passing yards in a half (307; 2nd) – previous record was 273 by Randy Essington (v. Texas Tech, 1981);

Most passing yards in a game (418) – previous record was 361 by Randy Essington (v. Nebraska, 1982);

Most interceptions thrown (5) – tied previous record of Jeff Austin (v. Texas Tech, 1976);

Most plays, total offense, in a half (36) – previous record was 35, by Zach Jordan (v. Missouri, 1950); and

Most plays, total offense, in a game (59) – previous record was 58, by Randy Essington (v. Nebraska, 1982).

– The 92-yard touchdown pass from Detmer to Charles Johnson eclipsed, by two yards, the record set by a Marc Walters and Jeff Campbell in a 56-14 rout of Kansas State in 1988.

– The 53-yard field goal by Mitch Berger to tie the game as time expired was the longest field goal of the season by a Buff kicker.

– The 418 yards passing by Koy Detmer obliterated the school record for a Buff against the Sooners. The previous best by a Colorado passer against Oklahoma was Ken Johnson’s 241 yard effort in 1971. The nine receptions by Michael Westbrook bettered the five reception record of several players, and the 182 receiving yards by Charles E. Johnson almost doubled the record of 85 receiving yards set by Rico Smith in the 1990 contest between the schools.

– Sophomore cornerback Chris Hudson had two of his four interceptions of the year against Oklahoma. Hudson returned of his interceptions for 45 yards, the longest interception by a Colorado Buff in 1992.

– With the tie, Colorado dropped from No. 7 to No. 9 in the polls, right behind Nebraska, which moved up three spots despite not playing, as in addition to Colorado’s tie, No. 8 Stanford lost to Arizona, and No. 8 Penn State lost to No. 20 Boston College.

– Oklahoma would go onto finish the 1992 season a 5-4-2 record, 3-2-2 in the Big Eight.

October 17, 1998 – Boulder           No. 19 Colorado 19, No. 22 Texas Tech 17

Another day, another ranked, undefeated team coming to Boulder.

While Kansas State was predicted to face Colorado as an undefeated team, the same could not have been said for Texas Tech before the start of the 1998 season.

Yet the Red Raiders were 6-0, 3-0 in Big 12 play, and were one of the pleasant surprises of the 1998 season. 6-5 in 1997, Texas Tech had been tarnished by allegations of “academic irregularities”, and had lost scholarships after an NCAA investigation. The “other” Ricky Williams, not the Ricky Williams who was garnering all of the media attention for Texas, had led Tech to an unblemished mark, including wins over Fresno State, 34-28, and Baylor, 31-29, scores which were eerily similar in nature to the CU wins over the same teams.

Entering Folsom Field, the Red Raiders, at No. 22 in the polls, were ranked for the first time in 1998.

Building, if a team can build on a loss, from the strong defensive effort posted against Kansas State, Colorado parlayed tough defense and four Jeremy Aldrich field goals into a satisfying 19-17 win over Texas Tech. In posting its third conference win (all by a margin of two points), the Buffs took advantage of three Red Raider turnovers in putting together the best overall effort of the season since the CSU win.

The Colorado defense forced three first quarter turnovers, setting the tone for the game.

The first came on an interception by freshman safety Michael Lewis in the end zone, ending a Texas Tech scoring threat. The second came on a fumble recovery by senior defensive lineman Nick Ziegler. That recovery set in motion a five-play, 59-yard drive culminated in a 27-yard Jeremy Aldrich field goal to give CU a 3-0 lead late in the first quarter.

On Texas Tech’s next possession, senior Marcus Washington intercepted another Red Raider offering, returning the pick 20 yards to the Texas Tech 36-yard line. On the first play from scrimmage, quarterback Mike Moschetti scrambled for 22 yards to the 14. From there, though, it became tough sledding, taking the Buffs six more plays to score. On third-and-goal at the Texas Tech four yard line, Damion Barton took a Moschetti pitch and went in untouched, giving CU a 10-0 lead just over a minute into the second quarter.

The joy for the 48,969 who braved the 44-degree weather (and 10 mph winds, making it all the more difficult on the Buff faithful) was short-lived, however. Texas Tech took only two minutes to drive 77 yards, capped by a 25-yard pass from Rob Peters to Darrel Jones to cut the lead to 10-7. The teams then swapped short field goals before the half, with Jeremy Aldrich hitting from 19 yards out after the Buffs’ drive stalled at the Texas Tech two-yard line.

The 13-10 halftime score held up throughout the third quarter, as both teams failed to dent the scoreboard.

Yet another short field goal by Aldrich, this time from 29 yards out, gave the Buffs a precarious 16-10 lead one minute into the fourth quarter.

After the CU defense forced a punt from the Red Raiders, the Buff offense took off on an impressive drive. Starting at their own eight yard line, the Colorado offense marched 91-yards in 18 plays, taking up almost nine minutes of fourth quarter game clock. The drive did not result in a touchdown, but Aldrich’s fourth field goal of the game, a 17-yard chip shot with 2:50 to play, all but sealed the victory.

Still, the Red Raiders refused to go quietly. Texas Tech mounted an 80-yard drive of its own, resulting in a one-yard touchdown run by the quarterback Rob Peters. Only 26 seconds of game clock remained, however, and after Darrin Chiaverini recovered the onside kick, the Buffs had their sixth win of the season.

The final score belies how well the Buffs played.

CU’s lone touchdown came on a Damion Barton four-yard run early in the second quarter, but the Buffs had other opportunities. Aldrich’s field goals, coming from 28, 19, 29, and 17 yards, respectively, are an indication of how close the game was to being a blowout. Only the Buffs inability to produce in the redzone (inside the twenty yard line) and a consolation touchdown scored by the Red Raiders with 26 seconds to play in the game served to make the final score close.

“I know there are people who are disappointed, that say we’re underachievers and so forth” said Neuheisel after the game. “Well, that’s one man’s opinion. This man’s opinion is that our kids are playing with everything they’ve got.”

Senior safety Marcus Washington agreed. “We’ve already done better than all of last year,” said Washington, who contributed an interception in handing Texas Tech its first loss of the season. “And that’s the only thing that counts.”

Sadly for the Buffs and their fans, CU was about to begin playing as if that sixth win was the only thing that counted.

Game Notes … 

– Jeremy Aldrich, who tied the school record for field goal attempts (5) and makes (4) in a game, was named the Big 12’s Special Teams Player-of-the-Week.

– The wire-to-wire victory over Texas Tech represented the first time in 19 games in which CU did not trail at some point in the contest.

– Texas Tech out-gained Colorado, 441 yards to 290. The Buffs’ leading rusher was Damion Barton, with 47 yards on 22 carries. The Texas Tech game represented Barton’s first career start.

– The Buffs did have their longest non-scoring pass of the season against the Red Raiders, however, a 59-yarder from Mike Moschetti to Marcus Stiggers.

– Freshman Roman Hollowell only had two kickoff returns in 1998, but he made them count, with his first of the season going for a school season-best 77 yards against the Red Raiders.

– Freshman safety Michael Lewis, who earned his first career start against Kansas State the week before, had his first career interception against Texas Tech.

– Junior linebacker Fred Jones had three sacks against Texas Tech, the highest sack total for any Buff in any game in 1998. Jones also had three quarterback hurries (also a team high for the season) and seven tackles overall. In all, the Buffs had seven sacks of Texas Tech quarterbacks on the afternoon.

– Thanks in large part to the longest drive of the season (18 plays, 91 yards), the Buffs had their best time of possession (34:24) of the season.

– Texas Tech fell to No. 25 in the polls after its loss to Colorado, then out of the polls after a 17-10 loss to No. 8 Texas A&M the following week. After starting 6-0, the Red Raiders would win only one more game in 1998 (a satisfying win over Texas), losing to Mississippi in the Independence Bowl, 35-18, to finish 7-5 and unranked.

October 17, 2009 – Boulder          Colorado 34, No. 17 Kansas 30

Colorado used two first half turnovers inside the Kansas five yard line to build a 24-3 lead, then hung on for a 34-30 victory with a deflected pass in the endzone as time expired. Sophomore quarterback Tyler Hansen, making his first start of the 2009 season, completed 14-of-25 passes for 175 yards and a score, adding 34 yards on 11 carries. Rodney Stewart led the rushing attack for the Buffs, with 108 yards and two touchdowns.

For the first time this season, Colorado fans did not see a score in the opening drive by at least one of the teams. The Buffs had surrendered points on the first drive of the game to every opponent except for Wyoming, and had posted points on their initial drive against Wyoming and Texas. The Family Weekend crowd of 51,146 was allowed to get settled into their seats, though, as the Buffs and the Jayhawks each went three-and-out in their first two possessions. The first first down of the game came on a 28-yard pass from Kansas quarterback Todd Reesing to wide receiver Brad McDougal midway through the first quarter, setting up the Jayhawks deep inside Buff territory. The Colorado defense stiffened, though, and the Jayhawks had to settle for a 37-yard field goal by Jacob Branstetter.

Colorado evened the score on a 45-yard field goal by Aric Goodman on the first play of the second quarter. Goodman’s first successful kick from the 40-49 yard range (he had been 0-of-8, but did have a 54-yarder against CSU), bounced off the right upright and through. For Goodman and the Buffs, who had been “thisclose” to  success all season, the opening play of the quarter proved to be a good omen. Before halftime, the Buffs would post 24 points, their best output in a quarter since putting up 28 against CSU in 2003 (a 45-28 CU victory).

The onslaught began two plays into the next Jayhawk drive, as Todd Reesing fumbled the ball back at his own four yard line. Red-shirt freshman defensive lineman Will Pericak fell on the ball, and the Buffs took only one play to take the lead. Rodney Stewart bullied his way in from the three, giving Colorado a 10-3 lead less than 30 seconds into the quarter.

Continue reading Game Story here

Returning the Favor … 

What will be remembered by Colorado fans as the night Tyler Hansen proved them right (“I told you we should have been starting Hansen all along!”), the 34-30 victory over No. 17 Kansas could have just as well be remembered as the night that Jayhawk quarterback Todd Reesing confounded the Buffs for the fourth consecutive year.

Reesing passed for over 400 yards, had two touchdowns, and had the Jayhawks 19 yards from an epic comeback win. Before Reesing, no Kansas quarterback had beaten the Buffs three years in a row – not John Hadl, not Bobby Douglass, not Nolan Cromwell, not Frank Seuer. None before Todd Reesing. And he had two possessions in the red zone with his team down four points, the game in his hands. Two chances at a record which could only be matched, never bested.

You know the story. The Buffs were ahead of the Jayhawks, in Lawrence, 9-0 at halftime. The date – October 28, 2006. The 1-7 Buffs, with three Mason Crosby field goals, had taken a 9-0 lead behing a stout Colorado defensive effort. Despite the late date, the Kansas coaches decided to pull the red-shirt off of freshman quarterback Todd Reesing. The decision made Mark Magino and his coaching staff look brilliant, as in the second half Reesing passed for two touchdowns and ran for a third, leading the Jayhawks to a 20-15 victory.

In 2007, Reesing hit on 20-of-29 passes for 153 yards, but also ran for 84 yards on seven carries, as Kansas topped Colorado in Boulder, 19-14. Then, last season, Reesing led the Jayhawks to two fourth quarter scores, turning a close 16-14 game into a 30-14 victory.

Three games; three victories.

Continue reading Game Essay here

October 17, 2015 – Boulder          Arizona 38, Colorado 31

Arizona used two drives of over 90 yards to tie the game and then take the lead in the fourth quarter, holding on for a 38-31 over Colorado to spoil the Buffs’ homecoming. Wildcat running back Jared Baker went for a career-high 207 yards as Arizona went for 616 total yards of total offense.

The Buffs finished with 468 yards of total offense of their own, and even had the advantage in total yards in the third quarter before going on a drought of five straight punts to allow Arizona to take control of the game. Sefo Liufau went 27-for-42 for 340 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions, but again failed to make connections in crucial situations.

Wide receiver Shay Fields had eight catches for 168 yards and two touchdowns, but had six of those catches for 131 yards in the first half before being shut out in the second half until the Buffs were down by two scores. Phillip Lindsay had 23 carries for 91 yards, but, as was the case with Fields, was largely unused/ineffective in the second half when the Buffs were trying to maintain or even expand their 24-17 lead.

The loss dropped CU to 3-4, 0-3, representing the Buffs’ 14th consecutive conference loss, tying a school record and extending the longest current such streak in the Football Bowl Subdivision.

Continue reading Game Story here

Shades of Silver Grey … 

I get it.

I understand that when Nike U. ran out of new ways to spend money that it came up with the concept of 849 uniform combinations, forcing every other school to follow suit in the never ending battle to lure recruits.

I understand that it is fun for the players to get to choose their uniform color combinations, and that it is exciting to wear new and varied uniforms.

Hell, I even understand that the official school colors of the University of Colorado are silver and gold, so silver uniforms are a natural fit for a program looking to expand its wardrobe.

But the all silver uniforms the Buffs trotted out for their Homecoming game against Arizona were not dynamic, exciting or inspiring.

They were just as dull and lifeless … much like the CU program for the past ten seasons.

I was hoping that this weekend’s essay would be about “Silver Linings”, but, after the 38-31 loss to Arizona, this morning is all about feeling “Battleship Gray”.

Colorado stands at 3-4 overall, but Buff fans know the overall record is a mirage. The real record is 0-3, the Buffs’ Pac-12 conference record. In the final six games of the season, there are no re-matches with Nicholls and UMass, only more Pac-12 foes who all seem to have the Buffs’ number.

Continue reading Game Essay here


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