CU Games of the Day – October 19th

October 19th … CU has a 5-1 record on this date over the past 40 years … 1985: A 40-6 romp over Iowa State gave Colorado a 2-0 Big Eight conference record for the first time since 1971 … 1991: No. 22 Colorado put together a pair of 99-yard touchdown drives on its way to a 34-17 upset of 12th-ranked Oklahoma (including game video) … 1996: Establishing a new team-record with a ninth consecutive win on the road (the 1922-24 Buffs had won eight straight on the road), No. 9 Colorado methodically dispatched the Kansas Jayhawks, 20-7 … 2002: Chris Brown rushed for 167 yards and three touchdowns as the Buffs raced out to a 34-0 halftime lead over Baylor before letting backups play much of the scoreless second half … 2013: Freshman running back Michael Adkins had four rushing touchdowns in leading Colorado to a 43-10 victory over Charleston Southern in Sefo Liufau’s first career start at quarterback … 2019: Washington State quarterback Alex Gordon threw for 369 yards and four touchdowns, leading the Cougars to a rout of Colorado

  • 1985: Colorado 40, Iowa State 6 …The Buffs managed just 14 yards passing in the game, the fewest yards passing by the Buffs in the history of the series, but it didn’t matter as it was 37-0 before the Cyclones scored …
  • 1991: No. 22 Colorado 34, No. 12 Oklahoma 17 … In scoring the most points ever against the Sooners in Norman (to that date), the Buffs out-gained the Sooners 371 yards to 251 … Essay: “Back in the Hunt” … 
  • 1996: No. 9 Colorado 20, Kansas 7 … The defense limited the Kansas offense to 190 total yards, surrendering only one touchdown, which only came after the Buffs had forged a 17-0 lead as the Buffs win on a windy day in Lawrence …
  • 2002: Colorado 34, Baylor 0 … For a third straight game, CU opened the game with a quick 14-0 lead. Unlike the Kansas State and Kansas games of the previous two weeks, however, this time the Buffs did not let up … Essay:The South Shall Rise Again” … 
  • 2013: Colorado 43, Charleston Southern 10 … The Buffs were a 31-point favorite, and played like it (at least after halftime), winning easily (for a change) … Essay: “I Want To Be Spoiled Again” …
  • 2019: Washington State 41, Colorado 10 … “We had a few turnovers and we couldn’t finish drives,” said Mel Tucker, who fell below .500 (3-4) for the first time as CU’s head coach” … Essay: “Parity in the Pac-12 – Just Not for Colorado” …

October 19, 1985 – at Iowa State           Colorado 40, Iowa State 6

What in the name of Fred Folsom was going on?

The Colorado Buffaloes, who couldn’t buy a conference win for the first half of the 1980’s, were now making it look easy. A 40-6 romp over Iowa State gave Colorado a 2-0 conference record for the first time since 1971 (the same season the Buffs went on to finish the season ranked No. 3 in the nation), and the Buffs’ largest margin of victory on the road since 1967.

The Buffs managed just 14 yards passing in the game, the fewest yards passing by the Buffs in the history of the series, but it didn’t matter. The running game posted 244 yards and three scores, and the defense held the Cyclones to just 41 rushing yards in 30 attempts. The defense, somewhat overlooked in the re-birth of the Colorado offense, held Iowa State scoreless until late in the game, with the Buffs already comfortably ahead 37-0.

Colorado methodically took control of the game, adding to its lead in each quarter. The first quarter witnessed only one score, a 14-yard touchdown pass from Rick Wheeler to Jon Embree. In the second quarter, sophomore Mike Marquez scored his first touchdown as a Buff on a seven-yard run. Kicker Larry Eckel then gave the Buffs a 17-0 halftime lead with a 32-yarder before the break.

A 20-point explosion by the Buffs in the third quarter sent most of the 41,215 on hand in Ames for Homecoming to the exits. The game effectively was over after linebacker Barry Remington returned an intercepted fumble 24 yards for a touchdown and a 24-0 Colorado lead. Two short runs, one by quarterback Rick Wheeler and the other by freshman running back Dave Sanders (who like Marquez, scored the first touchdown of his Colorado career that afternoon) gave the Buffs a 37-0 lead after three quarters.

The big win did not come without its consequences, however. Quarterback Mark Hatcher, brilliant in the first five games of the year, went down with an ankle injury on the third play of the game. Fellow sophomore Rick Wheeler stepped in, but the effort was merely adequate. Wheeler completed only one pass – the 14-yard scoring strike to tight end Jon Embree – on three attempts. Senior Craig Keenan also played, but missed on both of his pass attempts.

With Nebraska up next for the Buffs, the injury to Hatcher could not have come at a worse time.

Game Notes … 

– Colorado forced eight turnovers against Iowa State (five fumbles, three interceptions). As impressive as the effort was, it was still two short of the team record of ten turnovers, forced against Kansas in 1976.

– Freshman running back Dave Sanders, who scored his first career touchdown against Iowa State, would not return for his sophomore season. He ended his Colorado career with 28 carries for 80 yards and two touchdowns (the other coming in the season finale against Kansas State).

– Iowa State had come into the Colorado game with a 3-2 record, including a win in their Big Eight opener against Kansas, 22-21. The loss to Colorado, though, set off a four game losing streak. The Cyclones rebounded to win the final two games of 1985, against Kansas State and Oklahoma State, to finish with a 5-6 record, 3-4 in the Big Eight.

October 19, 1991 – at Oklahoma          No. 22 Colorado 34, No. 12 Oklahoma 17

Colorado put together a pair of 99-yard touchdown drives on its way to a 34-17 upset of 12th-ranked Oklahoma.  In scoring the most points ever against the Sooners in Norman, the Buffs out-gained the Sooners 371 yards to 251.  Darian Hagan accounted for 211 yards of total offense on the day, including 10-of-15 passing for 150 yards and three touchdowns.

After witnessing Oklahoma put up a score on their first possession, Colorado scored 20 unanswered first quarter points.  The first score came on a six-yard pass from Hagan to tight end Sean Brown, culminating an eight-play, 99-yard drive. The extra point attempt failed, leaving the Buffs behind, 7-6.

But the Buffs would not be behind for much longer.

The next two came in rapid succession as the Buffs, taking advantage of Oklahoma turnovers, scored twice more in the next three minutes.  Hagan connected with red-shirt freshman tight end Christian Fauria from five yards out after the Buffs intercepted Oklahoma quarterback Cale Gundy.

The Sooners fumbled the ensuing kickoff, and the Buffs quickly took advantage, with Hagan teaming up with wide receiver Michael Westbrook from 15 yards out.

With five minutes remaining in the first quarter, the score had been 7-0, Oklahoma. Before the quarter was over, though, Colorado was up 20-7, and Hagan had a school record with three touchdown passes in one stanza.

The Sooners would not go quietly, though.

Oklahoma put up ten points in the second quarter to pull within three points, 20-17, with 3:31 to play before half.  The Buffs were undeterred, as Colorado marched 64 yards before half to pull ahead, 27-17.  The ten-play drive was spearheaded by junior tailback Scott Phillips, subbing for injured starter James Hill.  Phillips contributed a 21-yard reception from Hagan to keep the drive alive before scoring on an eight yard run just before half.  The score was Phillips’ first ever as a Buff, joining Christian Fauria in posting his first ever points for Colorado on the day.

[It was the sixth game of the season, and the Buffs had already seen seven players score their first offensive touchdowns.   If nothing else, the 1991 Colorado offense was at least diversified.]

Up ten points at half, the Buffs certainly could not rest easy.  But the Buff defense rose to the occasion, shutting out the Sooners over the last 30 minutes.  The only score of the second half came on a three-yard run by Lamont Warren, capping a 14-play, 99-yard drive to put Colorado ahead, 34-17. A 99-yard drive is unusual in any game, against any opponent, but the Buffs pulled it off against a highly ranked Oklahoma team, twice in the same game – in Norman!

Back in the Hunt … 

The 4-2 Buffs, 2-0 in Big Eight play, gained six places in the next poll, rising to No. 16.  Oklahoma, ranked sixth in THE nation just two weeks earlier, fell to No. 21 with its second consecutive defeat.

Nebraska held at No. 9, despite having the two teams ranked just above them lose their games – No. 7 California fell to Washington, and No. 8 Tennessee lost to Alabama, yet the Cornhuskers failed to capitalize.  Nebraska won its game, defeating Kansas State at home.  The final score, though, was 38-31, apparently giving pollsters pause about just how good the Cornhuskers were.

It also gave Colorado players and fans pause, as up next for the Buffs was a trip to Manhattan to play those same Kansas State Wildcats.

Here is the YouTube video of the game … 

Game Notes …

– The win was the third in a row in the series for Colorado, with two of the wins coming in Norman. The win was just the 11th overall for the Buffs against the Sooners (against 34 losses and one tie), and, needless to say, the three game win streak was the longest for Colorado against Oklahoma.

– The three touchdown passes by Darian Hagan was a season high for the Buffs against any opponent (and all three came in less than three minutes of playing time in the first quarter).

– Hagan connected with senior wide receiver Mark Henry for the Buffs’ longest completion of the season, going for 65 yards. The play did not go for a touchdown, but did cover most of the ground in one of Colorado’s 99-yard drives. The reception was the longest – and last – of Henry’s CU career. Henry was injured during the Oklahoma game, and did not catch another pass the remainder of the season.

– Red-shirt freshman tight end Christian Fauria made the first catch of his career a good one, going for a five-yard touchdown (Fauria’s second catch of the season – he only had two – also went for a touchdown later in the season).

– Wide receiver Michael Westbrook and tailback Lamont Warren, both of whom had record-setting careers at Colorado, each had their first career starts in the 1991 Oklahoma game.

– Darian Hagan, for his three touchdown effort against Oklahoma, was named the Big Eight Offensive Player of the Week (Hagan had won the honor previously in 1991 for his efforts in the rout of Minnesota).

– Sophomore punter Mitch Berger, who would go on to receive honorable mention on the Associated Press All-Big Eight team in 1991, had a punt against Oklahoma go for a season-best 63 yards.

– Junior cornerback Deon Figures, who would go on to win the Thorpe Award as the nation’s best defensive back in 1992, had a season-high three pass deflections against Oklahoma. Figures would also earn honorable mention on the AP All-Big Eight team. Figures helped the Buff secondary to a season-low total of 89 passing yards against the Sooners.

October 19, 1996 – at Kansas           No. 9 Colorado 20, Kansas 7

The Kansas Jayhawks in 1995 had come to Boulder with a 4-0 record in search of respect.

The Jayhawks left Boulder with much, much, more. In addition to respect, Kansas came away with a stunning 40-24 win over the Buffs.

In 1995, both Colorado and Kansas went on to post 10-2 records and top ten final rankings.

In 1996, however, the two teams were heading in different directions.

Memories of the 1995 loss to the Jayhawks had to be in the Buffs’ minds as they prepared for the 1996 game in Lawrence. Fortunately for Colorado and its fans, though, Kansas was not the team it was in 1995. Kansas in 1996 was 3-2, with even that record coming against a fairly light schedule. Still, if Colorado was to be a player in the national championship race, the No. 9 Buffaloes could not look past the Jayhawks.

And they didn’t.

Establishing a new team-record with a ninth consecutive win on the road (the 1922-24 Buffs had won eight straight on the road), Colorado methodically dispatched the Jayhawks, 20-7.

On the game’s opening possession, Colorado put together a 14-play, 76-yard drive. Colorado quarterback Koy Detmer went four-for-four on third down passes on the drive, which was capped by a three-yard touchdown pass from Detmer to junior tight end Desmond Dennis.

The remainder of the half was left to the Buff defense.

On three consecutive drives to close out the first half, Kansas started drives on the Colorado 31, 20, and 34, but came away with no points, as the CU defense forced a missed field goal, a fumble, and a punt. A 20-yard field goal by Jason Lesley with one second remaining gave the Buffs a 10-0 halftime advantage.

Colorado put the game out of reach with its first drive of the second half, culminating in a 21-yard scoring connection between Detmer and senior wide receiver Rae Carruth, putting the Buffs up 17-0. For the day, Carruth would post his second consecutive 100-yard receiving effort, collecting 106 yards on six catches (Carruth also contributed 29 yards on a reverse to convert a fourth down attempt).

On a windy homecoming afternoon in Lawrence, Kansas, the Buffs did not dominate the Jayhawks, but they did come away with victory. The offense did just enough to win, while the Colorado defense was suffocating. The defense limited the Kansas offense to 190 total yards, surrendering only one touchdown, which only came after the Buffs had forged a 17-0 lead.

For the Buffs’ 1996 squad, the season began with a motto of Mission: Possible. With the 1996 season now at its mid-way point, the motto had seemingly been modified to: Just Win, Baby.

Coach Neuheisel concurred: “The expectation is such that we’re supposed to roll over these teams, but the blowouts that you’re used to seeing … I think are a thing of the past. There are too many good teams, and it’s just too hard week-in and week-out to dominate opponents.”

The 13-point win, combined with No. 8 Notre Dame’s surprise overtime loss to Air Force, moved the Buffs to up to No. 8 in the polls. The dream of a National Championship for the 5-1 Buffs (3-0 in Big 12 play) remained remote, but was still a possibility.

Game Notes … 

– Koy Detmer passed for 244 yards and two touchdowns. In so doing, Detmer moved into second place on the all-time career passing yards list (4,031), surpassing Steve Vogel (3,912; 1982-84). In becoming only the second Buff to pass for over 4,000 yards, Detmer finished the game trailing only Kordell Stewart (6,481; 1991-94) on the all-time list.

– Safety Ryan Black, who would go on to earn second-team All-Big 12 honors at the end of the season, led the Buffs against Kansas with 14 tackles. Black had two third down stops and two fourth down stops against the Jayhawks.

– The three-yard touchdown reception for junior tight end Desmond Dennis was the first of his career. Dennis finished the 1996 season with only one other catch, an 18-yarder against Oklahoma State.

– The Kansas game was played in constant gusty winds, sometimes approaching 30 mph. Colorado punter Nick Pietsch, who averaged 39.8 yards on five punts on the day, had one punt go for a season-long 76 yards. The wind-aided effort was the third-longest in CU history, and the longest-ever outside the state of Colorado.

– The victory was the seventh consecutive win for the Buffs in Lawrence, and gave Colorado a 15-11-3 edge over the Jayhawks in their home stadium.

– The 1922-24 Buffs, who won eight straight games on the road, never had to travel very far to obtain their wins. Amongst the eight victories were two games against Colorado Mines, two games against Wyoming, and one game each at Denver, Colorado State, and Colorado College. The only road game of any distance was a 17-7 victory over Utah in Salt Lake City in 1923.

– Kansas would not get back on track after the loss to Colorado, winning only one more game the remainder of the season, finishing with a 4-7 overall record (2-6 in the Big 12).

October 19, 2002 – Boulder           No. 23 Colorado 34, Baylor 0

For a third straight game, Colorado opened the game against a Big 12 conference rival with a quick 14-0 lead. Unlike the Kansas State and Kansas games of the previous two weeks, however, this time the Buffs did not let up, cruising to a 34-0 win over Baylor.

Chris Brown rushed for 167 yards and three touchdowns as the Buffs raced out to a 34-0 halftime lead before letting backups play much of the scoreless second half.

Brown scored on the third play of the game on a 55-yard run. Shortly thereafter, Brandon Drumm capped an eight-play, 61-yard drive from a yard out, and the Buffs were up 14-0. Rather than allow a comeback (Kansas State had tied the Buffs 14-all two weeks earlier, and Kansas had briefly taken a 15-14 lead a week before), the Buffs poured in on against hapless Baylor.

Set up by an interception by Roderick Sneed, the Buffs scored on a four-yard Chris Brown run on the first play of the second quarter. The extra point attempt by Pat Brougham was missed, but the Buffs were up comfortably, 20-0.

Just over two minutes later, quarterback Robert Hodge scrambled in from 34 yards out for his first rushing touchdown of the year. Already up 27-0 in the second quarter, the Buffs were not done. After strong safety Clyde Surrell stripped the ball from Baylor quarterback Aaron Karas and Sneed recovered on the Baylor 48, Chris Brown scored his third touchdown to cap an eight-play, 52-yard drive and give Colorado an insurmountable 34-0 lead.

Brown’s 167 yards on the day, as impressive as they were, were becoming “routine”. The story of the Baylor game, for a change, was the defense, with the Buffs shutting out an opponent for the first time since a 37-0 victory over the same Baylor squad in 1999.

Gary Barnett, who had spoken highly all week about the quality team the Bears were bringing to Boulder, was proud of the defensive effort. “Obviously, we didn’t shut down a great offense,” conceded Barnett, “but it’s still hard to get a shutout, no matter who you’re playing.”

Defensive coordinator Vince Okruch had challenged his squad after the Kansas game. “I really think the biggest difference was it was a different attitude,” said Okruch. “As a defense, I believe we were embarrassed by our performance in Lawrence and made a vow not to be embarrassed again.” Safety Roderick Sneed, who had an interception and a fumble recovery, was more succinct: “We got the shutout and we did play a pretty damn good defensive game.”

The Buffs, now 5-2 and 3-0 in Big 12 conference play with the win, found themselves alone atop the Big 12 North division after No. 9 Iowa State fell to No. 2 Oklahoma.

Up next for the Buffs was Texas Tech. The Red Raiders were 5-3, 2-1 after a 52-38 romp over Missouri. Quarterback Kliff Kingsbury passed for over 500 yards and five touchdown against Missouri, the same Tiger team which had held Nebraska to two offensive touchdowns in Lincoln the week before.

The Colorado defense had looked good against Baylor, and the shutout was a much needed boost of confidence. Now it was up to Gary Barnett and Vince Okruch to inspire a similar performance against the wide-open offense of the Red Raiders.

The South Shall Rise Again

Okay, so perhaps it wasn’t a reversal at Appomattox, and Sherman was not held at bay on the outskirts of Atlanta, but in the Big 12 Conference, the third full weekend of conference play saw the Southern division rise up and take a bite out of the Northern division. A quirk in the schedule pitted all six Northern division teams against the six teams from the South, with the South taking five of the six games.

The most impressive win came from 2nd-ranked Oklahoma over 9th-ranked Iowa State. The Cyclones Seneca Wallace, the hero of the Nebraska upset, was being touted as the Heisman Trophy’s leading candidate after leading ISU into the top ten for the first time in school history. The stay would not be a long one, however, as the Sooners laid a 49-3 shellacking on the Cyclones. In the only other game between ranked opponents, No. 8 Texas defeated No. 17 Kansas State, 17-14, to atone for a 35-24 loss to Oklahoma the week before.

The upset of the day came when 2-4 Oklahoma State knocked off Nebraska, 24-21. The OSU win over Nebraska was the first for the Cowboys since 1961. It also marked the first time since 1961 that the Cornhuskers had lost three games before the end of October (1961 also represented Nebraska’s last losing season, but the Cornhuskers still had a 5-3 record for 2002). In the remaining games between the North and the South, Texas Tech put it to Missouri, 52-38, while Texas A&M routed Kansas, 47-22.

For Colorado, forgetting for the moment that the Buffs’ next two opponents came from the Southern division, the day could not have gone any better. Now 3-0 in conference play after the Baylor win, Colorado was the lone undefeated (in conference play) Northern division squad. With a win over Texas Tech and a loss by Iowa State to Texas in Austin the following week, the Buffs would have a two game lead in the division. Even with seemingly invincible Oklahoma looming in the Buffs’ future, the chances of repeating as Big 12 Northern division champions took great strides on October 19th.

Not bad for a team which started the year 1-2. Still, the offense had to continue to produce, special teams play needed to improve, and the defense needed to build on its impressive play against Baylor before the Buffs could start discussing championships.

Game Notes … 

– A total of ten Buffs caught passes vs. Baylor, the most since ten Buffs had catches v. San Jose State (9/8/01).

– Only one of CU’s five touchdown drives v. Baylor (the last) consumed over two minutes of clock.

– The shutout was the second in as many tries against Baylor, but only the second for the Colorado defense since 1996 (a 12-0 win over Kansas State – 11/16/96).

– The Baylor Bears’ total yards, 251, would be the best effort of the season for the Colorado defense, and the best since allowing 196 to Kansas State the previous season (a 16-6 win – 10/6/01).

October 19, 2013 – Boulder          Colorado 43, Charleston Southern 10

Freshman running back Michael Adkins had four rushing touchdowns in leading Colorado to a 43-10 victory over Charleston Southern in Sefo Liufau’s first career start at quarterback.

Adkins, who had 178 rushing yards on the season coming into the game, had 13 carries for 137 yards to lead the Buffs in what appeared to be a rout on the final scoreboard. The score was 22-10 at half, however, after CSU put together two nine-minute first-half drives to keep the game close. The Colorado defense stiffened in the second half, however, as the Buffs slowly pulled away from the Buccaneers.

Continue reading Game Story here

I Want to Be Spoiled Again … 

They are back there. Way back there, tucked away deep in the recesses of my memory.

But they are there.

Memories of the days in the early to mid-90’s, when Colorado was on a run of eight straight years of being ranked in the national polls.

I remember writing out, on a legal pad, the weekly Associated Press poll. There was a column for that week’s rankings, then a column of the opponent each ranked team was playing that week. Using this (now) seemingly archaic system, I was able to track the games being played by the teams ranked above CU, as well as the games of those teams who were ranked below. Each weekend, I would post the results of each top 25 game, so that would be better able to predict where CU would be ranked the following week.

I actually remember lamenting, when CU was entrenched in the top ten for much of the mid-90’s, not having more relevant games to track. CU was ranked so high that the vast majority of games being played across the country that weekend simply had no bearing on the future of my Buffs.

I want to be that spoiled again.

Continue reading Game Essay here

October 19, 2019 – at Washington State          Washington State 41, Colorado 10

Washington State quarterback Alex Gordon threw for 369 yards and four touchdowns, leading the Cougars to a rout of Colorado. The Cougars raced out to a 21-3 first quarter lead, never looking back, handing the Buffs their third straight defeat.

Steven Montez, for the second game in a row, was ineffective. Montez went 16-for-30 for 129 yards and two interceptions before being pulled in the fourth quarter. Running back Alex Fontenot was a bright spot, going for 105 yards on 11 carries, but a porous defense and an ineffective red zone offense doomed the Buffs to a second straight rout on the road.

“We had a few turnovers and we couldn’t finish drives,” said Mel Tucker, who fell below .500 (3-4) for the first time as CU’s head coach. “We knew we would be able to run the ball but our passing game was inconsistent. Defensively, it just took us too long to settle down.”

“It is a little frustrating but you cannot let it get to you”, said running back Alex Fontenot, who had his second career 100-yard rushing game. “You have to keep the mentality of, when I am out there I am going to score, and just keep going.”

Continue reading Game Story here

Parity in the Pac-12 – Just Not for Colorado … 

It’s been a season of parity for the Pac-12 Conference, and this weekend was a glaring example …

The bottom-feeder of the Pac-12 conference, UCLA (1-5), went on the road to face Stanford. The Cardinal had opened the season ranked No. 24 in the country, and were 10-point home favorites against the Bruins.

Result … UCLA 34, Stanford 16

The No. 11 team in the Pac-12 conference, Oregon State (2-4), went on the road to face Cal. The Bears had risen as high as No. 15 in the country, and were 10.5-point home favorites against the Beavers.

Result … Oregon State 21, California 17

The No. 10 team in the Pac-12 conference, Colorado (3-3), went on the road to face Washington State. The Cougars had risen as high as No. 19 in the country, and were 12.5-point home favorites against the Buffs.

Result … Washington State 41, Colorado 10.

One of these things is not like the others …

Continue reading Game Essay here


2 Replies to “CU Games of the Day – October 19th”

  1. Stuart I think you have said that the Buffs have never won on your birthday. I’m sorry about that. But I’m happy to see that our Buffs are 5-1 on October 19, which is my birthday. If I could I’d give a present of a Buffs victory on your Birthday.

    Keep up the good work, it is much appreciated

    1. Thanks – and belated happy birthday!
      Yes, sadly the Buffs are 0-5 on my birthday. The closest I got was in ’92, when the Buffs were supposed to play Missouri on Saturday, October 10th. But … since it was CU’s first trip to Columbia since the Fifth Down game, the game got moved to Thursday night. CU won the game, 6-0, but it was on the 8th instead of the 10th 🙁

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