CU Games of the Day – October 23rd

October 23rd … CU has a 1-3-1 record on this date over the past 40 years … 1982: The Colorado defense played well against Iowa State, but was hampered by an inefficient offense. Worn down, the 14-14 halftime score became a 31-14 setback for the Buffs … 1993: The number 16 proved to be unlucky for the 16th-ranked Buffs as Kansas State connected on a 35-yard field goal with only 21 seconds remaining in the game to enable underdog Kansas State to come away with a 16-16 tie in Manhattan … 1999: In defeating the Cyclones for the 16th consecutive time, the Buffs gave Gary Barnett his first road win as the head coach at the University of Colorado … 2004: Texas A&M kicker Eric Pegram connected on a 19-yard field goal in overtime, lifting the 17th Aggies to a 29-26 win over Colorado … 2010: Colorado watched a ten-point fourth quarter lead, and any realistic hope for a bowl bid, slip away in the fourth quarter in a 27-24 loss at home to Texas Tech …

  • 1982: Iowa State 31, Colorado 14 … The stat of the game … Iowa State had the ball for 42:53 of game clock, compared to 17:07 for the Buffs. “The defense was on the field way too much,” said Bill McCartney …
  • 1993: No. 16 Colorado 16, Kansas State 16 … The improving Wildcats snapped Colorado’s eight-game winning streak in the series in holding the vaunted Buff offense to 355 yards of total offense. … Essay: “Moving Day” … 
  • 1999: Colorado 16, Iowa State 12 … After the Buffs scored all 16 of their points in the second quarter, and it was up to the Buffs’ defense to make it stand up in the second half …
  • 2004: No. 17 Texas A&M 29, Colorado 26 … The Buffs’ opportunity to tie the game, or better yet, to pull out a road conference win, ended when Colorado fumbled on its overtime possession … Essay:Modern Technology” … 
  • 2010: Texas Tech 27, Colorado 24 … Well, it’s turn out the lights time for the University of Colorado football team under Dan Hawkins. Enough will finally be enough … Essay: “Turn out the Lights, the Party’s Over”

October 23, 1982 – Boulder          Iowa State 31, Colorado 14

The Iowa State Cyclones came to Boulder with a better overall record than the Buffs (3-2-1 to Colorado’s 1-4-1), but both teams sported identical 0-1-1 conference records. In fact, the Big Eight Conference standings heading into the third weekend of the season were somewhat bizarre.

Nebraska and Oklahoma were both 2-0, and this was to be expected. After that, third place in the league was shared by Oklahoma State and Missouri, with 0-0-2 marks. The remaining four teams in the conference were tied for fifth with 0-1-1.

Take a look. It would be the first and last time the standings would ever look this way:

Big Eight  Overall

Team      W-L-T       W- L-T

Nebraska  2  0 0      5  1  0

Oklahoma 2 0 0      4  2 0

Missouri    0 0 2      3  1  2

Okla. State   0 0 2    1  2  2

Iowa State   0 1 1      3  2  1

Kansas State 0 1 1   3  1  2

Kansas          0 1 1     1  3  2

COLORADO 0 1 1     1  4  1

Against Iowa State, the Buffs again were defeated by their toughest opponent – their own offense.

The Colorado defense played tough, but was hampered by an inefficient offense. Worn down, the 14-14 halftime score became a 31-14 setback for the Buffs.

A blocked punt by Victor Scott in the first quarter was recovered by Danny McMillen for one Colorado score. In the second, running back Richard Johnson contributed a nifty 47-yard run to account for all of the Buffs’ points.

The turning point came early in the third quarter, with the game still tied at 14-14.

A 58-yard punt return by Jeff Donaldson set up the Buff offense at the Cyclone 26-yard line. Instead of scoring to take the lead for the first time in the game, the CU offense again faltered. On the first play after Donaldson’s return, quarterback Randy Essington attempted to hit Chris McLemore over the middle. McLemore bobbled the pass, with Iowa State intercepting. “That was a great opportunity for us,” said Colorado head coach Bill McCartney. “When we didn’t capitalize, and the defense went back on the field, there was a noticeable letdown”.

Other than the 14-14 halftime score, there was little in the statistics ledger which favored the Buffs.

Quarterback Randy Essington completed only 11-of-26 passes for 126 yards and two interceptions, yet continued his improbable assault on the Colorado season and career passing totals. Iowa State had 32 first downs to 14 for Colorado. The Cyclones had 93 offensive plays for 571 yards; the Buffs had 44 plays for 221 total yards.

The stat of the game … Iowa State had the ball for 42:53 of game clock, compared to 17:07 for the Buffs. “The defense was on the field way too much,” said McCartney.

“Our problem is no secret,” said Bill McCartney after the game. “It’s an offense that is not productive. In my opinion, the defense played a scrappy game. They hung in there, caused some fumbles (three, two recovered by the Buffs) and all we had to do was move the ball. When we get an opportunity, we have to take advantage of it”.

– Game Notes  … 

– The score was tied at 14-14 at halftime, but the Cyclones pulled away in the second half. In the decisive thirty minutes, Colorado had four first downs and a total of two yards rushing.

– Against Oklahoma State and Iowa State, the Buffs scored four touchdowns – three by the defense and special teams; one by the offense.

– The 47-yard run by Richard Johnson was the longest run from scrimmage by the Buffs all season; the 58-yard punt return by Jeff Donaldson was the season’s longest punt return.

– The time of possession against Iowa State, 17:07, was not a record for futility (14:34 v. Missouri in 1968), but it was close.

– The 31-14 victory over Colorado proved to be the high-water mark for Iowa State in 1982. The win gave the Cyclones a 4-2-1 record, but Iowa State would go on to lose its final four games of the season, to finish the year with a 4-6-1 record.

October 23, 1993 – at Kansas State           No. 16 Colorado 16, Kansas State 16

The number 16 proved to be unlucky for the 16th-ranked Colorado Buffaloes as Kansas State kicker Tate Wright connected on a 35-yard field goal with only 21 seconds remaining in the game to enable underdog Kansas State to come away with a 16-16 tie in Manhattan. The improving Wildcats, 5-1 coming into the contest against the Buffs, snapped Colorado’s eight-game winning streak in the series in holding the vaunted Buff offense to 355 yards of total offense.

In contrast to the two Colorado losses, when the Buff defense had been suspect, against Kansas State it was the offense which failed to produce at crucial times.

In the first six games of 1993, Colorado had scored 23 touchdowns in 30 trips inside the opponent’s 20-yard line. Against the Wildcats, though, three first-half drives inside the 20 netted only three short Mitch Berger field goals. The Buffs led at half, 9-0, but Kansas State was still very much in the game.

Playing with more enthusiasm than their Colorado counterparts, the Wildcats forged a 13-9 lead with just under ten minutes to play in the game (Buff defensive lineman Shannon Clavelle blocked the point after attempt after the first Kansas State score, a point which would prove crucial in the end).

Senior cornerback Dennis Collier gave the Buffs new life a few minutes later, though, when he grabbed a Chad May pass which had been tipped by linebacker Jon Knutson. After a three yard return, the Buffs’ offense took the field at the Wildcat 25. Seven plays later a one-yard plunge by James Hill put the Buffs back on top, 16-13, with 3:57 remaining.

A few moments later, the Buffs’ defense seemed to have matters well in hand, as the Wildcats were pinned back with a fourth-and-15 from their own 31-yard line. One more defensive stop would result in a Colorado victory … but it was not meant to be.

On a designed roll-out, Kansas State quarterback Chad May hit freshman wide receiver Kevin Lockett across the field. Lockett raced down the sideline, not being caught until he had gained 44 yards to the Buffs’ 31-yard line. A few plays later, Kansas State had a field goal, some national respect, and a moral victory.

“It felt like a loss”, according to Bill McCartney. “Early in the game when we were moving the ball and we were fairly dominant we didn’t convert touchdowns. We settled for field goals. Later on that took its toll.”

For Kansas State, the tie was a “program-turner”, much like the Colorado win over Nebraska in 1986. The tie allowed the 5-1-1 Wildcats to enter the polls ranked No. 25. The ranking was the first for the program since 1970, and was a “great tribute to the young people in our program”, according to head coach Bill Snyder. Kansas State, with the dubious distinction of being the only program in Division 1-A with an all-time winning percentage under .400 (317-535-41 – .378 -entering 1993 season), now had something to crow about.

There was no such happiness for the other team with a tie on its record. Colorado was now 4-2-1, with the tie dropping the Buffs from No. 16 to No. 20 in the polls. Still, the Buffs were 2-0-1 in Big Eight play, and a win over Nebraska would make the indignation of a tie to Kansas State meaningless.

All the Buffs had to do was beat the Cornhuskers for the first time since 1990.

Moving Day …

While the Buffs were doing battle with Kansas State, Lee and I were doing battle as well.

Not with each other (although few get along well during such times), but with boxes of garbage, clothes, and assorted “stuff” as we moved into our new home. During the afternoon Colorado/Kansas State contest, it was moving day as we attempted to mold our separate belongings into a mutually livable arrangement.

If this seems a bit out of sequence, it was. While Lee and I had been engaged less than two weeks, we had found a place to live together a month or so earlier. Moving into our new home did not allow me to watch the national football offerings on television, and hence I did not receive regular updates of the Colorado/Kansas State game.

I did note the 9-0 halftime score, but did not know that the Buffs had failed to convert three first-half touchdown opportunities. Later, at a time when we knew that the Colorado game should have been over, we tuned into the Montana State game on the radio to listen for updates. Randy Tafelmeyer was with me, and we were loading a breakfast table onto Randy’s truck when the scores from around the nation were recited. As Colorado was a ranked team, I knew the Buffs’ score would be mentioned. When the announcer began “16th ranked Colorado, 16 …. “, I breathed a sigh of relief. They wouldn’t have mentioned the CU point total first if the Buffs had not won.

“…. Kansas State, 16”.


That couldn’t be right. I looked at Randy. He looked at me. He had heard the same thing. 16-16. A tie? With Kansas State? That couldn’t be right. The announcer must have gotten all of the 16’s mixed up. The Buffs couldn’t have been tied by the lowly Wildcats.

Could they?

Later, a television was plugged in and confirmed the awful truth. The Buffs had been tied by the Wildcats. Like most of the Buffs and their fans, I looked upon the tie as a loss.

Moving day ended with me just be that much more tired …

Game Notes … 

– The tie with Kansas State would be the last in Colorado history, as Colorado would not play anymore tie games before overtime was instituted by the NCAA.

– Colorado’s all-time record includes 36 ties, 17 at home; 18 on the road; and one at a neutal site (the 1990 Pigskin classic 31-31 tie with Tennessee). Colorado had three ties with three teams: Kansas; Utah; and Missouri. Perhaps it was not a coincidence, then, that the Buffs first overtime game, played in 1999, was played against Missouri (a 46-39 Colorado victory).

– Sophomore defensive tackle Shannon Clavelle had a great game against Kansas State. In addition to blocking an extra point (which proved to be a gave-saver), Clavelle had five tackles, two quarterback pressures, two fumble recoveries, a forced fumble, a pass broken up, and an interception against the Wildcats. Clavelle’s 43-yard return of his interception proved to be the longest interception return by any Buff in 1993.

– While Clavelle had an impressive outing against Kansas State, it was senior linebacker Sam Rogers who was named Big Eight Defensive Player-of-the-Week. Rogers had 14 tackles, including 12 solo tackles, four tackles for loss, and a sack against the Wildcats. Rogers would go on to finish the 1993 season second on the team in total tackles (88) and unassisted tackles (62), and would earn second team All-Big Eight recognition.

– The Colorado defense held Kansas State to just one net rushing yard in the first half, and a season-low 29 yards overall.

– The tie broke an eight-game winning streak for Colorado in the series. The Buffs fell short of matching the longest winning streak in the series, ten games, between 1954-63.

– Kansas State continued playing well after its matchup with the Buffs, beating Oklahoma the following week for the first time since 1970. The Wildcats would conclude the 1993 season with a 52-17 victory over Wyoming in the Copper Bowl. The bowl game was just the second-ever in school history, and the first-ever victory. At 9-2-1, Kansas State finished the 1993 ranked 20th in the nation.

October 23, 1999 – at Iowa State           Colorado 16, Iowa State 12

One week after failing in every facet of the game against Texas Tech, the Colorado Buffaloes responded with sufficient resolve to hold off Iowa State, 16-12. In defeating the Cyclones for the 16th consecutive time, the Buffs gave Gary Barnett his first road win as the head coach at the University of Colorado.

But it did not come easily.

Substituting for Mike Moschetti, who was held out of the contest due to a concussion, redshirt freshman quarterback Zac Colvin made a successful starting debut. Colvin completed 14-of-23 passes for 116 yards, including a six-yard touchdown pass to tight end Dan Graham. Coach Barnett said Colvin “showed a lot of presence and poise … For his first start, with a team on the road that’s struggling like we have, it was a huge game.”

Colvin and the Buffs started the game, played in winds gusting to 25 m.p.h., without much of a spark. The Cyclones, playing with the wind, built a 6-0 first quarter lead with two Mike McKnight field goals.

Playing with the wind in the second quarter, Colorado responded with Jeremy Aldrich 45-yard field goal to make it a 6-3 game at the 10:43 mark. With their next possession, the Buffs took their first lead of the game with a Cortlen Johnson run of four yards, giving Colorado a 10-6 advantage. Iowa State then took its final lead of the game with a 21-yard touchdown pass from Sage Rosenfels to J.J. Moses with just 1:14 to play before halftime.

Down 12-10 after the Cyclones missed their extra point attempt, Colvin led the Buffs on a five-play, 49-yard drive to take the lead for good. A 33-yard kickoff return by Ben Kelly set up the Buffs’ offense, with Colvin hitting Daniel Graham for a six-yard touchdown with just 11 seconds remaining before halftime. A two-point conversion failed, leaving the score 16-12 at the break.

After the Buffs scored all 16 of their points in the second quarter, and it was up to the Buffs’ defense to make it stand up in the second half. The much-maligned Colorado defense contributed two second half interceptions (one each by cornerbacks Ben Kelly and Damen Wheeler), while twice forcing fourth down situations deep in CU territory. The first resulted in a fourth down stop, while the second resulted in a missed 41-yard field goal attempt by Iowa State kicker Mike McKnight.

In addition to Colvin’s play, the Colorado offense was aided by the return of a running game. Sophomore tailback Cortlen Johnson rushed for a career-high 185 yards on 31 carries, including a four-yard touchdown run in the second quarter. Johnson proved to be at his best in the clutch. Asked to run the ball six times in third down situations, Johnson converted all six rushes into first downs, including two runs late in the fourth quarter as the Buffs were attempting to run out the clock.

Meanwhile, Johnson’s counterpart, Iowa State’s Darren Davis, was held in check by the Colorado defense. The nation’s third-leading rusher coming into the game, Davis did post 172 yards on 31 carries, but was kept out of the endzone. Buff linebacker Jashon Sykes tracked down Davis on many of his carries, with Sykes’ 18 tackles on the afternoon garnering him Big 12 Defensive Player-of-the-Week honors.

With the win, the Buffs found themselves tied with Nebraska for second place in the Big 12 North (the Cornhuskers lost that afternoon to Texas, 24-20. Kansas State, howeiver, remained unbeaten in conference play). Colorado’s 3-1 conference record was impressive, but the 4-3 overall record was not yet bowl worthy.

Up next was Oklahoma, re-born as a passing team under new head coach Bob Stoops. The Sooners were 4-2 on the season, and were coming to Boulder riding high after demolishing 13th-ranked Texas A&M, 51-6.

Game Notes …

– The scoreless second half was only the second in the four year history of the Big 12. Colorado was also a part of the other scoreless second half in Big 12 history, with Colorado and Kansas State failing to score in final two quarters in a game in Boulder in 1996 (a 12-0 CU victory).

– Each team only had four possessions in the second half, as both teams relied on their rushing attacks to carry their offenses in the gusty winds.

– Iowa State out-gained Colorado, 379-296, in total yards, and had a 34:31 – 25:29 advantage in time of possession.

– Zac Colvin’s debut extended an impressive run by Colorado quarterbacks making their first start.  Including Colvin, ten consecutive Buff quarterbacks, dating back to 1985, had now gone unbeaten (Koy Detmer’s debut in 1992 ended in a 24-24 tie with Oklahoma).  The last Buff quarterback to lose in his first game as a starter was Rick Wheeler, who lasted only one quarter before being injured in a 17-7 loss to Nebraska in October, 1985.

– While Colorado quarterbacks had a string of success in winning their first starts, very few were freshmen. Colvin joined Marc Walters as the only Buff freshmen to win their debuts as starters.

– Cortlen Johnson’s career-high 185 yards rushing represented the sixth-best rushing day by a sophomore in school history. Johnson earned 11 first downs, all rushing, the most by a non-quarterback since Rashaan Salaam had 12 first downs against Kansas in 1994. Six of the rushes came on third downs, as Johnson was six-for-six on converting third down rushes into first downs.

– With starter Brandon Drumm suspended for two games, sophomore fullback David Andrews received his first career start. Andrews started the season at defensive end, but moved back to the offensive side of the ball after the first month of the season.

– Iowa State came into the game against Colorado with a 4-2 record, but would not win another game the remainder of the season, finishing 4-7, 1-7 in Big 12 play.

October 23, 2004 – at Texas A&M          No. 17 Texas A&M 29, Colorado 26 OT

Texas A&M kicker Eric Pegram connected on a 19-yard field goal in overtime, lifting the Aggies to a 29-26 win over Colorado.  The Buffs’ opportunity to tie the game, or better yet, to pull out a road conference win, ended when Colorado fumbled on its overtime possession.  The 73,745 on hand at Kyle Field witnessed five lead changes and over 1,000 yards of offense in the hotly contested battle.

The scoring and the offensive output began slowly, as the Buffs forged a 3-0 lead in the first quarter on a Mason Crosby field goal. Colorado stretched the advantage to 13-7 at halftime on a 15-yard touchdown pass from Joel Klatt to Evan Judge.  Colorado looked to take command of the game early in the third quarter after taking the opening second half kickoff and marching 78 yards for a second Klatt-to-Judge touchdown connection.  The Buffs went for two after the score but failed, leaving the score at 19-7.

Rather than folding, the Aggies scored on their next four drives, including three Pegram field goals and a Courtney Lewis two-yard touchdown run to give Texas A&M a 23-19 lead with just 4:09 remaining in the game.  Then it was up to the Buffs to respond to the challenge.  Klatt led the Buffs on an 82-yard drive, culminating with a one-yard touchdown run by Bobby Purify, giving the Buffs a 26-23 lead with just 1:05 left to play.

Undaunted, quarterback Reggie McNeal drove the Aggies to the Buffs’ goal line, before A&M settled for a fourth Pegram field goal, this time from 20 yards out, to tie the game at 26-all as time expired.  In overtime, A&M again drove to the Colorado one-yard line before settling for a field goal, this time giving the Aggies a 29-26 lead.

On the third play of the Buffs’ possession, Bobby Purify ran around left end, picking up five yards and what would have been a first down.  However, the officials ruled that he had also fumbled on the play.  When linebacker Lee Foliaki came out with the ball, the game was over, and the Buffs were 1-3 in conference play.  “It was a great effort by our guys,” said Gary Barnett after the game.  “Our whole team hung in there across the board.  It’s hard to lose a game like this.”

It was especially hard on Bobby Purify.  The consummate team player, Purify was not consoled by his 130 yards on 20 carries on the day.  “I don’t know what I had stat-wise and it doesn’t even matter.  What matters is that we didn’t leave the field with a victory,” said Purify, whose yards against A&M moved him passed James Mayberry into the top five of all-time Colorado rushers.  It didn’t matter to Purify that his last carry against A&M, the 555th touch of his career, had resulted in only his eighth fumble.

It did matter to his teammates, though.  Joel Klatt, who had suffered a shoulder injury in 2003 similar to the one which Purify endured much of the season, was impressed.  “I’ve got so much respect for Bobby Purify,” Klatt said. “I know exactly how that shoulder injury feels.  He’s just gutting it out and playing extremely, extremely well.”

While it may have been of some comfort that the Buffs were not blaming one of their best and most respected players for the loss, the “L” was still on the ledger.  The Buffs, 3-0 to start the season, were now 4-3.  What was worse, Colorado was 1-3 in conference play.  No Big 12 team had won a division title with more than two losses.  It was time for the Buffs to start looking for a fifth and sixth win in order to become bowl eligible.

It didn’t appear that #5 would come in the next week, as the Buffs returned home to face 8th-ranked Texas.  The Longhorns were 6-1 on the season, having fallen only to 2nd-ranked Oklahoma.  A 1-4 conference record seemed like certainty, with the Buffs left to face November with a 4-4 record and an uncertain future.

Modern Technology

Keeping updated on the Colorado/Texas A&M game in 2004 reminded me how far technology had come in assisting the college football fan.

For out-of-state fans, keeping track of a favorite team has not always been easy.  Back in 1981, I did not learn of Colorado’s improbable 11-10 win over Oklahoma State until I saw the score in the Sunday paper (I was back in Bozeman for a wedding – the only home Colorado game I missed in my seven years in Boulder).  By the late 1980’s, ESPN had made tracking one’s team much easier.  The 28/58 update scrawl gave fans an update twice every hour.  Add in the CNN Headline News updates at 20/50 minutes past the hour, and a fan could learn of their team’s progress four times per hour (it did not hurt that Colorado was a ranked team during these years, or the updates would have been far less frequent).  Then there was the technology I had to employ to get updates on the 1992 game against Minnesota.  The Buffs were on the road for a night game.  There was no television coverage.  I paid to call into an 800 number to listen to the KOA radio broadcast the Buffs’ comeback from a 17-0 deficit to a 21-20 win.

In 2004, there were numerous outlets from which to follow one’s team.  From the Bozeman High School cafeteria, where I was relegated the Saturday of the A&M game while overseeing our Lion’s Club midget basketball practices, I had several outlets.  The cafeteria had cable, so I was able to get updates on ESPN, ESPN2, and ESPNews.  With Texas A&M being a ranked team, I was blessed/cursed with continuous information as the lead changed hands throughout the afternoon.

When the game got to the fourth quarter, though, I had a problem.

Lee and I had purchased a new bed earlier that morning.  We had made arrangements to pick up the bed at 3:30 p.m.  With Colorado/A&M having an 11:30 a.m. kickoff, 3:30 gave me a four hour cushion for the game.  Randy, my local Colorado convert, was meeting me at 3:30 with a company truck so that we could move the bed.  Also meeting me were our son, Adam, and our daughter-in-law, Mindy, who were going to take to their apartment our old bed once we got the new one home.  Everyone was converging at the outlet store at 3:30, and I had to be on the move.

What was I going to do now?

In my car, I turned on the radio, which had ESPN Radio on the air. I also called Lee, who was still at home.  I asked her to call up a website which was carrying game updates over the internet.  The CU internet site, while close to being “simultaneous”, was not exactly that.  (What’s more, during Colorado’s last overtime game, a 50-47 win over Kansas in 2003, it had spewed out incorrect information initially, leading me to believe that the Jayhawks had won, 47-44.)  Still, it was all I had at the moment.  Driving down the road, Lee gave me updates of the Aggie overtime drive.

Texas A&M had a first-and-goal at the Colorado one-yard line when I told Lee she could shut down the computer.

Not because I was sure the Aggies were going to score a touchdown.

Not because I was sure the Buffs would not be able to answer.

Not because I was sure the Buffs were going to lose.

It was because I already knew the Buffs had already lost.

While Lee was giving me updates, ESPN Radio broke in with the news of the Bobby Purify fumble.  The game was already over, even though the internet site had yet to post the final outcome.  I felt sorry for myself, but I felt even more sorry for Bobby Purify, who had overcome so much, but was now being reported as the reason for the Colorado loss.

I was at a stoplight when I got the news.  It was not exactly a “Where were you when Kennedy/Reagan was shot?” type of moment, but it was a moment I will remember nonetheless.   What could I do?  Alone in the car, I hung up the phone.  Staring at the darkening fall clouds which were threatening an early snow, I didn’t even notice the light had turned green.

There was nothing left to do but go and pick up the new bed.

Game Notes … 

– Wide receiver Dusty Sprague set a red-shirt freshman record for receptions in a game, with eight against Texas A&M. The old record was set by Michael Westbrook, who had seven catches against Kansas State in 1991 (a 10-0 Colorado win).

– Texas A&M did not have a touchdown pass against the Buffs, ending a string of 24 games in which a Colorado opponent had a pass for a score. The previous record was all of 11 games, back in the dark days of 1983-1984. Ironically enough, it was against pass-happy Texas Tech that the Buffs had previously held an opponent without a touchdown pass (a 37-13 win for the Buffs on 10/26/2002).

October 23, 2010 – Boulder            Texas Tech 27, Colorado 24

Colorado watched a ten-point fourth quarter lead, and any realistic hope for a bowl bid, slip away in the fourth quarter in a three-point loss at home to Texas Tech. The Red Raiders out-scored the Buffs 13-0 in the final quarter, handing the Buffs a 27-24 setback. The loss dropped Colorado to 3-4 overall, 0-3 in Big 12 play, as 47,665 on hand for Homecoming went home knowing that Colorado may well have to wait yet another year for a chance at a winning record and bowl appearance.

As has been the custom in 2010, Colorado opened the game with the football (most teams defer if they win the coin toss, but Colorado has been taking the ball when the Buffs win the toss, all but assuring that every game this season will commence with the Buffs’ offense on the field). Neither did fared well in the first possessions, each gaining one first down before punting.

Colorado’s second drive was given a boost when Travon Patterson returned the Texas Tech punt 45 yards to the Red Raider 40-yard line. The Buffs methodically moved the ball down the field from there, taking 11 plays (and just over six minutes of game clock) to cover the 40 yards for a touchdown. Converting three third downs along the way, the drive was capped by a one-yard quarterback sneak by Tyler Hansen.

7-0, Colorado, with 4:41 to play in the first quarter.

On Texas Tech’s first drive of the second quarter, the Red Raiders struck back. An 11-play, 79-yard drive was aided by two penalites on the Colorado defense, and concluded when Aaron Crawford walked in from the one yard line with 6:10 to play in the half.

With the score now tied, the complexion of the game changed on the Buffs’ next offensive play. On first down after the kickoff, Tyler Hansen pitched the ball to Rodney Stewart on an option. The play lost two yards, but Hansen was knocked out of the game with bruised ribs. Hansen, who was nine-of-ten for 62 yards passing to that point, would not return.

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“Turn out the lights, the party’s over …” … 

Where is Dandy Don Meredith when you need him?

For those of us old enough to remember, the ABC Monday Night Football football crew once consisted of Frank Gifford, Howard Cossell, and Don Meredith. In the 1970’s, the former Dallas Cowboys quarterback was the light-hearted counter-balance to the irascible Cosell, and millions looked forward to Monday nights when the two would do battle with one another on the air.

One of Dandy Don’s signatures came when the Monday night NFL offering game was safely out of hand. Meredith, a southern crooner who went to school at SMU, would belt out a farewell to the losing team , “Turn out  the lights, the party’s over. They say that all good things must end …”.

Well, it’s turn out the lights time for the University of Colorado football team under Dan Hawkins.

Enough will finally be enough.

True, there are five games still to play, and there will be much talk in the Dal Ward Center this week about playing hard each gamep; about taking it “one game at a time”. A bowl game is still possible, they will say. The Buffs are only 3-4, and need only to go 3-2 to qualify for a bowl game in 2010. The Buff players will put on brave faces, and say the right things.

But no one will believe them.

I’m not sure the players will be believe any of it, either.

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