CU Games of the Day – October 28th

October 28th … CU has a 3-2 record on this date over the past 40 years … 1989: No. 3 CU used a stifling defense and just enough offense to take a 20-3 decision over Oklahoma in one of the biggest wins in Colorado football history … 1995: ESPN GameDay was on had to watch No. 2 Nebraska handle No. 7 CU, 44-21 (video of game and ESPN Gameday) … 2000: Craig Ochs became the first player in CU history to run for a touchdown, throw for a touchdown and catch a pass for a touchdown in the same game as the Buffs posted a 37-21 decision over Oklahoma State … 2006: CU built a 9-0 halftime lead, but couldn’t make it stand up, as freshman quarterback Todd Reesing rallied Kansas to a 20-15 victory … 2017: Steven Montez threw for 347 yards and three touchdowns as the Buffs posted 553 yards of total offense in a 44-28 Colorado victory over California …

  • 1989: No. 3 Colorado 20, Oklahoma 3 … Not only did the win give CU its first 8-0 record in 62 years, the Buffs held their first lead over the Sooners in 13 years … Essay No. 1: “High Five in the Produce Aisle” … Essay No. 2: “Going for the Gold” …
  • 1995: No. 2 Nebraska 44, No. 7 Colorado 21 … The largest crowd to ever witness a game at Folsom Field, 54,063, watched as the Buffs’ pre-game antics failed to fluster the undefeated Cornhuskers … Essay: “Big Crowd; Big Disappointment” … 
  • 2000: Colorado 37, Oklahoma State 21 … Six true freshmen – the first time CU had ever started six true freshmen in the same game – lead the Buffs to their first easy win of the season …
  • 2006: Kansas 20, Colorado 15 … We knew that Dan Hawkins had the reputation as an offensive genius, but in his first season, it appeared that we had been misled … Essay No. 1: “Truly Offensive” … Essay No. 2: “(Ryan) Miller Time” …
  • 2017: Colorado 44, California 28 … Mike MacIntyre: “Phillip Lindsay does what Lindsay does (33 carries for 161 yards). He’s pretty special always” … Essay:Any Given Saturday” … 

October 28, 1989 – at Oklahoma          No. 3 Colorado 20, Oklahoma 3

Colorado used a stifling defense and just enough offense to take a 20-3 decision over Oklahoma in one of the biggest wins in Colorado football history.

Raising its season record to 8-0 for the first time in sixty-two years, the Buffs gave notice to future opponents that its defense was just as good as its offense.  Colorado held the Sooners to only 248 yards of total offense, including completions on only three-of-22 passes in the stiff afternoon breeze at Memorial Stadium.

For much of the first half, it appeared the game might end in a scoreless tie.  Each team gained only 43 yards of total offense in the first stanza.  Midway through the second quarter, though, the Buffs put together a drive of 50 yards in 11 plays, with Ken Culbertson connecting from 30 yards out to give the Buffs a 3-0 lead, their first lead over Oklahoma in 13 years.

(I’ll pause for a moment to let you read that again. You read it right – it was the Buffs first lead over Oklahoma in 13 years).

After the field goal, the Buff defense forced a three-and-out possession for the Sooners, giving the Colorado offense the opportunity to take control of the game for good.  On first-and-ten from the Colorado 47-yard line, quarterback Darian Hagan took off on an option run down the right sideline, gaining 39 yards to the Oklahoma 14.

Several plays later, on third-and-goal from the one-yard line, Hagan took off to his left.  Just as he was being hit, Hagan pitched the ball over the head of an Sooner defender to an unguarded J.J. Flannigan.

Touchdown, Colorado.

The Flannigan score allowed the Buffs to carry a 10-0 lead into halftime.

Oklahoma, though down, was a proud program with talented players.  In the third quarter the Sooners threatened, only to have senior linebacker Michael Jones stop Sooner quarterback Steve Collins for no gain on fourth-and-two at the Colorado 25.  Later, the Sooners drove again, putting together an 11-play drive.  The drive again stalled, however, and Oklahoma was forced to settle for a 33-yard field goal on the third play of the fourth quarter.

The Buffs were now up by only one score, 10-3, and 14:21 still remained to be played.  Fortunately for Colorado fans, the Buffs’ players responded like champions.  A 44-yard kickoff return by Mike Pritchard set up the Buffs near midfield.  Nine plays later, Culbertson connected from 27 yards out, and Colorado was up, 13-3, with 9:49 remaining.

A few series later, a failed 49-yard field goal attempt was Oklahoma’s last gasp.  Late in the fourth, a fumble recovery by senior defensive tackle Arthur Walker led to a satisfying eight-yard touchdown run by Darian Hagan to put the icing on the cake.

High Five in the Produce Aisle

The Colorado win over Oklahoma was one of the most significant in the Buffs’ 100 years of football.  The networks, though, were not impressed.  October 28th was a loaded weekend for college football. No. 1 Notre Dame was playing No. 7 Pittsburgh, while No. 2 Miami squared off against No. 9 Florida State.  Throw in a game pitting No. 6 Alabama on the road against No. 14 Penn State, and, objectively, one had to agree that the Colorado game against an unranked Sooner team was not the most important to college football fans.

Fortunately, KWGN-TV in Denver was picking up the game.

Channel 2 was not one of the network stations, which actually worked to my advantage (since the game would not be pre-empted by a more significant game).  My cable network in Bozeman picked up Channel 2, so I was able to watch the game live.  The ebbs and flows of the game were evident in my video tape of the game.  I intended to pause the VCR during commercials so as to save enough tape to put two games on one six hour tape.  When things are going well on the field for the Buffs, the editing is evident.  When the game is not going so well, though, the commercials play on unimpeded.

Suffice it to say, my editing improved greatly in the second half.

Still, having yet to recruit any Bozemanites to the faith, I watched the game at home alone.  It lessened the win somewhat not to be able to celebrate the win with someone else.  Having neglected my normal Saturday chores in deference to anticipation of the Colorado game (and all of the pregame shows on ESPN and CNN), I took off for the grocery store late Saturday afternoon.  There, to my pleasant surprise, I spotted a fellow member of the Buff Nation wearing a Colorado hat and jacket.  Decked out in black and gold myself, I approached.  The reaction I received was a grin and a: “did you see the game?”  I nodded in the affirmative.  We exchanged high fives right there in the produce aisle.

We went our separate ways moments later, each with a feeling that the day was now complete.

Going for the Gold

While Colorado was handling Oklahoma, No. 4 Nebraska was taking care of business against Iowa State, 49-17.  Elsewhere, No. 1 Notre Dame dominated Pittsburgh, 45-7, but No. 2 Miami fell to Florida State, 24-10.  As a result, both Colorado and Nebraska moved up a spot, with Colorado the new No. 2 team; Nebraska the new No. 3 team.

Up next on the calendar? Nebraska at Colorado.

The eyes of the college football world would now focus on Boulder, Colorado.

For college football in 1989, the Colorado/Nebraska game was the “Game of the Century”. In fact, it was not even the “Game of the Year”, as earlier in the season No. 1 Notre Dame had squared off against No. 2 Michigan.  In Colorado, though, it was, in fact, the “Game of the Century”.  Never in 100 years of Colorado football had so much been at stake.  The opportunity to defeat the hated Cornhuskers, capture the Big Eight title, and remain in line for a chance to play for the national championship were all on the line.  The game had been a sell out since July.  Tickets with a face value of $25.00 were selling for $250.00.  Even Bill McCartney could not downplay the game.  “This is the biggest game I’ve been involved in as a coach,” said McCartney.  “Absolutely”.

Both teams were 8-0, 4-0 in Big Eight play.  Nebraska was No. 1 in the nation carrying the ball, averaging 400 yards rushing per game.  Colorado was ranked No. 3 at 376 yards per contest.  Nebraska’s defense was ranked 8th nationally; Colorado’s 19th.  “This is certainly the best Colorado team I’ve seen in the last 10 or 15 years – and maybe the best I’ve ever seen,” said Nebraska head coach Tom Osborne.  “I don’t see anything they don’t do well.  It’s a complete package.”

As if the hype was not enough to whip the home crowd into a frenzy, Colorado decided to honor its All-Century team at halftime.  Included in the honorees were Supreme Court Justice Byron “Whizzer” White, Hale Irwin, Bobby Anderson, and Dave Logan.  Honorees from the McCartney era were Mickey Pruitt and Eric Bieniemy.  All that 1989 had come to mean – the 100 years, the first legitimate shot at a national title, honoring Sal Aunese – all would come down to one afternoon in Folsom Field.

Game Notes …

– Oklahoma ran 71 plays on the afternoon; 34 of those went for zero or minus yardage.

– The 1989 win over the Sooners in Norman was the first for the Buffs against Oklahoma on the road since 1965, a 13-0 victory.

– The Buffs also erased another Sooner record which had lasted since 1965. Colorado had a 10-0 lead at halftime, the first time an opponent (also Colorado) had shut out the Sooners in the first half of play in 24 years.

– Darian Hagan rushed for 107 yards against the Sooners (on 21 carries), with J.J. Flannigan adding 103 yards (on 25 carries). The Oklahoma game marked the fourth time in 1989, and the second game in succession, in which two Colorado players rushed for over 100 yards in the same game.

– Only one player on the 1989 Colorado roster, senior safety Bruce Young, was even alive in 1965, which was the last time Colorado posted a victory over Oklahoma in Norman. Young, born in 1963, did not go to college right out of high school, working in his father’s construction business before deciding to attend school.

– Senior defensive tackle Arthur Walker had twelve tackles against Oklahoma, including eight solo tackles and a sack. For leading the dominant effort against the Sooners, Walker was named the Big Eight Defensive Player-of-the-Week.

– On a windy day in Norman, junior punter Tom Rouen showed why he would go on to be named a consensus All-American. Both Rouen and his Oklahoma counter-part had five punts in the defensive struggle. Rouen’s average of 49.6 yards per kick was 66 total yards better than the 35.3 yard average by the Sooners. Rouen had his longest punt on the road all season against Oklahoma – 59 yards into the wind.

October 28, 1995 – Boulder          No. 2 Nebraska 44, No. 7 Colorado 21

The largest crowd to ever witness a college football game at Folsom Field, 54,063, watched as the Buffs’ pre-game antics failed to fluster the undefeated Cornhuskers, with 2nd-ranked Nebraska taking out 7th-ranked Colorado, 44-21.

Colorado head coach Rick Neuheisel had the Buffs enter through the student section in the southeast corner of the stadium to the beat of a Samoan war drum.  But it was Nebraska which played to the beat of a National Championship cadence, mauling the Buffs to formally eliminate Colorado from the national title chase.

Nebraska played flawlessly, committing neither a turnover nor a penalty, while Colorado was flagged 12 times for 92 yards, losing the ball twice on John Hessler interceptions.  Tommie Frazier passed for a career-high 241 yards and two touchdowns.  “He’s a good player”, conceded Neuheisel.  Nebraska head coach Tom Osborne gave a higher rating, calling Frazier, “a great player who really holds things together.”

The Cornhuskers took the Buffs’ record crowd out of the game early.

After a brief opening drive by Colorado stalled, Nebraska took over at its own 43-yard line.  One play later, Nebraska was on top, 7-0, as Ahman Green took a Tommie Frazier pitch around the left side, eluding all 11 Buff defenders for a 57-yard touchdown run.  Less than two minutes into the contest, the Buffs were behind.

Midway through the first quarter the Buffs re-grouped, pulling even with an 18-yard touchdown pass from John Hessler to sophomore wideout Phil Savoy.

As with the 22-point win over Iowa State the week before, the 23-point loss to Nebraska did not reflect the entire story.  A huge momentum swing took place on the Cornhuskers’ next series.  Ahman Green fumbled, with junior strong safety Kenny Wilkins returning the fumble for a Colorado touchdown.

But wait ….

The officials, contrary to what replays would later clearly show, marked Green down (the error was later admitted by the league offices, but that would be of little consolation to the Buff Nation).  No score for the Buffs; a huge break for Nebraska.  Before the Buffs would score again, the margin was 21-7, Nebraska.  Later, in allowing Nebraska to score a touchdown in the final minute before half for the third time in four years, the Buffs fell behind 31-14 at the break.

A score early in the third on a gutsy pass call on fourth-and-two brought Colorado to within ten points, 31-21, but the flawless Nebraska offense and the tough Nebraska defense took over from there.

Colorado quarterback John Hessler finished with 21 completions in 43 attempts (his high for the season) for 276 yards and two touchdown passes.  “I thought Hessler played a nice game,” said Neuheisel.  “For a kid who wasn’t expected to play much this year, I’m very proud of John Hessler”.

Then what went wrong?

Focus after the game was on one stat line – Penalties: Colorado 12 for 92 yards; Nebraska 0 for 0 yards.  Mistakes hurt the Buffs on both sides of the ball, with the defense committing seven of CU’s 12 penalties.  “You can get away with things like that against some teams,” said defensive captain Matt Russell.  “You can’t get away with things like that against Nebraska”.

As in 1994, No. 2 Nebraska used a big win over Colorado to vault into the No. 1 ranking.  The Buffs fell to No. 10, a high ranking for a team now tied for fourth (with Oklahoma) in an eight team league.  Colorado was now 6-2, 2-2 in Big Eight play, looking up in the standings at Nebraska, Kansas, and Kansas State (the latter two squads being 7-1, 3-1 in conference play after Kansas State routed Kansas, 41-7.  Kansas State was now ranked 9th nationally, Kansas 11th).

Colorado had entered the month of October undefeated and harboring hopes of a national championship.  A 1-2 October left Colorado clinging to hopes of an undefeated November and a chance to play on New Year’s Day.  With a road game finale against No. 9 Kansas State still on the schedule, however, nothing could be taken for granted.

Big Crowd, Big Disappointment

The hype was there.

ABC had its top guns, Keith Jackson and Bob Greise, on hand for the play-by-play and color commentary.  ESPN had its GameDay crew in town.  The all-time Folsom Field record of 53,849, set against Texas A&M two home games earlier, was erased when 54,063 were allowed into the stadium on a beautiful 57-degree late fall afternoon.  Buff players entered the field from Gate 6 for the first time since 1966.

Everything was in place for a huge Colorado win.

In the stands, we were pumped.  On the field, the Buffs were pumped.

If only the hated Huskers would have cooperated.

When Ahman Green scored on the first play from scrimmage, the air went out of our sails.  The throngs, which had been so vocal just moments before, were now silent.  Folsom Field was a morgue, save for the previously unnoticed Nebraska contingent.  Was this going to be another 52-7 rout like in 1992?  Was this to be a return to the “old days”, where shouting down the Nebraska fans was our only consolation?

Not exactly.

The Buffs did have their moments.  John Hessler’s touchdown pass to Savoy to tie the game brought back cheers.  The non-fumble by Green seconds later brought jeers.  The rest of the game was left for anxious pleading, with only two other moments of ecstasy – and the Buffs could not even give the fans these moments without bringing us ulcers.  Colorado’s second touchdown came when guard Heath Irwin recovered a Lendon Henry fumble in the endzone.  Irwin’s score marked the first time in 25 years an offensive lineman had posted a Colorado touchdown.

The Buffs’ final points of the afternoon came with 8:18 remaining in the third quarter.  Colorado faced a fourth-and-two at the Nebraska 49-yard line.  Colorado was down 31-14, but there was still over 20 minutes to be played, and giving the Cornhuskers the ball at midfield was tantamount to conceding the game.  Neuheisel made a bold call in going for it, and shocked everyone in the house in calling for a pass.  Hessler hit wide receiver James Kidd in stride, and Kidd carried in the bomb for a 49-yard score.  Colorado had climbed to within ten points, and it was party time again in the stands.

Alas, those would be the final points on the afternoon for the Buffs, as Nebraska made its case to the pollsters for a No. 1 ranking by dominating the remainder of the contest.  The Cornhuskers now had a 21-game winning streak, while the Buffs had lost two of three.

Still, the game was played in perfect weather, in perfect fall conditions, before an anxious nation and a raucous crowd.

I hated the result.  But I was happy to have been a part of it. It was college football at its best.

Here is the YouTube video of ESPN College Game Day in Boulder:


Here is the YouTube video of the game … 


Game Notes –

– Rick Neuheisel would go on to post a 33-14 record in his four years as the Colorado head coach, but he went 0-for-4 against Nebraska.

– The record attendance, 54,063, on hand for the 1995 Nebraska game, would stand for eight years. On October 25, 2003, a crowd of 54,215 was on hand for the Buffs’ game against Oklahoma. That game, played against the No. 1 Sooners, resulted in a 34-20 loss.

– The 241 yards passing by Nebraska’s Tommy Frazier set a new standard for the Cornhuskers in the series. The previous best by a Nebraska quarterback against Colorado was the 236 yards Bob Churchich posted in the 1966 game (a 21-19 victory for the 7th-ranked Cornhuskers against a 3-2 CU squad).

– Nebraska out-gained Colorado, 467-382, but the Buff defense did not have as bad a day as the numbers suggest. Despite being on the field for 20:38 of the second half, the Buffs held the Cornhuskers to a season-low 13 second half points. CU also held the nation’s No. 1 rushing team to over three yards per rush under its average for the year.

– Heath Irwin’s touchdown – on a recovery of a Lendon Henry fumble – marked the first time since 1970 that an offensive lineman scored a touchdown for the Buffs (for the record, it was right guard David Havig who scored for CU in the 1970 campaign).

– Phil Savoy had a team season-high eight receptions against Nebraska, going for 74 yards and a touchdown. Savoy would go on to finish second on the team in receptions in 1995, with 49 (Rae Carruth finished with 53), and would earn second-team All-Big Eight honors.

– Nebraska had a 57-yard touchdown run against the Buffs (Ahman Green) and a 52-yard touchdown pass (from Tommie Frazier to Clement Johnson). Those were the only two 50-yard+ scoring plays posted against the Colorado defense the entire 1995 season.

– Sophomore defensive back Ryan Black earned his first career start against Nebraska, starting at nickel back. Black would go on to lead the Buffs in tackles against the Cornhuskers, with 16 tackles on the afternoon (seven unassisted).

– With the 44-21 win over Colorado, Nebraska jumped idle Florida State for the No. 1 position in the polls, and then never looked back. The Cornhuskers final three regular season games were routs … 73-14 over Iowa State; 41-3 over then No. 10 Kansas; and 37-0 over Oklahoma. Nebraska would then go on to demolish No. 2 Florida, 62-24, in the Fiesta Bowl, to finish the 1995 12-0 with back-to-back national championships.

October 28, 2000 – Boulder           Colorado 37, Oklahoma State 21

Quarterback Craig Ochs became the first player in Colorado history to run for a touchdown, throw for a touchdown and catch a pass for a touchdown in the same game as the Buffs posted their first easy win of the year, a 37-21 decision over Oklahoma State.

Ochs was not content to set just one record versus the Cowboys, however.

On the day, Ochs surpassed freshman season records for passing attempts, completions, passing yards and total offense. Ochs completed 21-of-36 attempts for a career-high 336 yards, giving the Boulder-Fairview product 1,098 yards for the year, besting the 962 yards posted by Koy Detmer in Detmer’s freshman campaign in 1992.

The Buffs jumped on the Cowboys early, racing to a 21-0 first half lead.

Ochs scored his first touchdown on a 22-yard run on the Buffs’ opening drive, marking the first time all season in which Colorado had opened the game with a scoring drive. Later in the first quarter, Ochs threw a lateral pass to receiver Javon Green, only to have Green throw the ball back to Ochs for a 29-yard touchdown and a 14-0 lead.

The two-touchdown lead held for most of the second quarter before Ochs and Zac Colvin combined to lead the CU offense on a six-play, 71-yard drive. With Ochs temporarily out of the game, Colvin hit Javon Green from 22 yards out to up the lead to 21-0.

Down by three scores, Oklahoma State finally responded, scoring just 89 seconds later on a drive capped by a 16-yard touchdown pass.

Not to be outdone, the Buffs took only 53 seconds to mount another scoring drive. Going 71 yards again, but this time in only four plays, Craig Ochs finished off the drive with a 33-yard touchdown run. The extra point was missed, but the Buffs still had a comfortable 27-7 lead …

… but the Buffs were still not finished. Getting the ball back with thirty seconds before the break, the Buffs went 50 yards in six plays, with Mark Mariscal hitting a 23-yard field goal at the gun, making it 30-7 at halftime.

The 49,140 on hand at Folsom Field had to squirm just a bit as Oklahoma State attempted a second half comeback.

Two touchdowns, the second coming 11 seconds into the fourth quarter, made it a 30-21 game with plenty of time still left on the clock. Instead of folding, the Colorado offense put together an 11-play, 80-yard drive, taking up five minutes of clock to put the Cowboys away. Craig Ochs hit Roman Hollowell for an eight yard touchdown to complete his rushing, receiving and passing touchdown trifecta.

“I thought (Ochs) was spectacular out there,” Colorado coach Gary Barnett said. “There isn’t any other way to say it. He made very, very few mistakes and he’s just going to get better.”

Ochs was just the leader of what was beginning to have the look of one of Colorado’s best freshman classes ever.

Marcus Houston, before being sidelined for the season with a hip injury, had rushed for 339 yards in three games. Linebacker Sean Tufts and guard Marwan Hage were becoming regular starters, while defensive end Marques Harris, tailback Bobby Purify, tight end Quinn Sypniewski and defensive back Clyde Surrell had already seen playing time.

In all, six true freshman had earned starting spots.

While Barnett had half-joked earlier in the season that a team is expected to lose one game for each freshman player (Colorado had already played ten by time of the Oklahoma State game), it also could be seen as a good sign for the future. The total of six true freshman starters broke the school record of four, set in 1987 and tied in 1991. Each of those groups played on 11-victory teams their senior seasons.

But as the calendar turned to November, the future was still in the here and now for the 2000 Buffs. The overall record of 2-6 barred any hope for a bowl game, but there were two winnable games in the last three.

Up first was Missouri, also 2-6 on the season.


Game Notes …

– Until Craig Ochs posted his trifecta, Javon Green was the first and only player to throw a touchdown pass and catch one in the same game.

– When Ochs caught his touchdown pass, he became the first Colorado quarterback to catch a touchdown pass in a game in 27 years, dating back to 1973, when quarterback David Williams had two touchdown receptions, against Iowa State and Nebraska (both from Billy Waddy, and both covering 73 yards).

– In becoming the first Colorado freshman quarterback to pass for over 1,000 yards in a season, Ochs also set a freshman record for first downs earned in a single game (23), breaking another of Koy Detmer’s freshman records (20 vs. Oklahoma State in 1996). The 336 yards passing was a career-high, the second-most by a CU freshman (second only to Detmer).

– John Minardi was Ochs’ favorite target in the Oklahoma State game, collecting nine passes for 153 yards, both career highs.

– Colorado posted 524 yards of total offense, the best since the season opener against Colorado State (532). The Buffs had 398 yards of total offense in the first half as CU built at 30-7 halftime lead.

– Six of the scoring possessions were 80 or more yards in length, with all eight touchdown drives in the contest covering at least 71 yards. CU’s touchdown drives covered 80, 80, 71, 71, and 80 in length, while Oklahoma State’s drives were of 80, 80 and 86 yards.

– Running back Bobby Purify and defensive tackle Marques Harris both earned their first career starts against Oklahoma State. Purify, who had three carries for 19 yards in his first action the week before against Kansas, had 12 carries for 26 yards against Oklahoma State. Harris, in for 35 plays against the Cowboys, had four tackles (two solo), with 1 1/2 sacks and a quarterback hurry.

– Oklahoma State came into the Colorado game with a 2-4 record, with wins only over Tulsa and Texas State. The Cowboys would lose the next two games after the CU contest, including a 58-0 blowout loss to Texas Tech. A rebound win over Baylor before a close 12-7 loss to Oklahoma to close out the season was not enough to save the job for the OSU head coach, Bob Simmons. A 3-8 record (1-7 in Big 12 play) left the Cowboys with a third straight losing season under Simmons, the coach Colorado passed over in favor of Rick Neuheisel in 1994 after the retirement of Bill McCartney. Simmons ended his head coaching career in Stillwater with a 30-38 overall record, and one winning season (8-4, including an Alamo Bowl appearance, in 1997).

October 28, 2006 – at Kansas           Kansas 20, Colorado 15

Colorado built a 9-0 halftime lead, but couldn’t make it stand up, as freshman quarterback Todd Reesing rallied Kansas to a 20-15 victory. Reesing tore off his red-shirt, throwing for two touchdowns and running for another as Kansas won its first game over Colorado since 2000.

Colorado controlled the first half, but was unable to built a sizeable lead. The Buffs were able to drive the ball, but could not get into the end zone, settling for field goals from Mason Crosby of 37, 26, and 32 yards and a 9-0 lead at the break.

The turning point in the contest came early in the second half. Lionel Harris intercepted Reesing at the Kansas 40 on the Jayhawks’ first possession. The Buffs had a 9-0 lead, momentum, and the ball in Kansas territory. On fourth-and-one at the KU 14-yard line, however, Bernard Jackson was stopped for no gain, ending the threat.

Kansas got on the board shortly thereafter, with Reesing hitting Jake Sharp for 42 yards before connecting with Jon Cornish for a 22-yard score to make it 9-7 with 4:35 left in the third quarter.

The Buffs appeared poised to answer, but Bernard Jackson was intercepted by Aqib Talib, who returned the pick 59 yards to the CU 24-yard line. Four plays later, Reesing did the honors, taking it in from four yards out to give Kansas a 14-9 lead less than a minute into the fourth quarter.

The Jayhawks scored again on their next drive, making it a 20-9 game (Kansas, for no apparent reason, went for a two-point conversion after the score, but failed).

Looking for the knockout blow, the Kansas offense again mounted a drive on its next possession. At the CU seven yard line, though, Reesing was hit by Brandon Nicholas, with the forced fumble picked up and run back 95 yards for a score by Ryan Walters.

Suddenly, with 3:17 remaining, it was a game again, at 20-15 (CU’s two-point conversion attempt also failed). An onsides kick attempt failed, but the Buff defense did force a three-and-out, giving the Buffs one last chance with 59 seconds to play. The Colorado offense, though, could not produce even a first down. A 61-yard pass play at the end was called back as Jackson was over the line of scrimmage when he threw a desperation pass, giving the Jayhawks a 20-15 victory.

Truly Offensive … 

It wasn’t supposed to be this way.

Yes, we all knew that the Colorado offense would struggle in the formative stages of the Hawkins’ regime. We knew that Joel Klatt, a record setting three-year starter at quarterback, was to be replaced by the best of three not-so-great options.

We also knew that Dan Hawkins had the reputation as an offensive genius.

We knew that in five years at Boise State, the Broncos averaged 41.6 points per game. We knew (because the media guide told us), that no Dan Hawkins team (116 games overall), had never been shut out and his teams had scored at least one touchdown in every game he had ever been the head coach.

The reality in the first nine games in Boulder?

Not 40 points a game … try 14.

Far from averaging 40 points per game, the Buffs had yet to score 40 points in any game (the closest being the 31 in the three overtime loss to Baylor, a game which was tied 17-all at the end of regulation). Colorado had only one touchdown in losses to Montana State, Colorado State, Georgia, Missouri, and Kansas (that one being defensive), and no touchdowns at all in losses to Arizona State and Oklahoma.

Translation: in seven of Colorado’s eight losses, the Buffs had scored one touchdown or less. In 64 games at Boise State, the Hawkins led Broncos were held below 16 points only five times. In his first nine games at Colorado, the Hawkins led Buffs had already been held below 16 points seven times.

The expectations were that the Buffs would be setting offensive records under Dan Hawkins. The reality was that the Buffs were setting offensive records – just all the wrong kind.

After posting all of 15 points against Kansas, Colorado had put up 128 points for the season. With just three games to play, the Buffs were all but destined to score under 200 points on the year. The last time the CU offense was so inept was in 1984 (the 1-10 season), when the Buffs scored 172 points.

In 2005, for the sake of comparison, the Buffs scored 295 points, almost double the projected output for the 2006 team. A more dominant team, the 2001 Buffs, had 396 points. That 10-3 squad averaged 33.0 points per game, but even that Big 12 champion was still a touchdown/game shy of what Boise State averaged over five years under Dan Hawkins.

The 2006 Colorado offense was truly offensive.

(Ryan) Miller Time … 

Was there anything out there in the futility of the 2006 season for the Buff fans to hang their hats upon?

Were there any rays of hope for the future, something to get the Buff faithful through the long winter to come?

One piece of good news did come in the week of the Kansas game. Five star recruit Ryan Miller, an offensive tackle from Columbine high school in Denver, orally committed to the Buffs. Miller was ranked as the No. 3 offensive lineman in the entire country, and the top-rated high school player in Colorado. Miller had offers from all of the major players in the college football world – USC, Texas, Michigan, and all the Florida schools. By October, Miller had narrowed his choices down to Colorado and Notre Dame. Miller took his official visit to Colorado during the Baylor game, and watched Notre Dame come from behind to beat UCLA just days before his announcement.

Despite the glamour of the top ten Irish, and the allure of South Bend, Miller decided to stay home.

How significant was this?

Miller was the first five star recruit for Colorado since 2002. What was even more important was the apparent ability of Dan Hawkins and his assistant coaches to keep the best player in Colorado at home, even in the midst of a horrific season.

While there remained much jockeying for position before the official February signing date, it appeared that Hawkins was well on his way to a good recruiting class. Hawkins had lined up 17 recruits by the end of October, several of which of the four-star variety. In, the Buffs were rated as the 21st best class in the country as of October 26th. This was a marked improvement from the Buffs’ 48th ranked class in 2006 (part Barnett, part Hawkins), 43rd ranked class in 2005, and the 49th ranked class in 2004.

Granted, the grade of a high school player is highly subjective. In the 2002 class, rated as one of Colorado’s best in recent memory (22nd overall, on the heels of the Big 12 title run), the Buffs had one five-star recruit (offensive lineman Clint Werth), and seven four-star recruits. Some worked out, some did not. Werth, a junior college transfer, was beset by injury, and played all of three downs as a Buff. Joe Klopfenstein was one of the four-star recruits, and he went on to be a record setter at Colorado. Just as highly ranked, though, was four-star linebacker Chris Hollis, who saw action in all of 15 games as a Buff, recording 28 tackles over three seasons.

Would Ryan Miller turn out to be another Clint Werth, a name destined to be remembered only by his family and a few recruiting websites, or a star who would lead a resurgence in the Buffs’ anemic offense?

Only time would tell.

Faced with a 1-8 record as October came to a close, a hopeful look towards the future was about all that the Buff fans had left.

Game Notes …

– The Kansas game marked just the 15th time since 1976 (but the second time in 2006) in which the Buffs held a two-score lead during a game (219 such games) … and lost;

– Senior quarterback James Cox, who was 1-5 against Kansas, saw his career come to a premature end when he broke his thumb in the second quarter of the Kansas game;

– The Buffs attempted a season-high 28 passes against Kansas, but completed only nine (for 83 yards), with two interceptions;

– The Colorado defense tied a season high with three interceptions, with Brad Jones, Lionel Harris and Terrence Wheatley each coming up with a pick;

– Red-shirt freshman offensive lineman Paul Backowski earned his only career start against Kansas, subbing for the injured Edwin Harrison;

– The Jayhawks had come into the game against the Buffs with a four-game losing streak. The win, though, set off a three-game winning streak, with Kansas going on to defeat Iowa State and Kansas State. A 42-17 season-ending loss to Missouri left Kansas with a 6-6 overall record, 3-5 in Big 12 play (good enough for fourth place).

October 28, 2017 – Boulder           Colorado 44, California 28

On an afternoon when Rashaan Salaam’s No. 19 was retired by the school, the Colorado offense put forth an effort CU’s Heisman trophy winner would have been proud to witness. Steven Montez threw for 347 yards and three touchdowns as the Buffs posted 553 yards of total offense in a 44-28 Colorado victory over California.

A week after being benched in the second half against Washington State, Montez went 20-for-26, also rushing for a seven-yard touchdown. Phillip Lindsay posted “Salaam-worthy” 33 carries for 161 yards, while Shay Fields led the receiving corps with four catches for 101 yards, including a 65-yard touchdown.

“I was really happy with the way Steven [Montez] played,” said Mike MacIntyre. “That’s the way I expect him to play all the time, because he can do all those types of things. The offensive line did a good job and helped him. [Phillip] Lindsay does what Lindsay does. He’s pretty special always.”

Continue reading Game Story here

Any Given Saturday … 

It has been a frustrating year for Colorado fans.

At times the Buffs have played well, but at other times – too many other times – the Buffs have looked out-of-sync, unprepared, even indifferent.

Colorado entered the game against California with a 4-4 record … a record which would have been heaven on earth for the Buff Nation a few years ago, but, after a 10-4 campaign in 2016, a real disappointment.

“We still have a lot left to accomplish,” said Phillip Lindsay in the Tuesday press conference leading up to the 44-28 win over the Bears. “For a lot of us, it is the last four or five games left in our college careers, so the sense of urgency is we’ll never play another down in black and gold after these five games. We want to go out with a bang. We want to leave everything out there.”

Continue reading Game Essay here

3 Replies to “CU Games of the Day – October 28th”

  1. Does anyone have or know where I can find a clip of Hagan’s logic and earthling defying pitch in this game? I just need that one play and can only find the whole game. I’m not being lazy, just a busy guy with no clue how to download videos safely and then edit

  2. Homecoming 2017 was the last time I saw the Buffs play in person at Folsom. My wife and I had driven cross-country from New Jersey to see our son and daughter-in-law. We left New Jersey on Monday morning, about 18 hours after I’d completed the Marine Corps Marathon in Washington, D.C. In case you’re wondering, there is a reason not too many people recommend three days of driving 8 to 10 hours a day as how to unwind following completion of a marathon…especially when I was to run the NYC Marathon less than two weeks later.

    We attended the game with our son and daughter-in-law. I saw an old friend I’d not seen in almost 30 years (he and his family were seated about five rows ahead of us). CU retired Rashaan Salaam’s number that day and honored Emma Coburn, Kara Goucher, and Jenny Simpson for their track-and-field accomplishments.

    When Nick Fisher started out of the end zone with his 4th quarter pick, I was standing up wondering just what the hell he was thinking. It turns out, he was thinking that he’d run for about 100 yards for a touchdown, which he did.

    I know it turned out to be the Buffs’ final win of the 2017 season, which ended in disappointing fashion, but I enjoyed myself immensely for any number of reasons.

    1. Thanks for sharing.
      While few spend much time in the Archives, to me it is the most important part of the website.
      I love to hear stories from fellow Buffs!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *