CU Games of the Day – October 29th

October 29th … CU has a 2-3 record on this date over the past 40 years … 1983: The final of 40-14 v. Oklahoma State was a fair summation of the game, with the Buffs not scoring until it was 37-0 … 1988: After playing lethargically for most of the first half, Colorado rebounded from its loss to Oklahoma to put away a decent Iowa State club, 24-12 … 1994: The 1994 Game-of-the-Year failed to live up to advance billing … at least as far as Colorado fans were concerned, as No. 3 CU fell, 24-7, to No. 2 Nebraska (with game video) … 2005: Mason Crosby kicked a 50-yard field goal with six seconds remaining to lift CU to a 23-20 road win over Kansas State … 2011: CU continued to compile all-time (negative) records in losing its first-ever game against a Pac-12 South rival, falling 48-14 to No. 23 Arizona State … Essay: “A Deal With the Devils” …

  • 1983: Oklahoma State 40, Colorado 14 … An ugly game for the Buffs – Quarterback Steve Vogel was yanked early after going 0-7 with three interceptions
  • 1988: Colorado 24, Iowa State 12 … Six interceptions – two by freshman Deon Figures – were one short of a team record (In 1953, the Buffs had seven interceptions against Utah, a 21-0 victory) … 
  • 1994: No. 2 Nebraska 24, No. 3 Colorado 7 … No. 3 Nebraska methodically took care of business to take the inside track to the Big Eight and National Championships … Essay: “Now What?” …
  • 2005: Colorado 23, Kansas State 20 … Leading the Buffs was Joel Klatt, whose 272 passing yards on the blustery afternoon gave the senior quarterback 6,579 career yards, surpassing Kordell Stewart’s record of 6,481 yards (1992-94). Klatt’s latest record was the 32nd in his career at Colorado … Essay: “Process of Elimination” …
  • 2011: No. 23 Arizona State 48, Colorado 14 … CU gave up over 500 yards of total offense (522) for the fourth consecutive game, something which had never happened before. Then, of course, there was the road losing streak, extended to 22 games (the previous record for consecutive road losses, in the 121-year history of the program, was ten … Essay: “Any Given Saturday” … 

October 29, 1983 – Boulder            Oklahoma State 40, Colorado 14

The Buffs and Cowboys had provided two of the most entering Big Eight contests in the previous two years, with the Buffs coming from behind to win 11-10 in 1981, and the two teams battling to a 25-25 tie in 1982.

The Buffs, 2-5 in 1983, and sporting a four-game losing streak, could only hope to repeat the magic against Jimmy Johnson’s Cowboys.

It was not meant to be.

Oklahoma State came into the contest with a 5-2 record, but the Cowboys two losses had been to the big boys, Nebraska and Oklahoma, and had been by a total of only five points. Looking for national respect, the Cowboys were out to make a point against the now pitiful Buffs.

After a scoreless first quarter, Oklahoma State posted a 30-spot on the Buffs in the second quarter. By the time Colorado put points on the board, it was the fourth quarter, and many of the 36,889 who came for Homecoming had left.

The final of 40-14 was a fair summation of the game. The Buffs’ two scores – a 56-yard pass from Derek Marshall to Loy Alexander, and a 22-yard run by Derek Marshall – came after the score was 37-0.

Quarterback Steve Vogel was yanked early after going 0-7 with three interceptions. (Go ahead, read that again – 0-for-7, three interceptions). Replacement Derek Marshall thereafter put up what was then the fifth-best passing day in Colorado history, throwing for 274 yards. Colorado, however, generated only six total rushing yards.

“They blitzed us on every down, and made us look totally inept,” said Bill McCartney. “The sense I had was the whole place was flat. I can’t fault our defense; they played hard. Our offense, well, when you’re dropping back and throwing every down and they’re teeing off on you, it’s kind of hard to talk about intensity.”

Oklahoma State ran the ball 76 times against the Buffs, tying a record for a Colorado opponent (Oklahoma also ran the ball 76 times in the Sooners’ 45-10 win in 1982).

The losing streak, begun with the loss to Notre Dame, had now reached five games. Gone were hopes of a winning season and a winning campaign in the conference that had seemed realistic a month earlier. October had netted an 0-5 record.

November did not seem to hold out much reason for optimism, either, but the games had to go on.

Game Notes –

– The record of 76 rushing attempts by an opponent lasted all of one year, as Nebraska would go on to run the ball 77 times in 1984 (a 24-7 Cornhusker win). Colorado, though, maintained its Big Eight record – 99 rushing attempts against Missouri in 1968 (a 27-14 Tiger win).

– The Cowboys did set a record for a Colorado opponent, becoming the first team in CU history to post over 100 plays, going for 101 plays of total offense. Oklahoma State bested its own record of 95 plays of total offense in 1982. [Okay – not really true. These are records which showed up in the 1984 and 1985 media guides – and several thereafter. However, it was later noted that Missouri had in fact run 111 plays of total offense in the 1968 game against the Buffs – a 27-14 Tiger win.]

– Oklahoma State would go on to lose its next two games, to Kansas State and Missouri. The Cowboys would win its final regular season game against Iowa State and its Bluebonnet Bowl game against Baylor to finish the 1983 season with an 8-4 record in Jimmy Johnson’s final season in Stillwater.

October 29, 1988 – Boulder           Colorado 24, Iowa State 12

After playing lethargically for most of the first half, Colorado rebounded from its loss to Oklahoma to put away a decent Iowa State club, 24-12.

Playing as if still in a haze from the Oklahoma game, the Buffs spotted Iowa State a 6-0 lead on two long distance field goals (49 and 52 yards) by Cyclone kicker Jeff Shudak. It was not until almost halftime that the Buffs took the lead, with a Ken Culbertson field goal and a Sal Aunese one-yard run giving Colorado a 10-6 halftime edge.

A scoreless third quarter left the Colorado Homecoming crowd on edge, but a 46-yard touchdown run by Eric Bieniemy early in the fourth gave the Buffs a 17-6 cushion. On the day, Bieniemy rushed for 166 yards, giving the sophomore tailback 1,104 yards on the season, the first Buff to top 1,000 yards in a season since James Mayberry in 1977.

Bieniemy had the season totals, but he was not alone in topping the century mark against the Cyclones. Junior J.J. Flannigan chipped in 103 yards and a late score in the first 100+ yard effort of the tailback=s career. Flannigan’s touchdown came on a ten-yard run, capping an eight-play, 99-yard drive to give Colorado a 24-6 lead with less than five minutes to play.

The Buff defense again held its own, holding the Cyclones to 314 yards of total offense and two field goals (the Cyclones’ only touchdown coming on an intercepted pitch return with 1:25 remaining in the contest). The Colorado defense forced eight turnovers, including six interceptions, one shy of the school record.

With its sixth win of the season, Colorado was now bowl-qualified. However, as seven wins had proven insufficient to merit an invitation just one year earlier, the 1988 Buffs knew that there could be no let up. Lowly Kansas State was the sole remaining home game on the schedule, so the Buffs would need a breakthrough on the road to ensure a post-season bid.

Columbia, Missouri, and Lincoln, Nebraska, were the next two stops of the 1988 campaign, neither site having been particularly advantageous for Colorado. Overall, the Buffs were 5-20-2 against Missouri on the road; 5-18 v. Nebraska.

If Colorado was to make a national statement in 1988, one or both of these trends would need to be broken.

Game Notes …

– The game with two 100-yard rushers was the first for the Buffs in 1988, and only the 23rd time in Colorado history. However, it was the second year in succession that the Buffs had pulled the trick against Iowa State, with Sal Aunese and Erich Kissick doing the honors in the 1987 game in Ames. Flannigan had to gain his 100 yards the hard way in the 1988 game, needing only seven carries to get to 103 yards.

– Eric Bieniemy’s 1,000-yard season was only the seventh in Colorado history, and the first since James Mayberry went for 1,299 yards in 1977. Bieniemy, who would miss the season finale due to injury, would rush for 1,243 yards in ten games, the third-highest total in Buff annals, behind only Mayberry’s 1,299 yards and the 1,386 yards put up by Charlie Davis in 1971.

— The teams combined for 12 turnovers, with the Buffs turning the ball over four times (two fumbles; two interceptions), while the Cyclones suffered eight turnovers (two fumbles; six interceptions).

– The six interceptions – two by freshman Deon Figures – were one short of a team record. In 1953, the Buffs had seven interceptions against Utah (a 21-0 Colorado victory). The eight overall turnovers were two short of a team record (in 1976, the Colorado defense generated ten turnovers against Kansas – a 40-17 Buff win).

– The Iowa State game was just the second start of Deon Figures’ career. He would go on to be named the Big Eight Freshman Defensive Newcomer of the Year.

– Iowa State, in its second year under head coach Jim Walden, came into Boulder on a three game winning streak, but would lose three of its final four games to finish the 1988 season with a 5-6 record (3-4 in Big Eight play).

October 29, 1994 – at Nebraska             No. 3  Nebraska 24, No. 2  Colorado 7

Like many over-hyped Super Bowls, the 1994 Game-of-the-Year failed to live up to advance billing … at least as far as Colorado fans were concerned.

No. 3 Nebraska methodically took care of business, defeating No. 2 Colorado, 24-7, to take the inside track to the Big Eight and National Championships.  Led by quarterback Brook Berringer, subbing for injured starter Tommy Frazier, the Cornhuskers built a 17-0 halftime lead and were never thereafter challenged by the Buffs.

Fullback Cory Schlesinger scored on a 14-yard run midway through the first quarter to give Nebraska a lead it would not surrender. Early in the second quarter, the Colorado defense made an impressive goal line stand against the Nebraska offense, but the Cornhuskers did come away with a 24-yard field goal by Tom Sieler to take a 10-0 lead.

Rashaan Salaam, who had three carries for eight yards in the first quarter, didn’t have much chance to get things going until the Buffs were down two scores. Trailing 10-0, The Buffs put together their most efficient drive of the first half led by the impressive exploits of Salaam who carried six times for 28 yards and gained three first downs on an 11-play drive that eventually stalled at the Nebraska 26-yard line. From there, with halftime fast approaching, the Buffs looked to move back within one score and establish a sense of momentum that might carry over to the second half. Instead, kicker Neil Voskeritchian was short on a 43-yard field goal attempt.

In the final minute of the first half, Nebraska culminated a nine-play, 73-yard drive with a two-yard touchdown run by Clinton Childs to take a commanding 17-0 lead into the break.

The Nebraska offense was not flashy, but it was effective, keeping the ball for 21:27 of the first half clock.

The Buffs did have their chances.  In the third quarter, Nebraska’s defense stopped two Colorado drives on fourth down, first at the Cornhusker 35-yard line, the second at the Nebraska 21.  The fourth quarter was a repeat of the third, as Nebraska stopped the Buffs on two more fourth down attempts.

Colorado’s offense, so dominant in the weeks leading up to the showdown with Nebraska, was kept in check.  Rashaan Salaam did pick up a score on a six-yard run late in the third quarter, but the Buffs could manage only 155 yards on the ground for the game. The Colorado defense did hold Nebraska to just five first downs and 11 total yards in the second half, but the damage done in the first half could not be overcome.

“Other than Nebraska’s fine play, I really don’t have any explanation for why we didn’t play well,” said Colorado head coach Bill McCartney.  “They just outplayed us.”

Salaam would ultimately finish the day with a respectable 134 yards rushing on 22 carries, the most by any Nebraska opponent all season, but his effort had been overshadowed by the performance of a Nebraska defense that held one of the nation’s top scoring offenses to a season-low seven points.

“I’m shocked,” said Salaam afterwards. “I’m really disappointed. I came out here really confident. I worked hard for this. It’s just stuck in my throat and I can’t swallow.”

Buff players, who saw their chances at a Big Eight title and a shot at the national title eliminated in one afternoon, did not have any explanations, either.  “They made some great plays against us that we shouldn’t have allowed,” said senior linebacker Ted Johnson.  “We got too far behind and couldn’t come back.”

Defensive tackle Darius Holland was more succinct:  “They totally and honestly just whipped our ass.”

Now What?

What had seemed to be a charmed season was now seemingly in ruins.  With the loss, Colorado fell to No. 7 in the polls, and was now 7-1 (3-1 in the Big Eight).  A 7-1 record from a team which had been 8-3-1 in 1993, considering six of the first eight games had been against ranked opponents, was not bad at all.

But, with the Orange Bowl and the National Championship now out of reach, the question had to be asked:

Now What?

“I don’t think we’re a candidate to win the National Championship at this point,” said a disappointed McCartney after the Nebraska loss.  “But we are a candidate to go to a January 1st or 2nd bowl and play a great opponent.  We still have that to look forward to.”

The most likely scenario for the Buffs, if they could win out in their final three games of the regular season, was a trip to Tempe, Arizona, for the Fiesta Bowl.  “We have the first pick on Colorado if they are not the Big Eight champs,” said Fiesta Bowl representative John Junker.  “So we’d have to pass on them in order for them to play in any other bowl and it’s not likely that we’ll do that.”

So, three wins would likely mean a New Year’s Day date in Arizona.  Three walkover wins against Oklahoma State, Kansas, and Iowa State and a game against a top tier team would mean 11 wins and a top ten finish.  Not bad.

But 1994 still had so much more drama to offer.

Here is the YouTube video of the game …

– Game Notes –

– Nebraska’s edge in total yards – 345-to-314 – and first downs – 20-to-18 – were not great, but the Cornhuskers held a decisive 234-89 advantage in total yards in the decisive first half.

– Nebraska held the ball for 38:24 of game clock, to just 21:36 for Colorado.

– The Buffs’ lone scoring drive of the afternoon, coming on a six-yard run by Rashaan Salaam, was the end result of only a 36-yard touchdown drive (in five plays), coming after the Cornhuskers’ lone turnover on the day.

– Linebacker Ted Johnson had a team season-high 20 tackles against Nebraska, including 13 solo tackles. Johnson would go on to garner many honors in the 1994 season. A second-team All-American (AP), Johnson was a first-team All-Big Eight honoree, one of 15 semi-finalists for Defensive National Player-of-the-Year (Football News), and was the runner-up for the Butkus Award, given to the nation’s best linebacker (Dana Howard from Illinois won the Butkus Award in 1994).

– The 24-7 victory over Colorado would vault former No. 3 Nebraska into the No. 1 ranking. Wins over Kansas, Iowa State, and Oklahoma kept the Cornhuskers perfect in the regular season. Nebraska was then matched with No. 3 Miami in the Orange Bowl. A 24-17 victory over the Hurricanes gave the Cornhuskers a perfect 13-0 record, and Nebraska head coach Tom Osborne his first national title (in his 22nd-year as head coach). No. 2 Penn State, which defeated No. 12 Oregon, 38-20, in the Rose Bowl, remained at No. 2. Colorado, which entered the bowl season as the nation’s No. 4 team, supplanted Miami at the No. 3 spot after defeating Notre Dame, 41-24, in the Fiesta Bowl.

October 29, 2005 – at Kansas State           Colorado 23, Kansas State 20

Mason Crosby kicked a 50-yard field goal with six seconds remaining to lift Colorado to a 23-20 road win over Kansas State.

The victory was the second last minute win in a row over the Wildcats, as the Buffs had handed Kansas State a 38-31 setback in Boulder on a Joel Klatt to Ron Monteilh 64-yard touchdown with five seconds left in 2004. The Colorado win, combined with a loss to Kansas by Big 12 North co-leader Missouri, gave the Buffs sole possession of the Big 12 North lead with a 4-1 league record.

Leading the Buffs was Joel Klatt, whose 272 passing yards on the blustery afternoon gave the senior quarterback 6,579 career yards, surpassing Kordell Stewart’s record of 6,481 yards (1992-94). Klatt’s latest record was the 32nd in his career at Colorado.

The game started out well for the Buffs, with Colorado scoring in just five plays to open the contest.

A 64-yard pass from Klatt to tight end Quinn Sypniewski set up the Buffs at the Wildcat one-yard line. On the next play, Lawrence Vickers did the honors, and the Buffs were up 7-0 less than 90 seconds into the game.

Kansas State responded with a field goal drive to cut the lead to 7-3, and then took a 10-7 lead on the first play of the second quarter on a two yard run by Thomas Clayton.

The remainder of the second quarter belonged to Colorado, though, as the Buffs took advantage of the 23-32 mph winds behind their backs to score the next 13 points of the game. A 52-yard field goal by Crosby tied the score. A few minutes later, after a Kansas State fumble, the Buffs took a 13-10 lead on a 42-yarder by Crosby. A short punt on the Wildcats’ ensuing possession set the Buffs up at the Wildcat 36-yard line. After a five yard run by Hugh Charles, Klatt connected with wide receiver Evan Judge on a 31-yard score to up the advantage to 20-10.

When Klatt hit Joe Klopfenstein for a 20-yard gain late in the second quarter to set the new passing record, the Buffs seemed to have the game under control. Colorado was up 20-10 and driving, with a first down at the Kansas State 25-yard line with just over a minute to play before halftime. Instead of issuing the knockout blow, however, Klatt was sacked on the very next play, fumbling the ball back to the Wildcats, setting the stage for a wild second half.

The third quarter gave the wind and the momentum back to Kansas State.

The Colorado defense had surrendered 10 points in the third quarter all season, but surrendered 10 points to the Wildcats on a three yard run by quarterback Allan Evridge and a 52-yard field goal by Kansas State kicker Jeff Snodgrass.

The 43,890 purple-clad fans on hand in Manhattan likely spent most of the fourth quarter wondering which team would take an interest in winning the game. Tied at 20, the Buffs continued to make mistakes. On the day, Colorado committed 11 penalties for 116 yards, keeping the Wildcats in the game. Kansas State did not fare much better, and when the Buffs lined up to punt the ball back to the Wildcats with just over a minute to play, it seemed that the game would be heading into overtime.

Colorado punter John Torp, who would master the windy conditions to average 46.2 yards/punt on the afternoon, punted the ball to Wildcat returner Jeremy Moriera, who fumbled the ball at the Wildcat 26 yard line. The fumble was recovered by Buff defensive back Terry Washington with 1:08 on the game clock. Two kneel downs by Joel Klatt lost seven yards, but it made no difference to Mason Crosby, who kicked the 50-yard game winner with plenty of room to spare.

“I don’t usually lose six yards so you can kick a 50-whatever yard field goal,” said CU head coach Gary Barnett. “But the kid, he’s a stud.” The “kid”, also known as “Golden Toe”, “Lead Foot” and “Hef” (in reference to his being named to the Playboy Pre-Season All-American team), gave credit to the entire team. “This team this year, we have so much heart,” said Crosby. “We play to the very end, so I know I’m going to get those chances if the game is close.”

The game was only the second close game of the year for the Buffs, both victories (counting the Crosby 47-yard game winner over Colorado State to start the season). The other six Colorado games, four wins and two losses, had all been blowouts. Still, the win over Kansas State made Colorado bowl-eligible with a 6-2 overall record.

The win, coupled with a 13-3 loss by Missouri at Kansas, gave the Buffs the outright lead in the Big 12 North race. Still, Missouri was just a game behind at 3-2, and would take the tie-breaker edge over the Buffs if the Tigers were to win in Boulder. The loss put Kansas State at 4-4, 1-4, out of the title hunt, and in danger of posting a second consecutive losing season for the first time since 1989-90.

In consecutive weeks, the Buffs had eliminated Kansas and Kansas State from the race to the Big 12 Championship game. A win over Missouri at home would give Colorado a two-game lead on the division with only two games left to play. A loss to Missouri would make the Buffs scoreboard watchers for the remainder of the season.

The Process of Elimination … 

Joel Klatt had said it after the 44-13 win over Kansas: “We still control our own destiny,” said Klatt. “We’re trying to eliminate one North team every week.”

Two weeks down.

Two rivals eliminated.

In a quirk in the scheduling, the Buffs faced all five Big 12 North division opponents to end the year for the first time since the conference had been formed in 1996. A 2-1 record against the Big 12 South set the Buffs up for controlling their own destiny against the rest of the division.

A 44-13 win over Kansas gave the Jayhawks an 0-4 conference mark, all but mathematically eliminating Kansas. The less than stellar 23-20 escape from Manhattan dropped the now 1-4 Wildcats from contention. Missouri dropped to 3-2 on the same afternoon the Buffs fought the wind and themselves against the Wildcats, while Nebraska dropped to 2-3 in conference play with a 31-24 home loss to Oklahoma. Only Iowa State improved its lot on the day, surprising Texas A&M with a 42-14 rout of the Aggies at College Station to raise its record in conference to 2-3.

For the 4-1 Buffs, the math was simple.

Win the next two games, against Missouri at home and against Iowa State on the road, and the Nebraska game, as had been the case in 2002, would be irrelevant to the division race. The Buffs in 2002 already had their tickets to the title game punched before traveling to Lincoln (though the 28-13 win didn’t hurt), and having the luxury of celebrating Joel Klatt’s last home game as a Buff without worrying about needing to win in order to clinch the Buffs’ fourth division title in five years would be welcomed by the Buff faithful.

Still, there were nagging concerns.

The Buffs were 11th in the Big 12, and near the bottom nationally, in penalties and penalty yardage, and that was before the 11 penalty, 116-yard nightmare at Kansas State. The Buffs had a 20-10 lead on the Wildcats, and were driving for more, before a late second quarter fumble shifted the momentum. Fact was, if not for the fumble by the Wildcat punt returner and the strong leg of Mason Crosby, the Buffs would have been looking at an overtime game, on the road, with unknown consequences. The Colorado special teams had bailed out the Buffs for a second straight week.

And who knew which Missouri team would show up in Boulder?

Would it be the Tiger team which had toasted Nebraska for 41 points and 523 yards of total offense the week before, including 480 yards of total offense (246 passing, 234 rushing) by all-everything quarterback Brad Smith? Or would it be the Tiger team which put up 180 total yards (141 passing, 38 rushing by Smith) in a 13-3 loss to Kansas?

The game would be in Boulder, where Colorado was 4-0 at Folsom Field for the first time since 1999. A Colorado victory would make the now 25th-ranked Buffs the odds on favorite to win the North. A Missouri win would give the Tigers the best chance to win the division.

The process of elimination continued.

Game Notes … 

– Senior wide receiver Evan Judge had six catches for 108 yards and a touchdown. Judge became the first Buff to have over 100 yards receiving since Joe Klopfenstein had 134 yards receiving against UTEP in the Houston Bowl, (12/29/04).

– Mason Crosby hit two field goals over 50 yards against Kansas State, giving him three for the year and nine for his career (the CU high for a career was three before Crosby came to Boulder).

– Colorado played Kansas and Kansas State in back-to-back games for the 18th time (and for the fifth straight season). The 2005 sweep marked the 10th time the Buffs had won both games (six splits, with the Buffs being swept just twice).

October 29, 2011 – at Arizona State           No. 23 Arizona State 48, Colorado 14

The University of Colorado continued to compile all-time (negative) records in losing its first-ever game against a Pac-12 South rival, falling 48-14 to No. 23 Arizona State. In falling behind 21-0 in the first quarter, the result of the game was never in doubt. The Buffs surrendered over 30 points for the sixth straight game, which last happened in 1983. Colorado also gave up over 500 yards of total offense (522) for the fourth consecutive game, something which had never happened before.

Then, of course, there was the road losing streak, extended to 22 games (the previous record for consecutive road losses, in the 121-year history of the program, was ten).

The Colorado offense did show some signs of life against Arizona State, posting 420 yards, the second-highest total of the season (582 v. Cal). A season-high five turnovers, however, prevented the Buffs from ever mounting a serious challenge.

Continue reading Game Story here

A Deal with the Devils …

Exclusive to CU at the Game

CU at the Game has obtained a secret memorandum sent out by the Colorado coaching staff to the coaches of the Buffs’ Pac-12 opponents.

While it doesn’t speak particularly well for the status of the CU football program … it does help explain things.


From: Jon Embree, head coach, University of Colorado

To: Opposing head coaches, Pac-12 conference

Subject: Guaranteed “W’s”


Here’s the thing.

I’ve got a problem. Okay, a bunch of problems.

Continue reading Game Essay here


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