CU Games of the Day – October 5th

October 5th … CU has an 1-2 record on this date over the past 40 years, including S record-setting win in Norman … 2002: A record-setting 94-yard touchdown pass from Robert Hodge to Jeremy Bloom helps the Buffs upset No. 13 Kansas State (with video highlights) … 2013: Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota accounted for seven touchdowns – five passing and two rushing – leading No. 2 Oregon to a 57-16 victory over Colorado … 2019: Buff killer Kahlil Tate did it one more time to the Buffs, passing for 404 yards and three touchdowns, leading Arizona to a 35-30 win over Colorado in Boulder …

  • 2002: Colorado 35, No. 13 Kansas State 31 … CU begins its run to a second-straight Big 12 North title with a surprising upset of No. 13 Kansas State in Boulder … Essay: “Hodge Ball” … Robert Hodge becomes an unlikely hero, leading the first Buff squad ever to have touchdowns of over 70, 80, and 90 yards in the same game. Robert Hodge’s passer rating on the day was 235.88 …
  • 2013: No. 2 Oregon 57, Colorado 16 … The Buffs stood toe-to-toe with Oregon’s offense – for a half … Essay: “Point/Counterpoint” … By halftime, the Buffs had posted 318 yards of total offense – against a defense giving up only 320 yards per game. Not bad – but the Buffs had to play the second half … 
  • 2019: Arizona 35, Colorado 30 … “We have a very disappointed locker room”, said CU head coach Mel Tucker after the Buffs found a new way to lose to Kahlil Tate and the Wildcats  … Essay: “The Big Picture” … Even before the Buffs found a way to win two games in November and push the Wildcats to the bottom of the Pac-12 South, there was hope coming out of this loss …

Check out the stories for all three games below …

October 5, 2002 – Boulder           Colorado 35,  No. 13 Kansas State 31

Showing a big-play ability largely muted in non-conference games, the Colorado offense hit its stride in leading the Buffs to a 35-31 win over No. 13 Kansas State. The Buffs scored on plays of 71, 85, and 94 yards in rolling to 483 yards of total offense against the nation’s fifth-ranked defense.

Quarterback Robert Hodge connected on 13-of-20 passes for 289 yards and three touchdowns in making a successful return to Folsom Field. After enduring a devastating debut against USC (1-of-9, 20 yards, one interception), Hodge connected on a 71-yard scoring pass to Brian Calhoun, a record-setting 94-yarder to Jeremy Bloom, and a one-yard toss to Jesse Wallace.

“He keeps getting better, and I’ve told a lot of people about what a great deep ball he throws, and he proved that today,” said Gary Barnett after the game. “He’s getting more and more confident, and played really well.”

The CU offense sparkled early. On the Buffs’ first drive of the game, Hodge hit Derek McCoy in stride for 41 yards, with Chris Brown scoring on a one-yard run to give the Buffs a 7-0 lead. On Colorado’s next series, Hodge connected with freshman Calhoun for 71 yards and a 14-0 advantage. It appeared that the Buffs were on their way to a rout of the undefeated Wildcats.

Here is the YouTube video of Calhoun’s first collegiate touchdown. Gotta like Brent Musberger’s, “Oh, what a game plan!” call. Thanks to CU at the Gamer Paul for the highlight:


Kansas State would not go quietly, though. The Wildcats scored twice early in the second quarter to tie the game and silence the 52,584 crowd on hand for Homecoming.

With 5:54 left before half, Chris Brown, who would post 167 yards on 26 carries on the day, gave the home fans something to cheer about with an 85-yard scoring run. Just before half, the Buffs were backed up at their six-yard line. Rather than be conservative, Colorado opted for the long ball, with Hodge hitting Jeremy Bloom for a 94-yard touchdown and a 28-14 halftime lead.

The Buffs opened the second half with a third unanswered touchdown, with Hodge hitting sophomore tight end Jesse Wallace from a yard out. Colorado had a 35-14 cushion, and there was no reason to believe the Wildcats would be able to stop the Buffs from scoring at will and rolling to a huge win.

Wallace’s touchdown, however, would be the final points for Colorado. Meanwhile, the rushing attack for Kansas State, led by quarterback Eli Roberson (178 yards, one touchdown) and running back Darren Sproles (121 yards, three scores), systematically brought the Wildcats back. Sproles scored on an 80-yard run less than a minute after the Wallace touchdown, and scored again before the end of the quarter to pull K-State to within 35-28.

After an offensive display through three stanzas, neither team could generate much offense in the fourth quarter.

Twice the Wildcats had the ball deep inside Colorado territory, with the first incursion thwarted on fourth down by a huge hit by senior defensive back Donald Strickland. Kansas State faced fourth-and-two at the CU four yard line. Darren Sproles took a pitch from Eli Roberson, making for the left corner of the end zone just in front of the Colorado student section. Strickland, leaving his receiver, met Sproles at the four yard line, dropping the tailback for no gain. “Wow, what a hit”, gushed Colorado defensive coordinator Vince Okruch, ” ‘Strick’ was on (Sproles), he couldn’t make a move. And that play save the game for us.”

Kansas State would have one more chance. Following a short Buff punt, the Wildcats quickly drove back into the red zone. With the game on the line, Roberson was sacked, forcing Kansas State to kick a field goal. The Buffs then were able to run out the clock (with a pass interference call on third down allowing Colorado to maintain possession late).

“We made every mistake you can think of, but we were able to fight,” said a relieved Barnett. “We hung in there and found a way to make big plays.”

Colorado was now 3-2 on the season, but, more importantly, 1-0 in Big 12 play. Up next were the only two remaining conference opponents who did not appear to have any reason to make post-season plans, Kansas and Baylor. A 3-0 conference mark heading into the teeth of conference play would be helpful. Still, the 2002 Buffs had just put together their first back-to-back wins of the season, and could not afford to look past anyone.

In fact, the Buffs were only 4-3 in the past seven years against Kansas (2-4, 0-2 in conference play), and had lost their past two contests in Lawrence.

Onward and upward.

YouTube video of Jeremy Bloom’s touchdown and Donald Strickland’s hit (thanks to Paul for these video finds!):


YouTube video of Chris Brown’s score:


I took with me every form of CU clothing at my disposal – CU t-shirt, CU polo shirt, CU sweatshirt, CU windbreaker, and CU winter coat.

The Saturday forecast earlier in the week had been for 51 degrees and rain, so I wanted to be prepared for miserable conditions. As it turned out, it was polo shirt weather, a perfect fall day for the Buffs to put together a win for Homecoming. Altogether, we had seven tickets for the game, and I was able to meet up with old friends Kyle and Kim Pettine for the first time since the 1993 Fiesta Bowl. Everything was in place for an enjoyable day.

Well, there was one problem.

I didn’t know how the Buffs were going to win.

With a new quarterback and one of the nation’s toughest defenses coming to Boulder, I was fearful that the Buffs would not be able to score enough points to win. I was even worried that the Buffs’ 162-game streak without being shutout was in jeopardy.

Perhaps that’s why my ticket says 79th row and not the sideline.

The Buffs scored early and often, becoming the first Buff squad ever to have touchdowns of over 70, 80, and 90 yards in the same game. Robert Hodge’s passer rating on the day was 235.88. This number means nothing, except in the context that it was the sixth highest such rating in Colorado history. Only Darian Hagan, Kordell Stewart (twice), and Koy Detmer (twice) had statistically better days than Hodge’s 13-for-20, 289-yard, three-touchdown, no interception effort.

“We always had confidence in him and his play”, said Chris Brown of Hodge, “and now he is showing everybody else what he can do.”

For his part, Hodge credited his teammates. “I got a chance to become more confident with playing on offense and the guys were behind me today. I don’t know what people think of me, but I just want to go out there and play.”

Hodge was taking the Colorado passing game to a new level, giving the Colorado offense balance to offset the dominating rushing attack led by Chris Brown. With conference cellar-dwellers Kansas and Baylor up next, there was a chance now for the Buffs to make an early statement in the conference race, as well as to climb back into the national spotlight. The CU/Kansas game would be the first of the season for the Buffs which would not be televised. It was also the first Colorado game of the year where at least one of the participants was not ranked. This being the case, it would take not only a win, but a big win, in order to grab national attention.

Enter Chris Brown.

Here is a link to the YouTube video of the game. It was an ESPN Classic, and was cut down to about 90 minutes, so not all of the game is shown.

Game Notes

– The 94-yard Hodge to Bloom touchdown eclipsed the longest pass play in Colorado history by two yards, besting the 92-yard touchdown pass from Koy Detmer to Charles Johnson (v. Oklahoma, 10/24/92). CU’s longest play ever was a 95-yard touchdown run by Emerson Wilson (v. Kansas State, 11/20/54).

– Hodge’s first career touchdown pass (covering 71 yards) was the not the longest ever for a first passing TD, ranking fourth. Sal Aunese’s79-yarder to Drew Ferrando (v. Colorado State, 10/3/87) ranked as the longest first touchdown pass.

– Statistically, the best day ever for a Colorado quarterback was by Darian Hagan in a 52-17 win over Iowa State (10/14/89). Hagan passed only ten times, but completed eight for 187 yards and two touchdowns. Hagan’s rating for the day: 303.1.

October 5, 2013 – Boulder           No. 2 Oregon 57, Colorado 16

Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota accounted for seven touchdowns – five passing and two rushing – leading No. 2 Oregon to a 57-16 victory over Colorado.

The Ducks amassed 755 yards of total offense, with 406 yards passing and 349 yards rushing. The Buffs, who held tough with the nation’s No. 2 team for a quarter-and-a-half, had over 300 yards of total offense in the first half, but next to nothing in the second half. Colorado went the entire fourth quarter without a first down, settling for 373 yards of total offense. Buff quarterback Connor Wood struggled, going 11-for-33 on the day, for 205 yards and two interceptions. Paul Richardson had only five catches, going for 134 yards.

Considering that the two times the Buffs had played Oregon as members of the Pac-12, the first quarter scores had been 29-0 and 28-0, there was a certain amount of trepidation when the third game between the two as Pac-12 rivals started.

But instead of an instant rout, the Folsom Field crowd on hand to honor Bill McCartney’s College Football Hall of Fame enshrinement were treated to something unusual for the Ducks … a competitive first half.

Continue reading Game story here

Point / Counterpoint … 

We all know about the long running CBS news magazine, 60 Minutes. For those of us of a certain age, though, there are the memories of a 60 Minutes segment run during the 1970’s called “Point / Counterpoint”.

Long before Andy Rooney took over the last few minutes of each Sunday’s show, liberal commentator Shana Alexander would square off with conservative commentator James J. Kilpatrick. The two would debate the issues of the day, with the barbs sometimes as much personal as topical.

The banter was immortalized by Saturday Night Live, with Jane Curtin playing the role of Alexander, and Dan Aykroyd taking on the role of Kirkpatrick. Their skit has given us this immortal line: “Jane, you ignorant slut” …

The “Point / Counterpoint” segment, as it relates to Colorado football, represents my current state of ambiguity when it comes to the 2-2 Buffs. There are many positives one can objectively see on the field this fall, but there are almost as many nagging negatives.

So, in salute to Alexander/Kirkpatrick and Curtin/Aykroyd, here are some internal arguments I have been having over the 57-16 loss to No. 2 Oregon …

Continue reading Game Essay here

October 5, 2019 – Boulder          Arizona 35, Colorado 30

Buff killer Kahlil Tate did it one more time to the Buffs, passing for 404 yards and three touchdowns, leading Arizona to a 35-30 win over Colorado in Boulder. The lead changed hands nine times on the afternoon, with a Nathan Tedford five-yard touchdown run with 6:51 remaining being the deciding score. The Buffs mounted one final drive, but a Steven Montez pass intended for Dimitri Stanley on a fourth-and-four at the Arizona 46-yard line with 2:29 remaining ended CU’s final threat.

Steven Montez completed 28-of-42 passes for 299 yards and a touchdown, while K.D. Nixon added a 38-yard touchdown pass to Dimtri Stanley. Tony Brown, taking over as CU’s lead receiver for the second game in a row in the absence of Laviska Shenault, had 10 receptions for a career-high 141 yards, while Alex Fontenot added 94 yards on 21 carries to lead CU’s ground attack.

“We have a very disappointed locker room”, said CU head coach Mel Tucker. “We have to give Arizona a lot of credit. They made more plays than we made. They executed more often than we did. We felt like in the first half that we left some plays on the field on both sides of the ball”.

Continue reading Game story here

Keeping an Eye on the Big Picture … 

The 2019 season represents the ninth year of existence for the conference now known as the Pac-12.

In the first eight campaigns as a member of the Pac-12, Colorado has posted South division finishes of … t-5th, 6th, 6th, 6th, 6th, 1st, 6th, and 6th.

These numbers represent a sad commentary for a CU program which never once finished alone at the bottom of a division or a conference for 97 consecutive seasons. Between 1915 and 2012, Colorado spent decades as a member of the Mountain States Conference, the Big Seven, the Big Eight, and the Big 12 without once winding up in the basement of their division or conference … not ever … not once!

Since moving west, however, the program has suffered an almost unbroken run of despair and last place finishes.

No wonder most of  the nation has a hard time taking Colorado football seriously. Memories are short term for most fans, and the short term history of the Colorado football program has been nothing short of dismal.

Continue reading Game Essay here


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