CU Games of the Day – September 19th

September 19thThe Buffs have a 5-1 record on this date over the past 40 years, with some significant games in CU history on this date …

  • 1981: Washington State 14, Colorado 10 … Buffs blow a 10-0 lead with four minutes to play with two – yes, two – blocked punts … Essay: “You’ve got to be kidding me!”
  • 1987: Colorado 31, Stanford 17 … Buffs use surprising effect offense in upset of Cardinal … Essay: “Fun with initials” … Essay: “Fred ‘The Count’ Casotti”
  • 1992: Colorado 21, Minnesota 20 … Freshman Koy Detmer’s first appearance becomes CU’s third-greatest comeback ever … Essay: “On the Radio” 
  • 1998: 15 Colorado 25, Utah State 6 … Buffs sleepwalk their way to a 3-0 record with uninspiring win over the Aggies … 
  • 2009: Colorado 24, Wyoming 0 … Buffs win for the first time in 315 days wearing very ugly throwback uniforms … Essay: “Throwbacks”
  • 2015: Colorado 27, Colorado State 24 OT … Buffs spot Rams a 14-0 before rallying for an overtime win in Denver … Essay: “It’s Always been a Matter of Trust”

Check out the stories for all six games below …

September 19, 1981 – Boulder           Washington State 14, Colorado 10

Washington State came into Boulder 1-0, coming off a warm-up game against none other than Division I-AA Montana State, winning 33-21. The Cougars had only been 4-7 in 1980, so the game matched two teams looking to erase the memories of the previous campaign, and gain confidence by starting 1981 at 2-0.

Colorado led the game 10-0, and had possession of the football with under four minutes to go in the game. A 2-0 start was within the Buffs’ grasp.

Then disaster struck.

Colorado was held on downs, and then, on fourth down, failed to get the punt off, leading to a five-play, 34-yard drive for a touchdown. 10-7. On the next series, the Buffs again went three-and-out, except the Buffs forgot the “and out” part. This time the punt was blocked and returned 43 yards for a touchdown by Cougar free safety Paul Sorenson.

What had been a 10-0 defensive gem was now a 14-10 loss. The first defensive unit for Colorado more than held it’s own, but it was wasted.

The loss was “bitter”, according to Chuck Fairbanks. Those in attendance did not disagree, though only a few hundred more than had cheered the Texas Tech win (35,277) came to the game.

Memories of 1980 were resurrected.

Colorado still had a long way to go.

You’ve got to be kidding me

It takes a special talent to lose a game this way.

Ahead the entire game, with a stifling defense, the Buffs committed the unthinkable not once, but twice, in the fourth quarter. The Oklahoma debacle a year earlier was almost fun by comparison. Against the Sooners, the 82-42 loss was embarrassing. This was worse, because the Buffs should have won. Washington State was on CU’s level, and, if the Buffs were to show any noticeable signs of improvement, we had to beat this caliber of team at home.

As fans, we returned to the pessimism of the 1980 season.

With No. 11 ranked BYU, No. 16 ranked UCLA, and a trip to Lincoln coming up over the next three weeks, the euphoria of the Texas Tech game was already starting to wane.

Major League Irony

On the Thursday before the Washington State game, the Boulder Daily Camera ran an article by Camera Sports Writer Craig Harper. The fluff piece was written about Washington State free safety Paul Sorenson. The article referred to a story of how Sorenson, a native of the San Francisco area, had spent a good part of the summer working out with receivers from the California Golden Bears. The joke was that Sorenson did not reveal his identity as a defensive back from Washington State, and how the receivers, despite having played against Sorenson, did not recognize him.

The article was entitled: “Colorado Can’t Afford to Forget Sorenson”.

Two days later, Paul Sorenson carried the second blocked punt 43 yards to score the winning touchdown. Apparently, the Buffs forgot to read the article.

September 19, 1997 – Boulder           Colorado 31, Stanford 17

Colorado looked to right its ship, and even the 1987 season mark at 1-1, with a game against Stanford.

The Cardinal also came into the game 0-1, having lost its season-opener to Washington, 31-21. Stanford was not to be overlooked, however, having posted an 8-4 mark in 1986, including a trip to the Gator Bowl. Stanford’s bowl appearance had been its first in eight years, and the first for fourth-year head coach Jack Elway.

Unlike the Oregon game, which ended in a 10-7 victory for the Ducks, scoring in the Colorado-Stanford game came at a fast and furious pace.

The Buffs took the opening kickoff and traveled 75 yards in eight plays to take the lead. Tiny (5′ 6″, 185 pounds) freshman halfback Eric Bieniemy did the honors from two yards out, giving Colorado its first lead of the 1987 season, 7-0. Stanford quickly responded with a touchdown drive of its own, scoring on a 48-yard pass from Greg Ennis to Walter Batson against the Buffs’ heralded secondary.

On the Buffs’ next series, halfback J.J. Flannigan scored on a 17-yard run to cap an 80-yard drive. With 8:27 still remaining in the first quarter, the score was 14-7 Colorado. The two teams had combined for 225 yards in total offense in only 6:33 of game clock.

Fortunately for Colorado, the Buffs’ offensive display continued all day, while the Buffs’ defense held off the Cardinal often enough for Colorado to emerge with a 31-17 win.

There were offensive stars aplenty, as the offense posted a wishbone-best 413 yards rushing (in 80 attempts, just three attempts shy of the school record). Even when quarterback Mark Hatcher went down with ankle and Achilles’ tendon sprains in the first half, the offense continued to click, with senior Rick Wheeler taking the reins.

Against Oregon, it had been freshman fullback Michael Simmons who carried the offensive load for Colorado. Against Stanford, freshman halfback Eric Bieniemy took his turn at the spotlight. Bieniemy rushed for 119 yards on only 14 carries, including the two-yard touchdown run. (The efforts of Simmons and Bieniemy represented the first time in Colorado history that two different freshmen had rushed for over 100 yards in back-to-back games).

Sophomore halfback J.J. Flannigan put up 84 yards and a score, while Mark Hatcher posted 85 yards. In all, the Buffs ran through the Cardinal for four touchdowns. “It was fun to see the offense move like that,” said a relieved McCartney, “Our defense has carried us for the past 2 1/2 years. This is our best offensive production in that span ….. It was a big win.”

Ralphie II

The Saturday night after the Stanford game, Ralphie II, the Colorado Buffaloes mascot, died at the age of 12. Ralphie III was still in training, so the Buffs, who had not yet had a mascot on the field in the 1987 season, would go without until the October 17th homecoming game against Kansas.

Fun with Initials

It didn’t happen all at once.

As with many a quirky tradition, it evolved. Over the course of 1987, it grew to a deafening crescendo. Quite by chance, a number of players in the mid-1980’s who touched the ball for the University of Colorado used initials for their names. In 1986, O.C. Oliver lead the team in rushing. In 1987, J.J. Flannigan and M.J. Nelson had their names mentioned with increasing regularity.

Even Jo Jo Collins’ name gave the fans the opportunity to rhyme. In the stands, the students began emphasizing the initials when they were announced over the public address system, as in “M….J….Nel-son” and “O….C….Ol-i-ver”. The public address announcer soon picked up on the chants, and whenever one from the initialized bunch touched the ball, he slowed down his recitation of the ball carrier’s name so the students could place even more emphasis on the initials. Soon the entire crowd was into it.

Passing up students had been banned in the stands, as had snowball fights. Those activities, though, were more associated with an attempt to stay awake during 30-point losses than any designed inspiration for the football team. Chanting players’ names indicated that the students were now paying attention to the game on the field.

Just one more small advance into big time college football at Folsom Field.

Fred “The Count” Casotti

At halftime of the season-opening Oregon game, the 1937 Cotton Bowl team, featuring Byron “Whizzer” White, had been honored. Honored during the Stanford game was the Buffs’ longtime employee and friend, Fred Casotti. Casotti had served as the outspoken Sports Information Director for Colorado from 1952-1968. From 1968-85, Casotti served as assistant then associate athletic director. From 1985-87, “the Count” acted as special assistant to the athletic director before “retiring” in March, 1987.

I place the “retiring” in quotes for the reason that Fred Casotti never really retired.

In addition to continuing his amazing string of attending Colorado football games (over 500), Casotti authored several books on Colorado football, “Football C.U.* Style” (*Casotti Uncensored) and “The Golden Buffaloes”. His title with the Colorado athletic department after his retirement was that of historian, and it was Fred Casotti who arranged for me to gain access – through his successor, Dave Plati – to the Colorado archives for research for CU at the Game.

Casotti was engaging, witty, and ever ready to lend a hand.

His tribute in 1987 could have, and perhaps should have, become an annual event.

September 19, 1992 – at Minnesota          No. 11 Colorado 21, Minnesota 20

The third game of Colorado’s 1992 season was played at night (6:00 p.m local time kickoff), and was played indoors (at the Metrodome in Minneapolis).  Whether the Buffs were confused by the surroundings or the time of day is unclear, but the 17-0 deficit Colorado found itself in midway through the third quarter was no mistake.

The Golden Gophers of Minnesota had dug a very large hole for the visitors from Boulder.

Enter true freshman Koy Detmer.

Posting the third greatest comeback (in terms of point deficit) in Colorado history, the Buffs rallied behind the little brother of BYU Heisman Trophy winner Ty Detmer to defeat Minnesota, 21-20.  Junior quarterback Duke Tobin was given the start for the injured Kordell Stewart, but Tobin, like the rest of the Colorado offense, was ineffective.  At the half, Tobin had completed only two of his 10 pass attempts.  The running game, when the five sacks of Tobin were factored in, had amassed a total of minus-eight yards rushing.

With offensive statistics like those, the Buffs were lucky that their defense had come to play.  The only first half score came when Gopher Derek Fisher recovered a blocked Mitch Berger punt in the Colorado endzone to put Minnesota ahead, 7-0.

Before the Buffs could put the offense in gear, though, the score was up to 17-0, Minnesota.  Then Koy Detmer began showing leadership qualities which belied his youth.  On Colorado’s second possession of the second half, Detmer hit Michael Westbrook on a 49-yard touchdown pass to cut the margin to 17-7.  On the Gophers’ next possession, junior strong safety Dwayne Davis cut in front of a Marquel Fleetwood pass, returning it 31 yards for a Colorado touchdown.  17-14.

After Minnesota briefly righted its ship, posting a field goal to raise the lead to 20-14, Detmer led the Buffs on a four-play, 80-yard drive culminated in a 24-yard touchdown pass to Charles E. Johnson.  21-20, Colorado, with 12:02 left in the game.

The final moments were not without their drama, however.  Minnesota kicker Aaron Piepkorn, who had earlier hit from 26 and 36 yards out, lined up for a 55-yard attempt in the game’s waning seconds.  The kick had the distance, but was wide right, and the Buffs had survived.

“I couldn’t be happier.  I couldn’t be prouder”, said a jubilant McCartney after the game, “I just thought our guys gave it up.  What I mean by that is that every ounce of energy those kids out there on defense had – they gave it up.”

Koy Detmer’s plans for a red-shirt season were over, but McCartney would say it was worth it:  “I think we’ll remember the game he stepped in for a little while around here.”  Detmer’s teammates had nothing but praise.  Safety Dwayne Davis:  “He’s the classiest freshman I’ve ever seen.”  Receiver Michael Westbrook:  “He’s a character.  We’d figured he’d do what he did.”  Offensive tackle Jim Hansen:  “He’s my hero.  Did you see that fight we had (in the third quarter)? He was out there spearing some guy and I had to pull him out of there …. He’s amazing.  Absolutely amazing.”

Kordell Stewart would still be the Buffs’ starting quarterback when he returned from his injury, but Koy Detmer had given Colorado fans a taste of what was to come.

At least for those Colorado fans who had listened to the game.

On the Radio

The 1992 Colorado/Minnesota football game was witnessed by 33,719 fans, most of whom returned home disappointed.

Also disappointed that evening were thousands of Colorado fans who were denied the opportunity to watch the game at home on television.  In 1992, the cable broadcasting network ESPN had a contract with the College Football Association.  The contract called for ESPN to have exclusive rights to broadcasting Saturday night college football.  As a result of the timing of the kickoff, 6:00 p.m., the Buffalo/Gopher game could not be televised by a Denver station.  The only way to follow the game was to listen to it on Colorado’s flagship radio station, KOA of Denver.

For me, the television blackout did not present a dilemma.  I was in Montana, after all, and likely would not have been able to watch the game on television, anyway.

My problem was the scoring in the game.

Or rather the lack thereof.

As I settled in that Saturday evening to watch the ESPN offering (a pleasant 29-14 drubbing of No. 12 Nebraska by No. 2 Washington) I knew that I would receive periodic updates from ESPN (at 28 minutes and 58 minutes past the hour – all you got back then), and I could also switch over to CNN Headline News for updates at 20 minutes and 50 minutes past the hour.  With Colorado being a ranked team, I was guaranteed at least four hourly reports on the score (games involving unranked teams were not afforded such constant attention).  Not the best of all possible worlds, but a fact of life to which I become accustomed in my first five seasons back in Bozeman.  The game was supposed to be a blowout, so I was confident that my evening would be a relaxed one.

At least until about an hour after the Buff game had kicked off.

One full hour after the game had started, the television updates were still showing scores of:  Colorado 0; Minnesota 0.  “This can’t be right!”, I thought.  The Buffs had scored 94 points in the first two games of 1992, and had blasted this same Gopher team 58-0 less than one year earlier.  Why weren’t the Buffs scoring?  What was happening in the Metrodome?

I made a decision.

In the pages of the football magazines strewn around my apartment were advertisements for fans to listen to their team’s games.  For a price, you could call a number, enter your team’s code, and listen to the radio broadcast of your home town team.  Desperate to find out what was going on, I dialed.  No more than three (expensive) minutes later, I heard the play-by-play of the Golden Gophers blocking Mitch Berger’s punt.

I wanted a score; I got one.

7-0, Minnesota.

Determining that I had just jinxed my team, I resolved not to call that number ever again (and I never did).

But what about the Buffs?  I endured seemingly endless repetitions on ESPN and CNN of:  Minnesota 7; Colorado 0 – Halftime.  Then, an update:  Minnesota 10; Colorado 0.  Then:  Minnesota 17; Colorado 0.

What the Hell was going on?

I turned to the only other source I had available to me:  Brad.  Brad was in Grand Junction, and I knew he would be listening to the game on a KOA affiliate.  By the time I got off the phone, the score had improved to 17-14, but the Buffs still trailed.  I hung up with Brad feeling a little better.

Then the phone rang.  It was Charlie, my roommate my senior year in Boulder, now a television reporter in Nashville, Tennessee.  HE wanted to know what was going on with the Buffs.  I told Charlie what I knew.

Then the phone rang again.  It was Mark, whom I had met my freshman year in Libby Hall, who was an aerospace engineer working in Dayton, Ohio.  HE wanted to know what was going on with the Buffs.  I told Mark what I knew.

I called Brad back.  It was now Minnesota 20, CU 14, just starting the fourth quarter.  I knew I really could not afford to spend the remainder of the game on the phone with Brad, so we quickly devised a system for me to get updates without either of us incurring charges.  Brad would call my number if either team scored.  If Minnesota scored, he would hang up after one ring.  If Colorado scored, he would hang up after two rings.

Moments later, the phone rang.  One ring.  TWO RINGS.  And then silence.

THE BUFFS HAD SCORED!

But was it a field goal or a touchdown?  A field goal would cut the lead to 20-17, but the Gophers would still be ahead.  A touchdown would give the Buffs their first lead of the game, 21-20.  ESPN provided the answer shortly thereafter, posting the 21-20 lead for Colorado.

Now the waiting began.  Minutes ticked off the wall clock, with no call from Brad.  It was now after 8:00 p.m., Mountain time.  The game should have been over, but the phone did not ring.

Finally, around 8:15 p.m., the phone rang.  One ring.  After what seemed like an inordinate amount of time, it rang again – the second ring.  Whew!  The Buffs had either scored again, or the game was over.

Then the phone rang a third time.  Perhaps it wasn’t Brad, after all.  I raced to answer the phone.

But it was Brad.  He was calling to confirm that the game had in fact ended 21-20.  Brad had just resumed breathing after KOA announcer Kent Groshong had initially called Aaron Piepkorn’s 55-yard attempt, which would have given Minnesota the victory, good.  The radio audience was then treated to the good news that the last-minute kick was indeed wide, and that the Buffs had won.

A few minutes later, ESPN and CNN confirmed on my television screen what Brad had just told me.  The game was over, and the Buffs had survived.  I thanked Brad, hung up the phone only long enough to get a dial tone.

I had to relay the information on to Charlie in Nashville and Mark in Dayton.

September 19, 1998 – Boulder           No. 15 Colorado 25, Utah State 6

If Colorado’s 29-21 win over Fresno State the week before was a “wake up call”, then the Buffs’ 25-6 victory over Utah State was an indication that the team had apparently hit the snooze button.

Penalties and injuries marred an otherwise excellent defensive performance as the Buffs raised their season record to 3-0 with a 25-6 victory over Utah State.

Mike Moschetti, slowed by torn cartilage in his rib cage suffered in the Fresno State game, was sacked eight times. Overall, the Buffs committed 15 penalties for 118 yards and turned the ball over twice. The only scoring highlights for the Buffs came when the offense was not on the field, as Ben Kelly turned in a 68-yard punt return for a score in the first quarter, and the Buffs were credited with a safety in the final stanza when the Aggie punter was unable to pull down a high snap, with the ball traveling out of the endzone for the final two points of the contest.

Utah State struck first with a 24-yard field goal by Brad Bohn midway through the first quarter. Matters could have been worse, as the Aggies took over inside the CU redzone after a fumble, but were held to three points. Still, for the 45,298 on hand, it was the second week in succession in which the Buffs fell behind its opponent at home to start the game.

The Colorado offense responded to the deficit with an 11-play, 73-yard drive, culminated in a seven-yard touchdown pass from Moschetti to Darrin Chiaverini, giving CU a 7-3 lead late in the first quarter.

A few moments later, the Buff defense had the Aggies backed up to their four-yard line, facing a third-and-27. Hoping to catch the Buffs off-guard, quarterback Riley Jensen did a quick kick. The strategy appeared to work, as the Utah State quarterback got off a 64-yard punt. Sophomore cornerback Ben Kelly raced back to pick up the ball, then returned the ball – with the aid of a great block from linebacker Rashidi Barnes – 68 yards for a touchdown. The extra point failed, but the Buffs, with two minutes left in the first quarter, had a two-score lead at 13-3, a lead they would not relinquish the remainder of the game.

The teams traded field goals in the second quarter, including Jeremy Aldrich’s school-record setting ninth consecutive made kick (from 44 yards out). In the third quarter, the tandem of Moschetti and Chiaverini hooked up again, this time from two yards out, to up the Colorado lead to 23-6.

The final points of the game came after the Buff defense had again forced the Aggie offense into an untenable position. Utah State faced a fourth-and-22 from its own eight yard line when the center snapped the ball back over the head of the punter and through the end zone, giving the Buffs their first safety since 1993.

On defense, the unheralded unit turned in the best statistical performance of the Neuheisel era, limiting Utah State to 141 total yards (the previous low of 168 coming against Washington State in the 1996 season opener). “We couldn’t be happier,” said Buff middle linebacker Ty Gregorak. “We were lacking in something our first two games, but today we found it.”

The Buffs had found a way to make it through the non-conference season unbeaten for the first time since 1995 (thanks in large part to not having Michigan on the schedule), but the Buffs were not scaring anyone. “We’re 3-0, we’re excited to be 3-0”, said Rick Neuheisel in the postgame press conference. “But we find ourselves in a position now where we really have to find out what we’re going to do as an offense.” Neuheisel was referring for the most part to his offensive line, which had become a M*A*S*H unit.

Injuries to the offensive line had become critical, as no fewer than five linemen had already missed action. With a starting lineup for Baylor of redshirt freshman Erin Huizingh at left tackle, senior Brad Bedell at left guard, junior Ryan Johanningmeier at center, senior Ben Nichols at right guard, and redshirt freshman Victor Rogers at right tackle, the Buffs would be starting no linemen in the same position they had lined up for against Colorado State only three weeks before.

A lack of continuity had resulted in a lack of production. A lack of production left quarterback Mike Moschetti running for his life in the backfield, and a sputtering offense.

And the “real” season, the conference season, was just about to begin.

September 19, 2009 – Boulder               Colorado 24, Wyoming 0

On a day when Washington, 0-12 in 2008, took out No. 3 USC (16-13), you knew it was a day in which anything could happen.

The much-maligned Colorado defense held Wyoming to 230 yards of total offense in posting the first shutout for Colorado since the Buffs took out Miami (Ohio), 42-0, almost exactly two years ago.

The Buffs’ offense was not overwhelming, but was much more effective than it had been the first two games of 2009. Cody Hawkins hit on 17-of-31 passes for 175 yards, and Rodney Stewart rushed for 127 yards and two touchdowns. Scotty McKnight had five catches for 77 yards, and had a timely fumble recovery for a touchdown.

Colorado, which had fallen behind by double digits in each of the first two games, turned the tables in game three.

The Buffs took only 1:30 of game clock to take their first lead of the season. The eight-play, 69-yard drive to open the game was finished off in bizarre fashion. Demetrius Sumler, on first-and-ten at the Wyoming 17 yard line, took off for a fifteen yard gain, but fumbled the ball. Fortunately for Colorado fans, the fumble was recovered by wide receiver Scotty McKnight at the Wyoming two yard line, who scooped the ball up and fell into the end zone for a Colorado touchdown.

7-0, Colorado.

After forcing a three-and-out by Wyoming, the Buffs set up shop at their own 37. A mixup by the offense, though, nearly resulted in disaster for Colorado. Center Mike Iltis snapped the ball over quarterback Cody Hawkins’ head, with the resulting fumble being recovered back at the Colorado 18-yard line.

Wyoming was in business, and Colorado fans everywhere had the same thought … uh, oh. Here we go again.

But Saturday was a new day, and the Colorado defense held. Wyoming kicker Austin McCoy missed a field goal attempt from 35 yards out, and the 7-0 lead was preserved.

The Buffs were able to move the ball for much of the remainder of the first quarter, but did not score. The Colorado defense, though, was magnificent, to-wit: Wyoming had four first quarter possessions. In those possessions, the Cowboys netted a total of six yards, earning nary a single first down.

Early in the second quarter, the Buffs culminated a 12-play drive with a 20-yard field goal by Aric Goodman (kudos, by the way, for Goodman having a good game against his former team) to put the Buffs up 10-0. On the first play of the ensuing drive, CU cornerback Benjamin Burney forced a fumble by Wyoming running back Darius Terry, recovered by Jalil Brown at the Wyoming 27-yard line.

Unlike Wyoming, the Buffs were able to take advantage of their only turnover of the game. After a three yard pass from Hawkins to Espinoza, it was all Rodney Stewart, as the sophomore running back posted runs of nine, 13, and two yards, with the final run giving the Buffs a 17-0 lead with 11:40 left in the second quarter.

Both teams had additional opportunities in the first half, but neither got past the opponent’s 40-yard line, and the Buffs took a 17-0 lead into the half.

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Throwbacks … 

For their game against the Wyoming Cowboys, the Buffs donned 1937 vintage jerseys (what? No leather helmets?). The uniforms were a dull gold with black numerals; the helmets and pants silver. It was a “throwback” weekend in Folsom Field, as the Buffs did what they used to do when they played Wyoming decades ago – dominate.

A few words about the vintage uniforms … Ugg-ahh-lee! Memo to marketing staff: First, thank you for not choosing to put CU fans through a 25th anniversary restoration of the baby blue uniforms from 1984 (sorry, make that “Colorado sky blue at 9,000 feet”). However, if you wanted to actually market and sell vintage uniforms, you might have been better served by going with a 20th anniversary replica of the 1989 jerseys (now, those were cool uniforms!). You might ponder this as you crate up the unsold 1937 jerseys for their “Goodwill Tour” of a country where football is actually soccer.

As for the game, the throwback to a defense which could shutout an opponent was well received, and much appreciated. A decent crowd of 50,535, buoyed by a number of Wyoming fans hoping to bear witness to only the third win over Colorado in school history, saw the Buffs dominate from the opening series. For a defense giving up 500 yards per game, a 230 yard effort was just what the doctor ordered.

Still, while Buff fans can bask in the glow of the first win in 315 days – there is still much to temper the enthusiasm:

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September 19, 2015 – at Denver           Colorado 27, Colorado State 24 OT

Buff kicker Diego Gonzalez, who had missed a 48-yarder a few minutes earlier which would have won the game in regulation, got a shot at redemption in overtime. The 32-yarder in the extra period was perfect, giving Colorado an unlikely come-from-behind 27-24 overtime win over Colorado State in the Rocky Mountain Showdown.

The Buffs spotted the Rams a 14-0 first quarter lead, and were out-gained 500 yards to 345 on the game, but were able to stay in the game with decent offense and timely plays on defense. Sefo Liufau hit on 15-of-28 passes for 220 yards and two touchdowns, while linebacker Ken Olugbode (a 60-yard interception return for a touchdown) and safety Tedric Thompson (a blocked field goal in overtime) were the defensive heroes.

The fourth quarter of 2014 Rocky Mountain Showdown witnessed a 17-0 Colorado State run, with the Rams turning a 17-14 deficit into a 31-17 victory.

The first quarter of the 2015 Rocky Mountain Showdown continued the trend, with the Rams posting 14 first quarter points … much to dismay of the Buff half of the 66,253 on hand at Invesco Field in Denver.

The game opened ominously enough, with Ram Deionte Gaines returning the opening kickoff 51 yards to the CU 44-yard line. The Buff defense forced a three-and-out, but the Buff offense, pinned deep inside their own ten, could not pick up a first down, giving the ball back to the Rams near midfield.

Colorado State’s second drive resulted in points, with the Rams going 52 yards in ten plays, with Dalyn Dawkins scoring on a 13-yard run to give CSU a 7-0 lead midway through the first quarter.

The Buffs’ ensuing drive went nowhere, with the Rams piecing together a seven-play, 72-yard drive on their next possession. When Nick Stevens hit All-American candidate Rashard Higgins for 25-yard touchdown, Colorado State had a 14-0 lead, and a 31-0 run dating back to the 2014 game.

Instead of folding, though, the Buffs responded.

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It’s Always Been a Matter of Trust

One of the themes for the University of Colorado football team for the 2015 season is “Trust”.

Players received t-shirts during Fall Camp with “Trust” on them, and the coaches have been preaching the mantra for months.

Buff players have been implored to trust the player next to them, to trust the coaches, to trust the game plan. Do your job; trust the man next to you that he is doing his.

After the 48-14 win over Massachusetts, head coach Mike MacIntyre gave a brief talk to the team. The significant pitch was about trust:

“You showed yourselves,” said MacIntyre. “There was ultimate trust out there. Ultimate trust.  I believe in you guys, and now I think you’re starting to believe in yourselves.

“I’ve said, and I still believe this with all my heart and soul, you can win every game you play”.

The CU players, though, were not the only one asked to “Trust” this fall.

Coming off of a school record ninth straight losing season, Buff fans were being asked to trust the coaches and players when they told us that the 2015 team was different. We were asked to trust that the team was just as sick and tired of losing as its fan base, and that the 2015 season would be different.

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