Dave Plati’s Top Three Game Eleven’s

Plati-‘Tudes Short No. 11 … The 11th installment of CU’s best or most exciting football games in its history as to when they occurred in week 11 of any season.  Here are the best “game eleven” games in our history in my humble opinion:

GAME 11’s

No. 1—2001: Colorado 62, Nebraska 36 in Boulder

Nebraska came in ranked No. 2 in the major polls, but were atop the BCS Computer standings and may felt it was destined for a Big 12 championship game match against No. 4 Oklahoma the next week.  The Huskers were 7-0 and the Buffaloes 6-1 in the Big 12 North race, but no one was giving CU much of a chance; Nebraska was a 10-point favorite having won 13 straight games coming in and 11-0 in 2001; CU entered 8-2, minus one game (at Washington State) that was not replaced after the September 11 terrorist attacks on the east coast.  CU scored on its first two possessions (in five plays) and then on three of its next four, and lo and behold, 19 minutes into the game, after touchdown runs by Chris Brown (two), Bobby Purify and Bobby Pesavento along with a Pesavento-to-Daniel Graham 21-yard TD pass after an NU fumble had the Buffaloes in full control, up 35-3 (and with a 314-73 edge in total offense).  ABC’s Brent Musburger called it “the most shocking first quarter in college football this season,” while his analyst, Gary Danielson, said “This is like Colorado is going against its scout team.”

Continue reading story here

… From the CU at the Game Archives story for the game … 

The Colorado Buffaloes exorcised a decade’s worth of demons in one afternoon as the Buffs demolished the Nebraska Cornhuskers, 62-36, before a raucous crowd of 53,790 and a national television audience. No. 14 Colorado scored early and often against the nation’s No. 2 ranked team (No. 1 in the BCS standings), posting the highest point total ever allowed by a Nebraska team.

Chris Brown rushed for 198 yards and a school record six touchdowns to lead the long list of Buff heroes.  Bobby Pesavento completed only nine passes, but they went for 202 yards, including a 21-yard touchdown pass to tight end Daniel Graham.  To compliment Chris Brown, Bobby Purify rushed 20 times for 154 yards and a score.  In all, Colorado put up 582 yards of total offense, including 380 yards on the ground against a defense which had been allowing only 93 yards/game entering the contest.

… Of all the records set on the day, the number 62 received the most attention.

The 62 points represented the most points ever scored against Nebraska.  Ever.  The previous high was 61 points posted by Minnesota in 1945.  “You never think it will go like this, obviously,” said Gary Barnett.  “But every once in a while, it all works.  Sixty-two points.  That’s almost too overwhelming for me.  It’s going to take a while to sink in.”

The Buffs’ offense had a field day against one of the nation’s best defenses.  But record-setting Chris Brown was quick to credit the offensive line.  “When you have guys up front like we do, who make dominating blocks and open those gaping holes, it makes it very easy for us tailbacks,” said Brown. “All I had to do was run through and get to the end zone.”  Said Barnett of the offensive line: “I don’t know that I’ve seen a more dominating performance from a team at CU.”

Down on the Field

I had not been down on the grass of Folsom Field since the new turf had been laid in 1999.  I had not been down on the field to celebrate a CU win in over a decade.

It felt great to be back.

It took some time to get down to the floor of the stadium.  The students rushed the field as the final seconds ticked off, making quick work of the goal posts.  For us in the 79th row, though, there would be a wait.

No one moved towards the exits.  No one moved at all.

We just stood and watched. And yelled.  And savored.

Continue reading story here

Video highlights from the game … 

Runner-Up—1994: Colorado 41, Iowa State 20 in Boulder

Memorable for three things: first, Rashaan Salaam needed 204 yards to reach 2,000 yards for the season; he would gain 259, the last 67 coming on a touchdown run around the right side (he had 123 yards at halftime, more than halfway to two grand at that point).  He went on to win the Heisman Trophy, Doak Walker Award and the Walter Camp Player of the Year honor.  Kordell Stewart would become the Big 8 Conference’s all-time leader in total offense (7,770 yards), which would hold up as the record until the conference was dissolved two years later.  And of course, coach Bill McCartney announced after the game that he was retiring from coaching to spend more time with his family and Promise Keepers, the organization he co-founded.  The Buffaloes jumped to 17-3 lead after the first quarter, but couldn’t put the Cyclones away until the fourth quarter.

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… From the CU at the Game Archives story for the game … 

A game between a 9-1 team and an 0-9-1 to finish off the regular season would normally not bear much attention.  The 41-20 final score, after the Buffs nursed a 20-13 lead into the fourth quarter, would not have merited much notice nationally.

For local writers, though, the game could presented a year’s worth of headlines:

“Christian Fauria snares six catches; becomes Big Eight all-time tight end reception leader” would have been apropos;

“CU posts 576 yards of offense, sets team record for season average – 495.3″ would have been good; or

“Kordell Stewart becomes Big Eight all-time leader for total offense”.

All worthy events, but they were all  overshadowed.  First by Rashaan Salaam, then by the team’s thirteen-year head coach.

Continue reading story here

… Video of Salaam’s run into history … 

Honorable Mention—2016: Colorado 38, Washington State 24 in Boulder

The Buffs were a surprising (to most) 8-2 entering the game (6-1 in Pac-12 play and ranked No. 12 in the nation), and also in control of their own destiny if they could win the final two games to claim the Pac-12 South Division title.  But Washington State stood in the way, and the Cougars were no slouch, ranked No. 20 after rebounding from two opening losses to win eight straight and were in control of their own fate in the Pac-12 North.  The game featured four lead changes; the Cougars led 14-7 after the first quarter and 17-14 at halftime; WSU had 314 yards on offense at that point.  And with 3:18 left in the third quarter, WSU pulled ahead, 24-21.  But the resilient Buffaloes retook the lead on the next series, Sefo Liufau capping an 8-play, 75-yard drive with an 11-yard TD run.  Chris Graham added a 46-yard field goal and Phillip Lindsay closed the scoring with a 13-yard run to cinch the game for the Buffaloes.

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… From the CU at the Game Archives story for the game … 

Sefo Liufau passed for 345 yards, rushing for another 108 yards and three touchdowns, leading No. 12 Colorado to a 38-24 victory over No. 20 Washington State. The victory, the first for head coach Mike MacIntyre against a ranked team, witnessed 603 yards of total offense from the Buffs, while holding the Cougars to a season-low 24 points.

“He’s the poster boy of our team,” Buff cornerback Chidobe Awuzie said of Liufau. “Everyone from the outside looking in, that’s what Colorado football looks like. He never quits.

“On the interior, in the locker room, we look at him like the guy who’s going to lead us to the promised land. He goes down, but he always comes back. That tough mindset, that gritty mindset — that’s what this team is built on because that’s who he is and that’s who we are.”

Phillip Lindsay had 31 carries for 144 yards and two touchdowns, with the receiving corps being led by Devin Ross, who had eight catches for 121 yards.

Continue reading game story here

Giving Thanks

The 2016 Redemption Tour by your Colorado Buffaloes continued this weekend with yet another victory. Before a national television audience on Fox, No. 12 Colorado took down No. 20 Washington State, 38-24, to run its record to 9-2, 7-1 in Pac-12 play.

There are, of course, the latest additions to the list of “not since” or “first time since” to add to the ever-growing pile of superlatives being posted by these Buffs … First win over a ranked team since 2009 … First five-game winning streak since 2002 … First nine-win season since 2002 … First 5-0 home record since 1994 …

And that’s before we get to the heroics of the individual players.

Rather than pile on the statistics, though, let’s talk about this historic ride, and what it means to those closest to the fray … the coaches and players who are making this run possible.

Continue reading essay for the game here

Here are video highlights from the game

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