Game(s) of the Day – September 9th

NoteTo help us get through our CU football withdrawal, I’ll be posting a “Game of the Day” everyday through to Thanksgiving weekend, with links to some of the best CU games over the past 40 years.

September 9th gives us two big wins over CSU – 1989 and 1995 – so let’s take a look at both … 

September 9, 1989          No. 9 Colorado 45, Colorado State 20

The Colorado State Rams were 1-10 in 1988, and were 0-1 coming to Boulder to face the ninth-ranked Buffs.  Still, Colorado State’s opening loss was a 17-14 heartbreaker at Tennessee, and nothing was being conceded by the Rams to their neighbors to the south. Colorado State, under new head coach Earle Bruce, raced out to a 14-7 first quarter lead against the heavily-favored Buffs.

It would take an offensive explosion on the part of the Buffs in the second and third quarters to finally pull away from the Rams, winning 45-20.

With only a 71-yard touchdown run by Darian Hagan keeping Colorado in the game early on, the Buffs were forced to turn up the intensity.  Two long Colorado State touchdowns, a 59-yard run (on the game’s first play from scrimmage) and a 55-yard pass, put the Rams up 14-7 after the first quarter. Ten seconds into the second quarter, though, the score was tied, as Eric Bieniemy posted a long touchdown run of his own, scoring from 44 yards out.

Trailing 17-14 midway through the second quarter, Colorado went on to score on four straight possessions to take control.  Ken Culbertson tied the score at 17-all with a 32-yard field goal, and tailback Eric Bieniemy scored from six yards out 20 seconds before halftime to put Colorado ahead to stay, 24-17, at halftime.

Two third quarter scoring runs, a 14-yarder by J.J. Flannigan, and a four-yarder by Charles S. Johnson, gave the Buffs a 38-20 lead after three, finally allowing the 44,921 on hand in Folsom Field cause to relax. Bieniemy’s third touchdown run of the game, from nine yards out midway through the fourth quarter, closed out the scoring in a 45-20 victory.

Eric Bieniemy led the way with 156 yards rushing and three touchdowns to lead all rushers. Darian Hagan contributed 103 yards on 14 carries.

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 September 9, 1995                 No. 10 Colorado 42, Colorado State 14

Top Ten Material – with a bulls-eye on their chests

Colorado’s impressive win over Wisconsin vaulted the Buffs back into the top ten in the national rankings.  Looming just outside the polls (at 28th nationally) were the Rams of Colorado State.  CSU was also 1-0 on the season, having dispatched 1-AA Montana State (yes, that Montana State, the same Bobcats I had grown up watching in Bozeman, the same Bobcats who would knock off the Buffs in Dan Hawkins’ debut in 2006), by a final score of 31-10, in their season-opener.

The two in-state rivals had last played in 1992.  Since that time, head coach Sonny Lubick, in his three seasons in Fort Collins, had built a champion.  CSU had gone 10-2 in 1994, capturing the Western Athletic Conference title for the first time in school history. The Rams final ranking of 16th also marked the first time the team had completed a season in the final polls.

It was safe to say that the 1995 game against the Buffs was huge for Colorado State.

A win would most assuredly lift CSU back into the national polls.  More importantly, it would cast a dark shadow on the hated Buffs 40 miles down the road in Boulder.  A national audience would tune in on ESPN to find out if CSU could claim the state championship, as CU played its second night game in a row, this time before a packed home crowd of 52,848.

Game Story … With less than half of the first quarter gone, the Folsom Field scoreboard read:  Colorado 21, Colorado State 0.  In 7:27 of playing time, the Buffs ran out to a quick 21-0 lead, not to be seriously threatened the remainder of the game.

On their first possession of the evening, the Buffs drove 62 yards for a score.  Herchell Troutman carried the ball six times for 37 yards in the drive, including a four yard run to put CU up 7-0 with 10:53 left in the first quarter.  After allowing one first down on the Rams’ next possession before forcing a punt, the Buffs took over at their own four yard line.  Three plays later, highlighted by an 89-yard screen pass and run from Detmer to Troutman, the Buffs were on the board again.  This time the four-yard scoring run was provided by Marlon Barnes.

14-0, Colorado, with 7:42 left in the quarter.

On CSU’s very next play from scrimmage, the game, for all intents and purposes, came to an end.  Ram quarterback Darren Wilkinson dropped back to pass, but was immediately accosted by senior defensive tackle Kerry Hicks.  Hicks stripped the ball away from Wilkinson, falling on the ball in the endzone for a CU score.  21-0, Colorado, and still 7:33 of the first quarter remained to be played.

The Rams did pull within 14 points, 21-7, early in the second quarter, but Barnes scored on another four yard run later in the second to give Colorado a commanding 28-7 lead.  Troutman and Carruth posted Buff scores before a 31-yard scoring pass late gave CSU some respectability and a 42-14 final score.

Koy Detmer again led the Buffs, completing 18-of-26 passes for 255 yards and a score.  In all, the Buffs out-gained CSU 461-331 in total yards.

Despite the easy win, Detmer was not satisfied.  “Certainly it wasn’t the sharpest night we’ve had,” said the Buffs quarterback. “But it’s a win.  We’ll just go into next week and try to get better before the next game.”

Coach Rick Neuheisel was more excited about the win.  “I’m certainly very thrilled with the win,” said the head coach with a career record of 2-0.  “As I told our kids, ‘you never, ever take winning for granted.’ ”

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