CU Games of the Day – October 31st

October 31st … CU has a 1-4 record on this date over the past 40 years … 1981: The only good news in a 49-0 blowout loss to No. 19 Oklahoma was that the Sooners were held without a pass completion (with video highlights) … 1987: Sal Aunese scores four touchdowns in a 42-10 rout … 1992: Halloween massacre: CU and Nebraska were tied for the No. 8 spot in the polls, but Buffs were routed in Lincoln, 52-7 … 2009: Missouri sacked Colorado quarterback Tyler Hansen eight times and forced four turnovers, racing out to a 33-0 lead en route to a 36-17 victory … 2015: The CU offense was on the field for a school record 114 plays, ran up 554 yards of total offense, and held the ball 41:05 of game clock … and still lost to No. 24 UCLA, 35-31 …

  • 1981: No. 19 Oklahoma 49, Colorado 0 … Sooners go 0-4 passing, but make do with 348 yards rushing in posting their 10th straight wins over the Buffs …
  • 1987: Colorado 42, Iowa State 10 … With the victory, CU raised its all-time record to 500-333-32, the 26th team in NCAA history to record 500 wins … 
  • 1992: No. 8 Nebraska 52, No. 8 Colorado 7 … The rout is forgettable, but the game also marked the first time there was mention of a “Pac-12” … Essay: “Pac-12” …
  • 2009: Missouri 36, Colorado 17 … The Dan Hawkins era continued to chip away at all of CU’s long standing records, but there was one – never finishing last in the division, was coming closer … Essay: “One Last Record” …
  • 2015: No. 24 UCLA 35, Colorado 31 … The Buffs had twice as many first downs as the (34-16), but red zone mistakes could not be overcome, with a Sefo Liufau interception in the final minute ending CU’s final hope … Essay:Glass Ceiling” … 

October 31, 1981 –  at Oklahoma           No. 19 Oklahoma 49, Colorado 0

An Oklahoma blowout of Colorado was, unfortunately, familiar territory for the Buffs.

In 1981, the final was 49-0. Same song, different year.

Having started out the season uncharacteristically slow at 1-2-1, the Sooners faced the Buffs with a 3-2-1 record, coming off consecutive romps over Kansas (45-7) and Oregon State (42-3). With the modest two game winning streak, the Sooners were again ranked nationally, meaning that, for the 10th consecutive season, Colorado faced a ranked Oklahoma team.

Steve Vogel received his second (and last) start of the 1981 season, passing for a paltry 64 yards, completing only eight-of-29 attempts, with three interceptions. Vogel’s 41 rushing yards (scrambling, run-for-your-life sort of yards) were second on the team, with Lee Rouson leading the team with 57 yards on 15 carries.

Combined with the 82-42 embarrassment of a year before and a 49-24 romp in 1979, Chuck Fairbanks’ record against Oklahoma, the team he had led to three Big Eight titles in six seasons from 1967-72, fell to 0-3, with the Buffs being outscored by a total of 180 to 66 (that, for those of you scoring at home, is an average defeat of 60-22).

Looking for a stat of a more positive nature?

Well, while it could be considered a mixed message (after all, Oklahoma did roll up 348 yards rushing), the Buffs did tie an NCAA record by holding the Sooners without a pass completion. That’s right! Oklahoma attempted four passes on the afternoon, and completed zero.

None. Nada. Zip.

Two schools of thought: One, the Sooners were not much of a passing team coming in, anyway, having thrown only 47 times in six times coming in; or, two, the Sooners remembered the 82-42 game, and made a genuine effort to hold the score down.

Vote here is for the latter theory.

(Truth is, the game was played in a monsoon, so even if the Sooners had wanted to pass the ball, it would have been difficult. Fortunately for the OU faithful who attended, the Sooners kept the ball on the ground … and kept the clock running so that they could get home and get dry).

Thanks, but no thanks, NCAA, for the mention in the record books.

Here are a few video “highlights” from the game, courtesy of CU at the Gamer Paul (worth it just to see CU’s “Colorado sky blue” road uniforms … and the deluge in which the game was played:

Game Notes …

– Colorado would go to tie the same record in 1986, when, once again, the Buffs would hold the Sooners without a completed pass. Unfortunately for Colorado fans, the results were about the same, as Oklahoma defeated the Buffs, 28-0.

– The Sooners would go on to post a lack-luster 6-4-1 in the regular season, 4-2-1 in Big Eight play. An invitation to the Sun Bowl gave Oklahoma a chance at redemption. After a 40-14 blowout win over the Houston Cougars, the Sooners re-entered the polls, finishing the 1981 season ranked 20th.

October 31, 1987 – at Iowa State           Colorado 42, Iowa State 10

The Cyclones came into the Halloween contest at home against Colorado with a 2-5 record, but with wins in two of its last three games.

While Colorado was hanging in against Oklahoma the previous Saturday, Iowa State was registering its first conference win of the year in outscoring hapless Kansas, 42-28.

After Iowa State jumped out to an early 7-0 lead in the first quarter, the game was dominated by the Colorado offense. By the time the Cyclones posted another score early in the fourth quarter, Colorado was safely ahead, 35-7.

Quarterback Sal Aunese, in addition to passing for a score, ran in three more touchdowns in posting a 19-for-127 yard rushing effort. Fullback Erich Kissick also reached the century mark in accumulating 124 yards on 15 attempts.

A Joe Henderson ten-yard run gave the Cyclones the early lead, but the remainder of the first half was all Sal Aunese. After scoring on a five yard run to tie the score in the first quarter, Aunese scored on a 35-yard run in the second quarter to give Colorado a lead which it would not relinquish.

Later in the second quarter, Aunese connected with wide receiver Drew Ferrando on a 45-yard touchdown pass play to give the Buffs a 21-7 halftime advantage.

After the break, it was the Colorado rushing game which sent most of the 34,920 in attendance at Ames home unhappy. Two one yard scoring runs, the first by Eric Bieniemy; the second by Aunese, gave Colorado a 35-7 advantage. After an Iowa State field goal, senior halfback Sam Smith closed out the scoring with a three yard touchdown.

The Colorado defense held Iowa State to only 239 yards of total offense, allowing the Buffs to post its fifth win of the year. With the victory, Colorado raised its all-time record to 500-333-32, the 26th team in NCAA history to record 500 wins.

Game Notes … 

– Sal Aunese had 127 yards rushing for the Buffs, while Erich Kissick had 124 yards. The double 100-yard efforts marked the first time since the 1985 Oregon game (and only the 21st time in school history) that Colorado had two 100-yard rushers in the same game.

– Senior wide receiver Drew Ferrando had three of the Buffs’ five receiving touchdowns in 1987. In addition to the 45-yarder against Iowa State, Ferrando had a 79-yarder against Colorado State, and a “zero-yarder” against Kansas (when he recovered an Eric Bieniemy fumble in the endzone to complete a 28-yard touchdown “pass” play).

– Sophomore Jeff Campbell, the punt return / reverse for a touchdown hero against Nebraska in 1986, had his first catch of the season against Iowa State (for 16 yards). Campbell would only have three catches in 1987 (for 50 yards), but did return 20 punts on the season, for 169 yards.

– The 1987 Iowa State game was arguably the best game of Sal Aunese’s career at Colorado. Aunese rushed for 127 yards, the second (and final) game in his career in which he rushed for over 100 yards. Aunese also scored three times on the ground, also a career high. In addition, Aunese went four-of-eight passing, for 86 yards and yet another score.

– The 1987 season was the first for head coach Jim Walden at Iowa State. The Cyclones would go on to post a 3-8 record in 1987, after going 6-5 in 1986. In eight years in Ames, Walden would post a 28-57-3 overall record, with one winning season (6-5 in 1989).

October 31, 1992 – at Nebraska          No. 8 Nebraska 52, No.8 Colorado 7

Happy Halloween.

Nebraska had not defeated the Colorado Buffaloes since 1988. Still, Colorado, in step with the times, was not resting on past glories. The Buffs had converted to a more-open, air-it-out attack, giving up on the smash-mouth football which was the traditional path to success in the Big Eight. While Colorado was competing for national championships, Nebraska had gone four years without defeating a top ten team, and had won only two of its last 11 games against ranked opponents.

It was time for the Buffs to demonstrate once and for all to the Cornhuskers that “three yards in a cloud of dust” football was a thing of the past.


Nebraska dominated, decimated, and decapitated the Buffaloes on Halloween Day, 1992, by a lopsided score of 52-7.

Just over a minute into the game, the Buffs’ 25-game Big Eight unbeaten streak was in jeopardy. Freshman quarterback Koy Detmer received the starting nod over Kordell Stewart when Stewart was unable to practice the week leading up to the game due to lingering injuries. Detmer was intercepted three times on the day, the first coming on his first pass of the game. Four plays after the first miscue, Calvin Jones had his first touchdown and the Buffs were behind to stay.

A 47-yard touchdown run by Jones, early in the second quarter, upped the lead to 14-0. Then the Buffs showed some life late in the second quarter. After holding Nebraska to a 24-yard field goal, the Colorado offense set out on a 12-play, 81-yard drive, capped by a two-yard run by James Hill to make the score 17-7. The Colorado defense then forced a Nebraska punt, with the Buff offense taking over at its own 44-yard line with 1:49 to play before halftime.

Instead of driving in to reduce the deficit to one score, the Buffs turned the ball over. Koy Detmer was sacked and fumbled, with Nebraska’s Travis Hill returning the ball to the Colorado 27-yard line. On the last play before halftime, Calvin Jones scored his third touchdown, this time from a yard out. 24-7, Nebraska.

One third quarter touchdown upped the lead to 31-7, but by then the result of the game was no longer in doubt. Nebraska tacked on three fourth quarter touchdowns to complete the rout and end Colorado’s 25-game Big Eight unbeaten streak.

The Cornhuskers ran the ball for 373 yards on the day, while Colorado netted eight yards rushing.  Nebraska held the ball for 42:50 of the game clock, the second most ever by a Colorado opponent.  Nebraska head coach Tom Osborne was diplomatic after the game.  Discussing the Buffs’ switch to a more pass-oriented offense:  “There’s always a temptation to say I told you so …. But for this locale, this climate, I think you’ve got to be able to jam it at people sometimes.”

Jamming at the Buffs were running back Calvin Jones, who ran for 101 yards and three scores, and freshman quarterback Tommie Frazier, who rushed for 86 yards and had two of his four completions on the afternoon result in touchdowns.  The Husker defense jammed it to the vaunted Colorado passing game, limiting the Buffs to 136 yards passing, almost 200 yards shy of Buffs’ league-leading 334-yard average.

Colorado’s 25-game Big Eight Conference unbeaten streak, the longest in school history, came to a crashing halt.  Gone were hopes of a Big Eight Championship and a trip to the Orange Bowl.  Junior defensive tackle Leonard Renfro felt for the seniors:  “I haven’t lost a Big Eight game since I’ve been here, so you can imagine how I feel about it.  It feels really bad because I wanted to send those guys (the CU seniors) out with a win over Nebraska.”

The Buffs were now 6-1-1 on the season, but, more importantly, Colorado was left with a 2-1-1 record in Big Eight play.

It was time to set different goals for 1992.

Pac-12? … 

The week after the Nebraska game was hard on the Buff Nation.  Nebraska had beaten Colorado for the first time in four years, and had beaten Colorado badly.  Even with the Buffs’ recent success, the series record stood at 35-14-2, Nebraska.  Perhaps the prospect of leaving the Big Red Menace off of future schedules was the reason why an article in the Dallas Morning News the day after the Colorado/Nebraska game received the attention it did.

In a copyrighted story, the Dallas Morning News quoted two officials from the Pac-10 Conference as saying that league officers had met to discuss expanding the 10-team league to 12 teams, with Colorado and Texas to be the targets of the expansion.  “No comment” was the order of the day for athletic directors when questioned, but no one denied that the discussions were taking place.

I thought it was a great idea.  The idea of competing in the “Pac-12” to me meant more opportunities to see the Buffs.  A weekend in Seattle had already been done (for the Colorado/Washington game in 1989), and potential trips to Los Angeles and the San Francisco area had much more appeal to them than trips to Stillwater, Oklahoma, or Manhattan, Kansas.  Colorado recruited heavily in California and Texas, and the Buffs’ new offense was more suited for the balanced attacks found on the west coast.  It seemed a perfect fit.

It was just a fit which never quite worked out … until 2011.

 Game Notes … 

– Sophomore linebacker Ted Johnson did his part for the Buffs against Nebraska, posting a Colorado season-high for tackles (20), and tying teammate Greg Biekert’s season-high mark for solo tackles at 14 (Biekert’s effort coming against Iowa State).

– While a dominating effort, the point total of 52 for Nebraska was still well short of the best Cornhusker total in the series – a 69 point effort in 1983. The 428 yards of total offense was a far cry from the 719 the Cornhuskers ran up against the Buffs in 1981.

– Nebraska’s time of possession, 42:50 was the second highest total for an opponent in Colorado history. The greatest discrepancy came in 1968, when Missouri held the ball for 45:26 in a 27-14 win over the Buffs.

– Nebraska would rise to No. 7 in the polls after defeating Colorado, while the Buffs would fall to No. 16. The Cornhuskers would go on to inexplicably fall to Iowa State, 19-10, two weeks later, to fall out of the top ten. Nebraska would recover to win its remaining Big Eight games, but would lose to No. 3 Florida State, 27-14 in the Orange Bowl to finish the 1992 season with a 9-3 record and a No. 14 final ranking, one spot below the 9-2-1 Colorado Buffaloes.

October 31, 2009 – Boulder          Missouri 36, Colorado 17

Missouri sacked Colorado quarterback Tyler Hansen eight times and forced four turnovers, racing out to a 33-0 lead en route to a 36-17 victory. The Buffs out-scored the Tigers 14-0 in the third quarter to make it interesting, but four possessions with the score 33-17 netted two turnovers on downs, an interception, and a punt, as Colorado fell to 2-6, 1-3 on the season. A homecoming crowd of 45,634, the smallest crowd of the season, was on hand to witness a fourth straight win for Missouri in the series.

Missouri had out-scored Colorado 113-10 the past two seasons, and, in the first half of the 2009 game, it appeared as if the scores of 55-10 and 58-0 were mere preludes to the hurt the Tigers were going to put on the Buffs in 2009. The Tigers took the opening kickoff, and smartly marched 80 yards down the field. The Colorado defense did force two third downs – 3rd-and-two at the Missouri 28 yard line, and third-and-nine at the Missouri 47, giving Buff fans hope (after all, Colorado was ranked 19th in the nation in 3rd-down defense, at 32%; and was even better at Folsom) – but Missouri easily converted both chances. An 11-play drive was capped off by a one-yard run by Derrick Washington 4:27 into the game.

Colorado tried to answer, and mustered one first down before punting the ball back to Missouri. The Tigers’ second drive was as quick as the first had been methodical. On third-and-three, Missouri quarterback Blaine Gabbert hit Danario Alexander in stride, with Alexander taking the ball 73 yards for 14-0 Missouri lead midway through the first quarter.

When quarterback Tyler Hansen fumbled the ball while being sacked on the Buffs’ next play from scrimmage, memories of the last game Colorado played on Halloween (the 52-7 massacre in Lincoln in 1992) rose from the dead. The Tigers took over at the Colorado six yard line, but the CU defense, unable to stop Missouri early, finally made a stand. On four-and-goal at the Colorado one yard line, Missouri running back Derrick Washington was stopped by linebacker B.J. Beatty. The Buffs took over at their two yard line, but were unable to get out from the shadow of their own goalposts. Starting at the Colorado 33-yard line, Missouri needed only two plays to score. A 31-yard run by De’Vion Moore put the ball the ball back inside the Colorado five yard line, and this time the Tigers were not denied. A two-yard touchdown pass from Gabbert to Alexander gave both players their second score of the quarter, and the rout was on.

Missouri 21, Colorado 0 – with 2:34 still to play in the first quarter.

Continue reading Game Story here

One Last Record …

If you were with us last week, you know that I am a big fan of football statistics, particularly Colorado statistics. You also know that it has pained me as, over the past three-plus seasons, the Dan Hawkins’ regime has made a mockery of what has been built over the past twenty seasons. There are a number of statistical categories which Dave Plati, Associate Athletic Director / Sports Information, has been pushing in his media game day releases, all of which have been going south:

When Dan Hawkins took over, the Buffs had the 8th-best record in the nation since 1989 – now Colorado is at 23rd, and falling;

When Dan Hawkins took over, the Buffs had the 8th-best road record in the nation since 1988 – now Colorado is 13th, and falling (fast);

When Dan Hawkins took over, the Buffs had been ranked in over 70% of the polls since 1989 – now Colorado is hovering near 50%, and falling.

Dave Plati also charts Colorado in comparison to the rest of the Big 12 with respect to conference road wins, intra-division records, and inter-division records since 1996.

Guess which way the Buffs have been moving since 2006?

Continue reading Game Essay here

October 31, 2015 – at UCLA         No. 24 UCLA 35, Colorado 31

The Colorado offense was on the field for a school record 114 plays, ran up 554 yards of total offense, and held the ball 41:05 of game clock … and still lost to No. 24 UCLA, 35-31. The Buffs had twice as many first downs as the (34-16), but red zone mistakes could not be overcome, with a Sefo Liufau interception in the final minute ending CU’s final hope.

Sefo Liufau went 37-for-57 for 312 yards, but a 96-yard interception for a touchdown turned what could have been a 7-7 game into a 14-0 deficit in the second quarter. Two Buffs went over the century mark in offensive production, with freshman running back Patrick Carr going for 100 yards and a touchdown on 19 carries, while Devin Ross had nine receptions for 101 yards. Nelson Spruce, who became the Pac-12’s all-time receptions leader during the game, finished with 11 catches for 90 yards.

“I thought the overall effort, intensity, fight was good (and well as) the game plan by our coordinators on both sides”, said CU head coach Mike MacIntyre. “We had a good game plan to attack and be aggressive, which we needed to, and we executed that. A couple balls bounced the wrong way, but the kids are still fighting.”

Continue reading Game Story here

Colorado’s “Glass Ceiling” … 

In the corporate world, “glass ceiling” represents an unseen, but still unbreakable, barrier which prevents women and minorities from rising to upper management positions.

In the world of Colorado football, “glass ceiling” represents an unseen, but still unbreakable, barrier which prevents the Buffs from winning break-through Pac-12 conference games.

The Buffs bumped up against the glass ceiling on numerous occasions last season. Colorado lost in double-overtime – twice – falling to UCLA (40-37) and Cal (59-56) in heart-breaking fashion. The Buffs lost to Oregon State, 36-31, with a controversial call which led to CU head coach Mike MacIntyre being preserved for eternity chasing after the officials after the game. CU had leads against Washington and Utah, and was down only 24-20 against Arizona heading into the fourth quarter … you get the idea.

Continue reading Game Essay here


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