Podcast Companion – Road Trip: Washington, 1989

Game Story … 

September 30, 1989 … No. 5 Colorado 45, No. 21 Washington 28

The Colorado Buffaloes, inspired by the words of their fallen quarterback (see Illinois game recap), raised their season record to 4-0 with a dominant performance against Washington, handing the Huskies a 45-28 thrashing.

In posting the highest point total by a Washington opponent at Husky Stadium in 15 years, Colorado ran over, through, and around Washington.  The Buffs had six players run for over 40 yards apiece in accumulating 420 yards on the ground.

The game was competitive for much of the first half. Washington struck first, connecting on a 21-yard field goal for a 3-0 lead midway through the first period.  Colorado responded on its next drive, with George Hemingway slamming through the middle of the Husky line for large chunks of real estate. With the Washington defensive line focused on Hemingway, Eric Bieniemy burst through on a 35-yard scoring run to put the Buffs on top to stay.

Much of the rest of the first half was a slugfest, with both teams successful in gaining yardage, but not successful in putting up more points. The Buffs nursed a 7-6 lead for much of the second quarter, escaping a deficit when the Huskies missed a field goal attempt midway through the second quarter.

With less than two minutes before halftime, the Buffs finally took command.

Bieniemy scored on a one yard plunge to cap a drive of over 90 yards to give CU a 14-6 lead with 1:41 to play. The Huskies got a long return on the kickoff, but on the second play of the drive, senior safety Bruce Young picked off Washington quarterback Cary Conklin to set the Buffs up near midfield. On the next play, Hagan connected with Mike Pritchard for a 40-yard gain. Three plays later, J.J. Flannigan did the honors from three yards out, and the rout was on.

The third quarter was all Colorado, as the Buffs put the Huskies away with a 17-0 stampede.

Continue reading game story here

Alma Mater

As the Washington defense deteriorated over the course of the afternoon, so to did the weather.  By the fourth quarter, there was a steady drizzle, and many of those clad in purple and gold had left.

The black-and-gold contingent, however, remained until the final gun.  Why would we leave one of the best games in recent Colorado history?  And besides, where did we have to go?

With 10:21 left in the game, backup Colorado quarterback Charles Johnson scored on a 16-yard run.  The touchdown gave the Buffs a 45-14 lead, removing any doubt as to a late Washington comeback.  Out in the hinterlands known as Section 6, a rousing version of the Colorado fight song was sung after the extra point.

Buoyed by the team’s efforts, and perhaps feeling safe in our little group, Brad and I next began singing, without rhyme or reason, the Colorado alma mater.  (Author’s Note:  The alma mater is played by the CU band twice at each home game – once in pregame and once as the final song the band plays after the end of the game. The words to the alma mater are flashed on the scoreboard as the song is played before the game, so every Buff fan should know the words.  Despite this assistance, very few fans know any of the words except for “dear … old … C … U” at the end.)

Brad and I, though, had always taken a measure of pride in our not only knowing the words to the alma mater, but in singing along with due respect each and every home game.

Now we were on the road, with no band accompaniment.  Undaunted, we launched into the song with as much gusto as we could muster.  At first we drew stares, then smiles.  Finally, with the entire section shouting out the final line, our efforts were greeted with cheers.

Continue reading Game Essays here

Podcast references … 

— “Born To Lead: The Sal Aunese Story” is a must-see for all Buff fans. The website for the film can be found here.

Here is the trailer for the film …

As noted in the Podcast, the quarterback room at Washington was loaded with talent. All three quarterbacks on the roster in 1989 went onto play in the NFL:

  • Cary Conklin – 1990 NFL draft – fourth round, Washington Redskins (five-year NFL career)
  • Billy Joe Hobert – 1993 NFL draft – third round, Oakland Raiders (nine-year NFL career)
  • Mark Brunell – 1993 NFl draft  fifth round, Green Bay Packers (19-year NFL career)

… Compare that quarterback room to what CU has produced in the last generation … CU hasn’t had a quarterback taken in an NFL draft since 1997, and that was Koy Detmer, taken in the seventh round by the Philadelphia Eagles. With Steven Montez going undrafted this spring, CU’s string of seasons without a quarterback being taken is at 23 years … and counting …

In case you missed the “Uecker seats” reference in the podcast … 


Here is the photo of Brad at the Space Needle in 1989, wearing the jacket, the companion for which was “lost” when we were in Phoenix for the 1993 Fiesta Bowl … 











Here is a YouTube video of the 1989 season, with the Washington game covering the 6:30 to 9:30 mark on the video …


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