This Week in CU History – With CU at the Game Supplements

From the Daily Camera … A look back at some of the memorable moments in Colorado football history for the week of Aug. 24-30.

2001 – Aug. 26: Colorado falls to Fresno State, 24-22, at Folsom Field. Although unranked to start the season, this loss may have cost the Buffs a shot at the national title, as they finished 10-2 in the regular season and took a No. 3 rankings into the Fiesta Bowl.

From the CUATG Game Story … The CU Buffs kicked off the 2001 season in inauspicious fashion, turning the ball over five times in falling to Fresno State, 24-22.  The most costly turnover came with 3:32 remaining in the game and CU trailing 24-22.  On third-and-goal on the Bulldogs’ two-yard line, quarterback Craig Ochs threw an ill-advised pass in the direction of fullback Brandon Drumm.  The pass was intercepted by cornerback Devon Banks, and the Buffs fell in their season opener for the third consecutive year under Gary Barnett.

Barnett called the play “a good, safe, run-pass option … Craig tried to force it.  Just throw it away; we line up, kick a field goal and go up 25-24.”  Instead, the Buffs fell for the ninth time in 12 games.  “I committed the cardinal sin,” said Ochs.  You never throw an interception in the red zone.”

Still, the Buffs would not have been forced to rely on a late score had the first 56 minutes of the game not been a comedy of errors.  Four Buff turnovers led to 17 points for Fresno State.  The Bulldogs jumped out to a 14-0 first quarter lead after running back Chris Brown and Ochs fumbled in Colorado territory.  A Roman Hollowell 77-yard punt return for a touchdown in the second quarter gave the Buffs a short-lived spark.  The teams then swapped 80-yard scoring drives, with CU’s extra point being blocked, leaving the Buffs with a 21-13 halftime deficit.

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2003 – Aug. 30: Colorado beats No. 23 Colorado State, 42-35, at Invesco Field at Mile High. Bobby Purify’s 9-yard touchdown run with 40 seconds to play provided the winning margin, but this was known as Joel Klatt’s coming out party. The former minor league baseball player threw for 402 yards and four touchdowns in his first start with the Buffs, who finished 5-7 that year.

From the CUATG Archives Essay“Electrifying Performance”

Droplets of water dripped from the edges of my baseball cap.

As I peered out into the darkened Mile High night from behind my water-logged CU hat, raindrops alternated falling from the right and left edges of the brim. The 28-minute lightning delay had come and gone, but the rain had persisted. Along with the return of the drenching rain came the equally annoying CSU Rams, making yet another comeback.

Twice down 14 points, CSU was clawing its way back into the game. Overtime looked inevitable. When Bradlee Van Pelt tied the score on a 30-yard run just below our seats in the endzone with only 1:50 remaining, my first thoughts were not of our chances in overtime.

My first thoughts were of the stadium bathrooms.

“Are the bathrooms heated?” was the question which ran through my mind. I was cold, damp, and frustrated, and the television delay before the start of overtime was destined to be lengthy. I needed to get away. How could we give up a 14-point lead? Twice? To VanPelt?

How could we lose this game?

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2019 – Aug. 30: Colorado beats Colorado State, 52-31, at Broncos Stadium at Mile High. The final scheduled Rocky Mountain Showdown in Denver featured a 37-minute lightning delay before kickoff and head coach Mel Tucker – who has since left CU for Michigan State – making his debut with the Buffs.

From the CUATG Game Story … Colorado was out-gained by Colorado State (505 yards to 475), and had fewer first downs (27-23), but four CSU turnovers (including two interceptions by Buff safety Mikial Onu) doomed the Rams’ chances at an upset, with the Buffs posting a 52-31 victory in Denver.

In the final Rocky Mountain Showdown game to be played in Denver, sophomore running back Alex Fontenot led the Buffs with three touchdowns and 125 yards rushing on 19 carries. Steven Montez had a mediocre start to the 2019 campaign, completing 13-of-20 passes for 232 yards and two touchdowns, with star wide receiver Laviska Shenault being held to three catches for 48 yards and a touchdown (also contributing 35 yards on three rushes).

The game was a see-saw affair until the Buffs created a two-touchdown lead on the last play of the third quarter on an Alex Fontenot 14-yard run. A 22-yard rushing touchdown by Fontenot and a nine-yard fumble recovery for a touchdown by defensive lineman Mustafa Johnson were enough to send new head coach Mel Tucker back to Boulder with a 1-0 record.

“I’m proud of the group, I really am,” said CU head coach Mel Tucker, who became just the third Colorado coach since 1932 to win their opener. “It’s very rewarding to take a group like this, that’s all bought in, players and coaches, and see them go out and perform and have a really good team win.”

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… The full Daily Camera story can be found here


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