Top 40 of the Past 40 – No. 10 – Yes, we’ve reached the Top 10!

Previously posted:

As always, I look forward to your comments and suggestions as we count down my favorite 40 games and favorite 40 players of my 40 years as a Buff …

Top 40 Favorite Games … No. 10

September 30, 1989 – No. 5 Colorado 45, No. 21 Washington 28 – CU’s first game after Sal’s death a rout of Huskies

** This game is also the subject of a CU at the Game Road Trip Podcast, which can be found here **

From the Game Story in the CU at the Game Archives …

The Colorado Buffaloes, inspired by the words of their fallen quarterback (see previous 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.

After a Ken Culbertson field goal, quarterback Darian Hagan scored from three yards out, followed by 56-yard run on a reverse by Jeff Campbell.  Campbell’s score was the sixth of his career on the ground (the senior wide receiver only had one touchdown reception in his career).  By the end of the third quarter, the score was 38-6, Colorado.

Washington did post 22 fourth quarter points against Colorado reserves, but the final score of 45-28 could not mask the dominant performance of the Buffs.

There could be no ignoring Colorado now.

Continue reading story here

From Essay No. 1 for the game, “Seattle Bound”

Denver and Seattle are both about 700 miles from Bozeman, Montana. While I had lived for seven years just a short commute from Denver, and had spent a great deal of time in the Mile High City, I had only been to Seattle once before my road trip for the Washington game.

What better time to visit Seattle, I reasoned, than for a Colorado football game?

All I had to do was convince someone to go with me.  Fortunately, it did not take much to talk Brad, my best friend of (then) seven years (now over a quarter of a century) into going to see the 5th-ranked Buffs.

Brad flew in from Denver the day before the game, and I met him at the airport.  We stayed at the home of a friend from high school, who showed us the town.  We did the “touristy” stops, including the Space Needle and the Pike Street Market, and generally had a good time.

But we were there with a purpose.

Continue reading essay here

From Essay No. 2 for the game, “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.)

Continue reading essay here

From Essay No. 3 for the game, “Parking Lot Fun”

Finally, after allowing Washington to score two touchdowns in the final six minutes to make the score respectable, we filed out of Husky Stadium.  We were wet, and the late afternoon temperature was dropping, but we didn’t care.  Colorado was now 4-0, and would be ranked no lower than 4th in the nation when the new polls came out Sunday.

In the parking lot outside the stadium, Brad and I encountered a van load full of freshman from Boulder.  The frat pledges had traveled through the night to make it to the game, and were preparing to drive straight back to Colorado after they were done partying.  They were all celebrating with beverages they were not legally licensed to possess, and they were having a good time.

Spotting our CU attire, Brad and I were waved over.

Continue reading essay here

Top 40 Favorite Games … No. 10

Wide receiver Michael Westbrook (1991-94)

From his bio … A two-time first-team All American, as he made the AFCA and Walter Camp teams as a senior in 1994 and the NEA squad as a sophomore in 1992 (the Associated Press tabbed him a second-teamer in ’92; United Press International selected him honorable mention both years) … A Playboy Preseason All-American prior to his senior year… A two-time first-team All-Big Eight performer as a sophomore and a senior, he became only the third Buffalo receiver to earn allleague honors and was the first to be named twice…

Westbrook exited his career as CU’s all-time leader in both receptions (167) and receiving yards (2,548)… On the receiving end, via a Blake Anderson tip, of college football’s play of the decade if not the century when he hauled down a 64-yard pass from Kordell Stewart after time expired to rally CU to a 27-26 win at Michigan in 1994… That play won an ESPY as the national play of the year in all sports (he’s got the actual ESPY since he caught the ball)… CU’s most outstanding offensive player (John Mack Award winner) as selected by the coaches for his sophomore season, when he caught a school record 76 passes for 1,060 yards…

Westbrook had eight career 100-yard game (six of 128 or more), and caught nine or more passes three times, including a school record 11 for 186 yards at Baylor as a soph… Played four snaps on defense at safety his junior year (all against Baylor)… Was named the MVP in the ’95 East-West Shrine game… A first round pick by Washington in the 1995 NFL Draft (No. 4 overall; among CU players, only Bo Matthews at No. 2 in 1974 was drafted higher, with Byron White also a fourth pick to Pittsburgh in 1938)… He played in 80 games with Washington over seven seasons (catching 277 passes for 4,280 yards and 24 TDs), before moving on to Cincinnati… Inducted into CU’s Athletic Hall of Fame in 2016, the same year he first appeared on the regional ballot for the College Football Hall of Fame.


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