Top 40 of the Past 40 – No. 24

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. 24

October 28, 1989 – No. 3 Colorado 20, Oklahoma 3 – Pitch to Flannigan; High five in the produce aisle

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

Colorado used a stifling defense and just enough offense to take a 20-3 decision over Oklahoma in one of the biggest wins in Colorado football history.

Raising its season record to 8-0 for the first time in sixty-two years, the Buffs gave notice to future opponents that its defense was just as good as its offense.  Colorado held the Sooners to only 248 yards of total offense, including completions on only three-of-22 passes in the stiff afternoon breeze at Memorial Stadium.

For much of the first half, it appeared the game might end in a scoreless tie.  Each team gained only 43 yards of total offense in the first stanza.  Midway through the second quarter, though, the Buffs put together a drive of 50 yards in 11 plays, with Ken Culbertson connecting from 30 yards out to give the Buffs a 3-0 lead, their first lead over Oklahoma in 13 years.

(I’ll pause for a moment to let you read that again. You read it right – it was the Buffs first lead over Oklahoma in 13 years).

After the field goal, the Buff defense forced a three-and-out possession for the Sooners, giving the Colorado offense the opportunity to take control of the game for good.  On first-and-ten from the Colorado 47-yard line, quarterback Darian Hagan took off on an option run down the right sideline, gaining 39 yards to the Oklahoma 14.

Several plays later, on third-and-goal from the one-yard line, Hagan took off to his left.  Just as he was being hit, Hagan pitched the ball over the head of an Sooner defender to an unguarded J.J. Flannigan.

Touchdown, Colorado.

Continue reading story here

High Five in the Produce Aisle

The Colorado win over Oklahoma was one of the most significant in the Buffs’ 100 years of football.  The networks, though, were not impressed.  October 28th was a loaded weekend for college football. No. 1 Notre Dame was playing No. 7 Pittsburgh, while No. 2 Miami squared off against No. 9 Florida State.  Throw in a game pitting No. 6 Alabama on the road against No. 14 Penn State, and, objectively, one had to agree that the Colorado game against an unranked Sooner team was not the most important to college football fans.

Fortunately, KWGN-TV in Denver was picking up the game.

Channel 2 was not one of the network stations, which actually worked to my advantage (since the game would not be pre-empted by a more significant game).  My cable network in Bozeman picked up Channel 2, so I was able to watch the game live.  The ebbs and flows of the game were evident in my video tape of the game.  I intended to pause the VCR during commercials so as to save enough tape to put two games on one six hour tape.  When things are going well on the field for the Buffs, the editing is evident.  When the game is not going so well, though, the commercials play on unimpeded.

Suffice it to say, my editing improved greatly in the second half.

Still, having yet to recruit any Bozemanites to the faith, I watched the game at home alone.  It lessened the win somewhat not to be able to celebrate the win with someone else.  Having neglected my normal Saturday chores in deference to anticipation of the Colorado game (and all of the pregame shows on ESPN and CNN), I took off for the grocery store late Saturday afternoon.  There, to my pleasant surprise, I spotted a fellow member of the Buff Nation wearing a Colorado hat and jacket.  Decked out in black and gold myself, I approached.  The reaction I received was a grin and a: “did you see the game?”  I nodded in the affirmative.  We exchanged high fives right there in the produce aisle.

We went our separate ways moments later, each with a feeling that the day was now complete.

Going for the Gold

While Colorado was handling Oklahoma, No. 4 Nebraska was taking care of business against Iowa State, 49-17.  Elsewhere, No. 1 Notre Dame dominated Pittsburgh, 45-7, but No. 2 Miami fell to Florida State, 24-10.  As a result, both Colorado and Nebraska moved up a spot, with Colorado the new No. 2 team; Nebraska the new No. 3 team.

Up next on the calendar? Nebraska at Colorado.

The eyes of the college football world would now focus on Boulder, Colorado.

Continue reading story here

Top 40 Favorite Players … No. 24

Kanavis McGhee … Outside Linebacker (1987-90)

From McGhee’s bio … A first-team All-American as a junior in 1989 by Walter Camp… UPI named him a two-time second-team All-American as a sophomore and junior (1988, 1989)… He was honorable mention by the Associated Press as a soph and by UPI as a senior… A three-time first-team All-Big Eight performer (1988, 1989, 1990), only the fourth Buff to be afforded the honor three times …

A member of the Big Eight All-Decade team (1980-89)… A broken right ankle cut short a fine sophomore season (102 tackles in 10 games), but he bounced back with 75 tackles as a junior, with a career-high seven sacks, and 94 as a senior… The national defensive player-of-the-week against Oklahoma as a soph, when he had a career-high 23 tackles (15 solo)… Winner of the Dave Jones Award that year (’88), as the team’s outstanding defensive player… Finished his career with 297 tackles, sixth most at the time in school history… An honorable mention member of CU’s All-Century team selected in 1989 …

A second round pick by the New York Giants in the 1991 NFL Draft (55th overall)… He played in 50 career NFL games with New York (1991-93), Cincinnati (1994) and Houston (1995)… After he retired, he returned to CU to earn his degree and then became a teacher and high school coach in his native Houston… He briefly returned to CU a third time as an assistant coach under Jon Embree in 2011-12.


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