Top 40 of the Past 40 – No. 31

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. 31

November 23, 2007 – Colorado 65, Nebraska 51 – Cornhuskers sent packing as CU qualifies for bowl game

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

Colorado evened its season record at 6-6, and its Big 12 mark at 4-4, with a record-setting 65-51 win over Nebraska. The Buffs put up the third highest point total ever against the Cornhuskers over the course of almost four hours before a frigid Folsom Field crowd of 51,403.

With the win (combined with a loss by Kansas State to Fresno State), the Buffs earned a bowl berth in the second season of the Dan Hawkins’ era, while simultaneously helping to seal the fate of Nebraska head coach Bill Callahan, who was dismissed by interim athletic director Tom Osborne the day after the game.

Given that the Nebraska defense came into the game ranked near the bottom nationally in most defensive categories, including rushing defense (114th out of 120 teams), total defense (111th), and scoring defense (105th), combined with a Colorado defensive unit which had surrendered 31 points to Iowa State in the second half of the Buffs’ previous game, predicting a shootout for the season finale was not difficult. The 116 points and 1,128 yards of combined offense, however, was more than anyone could have reasonably foreseen.

“No lead is safe”, could well have the been the ABC promotional campaign for the Friday morning game between two 5-6 teams battling for a bowl bid, as both teams would surrender double digit leads before the game was over.

Continue reading story here

From my essay for the game … 


Confession time.

At halftime of the Nebraska game, the Buffs were down 35-24, and I confess I wasn’t thinking of ways the Buffs could make their comeback. Rather, I was trying to think of ways to put a positive spin on a season which was 30 minutes from its conclusion.

After all, the CU defense had given up touchdowns in three consecutive drives to close out the first half, and there was little reason to believe that there were miracles coming after the break. Colorado had been out-scored by an unbelievable tally of 123-59 in the third quarter over the course of the season, and had been out-scored 31-7 by Iowa State in the second half of their last game.

The reality of a 5-7 finish to the season was setting in, along with the equally sour thoughts of Nebraska (and perhaps Kansas State as well) playing in a bowl. Yuck!

I was not a happy camper.

My mood was not enhanced by my surroundings.

First, my feet were getting cold. (Note to self: Apparently, wearing an extra pair of socks is insufficient protection if you are planning on standing on a glacier for four hours). Plus, the seniors in the CU band, for their finale, had chosen a Chuck Mangione tune to inspire the crowd (Note to band members: Chuck Mangione? In November? In the snow? Really?).

Continue reading story here

Here is the YouTube video of the game … 

Top 40 Favorite Players … No. 31

Quarterback Sal Aunese – 1987-88

Sal Aunese bio from … He was the Big Eight Conference’s Newcomer of the Year in 1987 (UPI; he was the Offensive Newcomer by the AP)… Set a school record for the lowest interception percentage in a single season, with just one in 51 attempts as a

Aunese took over the starting job three games into the year, rushing for 185 yards and a touchdown in three quarters of action against Washington State after replacing an injured Mark Hatcher… As a junior in 1988, he amassed 1,401 yards of total offense, the most by a CU player in a decade… Directed comeback victories on the road at both Iowa (24-21) and Colorado State (27-23)… One of just seven players in school history to both rush andpass for 1,000 yards in a career… The co-CIF player of the year as a senior in high school…

Aunese was diagnosed with stomach cancer in March 1989 and passed away six months later at the age of 21 on Sept. 23, one week after attending and receiving a standing ovation at the CU-Illinois game at Folsom Field.

Trailer for “Born to Lead, the Sal Aunese Story” … 


Darian Hagan remembers Sal Aunese … 

KOA’s Larry Zimmer remembers Sal Aunese …

ESPN’s Outside the Lines, from YouTube … 


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