Top 40 of the Past 40 – No. 32

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. 32

November 7, 2009 – Colorado 35, Texas A&M 34 – The Blue-Out Game

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

CU quarterback Tyler Hansen hit tight end Patrick Devenny from 22 yards out with 2:04 to play to put the Buffs up 35-34, with Texas A&M giving up two turnovers late as Colorado prevailed, 35-34.

Hansen was sacked eight times for the second consecutive week, but did pass for 271 yards and a touchdown as the Buffs raised their record to 3-6, 2-3. Rodney Stewart had 118 yards rushing and two touchdowns, and Markques Simas finally showed some of the spark that endeared him during practices the past two seasons, catching seven passes for 135 yards (Simas had 122 yards receiving for the season coming into the game).

The game, as had become the pattern for Colorado in 2009, began ominously.

The stat line for the Buffs’ first two drives: net one yard, punt; net three yards; punt. Meanwhile, Texas A&M’s first drive covered 58 yards in 11 plays. For a team which had been out-scored 64-27 in the first quarter of the first eight games of the season, these were not good numbers. Still, thanks to a goal line stand, the game remained scoreless. Texas A&M drove to the Colorado one yard line on its first drive, but two keepers by Aggie quarterback Jerrod Johnson failed to produce points.

The Aggies’ second drive, though, was productive.  Taking over at the Colorado 47, Texas A&M needed only seven plays to take the lead. A one-yard pass from Johnson to Jeff Fuller put A&M up 7-0 with 2:33 to play in the first quarter. The Colorado offense did have a response on their third drive, covering 66 yards in 14 plays before stalling inside the Texas A&M redzoone. A 37-yard field goal by Aric Goodman brought the Buffs to within 7-3 early in the second quarter.

The Colorado defense rose to the occasion on the Aggies’ next drive, forcing a three-and-out and a punt – no small feat, as Texas A&M was not forced into a single punt by Iowa State the previous week (a 35-10 victory). The Buffs took advantage of the momentum, putting together an offense explosion fans had been waiting for all season. On second-and-12 at the Colorado 42, quarterback Tyler Hansen hit wide receiver Markques Simas for 47 yards and a first down. The longest play from scrimmage all season was quickly followed by a 13 yard touchdown run by Rodney Stewart. The Buffs had the lead, 10-7 …

… and held it for 14 seconds.

On the ensuing kickoff, Aggie Cyrus Gray took the ball at his one yard line, and took the ball right up the heart of the Colorado coverage team for a 99 yard touchdown.

Before the Colorado fans had a chance to savor the Buffs’ first lead in eight quarters, Colorado was behind again.

After exchanging punts, Texas A&M put together a ten-play, 56 yard drive just before halftime. Milking the clock as they went, the Aggies scored on a three yard keeper by quarterback Jerrod Johnson with 17 seconds to play. The Buffs were now down by two scores for the third game in a row, and the sun-drenched crowd of 47,227 were left to wonder if a similar result to the Kansas State and Missouri games was forthcoming.

Continue reading story here

… If you want to watch the video of the game, the full YouTube version of Colorado 35, Texas A&M 34 can be found here

Colorado Sky Blue

I’m a pack rat.

I have a habit of not throwing things away. Every fall, as another Montana winter approaches, it becomes a more and more difficult task to make room in our garage for our two cars.

In one sense, it has been a benefit in my work on CU at the Game. When the idea was first conceived (in 1996), I relied upon my piles of old game programs, newspaper clippings, and football preview magazines to help me reconstruct games for the Archives. If you were with the website last year, you may recall that there were a number of old Denver Post, Rocky Mountain News, and Boulder Daily Camera headlines featured along the sides of the site.

There is also my odd assortment of Colorado wearing apparel. There are a number of specific baseball caps (Big Eight champions; National Champions; bowl games, etc.), as well as every type of clothing going from t-shirts to polo shirts to sweatshirts to heavy winter coats.

Speaking of coats …

Last Monday (November 2nd), I wrote a letter to CU Athletic Director Mike Bohn, expressing my dismay at the lack of progress on the field by the Buffs over the past four seasons. Colorado was well on its way to its fourth consecutive losing season – for only the second time in school history. The only other time the University of Colorado – a program dating back to 1890 – has been mired in a similar slump, it was the six year run of poor play between 1979 and 1984. In my opinion, the Buffs, despite the costs associated with buying out the present coach, and the costs and disruption associated with bringing in a new coach, cannot afford to keep Dan Hawkins another year.

Then Darrell Scott quit, and the Marcus Houston comparisons began. The prize recruit – the only nationally rated recruit of the Dan Hawkins’ era – was leaving.

And the “blue out” gathered momentum.

In my eyes, the “blue out” was the perfect means for Colorado fans to express their frustration. Not support the team? Not an option. Staying away would only hurt the team we all love (in case you hadn’t noticed, I’m pretty invested in supporting the University of Colorado football program).

But showing up, and saying nothing, would be a lie. It would falsely state to the powers that be that we were content with the present state of the program. It would give false assurance that the dollars will continue to roll into the coffers regardless of the product on the field. For those of us without access to the inner circles of power, wearing blue said exactly what we wanted to say:

“We support the team. We support the players. Help us!”

… and I had just the coat for the job.

Not a powder blue t-shirt. Not a Nuggets’ sweatshirt. But an authentic, genuine, in my closest for a quarter century blue Colorado jacket. “Colorado sky blue at 9,000 feet” was the new color in 1981, and last until Colorado went “Back to Black” in 1985. The Colorado “blue period” witnessed poor play, poor attendance, and poor results. The blue uniforms came to represent a period we all wanted to forget; going back to Black represented new hope and a new beginning.

I wore my blue CU jacket (and, of course, the matching blue CU hat, also from circa 1984), to the Texas A&M game. For those old enough to remember, it brought about smiles of recognition. From the younger Colorado fans, there came inquiries as to whether the jacket was a “throwback” which I had recently purchased.

I cheered for my Buffs. I yelled at Anthony Perkins’ interception. I celebrated the B.J. Beatty fumble recovery to seal the victory.

And that was that … until the Game Notes came out.

Continue reading story (including my admonishment from Dave Plati) here

Top 40 Favorite Players … No. 32

Nate Solder – Offensive Tackle – 2006-10

From Solder’s bio at … The first offensive tackle at Colorado to earn All-America honors since 1979 (Stan Brock), he became the first-ever to garner consensus All-America honors at the position for the Buffaloes, afforded the honor from four of the five the NCAA recognizes for that status: Associated Press, Football Writers Association of America, The Sporting News and Walter Camp.

Solder was one of three finalists for the Outland Trophy as a senior in 2010, with his year starting off being named to the prestigious Playboy Preseason All-America team… A unanimous first-team All-Big 12 Conference performer as a junior and senior seasons , the league coaches selected him as the league’s Offensive Lineman of the Year for the latter, when he was named the Male College Athlete of the Year by the Colorado Sports Hall of Fame…

One of 16 National Football Foundation Scholar-Athletes for 2010 and the recipient of an $18,000 postgraduate scholarship, he was a finalist for the William V. Campbell Trophy (considered the “Academic” Heisman)… A four-time Academic All-Big 12 team member and two-time CoSIDA Academic All-District honoree…

Solder played 2,540 out of a possible 2,542 plays on offense his sophomore through senior seasons; of those, exactly 1,400 were called passing plays, and he allowed just five sacks those three years… He allowed 21 pressures overall (14 as a sophomore), so the man he was blocking influenced a pass play 26 times in those 1,400 plays, or just 1.8 percent of his career… Drafted in the first round by the New England Patriots in the 2011 draft (the 17th overall pick)… He won Super Bowl rings with the Patriots in 2014 and 2016.


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