Top 40 of the Past 40 – No. 33

Previously posted:

As always, I look forward to your comments and suggestions …

Top 40 Favorite Games … No. 33

September 2, 1995 – No. 14 Colorado 43, No. 21 Wisconsin 7 – Neuheisel’s first game a rout; Dave Plati’s dad

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

Baptism by Fire

On September 2, 1995, some of the questions about Rick Neuheisel, head coach, would begin to be answered.

Colorado, which opened the season as the 14th-ranked team in the nation, would go on the road to face the Wisconsin Badgers. Wisconsin players had plenty to prove themselves. The Badgers had been embarrassed by Colorado, 55-17, in Boulder in 1994, and wanted to let their Big 10 brethren know that they would be a force to reckon with in 1995. What better way to accomplish this by defeating the Buffs in a night game regionally televised by ABC?

The Badgers came into the season opener ranked 21st in the nation.

Over 79,000 fanatical Badger fans poured into Camp Randall Stadium to witness the debut of Colorado head coach Rick Neuheisel. Although schedules are made years in advance, commentators could not help but note that Neuheisel would coach his first game as head coach of the Colorado Buffaloes in his hometown of Madison, Wisconsin.

Pressure?

Nah.

September 2nd – at Wisconsin           No. 14 Colorado 43, No. 21 Wisconsin 7

In the kickoff to the “Neu Era” in Colorado football, the Buffs served notice to the college football world that Colorado could not be taken lightly. Despite losing 10 starters to the NFL, the Buffs dominated the Badgers throughout, taking a 26-7 halftime lead before cruising to a 43-7 romp.

Not a bad entrance, Rick.

Quarterback Koy Detmer showed there was reason to believe he would ably succeed Kordell Stewart at the helm, completing 17-of-24 passes for 267 yards and three touchdowns. Rae Carruth hauled in only four of Detmer’s passes, but covered 100 yards in doing so, converting half of his receptions into two first-half scores.

Detmer, for his part, credited the offensive line for his success. “I didn’t have much pressure on me all night”, said the Buffs’ quarterback.

“The offensive line did a great job of keeping those guys out, picking up twists and stunts all night.” Three Buff rushers, dubbed by some in the media as the “Thoroughbred Trio”, combined for 157 yards and one touchdown on 32 carries. Sharing the offensive wealth were sophomore Herchell Troutman (15 carries for 76 yards), junior Marlon Barnes (10-for-48 yards, one touchdown), and junior Lendon Henry (7-33).

On defense, the questions concerning a shaky secondary were also answered. Wisconsin quarterback Darrell Bevell, victimized for four first half interceptions by the Buffs in the 1994 game, fared little better in 1995. Bevell was picked off only once by the Buffs, but could muster only 175 total yards passing, and was sacked five times.

Continue reading story here

Dave Plati on Rick Neuheisel … 

I’ll tell you a story which puts Rick Neuheisel in a different light.

My mom died in June of 1995. She would always leave a message on my home answering machine, after every game. So that fall, we kicked Wisconsin’s butt in the season opener, and I’m off to the side after the game, and it occurred to me that, for the first time, I’m not going to get that call from my mom.

I wasn’t crying, but I was kind of … you know, it just kind of hit me. My dad was totally lost after my mom died, and it was hard on us. When you are in this business, sometimes you have to grieve at a later time, and it was at that moment that it hit me that my mom was gone.

Rick sees me, and he says, ‘Do you have your cell phone? Let’s call your dad”. I said, ‘What? You haven’t even spoke to your dad yet (to celebrate a victory in his first game as a head coach)’. So, we called my dad.

People want to rip Rick, but they really don’t know him.

Rick wasn’t a coordinator before he became head coach, and that bothered most people. The media got on him for the rides in the creek. That wasn’t a problem when we opened 20-4 under him. But it became a problem in ‘97 (when CU went 5-7). Then they blamed him for CU having to forfeit games. No. That was Darren Fisk, who came in under McCartney, and it wasn’t even him. It wasn’t a football problem. It was a compliance office thing. He didn’t write down that he was at a second JUCO for a week before he went to another, and they tagged us for that. I can guarantee that there are other schools where that happens, and it gets swept under the rug.

Continue reading interview here

Top 40 Favorite Players … No. 33

Ted Johnson – Linebacker (1991-94)

Ted Johnson bio, from CUBuffs.com … The runner-up for the Dick Butkus Award in 1994, when he was All-Big Eight and a third-team Associated Press AllAmerican… He was semifinalist for the national defensive player of the year by the Football News… CU’s defensive MVP (Dave Jones Award winner) as a senior, when he led the conference in tackles with 147… He finished his career as CU’s third all-time leading tackler (409) and second in solo stops (253)… Lost in CU’s 27-26 win on the miracle “catch” play at Michigan was the fact that he was the Big Eight’s defensive player of the week, with 14 tackles and a key forced fumble in the fourth quarter… Had a pair of 20-tackle games in his career, as a sophomore and senior and both at Nebraska… A second round pick by New England in the 1995 NFL Draft (57th overall)… He spent his entire pro career with the Patriots (1995-2004)… Now a sports radio personality in Houston.

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