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1986: CU hadn’t beaten Nebraska since 1967; hadn’t beaten the Cornhuskers in Boulder since 1960 … The 2-4 Buffs take down third-ranked ‘Huskers in a game which laid the groundwork for a national championship … No. 1 Favorite Player: CU’s all-time leading rusher, Eric Bieniemy (1987-90) …

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Over the past 40 years, there have been hundreds of special Buffs, and scores of memorable games … The Top 40 list is down to the No. 1 game and player (coming Sunday), but here is a list of dozens of players and games that could have made the Top 40 …

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2001: 62-36 … Really, do you need any more of a lead in? … No. 14 Colorado mauls No. 2 Nebraska, in a game from which the Cornhuskers have never recovered (including video highlights from the game – enjoy!) … Player No. 2: QB Darian Hagan (28-5-2 as a starter; 19-0-1 against Big Eight rivals) …

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Jan. 1, 1991 – No. 1 Colorado 10, No. 5 Notre Dame 9 – Why would the national championship Orange Bowl be ranked third? Because the victory (“The Clip”), like the ’90 season (5th-down; split title) was not complete … No. 3 All-Time favorite player: The Big Eight’s All-Time leader in total offense, QB Kordell Stewart (1991-94) …

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1994: All you need to say is “Miracle at Michigan”, and Buff fans know the game … but how many remember CU was down 26-14 with four minutes to play? … Game video … Keith Jackson’s call … Kordell Stewart remembers … Player No. 4: Running back Phillip Lindsay (2014-17) …

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We’ve made it to the Top 5! … 1990: No. 9 Colorado 27, No. 3 Nebraska 12 … Eric Bieniemy goes from goat to hero with four fourth quarter touchdowns to propel CU to the Orange Bowl (with full game video) … No. 5 Player: Unanimous All-American and Butkus Award winning linebacker Alfred Williams (1987-90) …

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1989: No. 2 CU 27, No 3 Nebraska 21 … Hagan-to-Flannigan pitch the highlight of what Bill McCartney called “The Greatest Win I’ve Ever Been a Part of” (with video highlights) … Player No. 6: Unanimous All-American tight end Daniel Graham (1998-2001) …

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1985 – Colorado 21, Oregon 17 – Mickey Pruitt’s sack of Duck quarterback Chris Miller as time expires saves Buffs (with video) … Bill McCartney on his (then) signature win: “I think that could be a turning point for our program” … Player No. 7: WR Paul Richardson (2010-13) …

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2001: CU captures its only Big 12 championship with a 39-37 upset over No. 3 Texas in Dallas (with video highlights) … Buffs race out to 36-17 lead behind three Chris Brown touchdowns before hanging on for with win … No. 8 Player: CU’s all-time leading tackler, linebacker Barry Remington (1982-86) …

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1990: No. 20 CU keeps its flickering national championship hopes alive (coming into the game 2-1-1) with a 20-14 win over No. 12 Washington … Deon Figures intercepts a pass in the end zone in the final minute to preserve the victory … No. 9 Player: Heisman trophy winning running back Rashaan Salaam (1992-94) …

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We’ve made it to the Top Ten! … 1989: No. 5 CU travels to Seattle with heavy hearts to face No. 21 Washington, and come away with a 45-21 win … Not one, not two, but three essays for the game (Plus Road Trip Podcast) … Player No. 10: WR Michael Westbrook (1991-94) …

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1994 – Iowa State: What could top the story of Kordell Stewart becoming the Big Eight all-time leader for total offense … or Rashaan Salaam topping 2,000 yards and clinching the Heisman trophy? How’s about Bill McCartney resigning? … Player No. 11: Defensive back Deon Figures (1988-92) …

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1994 Season – Bill McCartney, Kordell Stewart and Rashaan Salaam cap their careers with a 41-24 rout of Notre Dame in the Fiesta Bowl (with full game video) … Buffs finish 11-1, with a No. 3 national ranking … Player No. 12: RB Rodney Stewart (2008-11) – CU’s second-leading all-time rusher, and first Buff to lead the team in rushing for four seasons …

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1998: The first-ever collegiate game played in Mile High Stadium had a crowd of 76,036 on hand to watch the Buffs destroy No. 15 CSU, 42-14 … Player No. 13: QB Sefo Liufau, the record-setting (100 to be exact) warrior (including my post-Alamo Bowl essay, “Thanks, Sefo”) …

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2016: Colorado 41, Oregon 38 … Steven Montez posts the first 300/100 yard game in CU history in first career start … Ahkello Witherspoon saves the day with last minute interception … with video highlights … Player No. 14: Laviska Shenault (career highlight video says it all) …

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1989 – Illinois came to Boulder with a star QB in Jeff George and a No. 10 national ranking, but left with a humbling 38-7 defeat … The game was also the last for Sal Aunese … Essay: Remembering Sal … Player No. 15: Tight End Jon Embree (1983-86) …

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2016 – Buffs rally behind a stellar defensive effort to defeat No. 21 Utah, 27-22 … Defense holds Utes to 339 yards of total offense and force four turnovers to claim Pac-12 South crown (with video highlights) … Player No. 16: Butkus Award winning linebacker Matt Russell (1993-96) …

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2004 – Colorado 27, Colorado State 24 … Before a Folsom Field record crowd of 54,954, the Buff defense stopped the Rams inside the five yard line in the final minute to preserve the win … Essay for the Game: “Win One for the Stripper” … Player No. 17: Defensive back Victor Scott (1980-83) …

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2019: Buffs rally from a 17-0 halftime deficit to defeat the hated Huskers in overtime, 34-31 (with video) … Essay: “Trust the Process” – “I had forgotten how much I hate Nebraska” … Player No. 18: QB Joel Klatt (2002-05) – set 44 school records, including nine career fourth quarter comebacks …

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2008 – Aric Goodman connected on a 25-yard field goal in overtime, lifting CU to a 17-14 win over No. 21 West Virginia … Cody Hawkins threw for two TD’s in first five minutes before turning the game over to the Buff defense … Player No. 19 – CU’s two-time All-American kicker Mason Crosby (2003-06) …

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We’ve reached the Top 20!! … 1989: Darian Hagan ushers in an undefeated regular season with a 75-yard run on the opening series against Texas, leading the Buffs to a 27-6 win (with highlight video of Hagan’s career) … Player No. 20: Running back Chris Brown …

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2004 – The Buffs scored on a interception and a blocked kick, but needed a goal-line stand in the final minute to defeat Washington State, 20-12, in a game played in Seattle … Player No. 21: Thorpe-Award winning defensive back Chris Hudson (1991-94) …

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2005: Joel Klatt passes for 398 yards and three touchdowns in 41-20 rout of Texas A&M … Essay for the Game: “Too Cool” – spending the A&M game in the CU press box, down on the field, and at the post-game press conference … Player No. 22: Record-setting quarterback Koy Detmer (1992-96) …

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2007 – Buffs take on No. 3 Oklahoma, and rally from a 17-point deficit to take down the Sooners, 27-24 … Kevin Eberhart hits a 45-yarder as time expires for the win … Essay: “They think they can win” … Player No. 23 – Wide receiver Nelson Spruce (2012-15) …

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1989: CU takes a No. 3 ranking to Oklahoma, and not only took its first lead over the Sooners in 13 years, but took down Oklahoma, 20-3 … A Hagan-to-Flannigan pitch foreshadowed a more famous pitch a week later … No. 24 Player: Outside Linebacker Kanavis McGhee (1987-90) …

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2003 – Joel Klatt makes his debut with 402 yards passing and four TD’s in CU’s 42-35 win over No. 23 CSU … Rams claw back from two 14-point deficits, but Buffs prevail after lightning delay with a Bobby Purify run with 40 seconds remaining … Player No. 25: Three-time All Big Eight DB Mickey Pruitt (1984-87) …

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2016 – Sefo Liufau passes for over 300 yards, and rushes for over 100 more, in leading No. 12 CU to a 38-24 win over No. 20 Washington State … Nick Fisher fourth down stop preserves CU’s first win over a ranked team in seven years … No. 26 Player: Jeremy Bloom (with video highlights of Bloom’s career) …

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1990 … CU traveled to Austin with a 1-1-1 record, and trailed the No. 22 Longhorns, 22-14, in the fourth quarter … Enter Eric Bieniemy and a speech which lifted the Buffs to a come-from-behind win and a run to a national title … Player No. 27: WR/KR Ben Kelly (1997-99) …

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In 2004, the Buffs won the Big 12 North and earned a trip to the EV1.Net Houston Bowl to play University of Texas, El-Paso (UTEP) … The hard-fought 33-28 win represents CU’s last (most recent) win in a bowl game … Player No. 28: Linebacker Chad Brown (1989-92) …

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September 8, 2018 – A 40-yard touchdown pass from Steven Montez to Laviska Shenault gives CU a 33-28 win over Nebraska … Essay for the game: “We have to beat them. It’s the only thing they understand” … Player No. 29: Running back Hugh Charles (2004-07) …

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1990 – The Fifth Down game … One of the most infamous games in CU history, the Buffs score on the final play of the game against Missouri … Video of the game’s final drive (count the number of slips by CU players on the Faurot Field turf) … Player(s) No. 30: CU’s long list of great offensive linemen …

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2007- In a game between two teams vying for bowl-eligibility, Buffs rally from a 35-24 halftime deficit to take down Nebraska, 65-51, before 51,403 frigid fans at Folsom (with game video) … Player No. 31: Quarterback Sal Aunese (1987-88) – with multiple videos …

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2009 – CU rallies from a 21-10 halftime deficit to defeat Texas A&M, 35-34 … The game also remembered for being a “Blue Out” as Buff fans tire of Dan Hawkins … Player No. 32: Offensive tackle Nate Solder (2006-10), CU’s first-ever consensus All-American at the offensive tackle position …

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Sept. 2, 1995 … CU had lost a great deal of talent (and its head coach) from the 1994 team, and opened on the road against No. 21 Wisconsin … The result? No. 14 Colorado 43, No. 21 Wisconsin 7 in Rick Neuheisel’s first game as head coach … Player No. 33: Linebacker Ted Johnson (1991-94) …

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2010 … The Buff defense gets a fumble recovery with 1:59 remaining, preserving a 29-27 victory over Georgia … Both teams squander double-digit leads in an exciting game … No. 34 Player: WR/KR Jeff Campbell (1986-89) …

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In 1999, CU quarterback Mike Moschetti returned from injury to lead CU to a 38-24 win over No. 24 Oklahoma … The win gave CU an 8-0-1 over the Sooners, the best nine-game run of any Sooner opponent in history … No. 35 Player: CB Ahkello Witherspoon (2014-16) …

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The 38-6 domination of Oregon in the 1996 Cotton Bowl was a sweet end to the first season under Rick Neuheisel, but the game had an unintended consequence – the creation of NikeU … Player No. 36: Running back Bobby Purify (2000-04), the third-leading rusher in CU history …

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1998 Aloha Bowl: CU receives the gift of six turnovers on Christmas Day from No. 21 Oregon in a 51-43 shootout … Buffs finish 8-4, but receive a shock a few weeks later when Rick Neuheisel bolts for Washington … CU picks Gary Barnett after Gary Kubiak passes … No. 37 Player: Linebacker Greg Biekert (1989-92) …

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1995 … No. 4 CU traveled to Norman to face No. 10 Oklahoma without injured star QB Koy Detmer … Enter John Hessler, who threw for five touchdowns in a 38-17 rout … Essay – “Yo, Howard (Schnellenberger): Sit down and shut up” … No. 38 Player: QB Cody Hawkins …

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Game No. 39 is the 2004 Nebraska game … A 26-20 CU win in Lincoln, the game featured Bobby Purify, but also was memorable for all of the Nebraska team records which fell by the wayside … Player No. 39: All-American punter Barry Helton (1984-87) …

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Welcome to the Top 40 countdown of my favorite games and favorite players … Up First: No. 40 favorite game – October 13, 2001: No. 20 Colorado 31, No. 25 Texas A&M 21 (the Fred Casotti game) … No. 40 favorite player: WR Scotty McKnight …

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