No. 5 Notre Dame – Orange Bowl – National Champions!*


1990 Season Archive

— January 1st – at Miami – Orange Bowl           No. 1 Colorado 10, No. 5 Notre Dame 9 — In a game largely devoid of offensive highlights, the Colorado Buffaloes overcame the loss of two key starters to defeat Notre Dame in the Orange Bowl, 10-9. The hard-fought win enabled Colorado to stake a claim to the Buffs’ first-ever national football championship. An Eric Bieniemy one-yard touchdown run tied the score midway through the third quarter, with Jim Harper’s extra point providing the margin of victory. Neither the Buffs nor the …

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— Cheer, cheer for old Notre Dame — Rooting for Notre Dame is hard for any Buff fan. It was the Irish who had deprived the Buffs of a storybook ending to the 1989 season. Now, in November, 1990, with Notre Dame and Colorado No. 1 and No. 2 in the nation, and Notre Dame having already accepted an invitation to play in the Orange Bowl against the Buffs, Colorado fans had to root for the Irish. Even though a Notre Dame loss to Penn State or USC would mean …

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— November 17th – Boulder           No. 2 Colorado 64, Kansas State 3 — In routing Kansas State, 64-3, the Colorado Buffaloes clinched a second consecutive Big Eight Championship, the only team other than Nebraska and Oklahoma to do so since 1941. Finishing the season on a nine-game winning streak, the Buffs scored on seven of their first eight possessions in cruising to a 40-3 halftime lead. Darian Hagan ran for two first quarter scores, passing for another in amassing 278 yards of total offense in just over one half of …

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  — November 10th – Boulder           No. 4 Colorado 41, Oklahoma State 22 — Before November 10, 1990, the record for touchdown passes in a single game at the University of Colorado stood at three, and even that relatively low number had been reached only seven times in the 100-year history of the program. That mark was finally erased as Darian Hagan passed for four scores and a career high 237 yards in leading the Buffs to a convincing 41-22 win over Oklahoma State. A sell-out crowd of 51,873 was on hand …

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— High Stakes — The stakes for the 1990 clash between 9th-ranked Colorado and 3rd-ranked Nebraska could not have been higher. For the winner, the Big Eight championship, a spot in the Orange Bowl, and a shot at the national championship awaited. For the loser, a second place finish and a second tier bowl would be the consolation. Nebraska was 8-0 and playing at home; Colorado was 7-1-1 and had hopes of a shot at redemption in the Orange Bowl. Against that backdrop, a national television audience witnessed one of …

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  — October 27th – Boulder           No. 10 Colorado 32, No. 22 Oklahoma 23 — Like the Buffs, the Oklahoma entered the 1990 campaign with high hopes. Five weeks into the season, the Sooners seemed to be well on their way to realizing their dreams. Oklahoma took a 5-0 record and a No. 4 national ranking to play Texas in Dallas, only to be turned away by the unranked Longhorns, 14-13. The loss was hard to take, but not nearly as debilitating as the loss the next week to Iowa …

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— October 20th – at Kansas           No. 14 Colorado 41, Kansas 10 — Colorado put together a complete game for the first time all season, scoring on its first drive on the way to a 17-0 first quarter lead and a 41-10 win over 1-4-1 Kansas. Eric Bieniemy rushed for 174 yards on the afternoon, but his three touchdowns were the story of the day. Bieniemy’s second touchdown tied, and his third touchdown broke, Bobby Anderson’s record for career rushing touchdowns. Bieniemy new touchdown total was 35, setting the new standard …

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— October 13th – Boulder           No. 14 Colorado 28, Iowa State 12 — The controversy over the “Fifth Down” game continued to swirl around Boulder during the week after the Missouri game. Playing as if the distraction had affected the team’s preparation for its next opponent (and who is to say it didn’t?), Colorado fell behind Iowa State 9-0 early in the first quarter, needing to rally to come away with a 28-12 home win over the Cyclones. The Buffs utilized three quarterbacks on the afternoon, not pulling away from the Cyclones until …

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— The controversial ending no one could see coming – and few got to watch — On October 6, 1990, the 12th-ranked Colorado Buffaloes traveled to Faurot Field in Columbia, Missouri, to face the Missouri Tigers. A top five team in the 1990 preseason poll, the Buffs had completed the non-conference portion of their schedule 3-1-1. Colorado tied No. 5 Tennessee to open the season, beat Stanford at home, and fell on the road to No. 21 Illinois before rebounding to defeat No. 22 Texas in Austin and No. 12 Washington in …

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  — September 29th – Boulder           No. 20 Colorado 20, No.12 Washington 14 — In a battle between two ranked teams in search of national recognition, Colorado held off a late Washington drive to defeat the Huskies in Boulder, 20-14. A defensive first half gave way to a flurry of scoring in the third quarter, with the game ending with the Colorado defense backed up against its goalline. Sophomore cornerback Deon Figures intercepted a Mark Brunell pass in the endzone with only :59 left to play to preserve the Colorado …

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  —  September 22nd – at Texas          No. 20 Colorado 29, No. 22 Texas 22 — Colorado returned to the win column with a hard-fought 29-22 victory over Texas. Eric Bieniemy scored three touchdowns on the day, including the go-ahead touchdown with 5:57 to play. For the game, Bieniemy rushed for 99 yards, while his backfield mate, fullback George Hemingway, posted 76 yards rushing on only seven carries. The game was one of streaks, with neither of the nationally ranked teams able to take complete control. Two Darian Hagan fumbles in …

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— September 15th – at Illinois           No. 21 Illinois 23, No. 9 Colorado 22 — Howard Griffith scored from a yard out with 1:18 to play to give the Fighting Illini a 23-22 win over Colorado. 21st-ranked Illinois exacted a measure of revenge for the 38-7 pasting the Buffs had put on the Illini in 1989, pulling out the win on a 10-play, 63-yard drive to erase a 22-17 deficit. Quarterback Jason Verduzco did what his famed predecessor, Jeff George, could not – he out-performed the Colorado defense. Verduzco completed 23-of-29 …

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ARCHIVED GAME OF THE WEEK
2013 Sefo Liufau throws for a career-high 364 yards as CU defeats Cal, 41-24 Buffs pick up first home conference win in almost two years in rout of Bears READ