On an overcast afternoon at Folsom Field, the Buffs and the Kansas State Wildcats collided in a match-up of two former Big 12 powers now looking to salvage what has been a disappointing season for both teams.
Senior placekicker Mason Crosby’s opening kickoff sailed through the end zone for what has become a customary touchback for Crosby.
The Wildcats opening drive would start at their own 20-yard line, where KSU freshman quarterback Josh Freeman would take the field. Freeman’s first pass was complete to tighter Jeron Mastrud for five yards on first down. A second-down handoff to running back James Johnson got KSU nowhere and brought up a third and 5. A screen pass to Johnson gained nine yards on third down and a first down for Johnson and the Wildcats. No gain resulted from a first down handoff to Johnson, and on second down Johnson was stuffed for a five-yard loss by Buffs defensive end Alex Ligon. On third and 15, Freeman completed a 19-yard pass receiver Jordy Nelson and the Wildcats drive continued. Michael Pooshcke, a KSU tight end caught a five-yard out on first down, but that was given right back on a five yard false start penalty on Kansas State. On second and 10, Buffs corner Terry Washington broke up a pass, bringing up third and 10, and on that play Nelson caught a four-yard pass and was wrapped up immediately by Buffs junior linebacker Jordon Dizon. K-State punted it away on fourth down, and the Buffs took over on their own 20 after a touchback.
Junior quarterback Bernard Jackson and the Buffs got right to work on first down, and a handoff to junior running back Hugh Charles gained no yards. Jackson ran a spread option keeper on second down for eight yards, bringing up third and 2. The Buffs spread the Wildcats defense with five receivers on the play and tried to run a quarterback draw with Jackson, but he couldn’t dance out of a swarm of Wildcats and was stopped for a four-yard loss. Freshman punter Matt DiLallo’s punt sailed 40 yards and was returned to the 50-yard line where Kansas State would begin their second drive of the afternoon.
Kansas State went to work with good field position on the ensuing possession, and on first down Freeman completed a pass for six yards. A second down handoff to running back Leon Patton gained one yard for the Wildcats, and on third and 3 yards to gain, Freeman flipped a pass to Nelson for a four-yard gain and a first down K-State.
On first down, Dizon came off the edge untouched and nailed Freeman for a loss of seven on the sack. On second down, Freeman flipped a screen pass receiver Daniel Gonzales for eight yards. Another screen pass to Patton gained eight yards and was one yard shy of a first down. K-State brought out their field goal unit for a 47-yard attempt, but K-State kicker Jeff Snodgrass hit the left upright, and the kick was no good. A side note: on the drive, Buffs senior linebacker Thaddaeus Washington was taken to the locker room after getting his front two teeth knocked out. His return was questionable.
Colorado took over after the missed field goal at their own 30-yard line, and on first down Jackson bootlegged to his right and fired a crisp pass complete to junior receiver Alvin Barnett for 32 yards. After the big play, the Buffs went to the ground with Charles for a gain of four yards. A well-timed blitz by K-State stopped a Jackson keeper for no gain on second down, and on third and 6, Jackson’s pass was bated into the air by a K-State defender. Crosby came on to attempt a 51-yard field goal. The kick had the distance but sailed wide left, keeping the score deadlocked in a 0-0 tie.
Freeman and the Wildcats took over, and Freeman ran for a gain of eight yards on first down after a quarterback keeper. Second down resulted in no gain for Johnson after he was wrapped up by Buffs sophomore defensive tackle George Hypolite. On third down, Freeman flipped a pass for four yards and a first down for K-State. Freeman’s next pass gained only two yards for the Wildcats, and on second and 8, Johnson took a shovel pass from Freeman and rumbled for 12 yards and another K-State first down. A false start on Kansas State moved them back five yards, and on first and 15, Gonzales caught a pass for seven yards, and that was the last play of the first quarter.
End of 1st quarter: Colorado 0, Kansas State 0.
On the first play of the second quarter, Johnson broke a tackle and burst outside for a gain of 16 yards to the Buffs’ 21. Johnson took another handoff and squirmed for six yards, bringing up second and 4. K-State ran Johnson again, but the Buffs stuffed him this time for a one-yard loss, bringing up third and 5. On the play, Patton took a pitch outside and broke through the Buffs’ defense for 15 yards all the way to the end zone for a Wildcats touchdown. K-State took a 7-0 nothing lead with the score. The scoring play capped a 10-play, 66-yard drive that lasted 4:41.
On the Buffs’ first play from scrimmage after the kickoff, Jackson rolled to his left and unable to find any player open, took off and ran down field for an eight-yard gain. On second down, the Buffs ran a reverse to sophomore receiver Stephone Robinson for a loss of 15 yards after K-State snuffed the play out. On third and long, Jackson completed a pass for 11 yards to freshman tight end Riar Geer, and the Buffs were forced to punt. DiLallo’s punt sailed 40 yards and K-State would begin their next series from their own 31-yard line.
Up 7-0, Freeman took the field with his K-State offense and was promptly sacked by Buffs senior defensive end Abraham Wright for a loss of six yards. Patton took a second down handoff for four yards, bringing up third and 12. The Wildcats called a draw play to Patton, and he was wrapped up after a gain of five. KSU was forced to punt. Buffs junior receiver Chase McBride caught the punt at the Buffs 22-yard line, and that is where the Buffs began their next drive, hoping to generate some offense for the first time all game.
On the Buffs’ first play from scrimmage, an end around handoff to Robinson was fumbled, and K-State recovered the botched handoff at the Buffs’ 16-yard line.
On KSU’s ensuing possession, Johnson ran for one yard on first down, and was stopped for a loss of three on second down, but a personal foul penalty on the Buffs gave K-State the ball at the Buffs 9-yard line.
On first down, Freeman rolled right and fired a pass to the end zone for receiver Yamon Figurs for K-State’s second touchdown of the day, giving them a 14-0 lead. The 3-play, 16-yard drive took only 1:02.
The Buffs would take over at their own 20-yard line after the fumble on the previous possession, and on first down, Charles took a handoff for three yards. On second down, Jackson bootlegged to his left and threw a solid pass to junior wide receiver Dusty Sprague. Sprague bobbled the catch along the sideline and the officials ruled an incomplete pass as a result. Buffs head coach Dan Hawkins was furious after the call, and the play went under review.
After the review, the call was reversed and ruled a completion, which gained the Buffs 13 yards and a first down. On first and 10, Charles clawed for two yards. On second down, Jackson flipped a wide receiver screen pass to Robinson for only two yards, but a roughing-the-passer penalty on K-State resulted in a 15-yard gain for the Buffs. Jackson went for the home-run ball to wide receiver Cody Crawford on first down but fired too far and the pass was incomplete. A second down screen pass to Charles gained five yards, resulting in a third and 5. Senior running back Mell Holliday gained nothing on the play, bringing up fourth and 5. The Buffs would go for it on fourth down, only to see Jackson fire a pass well out of the reach of Sprague, and K-State took over on downs.
On K-State’s next possession, Patton ran for three on first down, six on second down, and Freeman zipped a pass to Pooschke for two yards and a first down on third down. Patton got another carry on the next play, which he took for nine yards. With 49 seconds left in the half, K-State called their first timeout. Freeman bootlegged right and ran for two yards and a first down after the timeout. Freeman completed a swing pass to Gonzales for three yards, and K-State called another timeout to stop the clock with 34 seconds remaining. Johnson took a pitch for two yards on second down, and K-State let the clock wind down to six seconds before calling a timeout and sending Snodgrass out to attempt a 46-yard field goal. The kick was good, giving the Wildcats a 17-0 lead heading into the locker room for halftime.
End of second quarter: Kansas State 17, Colorado 0
Colorado got the ball to start the half, and Washington fumbled the opening kickoff and picked it up only to get hammered down at the 14-yard line. Jackson handed the ball off to Charles who scampered around end for a gain of five on first down. Jackson kept the ball and rumbled for four yards on second down, bringing up a third and 1 situation.
On the play, Charles stumbled for the first down after a four-yard pick up. A false start on CU moved them back five yards on the next play, and so, on first and 15, Jackson fired a pass down the seam for sophomore receiver Patrick Williams for a gain of 24 yards. After the long pass play, Colorado went to the ground and Holliday, who cut back and carried off tackle for 12 yards and another first down.
Williams took an end around on the next play and scampered for six yards. Jackson faked a handoff and carried outside on a bootleg for another six yards and a Colorado first down. Jackson faked the end around on the next play and carried up the middle for another 12-yard gain.
The Buffs entered the red zone for the first time in the game, but were quickly pushed out of it as Jackson was sacked for a loss of five yards on the next play. Charles dipped and ducked his way for five yards on second down, bringing up third and 10. Jackson completed a 16-yard strike to Crawford on the play, and Colorado had a first and goal at the four-yard line. Holliday carried for two yards on first down, and on second down, Jackson’s pass was broken up as he tried to flip one to the end zone. On third and goal, Holliday was stuffed again for no gain.
Hawkins kept the offense on the field on fourth and goal and Jackson carried around end for one yard but no touchdown, and after a solid drive, the Buffs were stopped short of the end zone. After the goal line stand, K-State took over at their own one-yard line.
From his own end zone, Freeman completed a pass to Figurs for nine yards on first down. Johnson carried for another nine yards on the next play, and suddenly K-State was out of the shadow of their own goal posts. Johnson carried for no gain and a loss of one on the next two plays, bringing up third and 11. A middle screen to Johnson gained nine yards but was shy of a first down, forcing a KSU punt. A short punt gave the Buffs the ball at their own 36-yard line, the best starting field position for the Buffs all day.
The first play from scrimmage on the ensuing possession saw Charles carry for nine yards, and a second down carry for 12 yards and the Buffs entered K-State territory. On the next play, Holliday carried up the middle and then burst outside and rumbled down the sideline for a 40-yard pickup before he was forced out of bounds at the four-yard line.
Holliday carried for no gain on first and goal, and on second and goal, Jackson was forced to throw the ball away after finding no one open. From the three yard line, the Buffs faced a critical third down, and Jackson took a quarterback draw play and ran with it all the way to the end zone for CU’s first points of the day. Crosby’s extra point was good, making the score 17-7 with 1:48 to go in the third quarter. The scoring drive was a 6-play, 64-yard effort that took 4:46 off the clock.
Freeman and the Wildcats’ first play after the kickoff was a deep pass, a gain of 28 yards. On the next play, Patton took a draw play handoff and rumbled through several Buffaloes and their arm tackles for 38 yards, and just like that, K-State was at the Buffaloes’ 14-yard line. Patton took another hand off, this one for two yards on first down. The same play netted the same result on second down, and that was the last play of the third quarter.
End of third quarter: Kansas State 17, Colorado 7
On the first play of the fourth quarter, a third and 7 for KSU, Freeman’s pass sailed to high for his receiver, and Snodgrass came on to kick a 27-yard field goal. It was good, extending the Kansas State lead to 20-7.
After the K-State field goal, Jackson handed off to Holliday for six yards, and Charles scampered and juked his way for 11 yards on second down, giving Colorado a first down. On the ensuing play, Jackson fired a pass outside for Sprague that went in and out of his hands. However, the next play saw Jackson fake the handoff to Holliday, and Jackson broke free of several defenders and turned on the jets, outrunning the rest of the defense for an electrifying 62-yard scoring run. The score narrowed the Wildcat lead to 20-14, and suddenly the Buffs had some life. The drive was a four-play, 80-yard effort that took 1:26 off the clock.
Freeman’s first pass on the next drive for KSU was dropped by his receiver, and on second down, Freeman fired complete for a six-yard gain, bringing up a crucial third and 4 play. On the play, Freeman fired a short out patter to Nelson, who spun around and burst up the sideline, whereupon he utilized his blockers down filed and weaved his way through the remaining Buffs defenders all the way to the end zone for a 74-yard scoring strike that put all the momentum back on the side of the Wildcats. The score extended KSU’s lead to 27-14. The two teams had combined for 24 points in the last five minutes after the score.
After the score, Jackson and the Buffs first play saw Jackson bootleg outside but lost two yards on the play. Charles ran for five yards on second down, resulting in a third and 7 situation. Jackson ran for three yards on the play, and Colorado was forced to punt. Freshman Isaac Garden punted the ball 37 yards, and Figurs provided a flashy, highlight-reel return, eluding defenders on his way to the most exciting 10-yard return one might see.
After the return, the Wildcats offense trotted on to the field with 9:47 remaining in the game, hoping to eat up a good portion of that remaining clock. On the first play from scrimmage, Patton took a toss over the left side for an 11-yard gain. Patton took the next handoff and broke free of a tackle at the line of scrimmage that effort got him six yards. Freeman bootlegged right and fired to Norwood for a nine-yard gain and a K-State first down. On the next play, Figurs took a reverse from Johnson and with Freeman lead blocking down field, Figurs ran nearly untouched into the end zone from 30 yards out. The score put Kansas State up by a score of 34-14. The drive was a four-play, 56-yard drive that took 2:02 minutes.