Colorado Football: This Day in History, Oct. 31

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Colorado Football: This Day in History, Oct. 31
Garrett Ellwood/Getty Images

 This Day in History – October 31st

 Colorado on October 31st – 10-5-1

- 1891 – Denver Athletic Club – L 42-0;

- 1894 – West Denver H.S. – W 26-4;

- 1899 -  Colorado Mines – W 25-6;

- 1903 - Colorado Mines – W 17-0;

- 1914 – Colorado College – W 10-7;

- 1920 – Colorado College – T 7-7;

- 1925 – Colorado Mines – W 14-3;

- 1936 – Colorado College – W 7-0;

- 1942 – Wyoming – W 28-7;

- 1953 - Iowa State – W 41-34;

- 1959 – Missouri – W 21-20;

- 1964 – Oklahoma – L 14-11;

- 1970 – Nebraska – L 29-13;

- 1981 – Oklahoma – L 49-0;

- 1987 – Iowa State – W 42-10;

- 1992 – Nebraska – L 52-7.

 

Colorado's Best Game on This Date

Colorado at Iowa State, October 31, 1987

[The week before playing Iowa State, the Buffs fell, 24-6, to No. 1 Oklahoma in Norman.]

“They’re No. 1″

In Colorado’s football history, the Buffs have gone up against the No. 1-ranked team in the nation on 10 occasions, with six of those games coming against Oklahoma. 

The Buffs’ cumulative record: 0-10 (Nebraska was No. 1 in the BCS standings when the Buffs thumped the Huskers, 62-36, in 2001, but the Cornhuskers were No. 2 in the polls). 

This is not to say that the Buffs have not come close. In 1957, Colorado faced the Sooner machine of the 1950’s coached by Bud Wilkinson. OU came out on top in Norman that day, 14-13, but the Buffs’ effort knocked Oklahoma from the No. 1 ranking. 

History repeated itself in 1975, when the Buffs returned to Norman, hanging tough before falling, 21-20. Once again, the one-point win cost the Sooners the No. 1 spot in the national rankings.

The 14-point loss to the Sooners did not move Oklahoma out of the top ranking in 1987.  But it did serve notice that the Buffs were coming of age. 

Said Oklahoma coach Barry Switzer, now 14-1 against Colorado teams, “It’s evident CU is a very good football team. I came away feeling they have more speed and quickness than I have seen on a Colorado team in recent years.”

The emergence of Colorado and the fall of Oklahoma, though, were still a few years away.

 

Colorado 42, Iowa State 10

The Cyclones came into the Halloween contest with Colorado with a 2-5 record, but with wins in two of its last three games. While Colorado was hanging in against Oklahoma, Iowa State was registering its first conference win of the year in outscoring hapless Kansas, 42-28. 

After ISU jumped out to an early 7-0 lead in the first quarter, the game was dominated by the Colorado offense. 

By the time the Cyclones posted another score early in the fourth quarter, Colorado was safely ahead 35-7. Quarterback Sal Aunese, in addition to passing for a score, ran in three more touchdowns in posting 19 carries for 127 yards rushing. 

Fullback Erich Kissick also reached the century mark in accumulating 124 yards on 15 attempts.

The defense held ISU to only 239 yards of total offense, allowing the Buffs to post its fifth win of the year. With the victory, Colorado raised its all-time record to 500-333-32, the 26th team in NCAA history to record 500 wins.

[The Buffs would go on to defeat Missouri and Kansas State to run their record to 7-3. A season-ending 24-7 loss to No. 5 Nebraska left Colorado with a 7-4 record, 4-3 in Big Eight play.

While a winning conference record and a seven win season would guarantee a bowl game in the 21st century, it was not good enough to earn a bowl invite in 1987. After the disappointment, the Buffs would not go bowl-less again until a 5-7 record kept Colorado home in 1997.]

 

Best Games in College Football History: October 31   

1964: No. 4 Ohio State 26, No. 2 Illinois 0  

Halloween as the No. 2 team in the country was too scary for Illinois, as the Illini were shut out at home by the Buckeyes. Future NFL tight end Bob Trumpy had a pass go through his hands for an interception which set up Ohio State’s first score.

For the second week in a row, Ohio State passed for more yards than it ran, a statistical anomaly which had happened only twice in the previous 64 games under head coach Woody Hayes.

Despite the lofty late October rankings, neither team would go bowling, as Michigan would go on to represent the Big Ten in the Rose Bowl.

 

1970: Kansas State 17, No. 17 Missouri 13  

Both teams came into the contest 4-3, but the win was huge for the Wildcats, as Kansas State beat Missouri at home for the first time since 1938.

KSU quarterback Lynn Dickey had 234 yards and two touchdowns passing in the game, but his four interceptions kept the game close.

Neither team went bowling in 1970, as Kansas State finished 6-5, Missouri 5-6.

The losing season, the only sub-.500 campaign in 13 seasons under Dan Devine, did not dissuade the Green Bay Packers from hiring Devine as their head coach for the 1971 season.

 

1981: Miami 17, No. 1 Penn State 14  

It was only late October, but the Nittany Lions became the fifth team in the 1981 season to gain the No. 1 ranking, only to lose it.

Miami, behind quarterback Jim Kelly, sprinted out to a 17-0 lead. With tailback Curt Warner ineffective, it was up to quarterback Todd Blackledge to engineer the comeback.

Two fourth quarter touchdown passes were not enough, though, as Penn State kicker Brian Franco missed four field goals on the day. At season’s end, Penn State was back up to No. 3 in the nation, besting USC 26-10 in the Rose Bowl.

Miami finished at No. 8, 9-2 and banned from postseason play.

 

1987: No. 18 Penn State 25, West Virginia 21  

Running back Blair Thomas rushed for 181 yards, sparking the Nittany Lions in a comeback from a 21-10 deficit.

Before Thomas’ heroics, West Virginia quarterback Major Harris was the hero of the day, passing for two touchdowns and rushing for a third. A bowl loss to Clemson in the Florida Citrus cost the 8-4 Nittany Lions a spot in the final rankings.

West Virginia also lost its bowl game, a Sun Bowl defeat at the hands of Oklahoma State.

The Mountaineers finished 1987 with a 6-6 record, but would not lose again until the 1989 Fiesta Bowl, where a 34-21 loss to Notre Dame cost West Virginia the national championship.

 

1998: Texas 20, No. 7 Nebraska 16  

A 47-game home winning streak came to an end for the Cornhuskers at the hands of the unranked Longhorns.

The game featured two future Heisman trophy winners. 1998 winner Ricky Williams led Texas with 150 yards rushing, while 2001 winner Eric Crouch, substituting in as a freshman, kept Nebraska in the game with a 38-yard touchdown run.

Texas quarterback Major Applewhite hit wide receiver Wane McGarrity on a two-yard pass with 2:47 left for the game winner.

Neither team would win their division of the Big 12 in 1998 (Texas A&M beat Kansas State for the title), but both went bowling.

Nebraska lost to Arizona, 23-20, in the Alamo Bowl to finish 9-4, ranked 19th, while Texas blew by Mississippi State, 38-11, in the Cotton Bowl to conclude a 9-3 season (Mack Brown’s first as Texas head coach) ranked 15th.

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