Archive for Sunday, October 12, 2003

Buffs improved in second half

Colorado’s defense stiffens, offense picks up just enough

October 12, 2003


— Despite trailing 35-24 after giving up a last-gasp touchdown to Kansas University as the first half expired, the Colorado Buffaloes didn't get dismayed.

"We knew we just had to play better in the second half, and the offense would score enough points to win," CU coach Gary Barnett said. "I was right. I was barely right."

Colorado's defense, which allowed 372 yards in the first half, held KU to 214 yards and 12 points in the second half and overtime of the Buffaloes' 50-47 victory Saturday at Folsom Field.

Colorado's running game also stepped up in the second half. The Buffaloes rushed for 126 yards after halftime, including two short touchdown runs by Daniel Jolly. The freshman running back finished with 17 yards on six carries.

"Jolly has come in here and learned the offense, and we've played him a bit on goal line and short yardage," Barnett said, "but I thought he had a great game today."

With starting running back Bobby Purify out with an ankle injury, Brian Calhoun stepped in and rushed for 135 yards on 24 carries. His biggest carry was his last, a 12-yard draw in overtime for the game-winning touchdown.

"It was executed really well," Calhoun said. "We wanted to establish the run in overtime, and they were winded. So we ran three straight plays until I finally broke it up the middle for the touchdown."

Calhoun wouldn't have had that chance if it weren't for freshman kicker Mason Crosby's two fourth-quarter field goals, the second of which tied the game with 14 seconds remaining.

Crosby, who drilled a 23-yard field goal in the first quarter, nailed a career-long 41-yard attempt with just over five minutes left, and had to weather three straight timeouts by KU before his final kick.

For a freshman who had tried just two field goals and had missed four of 16 extra-point attempts entering the game, the pressure, which Crosby admitted was the most he ever had faced, could have proved fatal. Not Saturday, though.

"It helped me out that Kansas called timeouts," he said. "It lowered my nerves and definitely calmed me down. I was pretty much in my own little place, just trying to stay focused at the time."

Crosby's final field goal was set up by a 26-yard pass from Joel Klatt to D.J. Hackett over the middle, a play KU probably should have remembered from the first half.

"I felt the backside rush a little," Klatt said, "so I stepped up to give me a clear lane to get it to D.J. We ran that play for a touchdown in the first half, and it was successful. ... I tried to leave it where just he could get it, and D.J. made an amazing catch."

Klatt was pretty amazing himself, finishing with 419 yards on 38-of-54 passing. Just four weeks after aggravating a shoulder injury, Klatt completed passes to eight different receivers en route to putting up the the fourth-most passing yards ever against the Jayhawks.

His 38 completions and 54 attempts were Colorado records, and his 419 passing yards were the fourth-most in CU history.

"He's a spark for us," Barnett said. "He's a heck of a player and a heck of a person."

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