BOULDER, Colo. (AP) -- Robert Hodge threw three touchdown passes
and Chris Brown ran for 167 yards and two scores as Colorado held
on to earn a 35-31 victory over Kansas State (No. 16 ESPN/USA Today, No. 13 AP) on Saturday in the Big 12 opener
for both teams.
Kansas State fullback Victor Mann is tackled by a gang of Colorado defenders.
Colorado (3-2) opened defense of its conference championship
with 483 yards of total offense and scoring plays of 94, 85 and 71
Kansas State (4-1), which had scoring plays of 71 and 80 yards,
rallied from a 35-14 deficit early in the third quarter but had to
settle for a field goal with 2:16 left instead of a tying
Wildcats quarterback Ell Roberson, who ran for 178 yards and
threw for 83 more, was sacked by defensive tackle Sam Wilder for a
9-yard loss on third down at the Colorado 18.
Jared Brite kicked the field goal, and K-State didn't get the
ball back. On third down, Hodge's pass fell incomplete, but
defensive back James Dunnigan was called for pass interference,
giving Colorado a first down with 1:24 remaining.
Darren Sproles ran for 121 yards and three scores for the
The Buffaloes scored on their first two possessions en route to
a 28-14 halftime lead.
Hodge's 41-yard play-action pass to Derek McCoy set up Brown's
1-yard scoring run. Moments later, freshman tailback Brian Calhoun
went in motion and caught a 71-yard scoring pass.
Stymied by early penalties, Kansas State put together a 65-yard
scoring drive. Roberson carried on the first seven plays for 64
yards, including a 29-yarder that set up Sproles' 1-yard run.
Roberson then faked to a running back and darted 71 yards for a
tying touchdown with 9:53 left in the half.
Colorado countered with two scores late in the half, both on
third-down plays from deep in its own territory.
On third-and-2 from the 15, Brown broke past the line of
scrimmage and outran the defenders on an 85-yard TD run. Four
minutes later, Colorado faced a third-and-9 from its 6 when
freshman Jeremy Bloom got past cornerback Randy Jordan along the
right sideline and completed the 94-yard scoring play. It was the
longest pass play in school history.
Colorado fashioned a 13-play, 80-yard scoring drive to open the
second half for a 35-14 lead. On fourth-and-3 from the KSU 31,
Hodge flipped a 9-yard pass to Wilder, who had lined up as an
eligible receiver, and he passed 1 yard to Jesse Wallace for the
Kansas State rebounded with two touchdowns in the third period.
Less than a minute after Colorado's score, Sproles bolted 80 yards
for a TD.
On the Wildcats' next possession, Sproles capped a 68-yard drive
with a 3-yard run. The score was set up on what amounted to a
47-yard play when Roberson passed 32 yards to tight end Thomas
Hill, and a 15-yard roughing-the-passer penalty was tacked on.
Early in the fourth quarter, Kansas State punted from its 8-yard
line, but Bloom fumbled the return, and the Wildcats' Russ Vanover
recovered at the Colorado 29.
K-State failed to score on that series as Sproles was stopped
for no gain on fourth down by cornerback Donald Strickland at the
4. But the Buffs couldn't get past the 10 and punted, giving Kansas
State possession at the 37.