7:00 PM ET, September 18, 2004
Folsom Field, BOULDER, CO
BOULDER, Colo. (AP) -- Colorado's offense got back on track.
That defense, though? Yuck.
Bobby Purify ran for three touchdowns Saturday to help the Buffaloes defeat North Texas 52-21 despite allowing 507 yards.
Purify's first score, midway through the first quarter, ended Colorado's streak of 114 minutes, 47 seconds -- almost two full games -- without an offensive TD.
"We just went back to the basics," tight end Joe Klopfenstein said. "I think we've been pressing a little bit too hard the last two weeks."
The Buffaloes improved to 3-0 for the first time since 1998 and head into their Big 12 schedule with reason to believe this season could be surprisingly special, especially considering all their offseason trouble.
For them to do anything, though, a lot of improvement is needed on a defense that surrendered 247 yards to third-string tailback Jamario Thomas of North Texas (0-3).
"It wasn't the fact they were good. We were bad," CU linebacker Akarika Dawn said. "We messed up a lot. As you saw, they broke a couple of long ones on us. It wasn't what they did, it's what we did."
The Mean Green, 65-0 losers to Texas two weeks ago, simply embarrassed the Colorado defense at the beginning, then humbled it the rest of the way.
Thomas broke off touchdown runs of 57 and 25 yards and finished the first quarter with 115 yards. The freshman wound up just two yards short of the North Texas single-game record and 21 off the record the Buffs allowed to David Winbush of Kansas six seasons ago.
"I had big holes to run in the whole night," Thomas said.
With the score tied at 14 early in the second, Scott Hall completed six passes to lead the Mean Green from their own 7 to the Colorado 8. Receiver Kevin Howard lost a fumble on the 15th play of the drive, though, and the Buffs drove 95 yards in seven plays for the go-ahead score.
Thus began the runaway.
"Those drives are big for the confidence of an offense, and for the whole team, really," Colorado quarterback Joel Klatt said.
Klatt completed 13 straight passes in the first half and finished with three touchdowns and 371 yards, 246 more than the entire offense gained last week in an ugly 20-12 win over Washington State.
Purify averaged 7.5 yards a carry before he left in the third quarter with a bruised shoulder that was not deemed serious. Klopfenstein caught six passes for 67 yards and two scores.
The defense, meanwhile, continued to take "bend but don't break" to a whole new level.
In each of the first two games, CU gave up more than 400 yards, but made late goal-line stands in each to preserve close victories. No big stand was needed this time, although the Buffs will certainly use their upcoming bye week to deal with problems.
"We weren't as sharp as we should have been, or as sharp as we're going to need to be, and that's all I'm going to say about it," Colorado coach Gary Barnett said.
North Texas didn't just run all over Colorado, it did it shorthanded.
Starting tailback Patrick Cobbs was out with a knee injury. Backup Kevin Moore was left home for disciplinary reasons. Mean Green coach Darrell Dickey said he would evaluate Moore's status next week. If Moore was watching this one, he may have reason to worry.
"Too bad," Dickey said.
Thomas came into the game with two carries for minus-1 yards on the season, but changed that quickly.
On his first carry, he ran through a huge hole on the left side and went untouched, 57 yards for a 7-0 lead. His 25-yard score was nifty, too. In the third quarter, he reversed field for a 52-yard gain that resulted in a missed field goal. In the fourth, he ran 33 yards to set up a touchdown.
"I didn't find out until this morning that I was starting," he said. "I wasn't nervous, but the butterflies definitely went away as the game went on."
As often happens in these kind of games, though, North Texas simply couldn't hang for 60 minutes against a superior team. Still, the three-time defending champs of the Sun Belt Conference left with a few things to feel good about. There was Thomas' performance, of course. And Hall threw for 190 yards, not bad for a team that managed only 257 passing yards in its first two games.
Team Stat Comparison
|3rd Down Conversions||9-17||4-9|
|4th Down Conversions||0-1||0-2|
|TD||14:17||JAMARIO THOMAS 57 YD RUN (NICK BAZALDUA KICK)|
Drive info: 2 plays, 75 yards.
|TD||8:08||BOBBY PURIFY 11 YD RUN (MASON CROSBY KICK)|
Drive info: 6 plays, 62 yards.
|TD||6:02||JAMARIO THOMAS 25 YD RUN (NICK BAZALDUA KICK)|
Drive info: 5 plays, 80 yards.
|TD||3:49||BOBBY PURIFY 24 YD RUN (MASON CROSBY KICK)|
Drive info: 5 plays, 73 yards.
|TD||11:02||JOE KLOPFENSTEIN 1 YD PASS FROM JOEL KLATT (MASON CROSBY KICK)|
Drive info: 7 plays, 95 yards.
|TD||7:34||BOBBY PURIFY 11 YD RUN (MASON CROSBY KICK)|
Drive info: 5 plays, 65 yards.
|TD||0:59||EVAN JUDGE 21 YD PASS FROM JOEL KLATT (MASON CROSBY KICK)|
Drive info: 13 plays, 92 yards.
|FG||5:55||MASON CROSBY 49 YD FG|
Drive info: 8 plays, 44 yards.
|TD||1:39||JOE KLOPFENSTEIN 19 YD PASS FROM JOEL KLATT (MASON CROSBY KICK)|
Drive info: 6 plays, 72 yards.
|TD||12:41||JOHNNY QUINN 8 YD PASS FROM SCOTT HALL (NICK BAZALDUA KICK)|
Drive info: 11 plays, 80 yards.
|TD||10:39||JAMES COX 3 YD RUN (MASON CROSBY KICK)|
Drive info: 4 plays, 30 yards.