1:30 PM ET, October 16, 2004
Folsom Field, Boulder, CO
BOULDER, Colo. (AP) -- Just before Mason Crosby headed out to attempt a 60-yard field goal, Colorado coach Gary Barnett told him to swing easy.
He sure did and it's a good thing for the Buffaloes.
Crosby kicked four field goals -- adding a 54-yarder to his school record from 60 yards -- and Colorado took advantage of Iowa State's shaky special teams to hold on for a 19-14 victory Saturday, giving the Cyclones their 13th straight conference loss.
"It was a pretty good day for me and I was glad that I was given the opportunity to make those kicks," Crosby said.
Colorado (4-2, 1-2 Big 12) started sophomore James Cox at quarterback in place of Joel Klatt, then switched back after Cox threw an interception late in the second quarter. It didn't seem to matter. Klatt threw two interceptions, and Colorado had 12 penalties for 104 yards and managed just 123 yards in the second half.
Good thing Crosby was around.
He kicked the 60-yarder in the second quarter and added the 54-yarder as time expired in the first half, becoming the first Colorado player with two 50-yarders in a game. Crosby also hit from 28 yards in the first quarter and 33 in the fourth to put Colorado up 19-7.
"Mason Crosby was sensational," Barnett said. "I thought our special teams were great."
Iowa State (2-4, 0-3), on the other hand, had a terrible day on special teams. Two returners muffed punts, and Scott Krava and Brian Jansen each missed short field goals.
The Cyclones also failed on five trips inside Colorado's 20 and have scored just seven times -- five TDs, two field goals -- in 21 chances in the red zone this season.
Iowa State's offense finally found the end zone with 2:38 left in the game, when Todd Blythe pulled down a 43-yard touchdown pass from Bret Meyer. That cut Colorado's lead to 19-14, but the Buffaloes were able to run out the clock after that.
"I don't know if I've ever had a more frustrating game in all my career as a player, graduate assistant, part-time coach, full-time coach, coordinator, head coach," Iowa State coach Dan McCarney said. "To play that hard and to have that many opportunities to win a road game in the Big 12, to come up short, boy, that's a sickening feeling. It really is."
Iowa State's troubles started right away.
Colorado's first score, a 3-yard touchdown pass from Cox to Jesse Wallace early in the first quarter, came after Lawrence Vickers recovered Todd Miller's muffed punt. Miller claimed he didn't touch the ball -- he dived forward after losing his bearings -- but the officials gave it to Colorado at the Iowa State 11.
Colorado put together three more scoring drives in the first half, all ending in field goals by Crosby. The second caromed high off the left upright from 60 yards out to beat Jerry Hamilton's 23-year-old school record by two yards.
"We were fortunate that they didn't go after it," Barnett said. "They really didn't think we were really going to try a field goal, but he could have kicked it 70."
Iowa State finally started moving the ball in the second quarter after managing just 40 yards in the first. Starting with a 28-yard gain on Jon Davis' reverse, the Cyclones moved 64 yards to Colorado's 4. But like so many of Iowa State's drives this season, this one didn't result in any points.
Following two runs for no gain and a pass that was almost intercepted in the end zone, Krava pushed a 22-yard field goal wide right. Jansen's miss came from 25 yards in the third quarter, leaving him 3-for-9 on the season.
"I don't know what else to do with the kickers," McCarney said. "I'm not going to send them home on a van, although you feel like doing that instead of putting them on the plane."
But it wasn't just the kickers who struggled.
Iowa State crossed Colorado's 20 three more times in the second half, with two drives ending on failed fourth downs and another on Meyer's fumbled snap.
The Cyclones' only other points came on Ellis Hobbs' 34-yard interception return with just over a minute left in the first half. But Terrance Highsmith dropped a punt after teammate Ryan Baum collided with him four plays later, leading to Crosby's 54-yard field goal at the horn that put Colorado up 16-7.
"It just seemed like it was mental mistakes on our part," said Iowa State's Stevie Hicks, who ran for 108 yards on 29 carries. "We just have to go out and execute. It's real tough to lose when you're in the game, the whole game."