3:30 PM ET, September 2, 2006
Folsom Field, BOULDER, CO
BOULDER, Colo. (AP) -- Dan Hawkins was hired to clean up a Colorado program soiled by scandal and embarrassing losses under former coach Gary Barnett.
Being blown out by Texas in the Big 12 title game last year was one thing.
But losing to Division I-AA Montana State 19-10 Saturday wasn't what anybody anticipated when Hawkins brought his 92-23-1 record and positive vibes from Boise State to Boulder.
|Montana State coach Mike Kramer could not contain his excitement as the Bobcats extended their fourth-quarter lead in Colorado.|
(AP Photo/Jack Dempsey)
"We understand that most people here will jump on our loss, but we all find out about ourselves when we're losing," Hawkins said. "And in some respect, it might be a blessing. We've got to work a little bit harder and come together a little bit more.
"It's only devastating if you let it be devastating."
Instead of sweeping away the memories of last year's four-game season-ending slide, including a 70-3 loss to Texas in the Big 12 title game, the Buffaloes left their fans fearful of a long, dreadful season after the Dan Hawkins Era began not with a bang but a bevy of goofs and gaffes.
"The only bright spot is to see how we handle it, and that's yet to be determined," Hawkins said after the Buffs bungled their first matchup ever with a Division I-AA team. "The bottom line is we got outcoached and we got outplayed. That's a fact, however you try to slice and dice it."
With his prolific predecessor Travis Lulay a surprise sideline observer, new Montana State starting quarterback Cory Carpenter threw a 10-yard touchdown pass to Michael Jefferson in the third quarter and Jeff Hastings kicked field goals of 35, 44, 19 and 41 yards as the Bobcats of the Big Sky Conference gave coach Mike Kramer his first win in seven tries against Division I-A opponents.
"This game tonight wasn't about height, weight or speed," Kramer said. "It was about belief systems and we found a way to get it done."
Still, Kramer added, "It would mean more if I could beat Chadron State next week."
Nobody smiled bigger than Bobcats senior free safety Tyrone Henderson, who was one of two starters kicked off the Buffs for violating unspecified team rules following Hawkins' arrival in Boulder.
A little more than a week after transferring to Montana State, Henderson got his revenge, helping the Bobcats pull off the first stunner of the college football season.
"Whatever happened had to happen," said Henderson, declining again Saturday to reveal his transgression other than to say he feels he was singled out as an example. "I'm happy where I'm at. It was a good game."
And certainly not the unexpected outcome it will certainly be viewed as across the country, he insisted.
"I didn't know what the situation was going into Montana State. When I got there I saw they (had) players there," Henderson said. "I knew that we could come and beat them."
The Bobcats trailed just 10-6 at halftime, then limited Colorado's offense to 65 yards and three first downs in the second half.
"I knew that if we didn't make a big mistake that we could be there in the fourth quarter," Kramer said. "Because of their devastating losses last year, they would start doubting each other, and that's exactly what happened."
After Hastings' 19-yarder made it 16-10 with five minutes left, Stephone Robinson returned the ensuing kickoff 26 yards but cornerback Andre Fuller capped a great day by forcing a fumble that was recovered by linebacker Bryant Matthews at the Colorado 28. That led to Hastings' 41-yarder with 2:58 left.
The Buffs' hopes for a comeback ended when Mason Crosby was short on a 63-yard field goal try with 1:11 remaining.
The Bobcats went ahead for good early in the third quarter when Jefferson beat freshman cornerback Cha'pelle Brown in the left corner of the end zone to haul in Carpenter's pass for a 13-10 lead. The Buffaloes never recovered, even though they put together two goal-line stands afterward.
James Cox opened the game with the longest first play from scrimmage in Colorado history, a 42-yard strike to wide receiver Patrick Williams that turned out as the lone highlight of the afternoon for the Buffaloes and a crowd of 45,513 on hand expecting to celebrate the new start under Hawkins.
"They did everything right and we did a lot of stuff wrong. That's what it came down to," Colorado co-captain Brian Daniels said. "Nobody is going to be betting on the Buffs anymore. We like the underdog situation.
"I think if we swallow this pill the right way, we can come back and be a strong team."
Team Stat Comparison
|3rd Down Conversions||7-18||5-14|
|4th Down Conversions||0-1||0-0|
|FG||10:39||MASON CROSBY 24 YD FG|
Drive info: 7 plays, 52 yards.
|FG||5:58||JEFF HASTINGS 35 YD FG|
Drive info: 11 plays, 63 yards.
|FG||14:08||JEFF HASTINGS 44 YD FG|
Drive info: 6 plays, 16 yards.
|TD||9:20||JAMES COX 1 YD RUN (MASON CROSBY KICK)|
Drive info: 12 plays, 74 yards.
|TD||10:36||MIKE JEFFERSON 10 YD PASS FROM CORY CARPENTER (JEFF HASTINGS KICK)|
Drive info: 7 plays, 58 yards.
|FG||5:12||JEFF HASTINGS 19 YD FG|
Drive info: 10 plays, 47 yards.
|FG||2:58||JEFF HASTINGS 41 YD FG|
Drive info: 4 plays, 3 yards.