7:30 PM ET, August 31, 2008
DENVER -- The University of Colorado student section was chanting Darrell Scott's name. They might as well have been crying uncle.
Buffaloes fans had waited six months to see what all the fuss was about over Scott, the highly-touted freshman tailback who was considered by several scouting services as the best back in the nation last year.
He delivered, carrying a dozen times for 50 yards and a touchdown when he leapt over the pile in the closing minutes as cheers of "Dar-rel Scott!" repeatedly rang out.
But it was Josh Smith, his uncle, who stole the show Sunday night, racking up 189 all-purpose yards, including a 93-yard kickoff return for a touchdown in Colorado's 38-17 win over Colorado State.
"Uncle did good," Scott said. "I've got to hand it to him. The first kickoff return, he took it to the house. I was like, 'Man, I gotta get into the zone.' He was the 'tone-maker' today. Everybody caught onto that spark and took off from that."
Despite fumbling his first kickoff return, Smith made sure it was memorable. He nearly returned the second-half kickoff for another score but was corralled by a diving defender after crossing midfield.
"If that one guy hadn't of laid out, that would have been six again," Smith said.
The game featured three touchdowns in a 26-second span of the second quarter, including back-to-back kickoff returns for touchdowns by Smith and CSU sophomore John Mosure.
Rams linebacker Jeff Horinek picked off Cody Hawkins' deflected pass at the Colorado 24 and, two plays later, Billy Farris, a senior making his starting debut, hit Dion Morton for a 31-yard touchdown strike that pulled the Rams to 14-7.
Smith returned the ensuing kickoff 93 yards untouched for the first score of his career. It was Colorado's first kickoff return for a TD since Jeremy Bloom's 88-yarder at Kansas State in 2003.
On the sideline, Smith and Scott celebrated.
"I was just letting him know, 'Man, you're next. You're about to hit it and get those carries, you're next,'" Smith recounted.
But their celebration quickly ended when Mosure answered with a 90-yard TD return in which he broke two tackles around his 20-yard line and sidestepped desperation dive by kicker Jameson Davis as he plunged into the end zone to pull the Rams to 21-14.
"I was a little tired. I haven't run that much since high school," said Mosure, whose score marked the Rams' first kickoff return for a touchdown since Dexter Wynn did it against Wyoming in 2001.
Farris completed 27-of-37 passes for 187 yards but was intercepted twice and sacked five times. Hawkins was 20-for-29 for 214 yards and scored on two 1-yard keepers.
"I really like it," Hawkins deadpanned, "because I get to look un-athletic in front of millions of people."
This game might have been the last one played between the rivals at Invesco Field, home of the Denver Broncos and site just three nights earlier of Barack Obama's historic acceptance of the Democratic presidential nomination in front of about 84,000 people.
In a tiff that might subtract rather than add to the biggest college football rivalry in the Rockies, Buffs athletic director Mike Bohn announced Friday that Colorado would exercise its option and move the 2009 game to Folsom Field in Boulder to give the Buffaloes a sixth home game. Colorado State athletic director Paul Kowalczyk responded by moving the 2010 game to Fort Collins.
That means the schools will settle for the respective $650,000 guarantees when they visit their rival instead of the annual payday of about twice that for both schools when they play in Denver.
The ADs have until Oct. 1 to negotiate an extension of the off-and-on series that dates to 1893, but even if they reach an agreement, it's likely to be a true home-and-home series that bypasses the biggest city in the Rocky Mountains and the largest alumni base for both schools.
"This is a great environment here to play a game in," Rams coach Steve Fairchild said after his collegiate coaching debut. "I'll say it one more time, it's just a crying shame we're not back here every year. Somebody's got to spoil that. Everybody likes it. Coaches like it, fans like it, it's a great environment."
The field was torn up from Obama's speech, and crews had to paint some dead spots but play wasn't affected, and the crowd of 69,619 got a good farewell if that's what this was.
Although the players were sad to leave Invesco Field for what likely was the last time, they were already looking to the future.
"It'd be nice to get a win in Folsom just because it's their territory," Mosure said. "Knowing they're going to come back to Fort Collins our senior year is going to be amazing. Wherever we play it's always a big rivalry. I don't care where we play; we could play in a parking lot."
Team Stat Comparison
|3rd Down Conversions||2-12||5-11|
|4th Down Conversions||1-4||2-2|
|TD||14:15||Scotty Mcknight 35 Yd Pass From Cody Hawkins (Aric Goodman Kick) |
Drive: 5 plays, 58 yds, 1:51
|TD||11:50||Cody Hawkins 1 Yd Run (Aric Goodman Kick) |
Drive: 2 plays, 5 yds, :21
|TD||06:53||Dion Morton 21 Yd Pass From Billy Farris (Ben Deline Kick) |
Drive: 2 plays, 24 yds, :34
|TD||06:41||Josh Smith 93 Yd Kickoff Return (Aric Goodman Kick)||7||21|
|TD||06:27||John Mosure 90 Yd Kickoff Return (Ben Deline Kick)||14||21|
|TD||11:36||Cody Hawkins 1 Yd Run (Aric Goodman Kick) |
Drive: 8 plays, 45 yds, 3:24
|FG||02:17||Ben Deline 26 Yd |
Drive: 6 plays, 36 yds, 3:21
|FG||10:06||Aric Goodman 23 Yd |
Drive: 18 plays, 74 yds, 7:11
|TD||02:14||Darrell Scott 1 Yd Run (Aric Goodman Kick) |
Drive: 4 plays, 47 yds, 1:45