How do you squander a 28-point lead in the fourth quarter? Ask Dan Hawkins, he’s the only coach in the 121-year history of Colorado Buffalo football to do it. The Buffs (3-6, 0-5) led by a balanced offensive attack were up 42-17 with 14:52 left in the fourth quarter, but it all unraveled as the Kansas Jayhawks (3-6, 1-4) scored 35 unanswered points to sink the hapless Buffalos 52-45.
Holding a 35-10 lead at half, it looked like the victory was a foregone conclusion for the Buffs, but as we have seen more often than not with this team there are no sure things. CU has led at half-time in three of the last four games only to see it slip away in the end. Why does this keep happening? Is it the players? Is it coaching? The old axiom is true “Players make plays” but, in college the coach is directly responsible for bringing in the players so the weight of this loss falls firmly on Coach Hawkins. The football team that he built over the last five years lacks depth and leadership. They have shown they have the talent to play with solid Big 12 teams but these Buffalos aren’t able to sustain early success for the entire game.
It wasn’t all doom-and-gloom for the Buffs as they had some great individual performances. Rodney “Speedy” Stewart had a big day against KU as he ran for 175 yards and three touchdowns. Freshman wide out Paul Richardson grabbed 11 balls for 141 yards scoring two touchdowns and much maligned Cody Hawkins threw for 322 yards with three touchdowns and only two picks. Unfortunately, one of Cody Hawkins interceptions came in the fourth quarter which, along with a successful onside kick and fumble returned for a touchdown, helped the Jayhawks complete the biggest comeback in KU football history.
The debacle in Lawrence probably put the final nail in Coach Hawkins proverbial coffin because it was not only the biggest collapse; it was also the most costly for the Buffs. Barring a monumental upset of Nebraska in Lincoln (along with consecutive victories against Iowa State and K-State) the Buffs season is over. They would need to win their final three games against teams who are .500 or better to have a chance at going to a bowl game and salvage a once promising season. I hate to say it, but that’s just not going to happen with this bunch. This season began as bowl or bust for Hawkins and barring a miracle it’s most decidedly a bust.
Side Note: For those of you who are hoping for greener pastures with a new coach in the soon to be Pac 12, the 2011 football schedule has just been released. CU’s Pac 12 home slate will include visits from Washington State, Oregon, Arizona and USC. Three of the four aforementioned teams have more talent and at the moment better coaching than the Colorado Buffalos.
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Written by Matthew Stiles