Who Were Those Guys at the new Mile High?

The CU team that was supposed to show up last week made an appearance in Denver on Saturday. That was unfortunate for Colorado State, as CU hammered their in-state rivals 41-14. <P> Playing like a team with a chip on their shoulder and a reputation to save, the Buffaloes put all the distractions behind them and concentrated on running the ball.

The result was 315 yards rushing, led by Bobby Purify's 191 yards and Chris Brown's 121 yards. The last time CU had run for over 300 yards in a regular season game was in 1995 when they rushed for 326 yards against Iowa State.

After the game, CU fans were asking Marcus Who?

Maybe not, but the running game we saw glimpses of during the spring returned after being invisible against Fresno State. Purify averaged over nine yards per carry and ten of his 21 carries went for first downs. He also scored his first touchdown as a Buff.

While Purify supplied the Buffs offense with the speed to get around the corner, Chris Brown provided the power to go straight up the gut. Brown used his 6-3", 225 pounds to simply over-power the under-sized Rams on his way to 121 yards and 2 touchdowns.

If you thought there was a controversy with Marcus Houston not playing, wait until he's healthy enough to play. Between Houston, Cortlan Johnson and the Purify/Brown show, CU has four legitimate tailbacks that would probably start at most colleges.

Stay tuned; I'm pitching my tent in front of the CU media relations building so I don't miss a thing.

With the running game hitting on all cylinders, QB Craig Ochs just had to steer the vehicle. He did, hitting 11 of 15 passes for 95 yards and no interceptions. His performance was good enough for the second-most effiencent day for a CU passer in school history. Ochs is only behind Kordell Stewart who completed 16 of 17 passes against Baylor in 1992.

Another group that stepped up on Saturday was the much-maligned CU secondary. After being toasted for big play after big play against the Rams last season, Colorado picked off four passes and returned two for touchdowns.

None more important than Donald Strickland's, 31-yard interception for a touchdown, 56 seconds into the game giving CU the early 7-0 lead. If CSU scores first, who knows if the mentally fragile Colorado team bounces back? DB Michael Lewis picked of two passes and gave CU a 24-7 lead in the third when he returned one of the picks for a 41 yard score.

Overall, the Colorado defense played well, limiting CSU to 294 total yards.

And for the second week in a row the Buffs special teams were actually special. Punter Mark Mariscal averaged over 54 yards on two punts and PK Jeremy Flores returned from a one-game suspension and nailed both of his field-goal attempts (21 and 41 yards). He also kicked two 35-yard extra-points after CU was penalized for excessive celebration after their scores.

After all the distractions and all the rumors the Buffs had to deal with all week long, Colorado stayed focused and did what they needed to do: win a football game.


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