Klatt threw for 371 yards to 10 different receivers, including three touchdowns. He looked like the quarterback people in and around the program thought he would be in 2004.
Q: Is this what you were looking for with your receivers all season?
JK: We worked hard the past week trying to get on the same page. I thought we were able to do that with a lot more consistency than we did the first two weeks. There's still room for improvement. We can definitely get better on offense.
Q: What was the difference this week that led to the success in the passing game?
JK: You know, we got a little bit simpler on offense. We went back to some of the things we were doing when we were throwing the ball successfully last year. There are a lot of different reasons. We were on time, had great protection, the wide receivers were getting out of their routes on time. Everything was just gelling.
Q: At what point did you feel like you were really on?
JK: The first series we went three-and-out, but I still felt good. I felt good about what they were trying to do to us defensively, and our scheme and our plan. I knew we were going to have a successful night throwing the football. It was just a matter of getting the first one and then going from there.
Redshirt-freshman wide out Dusty Sprague caught his first collegiate pass Saturday, and ended the day with three catches for 32 yards.
Q: How did it feel out there?
DS: It was great. We really needed this for our team.
Q: Did you think coming in that you could be a successful as you were in the passing game?
DS: Yeah, we had to get on the same page and get things clicking. We have a lot of talent, but talent is meaningless unless you're clicking. So to get on the same page from the offensive line, to the backs, quarterback, receiver, the passing game worked.
Q: Did you have confidence all along that it would come around?
DS: Yeah, you've got to be confident at this level or else you're not going to be successful.
The Colorado offense played it's best and most complete game of the young season, putting up 507 yards and 52 points. The first team offense scored on seven of its nine possessions through the first three quarters. Offensive coordinator Shawn Watson spoke about the game Saturday.
On what was different from the first two games
SW: Basically, we ran OUR offense. We had gotten way too cute. We had decided because of the type of team we were playing (Washington State Sept. 11) to get into too many facets of things that we just don't do.
Basically, tonight (vs. UNT) we just got back to what we do. We're a rhythm offense. There are so many parts of our offense that we weren't using, and we just used them. It's that simple.
SW: He has been out front during everything with the crisis we went through. His personality is one where he's like, ‘I can do it all.' We found out he doesn't have and S on his chest or a cape on his back. And he doesn't need to.
When he just goes out and manages our offense, he's the best quarterback in this league. I'm partial, I know that, but I really believe that about him. He's so efficient. And we basically just cut him loose tonight.
I told the guys on Monday, there's so much character in this room. We needed to fess up, the coaches included, the things we needed to fix. Because of the character and the faith, and trust we have in each other, we were able to do that.
After being crowned the heroes of CU's first two wins of the season, defensive coordinator Mike Hankwtiz's unit was victimized by sloppy tackling and gave up 586 total yards to North Texas. Hankwitz was not pleased.
On the poor tackling
MH: It was very frustrating. I thought we missed more tackles tonight than we did the first two games combined. I'm sure when I watch the video I'll confirm that. But we weren't tackling crisply, and we didn't have the focus that we needed to have to play like we want.
On the play of Alonzo Barrett (a bright spot on defense Saturday)
MH: We've really been impressed with Alonzo Barrett. He's just a heck of a football player. He gets off blocks, he makes plays. He plays bigger than he is. He's not a 290 pound guy, but he plays strong because he plays with excellent pad level. We're really excited about the way he's developed.
Q: How about the secondary, were you happy with them?
MH: Well they were the cause of a couple of those big runs because we just didn't keep the ball in front of us. There were two times we had unblocked defensive backs that should have turned the ball in. I expect them to make the tackle, but at worst you turn it in and other people make it. But we didn't even do that.
We're young, and we're still immature at times. For whatever reason, I had the feeling that we didn't give them the respect they deserved. This is a game if you're not ready to play with great focus, you're not going to play as well as you're capable of.
Q: Is there any blessing in disguise that you come out with a win, but you see things you need to work on and can get the attention of your players because of their performance?
MH: We certainly should learn a big lesson tonight. Like I said we're very young, but our players weren't satisfied after this game.
Junior linebacker Akarika Dawn is now one of the veterans on the CU defense. He's been through two Big 12 Conference schedules and understands the higher level of play necessary if the Buffs are to compete for the conference crown.
Q: You've got a lot of young guys on your defense. What do you do to explain to them about what it takes in the Big 12?
AD: We try to tell them we're not messing around. This is for all the marbles now. I try to tell them from my experience what we're about to get into. So far we've been playing hush puppy teams, but now we're about to get to the meat of our season.
Q: How do you feel about the defense overall right now?
AD: I feel when we play our best, nobody can beat us. As you can see, when we make mistakes, people score on us. They don't score on us because they're better than us, they score because we make mistakes.
While the defense gave up a lot of yards to UNT, one play by sophomore cornerback Lorenzo Sims stopped the Mean Green momentum in the first quarter. Sims tackled UNT tight end Andy Blount on the 5-yard line, causing Blount to fumble. Sims then recovered the fumble and averted a North Texas scoring opportunity.
On the play
LS: At the time I was covering two guys. I went short to deep and we met. He was going full speed, I was going full speed. I wasn't letting down. I saw the ball and I grabbed. I tried to place my head where the ball was and tried to hit it. I seen him going down and I lowered myself and I knocked the ball out. I think that was the start of our will-breaking.
On the attitude on the sidelines even when UNT had scored two touchdowns early
LS: The thing I love about this team, even from last year, is the attitude. We were down and I never heard one negative comment on the sideline. It really helps on the field to perform at a better level.
Klatt's Big Game
Joel Klatt completed 26-of-33 passes for 371 yards and three touchdowns. At one point in the first half, the junior had completed13-consecutive passes, the third-longest streak in school history. Mike Moschetti (15) and Koy Detmer (14) are ahead of him on that list. Klatt's 77.8 completion percentage was the highest in school history in a game with 20 or more attempts. Klatt's 196 yards in the second quarter is the most in a quarter ever by a CU QB. He is now eight place all-time in CU passing yards (3,180).
Walter Boye-Doe (special teams) and Chris Hollis (linebacker) saw their first action of the year after being injured during August camp. DT McKenzie Tilmon also saw his first action of the year. The senior had a redshirt year to burn, and Saturday's action set it ablaze.
New Punt Returner
Redshirt-freshman Bernard Jackson dropped back as punt returner on UNT's punt. The ball was punted short, and it was downed by Mean Green players. Jackson fielded his second opportunity, but suffered a dislocated elbow on the play and did not reutrn. He's out for three to six weeks.
Junior safety Brian Iwuh was listed as day-to-day with a high ankle injury last week, but recovered enough to where he started vs. UNT and played most of the first half.
With the win Gary Barnett moves to 3-0 for the first time in his head coaching career. The last time Colorado went into conference play undeafeted was in 1998.
Freshman running back Hugh Charles is now wearing No. 2, after beginning the season with No. 25.
Jamario Thomas says HELLO
CU knew that UNT starting running back Patrick Cobbs was out with an injury. But his backup, sophomore Kevin Moore, did not make the trip for undisclosed reasons. True freshman Jamario Thomas earned the nod. He was considered one of the top 100 players in Texas as a senior in high school last season. Thomas gave the Buffs a big HELLO when he raced untouched for a 57-yard touchdown on the second play of the game. That was two yards fewer than Colorado allowed rushing in its first two games combined. He ended the game with 247 yards on 32 carries, the most by a CU opponent since 1998 (David Winbush, Kansas, 268). It was also the third-most yards a CU defense has ever given up to a single rusher.
While the defense struggled, especially early, true freshman Alonzo Barrett had himself quite a game. The former Alabaster, Ala., prepster had one TFL, one QB sack, one QB hurry and a near safety.
DT Brandon Dabdoub, pulled hip flexor, probable for Missouri. RB Bobby Purify, bruised shoulder, probable. WR Bernard Jackson, dislocated elbow, out 3-6 weeks; OT Clint O'Neal, shoulder bruise, probable; OT Sam Wilder, broken thumb, probable; TE Joe Klopfenstein, shoulder strain, probable. S J.J. Billingsley, knee, probable. TE Jesse Wallace, knee, probable. RB Brandon Caesar, had knee surgery on Friday, out eight weeks.
Game to be Replayed
Fox Sports Net Rocky Mountain will rebroadcast the game on Tuesday at noon.