Meanwhile, James Cox started under center for the Buffs and led CU to a 13-0 second quarter lead. But Cox, who was starting his first game after supplanting Joel Klatt, was benched late in the second quarter after throwing an interception that ISU returned for a touchdown.
While Klatt played the entire second half, it was the Colorado defense and place kicker Crosby who were the heroes for Colorado Saturday.
The Buffalo defense gave a classic bend-but-don't-break performance. CU allowed 403 yards but gave up just one touchdown on a late-game 48-yard pass reception by ISU receiver Todd Blythe. Iowa State was 0-for-5 on scoring opportunities from inside CU's 20-yard line.
CU dodged two bullets, however, when Iowa State kickers Scott Krava and Brian Jansen missed on field goal attempts of 22 and 25 yards, respectively.
After two field goals by Mason Crosby, one a school record 60-yarder, Colorado was up 13-0. CU hoped to add to its lead late after forcing Iowa State into a fourth and 8. CU took over at its own 25, but Cox threw an interception when ISU cornerback Ellis Hobbs stepped in front of Evan Judge, grabbed the ball and returned it 34 yards for Iowa State's first touchdown of the game.
The mistake cost Cox, as junior Joel Klatt replaced him after the ensuing kickoff and played the rest of the game.
CU failed to earn a touchdown on Klatt's first turn late in the second half, but received a gift when the ISU punt returner muffed the punt. Stephone Robinson recovered the ball at the 18.
With eight seconds remaining, no timeouts left, and the ball on the 6-yard line CU went for the end zone. Klatt found Wallace for an apparent score, but CU was called for offensive pass interference.
The officials weren't finished, and flagged Sam Wilder for unsportsmanlike conduct, moving the ball all the way back to the 37-yard line. Crosby calmly lined up and nailed the 54-yard field goal. The kick gave CU a 16-7 advantage going into the locker room.
In the second half, the Colorado defense continued to give up yards, but not points, until Meyer hit Todd Blythe on a 43-yard touchdown strike with 2:38 remaining.
The Buffs took over after the ensuing kickoff and earned two first downs, and were able to run out the clock and seal the win.
Cox finished the day 7-of-16 for 67 yards, one TD and one interception. Klatt was 11-of-18 with no touchdowns and two interceptions.
Crosby was the difference in the game, as he accounted for 13 of CU's 19 points.