Buffalo stampede

Jeff Stell

Colorado utilized the strategy of a balanced offense to perfection and kept pace with Nebraska in the Big 12 North standings with a 40-27 victory over Iowa State Saturday night at Jack Trice Stadium.

The numbers let the Buffalo offensive dominance speak for itself as it racked up 502 yards of total offense.

Balance was the key as the Buffaloes rushed for 255 yards, and quarterback Bobby Pesavento completed 16 of 25 passes for 247 yards and a pair of touchdowns.

Powering the effort was tailback Cortlen Johnson, who became the first player in Colorado history to gain more than 100 yards rushing and receiving in the same game.

Johnson racked up 172 yards and one touchdown and caught six passes for 105 yards and a score.

“Colorado is an excellent football team, and they made more plays than we did,” ISU head coach Dan McCarney said. “Obviously, we had too many missed tackles tonight. Cortlen Johnson had a big night, and we knew he was a real fine player.”

The defeat is the third straight for the Cyclones, who have been stuck one win shy of a clinching a winning season for three weeks in a row.

The Cyclones are now 5-4 and only have two more chances for that elusive win, with the first coming Saturday at Kansas.

“We wanted to come back after the Kansas State loss last week and get back to Cyclone football, but we didn’t do anything,” ISU tailback Ennis Haywood said.

“It’s frustrating, but it’s over now and all we can do is get back to practice and focus on Kansas. It’s a two-game season, and we can still reach a lot of our goals.”

The Buffaloes, ranked 16th, improved to 6-1 in the Big 12 North standings to stay in a first place tie with No. 1 Nebraska. The two teams square off for the title on Nov. 23 in Boulder.

“We wanted to come out and get this victory and set up the Nebraska game,” Johnson said. “Us seniors really wanted this bad. If we play our game, we can beat anybody.”

The back-breaking play for the Cyclones came with 15 seconds left in the first half when Johnson took a screen pass for a 50-yard touchdown.

That score turned an evenly fought 16-14 game into a 23-14 hole for the Cyclones.

Johnson caught the pass and exploded through a seam in his wall of blockers to streak into the end zone. The play summed up the night for the Cyclone defense as there were missed tackles which allowed the big play.

“It’s still a heck of a football game at that time, and it’s not like nine guys got knocked down on that play, we just had guys who didn’t make the play, and that’s disheartening,” McCarney said.

The first half was back and forth as the teams scored their points in opposite styles.

Up until the final touchdown, the Buffaloes were content to grind out scoring drives on the ground while the Cyclones took advantage of big plays.

Seneca Wallace hooked up with Lane Danielsen for a 51-yard touchdown pass to put the Cyclones ahead 7-3 in the first quarter. The Cyclones second touchdown was a short bootleg by Wallace after defensive lineman Willie Judd forced a Buffalo fumble at the two-yard line.

Trailing 23-14, the Cyclones got the ball first in the second half and drove into Buffalo territory, but turned it over on downs. On a fourth-down play, Wallace went deep for Lance Young, but the ball went in and out of the receiver’s hands.

Wallace had tough luck on the night as several balls were dropped by his receivers. He finished 16-of-29 for 215 yards and two scores and added 39 rushing yards.

“I thought we contained Wallace pretty well,” Buffalo defensive lineman Robbie Robinson said. “He made some plays, but we stopped him from going crazy.”

The Buffaloes took the ball and went on a 13-play, 62-yard scoring march, capped off by a nine-yard scoring run by Bobby Purify.

Purify’s touchdown put the Buffaloes up 30-14, giving the Cyclones too big of a deficit to make up.

Colorado kicker Jeremy Flores kicked his fourth field goal of the game in the fourth quarter. Flores was successful from 35, 35, 37 and 48 yards in a solid outing.