BOULDER, Colo. (AP) -- Dan Hawkins was hired to clean up a
Colorado program soiled by scandal and embarrassing losses under
former coach Gary Barnett.
Being blown out by Texas in the Big 12 title game last year was
But losing to Division I-AA Montana State 19-10 Saturday wasn't
what anybody anticipated when Hawkins brought his 92-23-1 record
and positive vibes from Boise State to Boulder.
|Montana State coach Mike Kramer could not contain his excitement as the Bobcats extended their fourth-quarter lead in Colorado.|
(AP Photo/Jack Dempsey)
"We understand that most people here will jump on our loss, but
we all find out about ourselves when we're losing," Hawkins said.
"And in some respect, it might be a blessing. We've got to work a
little bit harder and come together a little bit more.
"It's only devastating if you let it be devastating."
Instead of sweeping away the memories of last year's four-game
season-ending slide, including a 70-3 loss to Texas in the Big 12
title game, the Buffaloes left their fans fearful of a long,
dreadful season after the Dan Hawkins Era began not with a bang but
a bevy of goofs and gaffes.
"The only bright spot is to see how we handle it, and that's
yet to be determined," Hawkins said after the Buffs bungled their
first matchup ever with a Division I-AA team. "The bottom line is
we got outcoached and we got outplayed. That's a fact, however you
try to slice and dice it."
With his prolific predecessor Travis Lulay a surprise sideline
observer, new Montana State starting quarterback Cory Carpenter
threw a 10-yard touchdown pass to Michael Jefferson in the third
quarter and Jeff Hastings kicked field goals of 35, 44, 19 and 41
yards as the Bobcats of the Big Sky Conference gave coach Mike
Kramer his first win in seven tries against Division I-A opponents.
"This game tonight wasn't about height, weight or speed,"
Kramer said. "It was about belief systems and we found a way to
get it done."
Still, Kramer added, "It would mean more if I could beat
Chadron State next week."
Nobody smiled bigger than Bobcats senior free safety Tyrone
Henderson, who was one of two starters kicked off the Buffs for
violating unspecified team rules following Hawkins' arrival in
A little more than a week after transferring to Montana State,
Henderson got his revenge, helping the Bobcats pull off the first
stunner of the college football season.
"Whatever happened had to happen," said Henderson, declining
again Saturday to reveal his transgression other than to say he
feels he was singled out as an example. "I'm happy where I'm at.
It was a good game."
And certainly not the unexpected outcome it will certainly be
viewed as across the country, he insisted.
"I didn't know what the situation was going into Montana State.
When I got there I saw they (had) players there," Henderson said.
"I knew that we could come and beat them."
The Bobcats trailed just 10-6 at halftime, then limited
Colorado's offense to 65 yards and three first downs in the second
"I knew that if we didn't make a big mistake that we could be
there in the fourth quarter," Kramer said. "Because of their
devastating losses last year, they would start doubting each other,
and that's exactly what happened."
After Hastings' 19-yarder made it 16-10 with five minutes left,
Stephone Robinson returned the ensuing kickoff 26 yards but
cornerback Andre Fuller capped a great day by forcing a fumble that
was recovered by linebacker Bryant Matthews at the Colorado 28.
That led to Hastings' 41-yarder with 2:58 left.
The Buffs' hopes for a comeback ended when Mason Crosby was
short on a 63-yard field goal try with 1:11 remaining.
The Bobcats went ahead for good early in the third quarter when
Jefferson beat freshman cornerback Cha'pelle Brown in the left
corner of the end zone to haul in Carpenter's pass for a 13-10
lead. The Buffaloes never recovered, even though they put together
two goal-line stands afterward.
James Cox opened the game with the longest first play from
scrimmage in Colorado history, a 42-yard strike to wide receiver
Patrick Williams that turned out as the lone highlight of the
afternoon for the Buffaloes and a crowd of 45,513 on hand expecting
to celebrate the new start under Hawkins.
"They did everything right and we did a lot of stuff wrong.
That's what it came down to," Colorado co-captain Brian Daniels
said. "Nobody is going to be betting on the Buffs anymore. We like
the underdog situation.
"I think if we swallow this pill the right way, we can come
back and be a strong team."