Today the Colorado Buffaloes host the Utah Utes in the team’s 500th game at Folsom Field. Founded in 1924, the legendary stadium has been home to countless iconic wins and will long be a staple of college football. We’re here today to rank and discuss the 10 best wins in Folsom history.
1924 vs. Colorado A&M: CU wraps up Folsom Field’s first season with a 36-0 shellacking of the Aggies that gave the Silver & Gold their second straight undefeated season.
1937 vs. Colorado College: In CU’s first game ranked in the AP Poll, the Buffs cruise to a 35-6 win in Byron White’s final home football game en route to an undefeated regular season and a berth in their first major bowl game: the Cotton Bowl.
1995 vs. Texas A&M: In a marquee non-conference matchup, #7 CU defeats the #3 Aggies 29-21 in front of a then-record Folsom Field crowd.
2002 vs. Kansas State: The Buffs top the 13th ranked Wildcats in a crazy, back and forth 35-31 game that helps CU to their second consecutive Big XII North title.
2016 vs. Washington State: In the first Top-25 matchup at Folsom Field in 14 years, the Buffs come from behind to defeat high powered Wazzu who were previously 7-0 in conference play.
10. 2004 & 2005 vs. Colorado State
#10 on the list is a two-fer. In consecutive years, CU played in-state rival CSU at Folsom Field. Each game went down to the wire and produced a memorable finish, with the Buffs stopping the Rams at the goal line as time expired in 2004 and winning on a Mason Crosby field goal at the gun in 2005. Each game broke the previous Folsom Field record for attendance at nearly 55,000 fans, and the 2005 game’s attendance of 54,972 still stands as the stadium record.
9. 1994 vs. Iowa State
Rashaan Salaam sealed his Heisman trophy campaign by going over 2,000 rushing yards on the season in his final home game at CU. He needed more than 200 yards on the day to reach 2,000, and reached the milestone in dramatic fashion with a 67 yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter. The game was also notable for Kordell Stewart setting the Big 8’s career record for total offense in his last home game, and for Bill McCartney’s surprising post-game announcement that he would be retiring at the end of the season.
8. 1972 vs. Oklahoma
This was CU’s first ever win over a top-2 team as the 5-1, 9th ranked Buffs took down undefeated Oklahoma 20-14 in front of a national television audience. It would turn out to cost the Sooners a claim to the national championship as they finished the season 11-1 and ranked 2nd in the country. It still equals the highest ranked team in the AP Poll that CU has ever beaten.
7. 2016 vs. Utah
CU capped off a dream season and a Pac-12 South championship by defeating the 21st ranked Utes 27-22 in front of the first sellout crowd at Folsom Field in 8 years. Kenneth Olugbode’s fumble return touchdown in the fourth quarter sealed the win in a tight game that saw CU improve to 10-2 and 8-1 in conference a year after finishing 4-9 and 1-8 respectively.
6. 1986 vs. Nebraska
This was a landmark win for Bill McCartney, who had made Nebraska CU’s main rival upon his arrival in Boulder. It was also CU’s first win over Big Red in almost 20 years, and it knocked the #3 Huskers out of national championship contention. It was also part of a midseason turnaround that saw the Buffs rebound from an 0-4 non-conference slate to go 6-1 in the Big 8 and earn a second consecutive bowl bid; ensuring that the momentum from the 1985 season did not die.
5. 1961 vs. Missouri
In just the second top-10 matchup ever at Folsom Field, #8 CU squeaked by #10 Missouri 7-6 en route to a 7-0 Big 8 conference season and an Orange Bowl bid. 1961 was the only unanimous Big 8 title CU won in their first four decades in the conference, and remains one of just three undefeated, untied conference seasons since World War II (1989 and 1990 being the others).
4. 1970 vs. Penn State
#4 Penn State came into Boulder riding a 23 game winning streak and a 31 game unbeaten streak, and left with their first loss in three calendar years: a 41-13 shellacking at the hands of the #18 Buffs. It was a big enough national story to make the cover of Sports Illustrated the following week. It was part of a run of success that CU had against high profile non-conference foes, including a 1969 victory over Alabama in the Liberty Bowl and 1971 road wins at LSU and Ohio State.
3. 2007 vs. Oklahoma
Trailing 24-7 in the third quarter against the #3 team in the country, things looked bleak for CU. But the Buffs forged a stirring fourth quarter comeback to stun the Sooners with a game winning field goal as time expired. The 27-24 triumph remains the last time CU has defeated a top 10 team.
2. 1989 vs. Nebraska
In what was referred to around Boulder as the “game of the century”, 8-0, 2nd ranked CU met 8-0, 3rd ranked Nebraska to decide the Big 8 title. The game’s most memorable play came in the first half when quarterback Darian Hagan, having already run for over 20 yards on an option play, pitched the ball to JJ Flanagan who took it the rest of the way for a touchdown. The 27-21 win all-but guaranteed CU would represent the Big 8 in the Orange Bowl, which was Sal Aunese’s dying wish.
How do you top that? Well...
1. 2001 vs. Nebraska
Nebraska was 11-0 and ranked #1 in the BCS computer rankings. The Buffs had lost 9 consecutive games against the Corn; each seemingly in a more heartbreaking fashion than the last. After four years of mediocrity, the 15th ranked Buffs were finally in position to win the Big 12 North again. All they had to do was beat that season’s Heisman winner Eric Crouch and the team that had owned them for a decade.
What followed was one of the most cathartic ass-kickings in the history of college football. With 12:21 remaining in the second quarter, the Buffs led 35-3. They would go on to hang 62 points on Nebraska’s vaunted defense, which at the time was the most points the Cornhuskers had ever allowed. CU could have had 69 if they wanted to, but they took a knee on the Nebraska 15 yard line at the end of the game. Running back Chris Brown scored 6 touchdowns by himself.
CU won the Big XII title the following week by defeating 3rd ranked Texas, and narrowly missed playing for a national championship when the computers put Nebraska in at #2 despite failing to win their division. By halftime of that game, the Huskers trailed Miami 34-0. Part of what makes “62-36” so sweet is not just the game itself. It’s that it exposed Nebraska in a way they had never been exposed before. It was their “the emperor has no clothes” moment. Big Red haven’t been the same since that day in Boulder. It’s hard to think of a game that was better than this one when you factor in the history, the stakes, the game itself and the aftermath.
What do you think were Colorado’s greatest home wins?