CU vs. CSU
Tradition, rivalry...and football
Published: Wednesday, September 7, 2005
Updated: Sunday, July 19, 2009 01:07
Del Harper, 83, has been coming to this game every year since 1950. He says the annual University of Colorado versus Colorado State football game "is all about old tradition." Despite either team's prognosis for success that season, "the rivalry between the two teams is great, but it hasn't always been that way," Harper added. "But this year they've both got good teams."
The rivalry Harper speaks of draws tens of thousands of people to the game every year. This year the game drew a record 54,972 to Folsom Field on the CU-Boulder campus (17 more people than last year). Prior to the game, countless groups of people were gathered around the rears of cars, beers and other cold beverages in hand, in an attempt to deal with a temperature in the low 90s and get a buzz going before heading into the dry stadium. Roving packs of college-age people walked up and down the streets reciting various chants. Some as clean as, "Let's go C-S-U," some as dirty as, "Fuck 'em up, Fuck 'em up, go C-U." However directly people expressed themselves, nearly all came in support of one team or the other, ready for a rivalry that almost always produces close games.
They would not be disappointed.
For the most part the game was a lot of fun for people of all ages, and the American Red Cross raised more than $42,000 in donations for victims of Hurricane Katrina from the rowdy fans. "This rivalry is just so fun," said Pam Pajer, who has two children who have recently graduated from CU. "We have season tickets and we're huge Buff fans," Pajer said. Her husband Richard said the talent present on either team does not matter when evaluating what makes the annual match up so fun.
As the fans made their way to the parking lots after the game, groups of fans - mostly college-age - heckled each other. One group of about seven CSU fans stopped at a stoplight directly across the street from a group of about 15 CU fans. The CU fans started chanting, "Fuck you, C-S-U!" repeatedly, as the group of CSU fans was growing noticeably angrier by the second. A few middle fingers were brandished, and at one point it looked as if the two groups would cross the street to meet each other face-to-face.
Just then a Boulder Police officer told the CSU fans to be on their way, and just like that the tension was over. The CSU fans went on their way, undoubtedly waiting for next year, when they would hopefully get a chance to celebrate victory over the CU Buffaloes.
CSU went three and out on their first possession, giving the ball over early to CU, whose first possession, although starting with a two-yard loss off a fumble, accumulated three quick first downs. The drive subsequently stalled with two consecutive offensive holding penalties, and ended with CU quarterback Joel Klatt completing a pass to Miles Kochevar. The only problem: Kochevar plays for CSU.
Each team would try again on offense before CSU finally scored a touchdown with 2:39 left in the first quarter. CU place kicker Mason Crosby booted a 32-yard field goal - on his 21st birthday - with 12:22 left in the second quarter. CSU place kicker Kevin Mark missed a field goal wide left the next drive, giving CU the ball on its own 26-yard line. CU drove down the field on 11 plays, culminating in a one-yard touchdown by Lawrence Vickers. CSU came back to score a touchdown the next drive, putting them ahead 14-10 heading into half time.
CSU scored once in the third quarter, taking a 21-10 lead over CU into the fourth quarter. After CU's offense started to click, they tied the score at 21-21 with 2:32 left in the game on a 48-yard field goal by birthday boy Crosby. CU went up by a touchdown with 1:30 left in the game on a 32-yard run by sophomore Hugh Charles, which was set up by CU's fourth interception of CSU quarterback Justin Holland.
The sea of yellow shirts that made up the bulk of the CU student section went wild, students already celebrating a victory over in-state rival CSU.
CSU wasn't ready to give up yet. Holland pulled himself together and drove CSU 80 yards in eight plays, topping it off with a nine-yard pass to tight end Kory Sperry, knotting the game up at 28-28 with 36 seconds left in the game.
As the isolated CSU fans wearing green shirts in the sea of yellow shirts in the CU student section jumped from their seats cheering, the CU fans, still on their feet, could only stand with their mouths hanging open, hoping that a penalty flag would be thrown calling back the touchdown that silenced their premature celebration.
All they had to do was wait.
CU's Stephone Robinson returned the ensuing kickoff to the CU 40 yard line, putting his team in good position to make a score before the end of the game. CU drove across mid-field in three plays, putting Crosby in position to kick the 47-yard, game-winning field goal with only four seconds left in the game. CSU got the ball back after kickoff, but quarterback Holland was intercepted on the first play of their drive. Game over: CU 31, CSU 28.
"It gives me pride in my school," said CU student James Graham immediately after the game. "This rivalry will always be there. They should know they can't come in to our house - we'll fuck 'em up."
Thousands of people filed out of the stadium almost immediately after the game, many shouting as loud as they could. Some fans tried to leave in their cars as the game ended, only to be surrounded on the streets by thousands of worked-up football fans, many of whom clogged up Folsom Street, stopping the cars in their tracks.
The game did not go off without a hitch, however. Two CU students, who did not want to be identified because they belong to a sorority, said they were trampled near one of the student entrances prior to the game, as several Boulder Police officers stood by.
"I thought I was going to die," said one of the women. The other said she told the officers her friend was being trampled and the officers told her she should have picked her friend up. "CU doesn't care about the students, they only care about money," said the girl who claimed she was trampled.
A Boulder Police officer confirmed there had been "some problems" at one of the CU student entrances, but would not go into specifics.