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Colorado Falls in Big 12 Championship Game 70-3 Against Texas

Courtesy: Associated Press
Release: December 03, 2005
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Joel Klatt and the Buffaloes lost to Texas in Houston.   By CUBuffs.com
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HOUSTON (AP & Staff Reports) -- The quarterback pinned one behind his ear. The coach cradled an entire bouquet. The Texas Longhorns came out smelling like roses, with a resounding win that put them one victory away from the national title that has eluded the program for decades.

Led by four touchdowns from Vince Young and two more from Jamaal Charles, the second-ranked 'Horns defeated Colorado, 70-3, in the Big 12 championship game Saturday.

Saturday's win gave Texas its first Big 12 title since 1996 and the first title of any kind for Brown, the veteran coach who built a reputation for his ability to recruit great teams, but never could take them to the ultimate destination.

Credit for taking care of business early _ the way great teams do _ grabbing a 14-0 lead after 11 minutes and 35-3 midway through the second quarter. And credit for playing relatively mistake-free ball and looking like a true power in this, the week after many questioned their focus in a 40-29 struggle against Texas A&M.

His second touchdown throw, a 31-yarder to Limas Sweed (five catches, 102 yards), was well covered but nearly impossible to defend because of the way Sweed screened himself away from the defender and the way Young threw the pass, so nobody but his receiver could catch it.

Young's 8-yard TD to David Thomas was similarly brilliant, thrown toward the sideline as Thomas laid out to make the catch _ again well covered, but in a spot where only he could make the play.

Maybe Young's best play, though, was his 2-yard touchdown run, a play in which all four Texas receivers were covered, as were all the outside running lanes for the mobile QB. So, Young simply picked and poked and tiptoed his way through the inside, knocking down his own teammate, guard Will Allen, to get to the end zone standing up.

Texas scored on its first possession, scored again off a blocked punt, then made it 63-3 on a run by Charles (seven carries, 62 yards) after CU lost a fumble at its 26, all early in the third quarter.  Young exited the game at that point.

As for Colorado, well, what really is there to say?

"A pretty numbing game," coach Gary Barnett called it.

It would have been completely laughable had CU quarterback Joel Klatt not taken a vicious, helmet-to-helmet violent shot from linebacker Drew Kelson in the third quarter that left him lying motionless in the end zone for a few, anxious moments.  Kelson was penalized on the play but was not ejected, as most on the Colorado side felt it warranted a disqualification.  

Texas was still blizting despite being ahead by what would be the final score at the time, and Barnett deferred comment when asked about the circumstances postgame.

Klatt (14-for-24, 100 yards) was able to stagger off the field, and initially appeared to be all right.  He would later be taken to the Herrmann Medical Center for a CT scan, which proved to be negative Saturday evening.  He returned to Colorado Sunday afternoon with his wife, Sara, and parents, Gary and Rita.

The rest of the Buffs shuffled onto the bus and tried to figure out where everything went wrong.

Asked if he was surprised to see his opponent blitzing while leading by 50, at first Barnett demurred.

Later, though, he said, "I'm surprised we lost the game 70-3, let's say that."

The Longhorns didn't expect that kind of score, either. But they rolled it up, giving them a few days to relax and feel good about themselves.

"It was a pretty numbing game,'' coach Gary Barnett said. "Actually, numb would be a good feeling right now.''

There is, of course, no real turning point in a 70-3 game. So instead, Barnett chose to focus on last month.

"For some reason, we could not overcome that loss to Iowa State,'' he said, harkening back to a 30-16 defeat that started the Buffs on their three-game losing streak.

Before that loss, CU looked like a legitimate contender, if not for the national championship, then at least for the division title it won anyway and maybe a decent bowl to go with it.

Since then, Colorado has been outscored 100-6 by Nebraska and Texas, two games in which it can fairly be said that the Buffs barely showed up.

"Something's been mentally wrong with our team,'' tight end Joe Klopfenstein said. "But we haven't been able to pinpoint what it is.''

That they haven't is disturbing, not only because of the result Saturday, but because of what it bodes for the very uncertain future.

Barnett, who basically conceded he can't feel the pulse of his own team, has one year left on his contract and is still waiting for an extension that seemed certain to be coming when the Buffs were 7-2 and rolling toward the Big 12 North. Now, that seems less sure.

Either way, Barnett has been outrecruited for the last few years by Nebraska, which based on the results of last week's game, seems to be emerging as the new "power'' in that weak division.

On Saturday, he got badly outcoached for the second straight week.

"I hated to see the score get like it did for him,'' said Barnett's friend, Texas coach Mack Brown.

If Barnett returns, the strength of this year's offense - Klatt and Klopfenstein - will both be gone. All-star kicker Mason Crosby, who had a 31-yarder blocked, is staying and most of a pretty strong defense will return, too.

They will hang another banner this season for making the Big 12 title game for the fourth time in five years, the same number of division titles Oklahoma and Texas have won as the three schools have the most in the 10-year history of the league.

"We all know this is a pretty fragile existence,'' Barnett said. "We've all known all along it's fragile. What happened to us today is a great example of that.''

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