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Buffs Have A 'Field Day' In Spokane
Story by Craig Harper
SPOKANE, Wash. --- It will be recorded in the history books as bill McCartney’s first win as a head college football coach, and that was the biggest story around Colorado’s 12-0 victory Saturday over Washington State.
But in his finest moment of glory since he became CU’s head man last June 9, McCartney decided to play a supporting role.
“I really feel great, and really humble,” said McCartney. “Our defense (which recorded CU’s first shutout since 1977) was great. But I don’t want to take any credit.”
Instead, Saturday, Sept. 18, 1982 was a day of vindication to the psyches of many Buff players:
- Kicker Tom Field. A sensation as a freshman in 1979, a sophomore flop in ’80, a man beaten out of his job in ’81. All he did was account for all 12 Colorado points, connecting on his first four field goal tries from 31, 39, 44 and 24 yards. He came within a few whiskers of breaking a school record and making it a perfect 5-for-5 from 34 yards out late in the game. But he gladly settled for a tie.
“When I didn’t kick last year and I didn’t kick well the year before, I was kinda skeptical,” admitted Field, who this season duplicated his ’79 start by hitting his first five field goal tries (he was 1-for-1 last week against California). “I didn’t have to prove anything this year, I guess. But I got a chance to kick again this year, and that was really nice. I’m a team man, so I wanted to do the best I can. I thought I worked pretty hard over the summer. My attitude was to come back and be as good as I could be.”
-Quarterback Steve Vogel. The Buff backup had a miserable time last week against Cal with an interception and a fumble in a brief appearance. He would, it seemed, be forever known as a “one-drive” quarterback.
“I felt I had a little bit to prove,” said Vogel of his effort against Cal. “But I was more than ready to play. I felt last night that we were going to win.”
As Field said, “I guess people will only think we only scored by field goals so I played a big part, but the offense had to get the ball down there.”
-Halfback Lee Rouson. His backup Richard Johnson, grabbed the headlines last week as Rouson gained just 13 yards on eight carries. But against the Cougars the Buffs found a weakness inside and the hard running Rouson responded by gaining 97 yards on 22 carries.
“I am used to straight-ahead stuff,” said Rouson, who last year after a sluggish first game, ran for 77 yards against Washington State.
“We won this game and we played together,” said a humble Rouson. “The line blocked and the backs ran. Our plan before the game was to run the ball.”
This time he was the perfect complement to Johnson, who had another fine game - even better than last week’s - with 72 yards on 20 carries including a critical third down gain of nine yards after a CU goal-line stand in the third quarter.
The perfect 1-2 punch?
“I think so,” Said Rouson, “especially in this (Big Eight) Conference. It’s hard to play every down.”
-Art Woods. The goat in last year’s 14-10 WSU victory in Boulder when he couldn’t get off two fourth quarter punts with CU leading 10-0. His 36.6 average on eight kicks won’t raise many eyebrows, but he kept WSU pinned deep in its own territory virtually the entire game, then had his final kick downed on the WSU 6-yard line with 7:32 remaining and the Buffs ahead 12-0.
“That’s probably the best punt-rush team we’re gonna face,” said Wood, who was pressured on his early kicks, yet got off a 43 yarder under extreme heat.
“I was, and today I had to work kicking into a little wind. It was a little psychological because I felt it was gonna go straight up. But I didn’t even worry about the after the first couple. But I knew they were close.”
-Dave Alderson. CU’s starting outside linebacker last year, lost his job to Kevin Hood, but started Saturday because of an injury to Terry Irvin. It was his initial hit on WSU fullback James Matthews on fourth down at the CU 1-yard line the stopped the Cougars after they had marched 51 yards in 16 plays early in the third quarter with the Buffs leading 9-0.
The game, CU’s first road win since a 31-17 victory of Kansas in Lawrence in 1979, was also a mark of retribution for the Buff running game and the new offensive line. Last week Colorado gained just 48 yards rushing, and against WSU had a guard (Calvin Beaty) playing his first major-college game, a center (Steve Heron) who played guard the previous week, a tackle (Randy Hogbin) making his first major-college debut and a freshman tight end (Don Fairbanks) starting the game for Dave Hestera (though Hestera came back to play most of the final three quarters.)
All the changes, especially Vogel at quarterback, forced McCartney to alter his game plan. “We were more conservative, obviously, than we would have been,” he said.
“No,” countered Vogel. “That was the game plan - we talked about it all week. We wanted to give our line a chance to prove what they’re worth. They made a great showing.”
Vogel said that the WSU defense helped make the inside running work. “They stayed in a lot of basic defenses. They weren’t trying anything different so the linemen had no problems picking what they were doing.”
Vogel’s only complaint about the offense - other than his passing of which he said, “I’m not satisfied with at all” - was the lack of touchdowns.
“Maybe there was a slight lack of killer instinct,” he suggested. “but on two or three occasions we had critical penalties (especially in the second half).”
And CU’s defense, once the laughingstock of college football, can again stand tall. These Buffs limited Washington State, whose passing attack was nil with Ricky Turner starting at quarterback in place of Clete Casper, to 88 first half yards and 182 total and came up with two fumble recoveries and an interception. The Cougars had only one drive of more than 30 yards.
“We just got big play after big play,” said McCartney.
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