Every edge of every seat at Folsom Field would be worn thin by the conclusion of this heart-halting contest. For me, this game would complete a major first in my tour – watching two division one games in one day. Part one of the double header had Cal devouring Air Force in impressive fashion. Tonight’s game served up a heaping helping of hate as the green and gold and black and gold collided in every imaginable way. Flags staked in the ground bearing the CU emblem welcomed fans as they traveled up the Boulder Turnpike toward campus. The energy intensified as Boulder appeared framed breathtakingly against the Rockies. Tailgating and parking was as competitive as on the field action as fans crammed into the city and billows of smoke emanating from grills signaled the opening of a fresh season. Colorado students belted the fight song and interrupted themselves with harsh heckling of CSU fans that passed by. Dusk settled in and the stadium reverberated with anticipation.
In true traditional fashion, Ralphie, a live buffalo serving as Colorado’s beloved mascot, broke onto the field and jazzed the home crowd. Ram fans made their presence felt by hoarding a large section of the stadium and toting their band along to retaliate against the barrage of unwelcomeness. Colorado captured a commanding 17-0 lead to start the party. However, the Fort Collins crew rammed back with 17 unanswered points of their own. From here, the scoreboard swung like a pendulum highlighted by Colorado’s Brian Iwuh intercepting a pass that snapped the crowd back to attention.
With the Buffaloes leading 27-24, the Rams found themselves staring up at a running clock already under ten seconds remaining in the contest and facing a third and goal at the Colorado two. Instead of spiking the ball, stopping the clock, and kicking the conservative fieldgoal to ensure overtime, the Rams opted to stun the crowd and roll the dice. Their backup tailback got the call and what looked like mass confusion ended with Colorado’s J.J. Billingsley dropping the runner as time expired. Suddenly, rabid Buffalo crazies consumed the field to join in the celebration. Colorado State fans could only sulk as they fell two yards shy of making major headlines.
The off-season for Colorado had been a tumultuous one having been inundated with accusations surrounding sex scandals involving the program. This victory ameliorated some of the wounds suffered over the summer and pointed the Buffs season toward a more positive light.
The roars echoing from Folsom Field surely caused a few rock falls along hiking paths nearby. The entire scene encompassed the joy of college football. Rushing the field harbors a turrets syndrome-like quality with its sheer uncontrollable expression of love and loyalty for the team. Rather than joining the mob gathering on the field, I chose to take a photo in front of the action to ensure my safety.
Tonight, we were part of the largest crowd to gather at Folsom Field. I am proud to have been included in those attendance numbers as well as being a part of a classic college football game in one of its grander settings.