Buffs Seek to Lock Up Big 12 North Saturday
BOULDER-The University of Colorado football team practiced for over two hours in Wednesday in preparation for a showdown with Big 12 North second-place Iowa State (6-3, 3-3 Big 12).
The Buffs (7-2, 5-1 Big 12) control their own destiny in the north division, and they can wrap up their fourth division crown in the last five seasons with a victory against the Cyclones in Ames, Iowa on Saturday. CU has won 10 straight games at Jack Trice Stadium, a stretch that dates to 1983. They have also won 20 of the last 21 games overall.
Clinching the Big 12 North will not be easy, however, as the Cyclones have bounced back from an 0-3 conference start and won three in a row, including a 45-17 victory over Kansas State at home. The team is starting to show why they, along with CU, were picked by many to represent the north in the Big 12 Championship in Houston, Texas.
Iowa State is a team that could be 9-0, without any hesitation," head coach Gary Barnett said. "This is a big challenge for us to go play in a hostile environment on the road at night."
Last season, the Buffs prevailed 19-14 thanks to four Mason Crosby field goals, including a 60-yarder which was the longest in CU history and the longest in the NCAA in 2004. Both teams finished the regular season with identical conference records, however CU won the tie-breaker based on it's head-to-head victory over the Cyclones.
"Crosby was the difference in that game," Iowa State head coach Dan McCarney said. "It seems like he can hit (field goals) from anywhere. He is the best kicker in college football."
Despite creeping further up in the national rankings, the Buffs insist they still have a lot of business to take care of.
"I think all of our team goals are ahead of us," quarterback Joel Klatt said. "The way that this team plays and prepares, I don't think anyone is going to take anything for granted when we go out and play a very good Iowa State team."
If the Buffs want to win four in a row for the first time since 2002 (when they won five consecutive games), all facets of the team will have to come out and play some of their best football of the season.
"I think it will take our best game so far to win this game," Barnett said. "We will have to play well all across the board."
Two Buffs Named Academic All-District
Junior offensive lineman Brian Daniels and sophomore wide receiver Dusty Sprague were named Second Team Academic All-District 7 Wednesday. Daniels, a business (finance) major, earned first-team Academic All-Big 12 honors as a sophomore, boasting a grade point average in excess of 3.5. Sprague, a business (management) major, was also a first-team Academic All-Big 12 team member last season as a redshirt frosh.