Buffalo Heart Award winners
1998 — Darrin Chiaverini, WR
1999 — Mike Moschetti, QB
2000 — Eric McCready, WR
2001 — Cortlen Johnson, RB
2002 — Tyler Brayton, DT
2003 — Medford Moorer, FS
2004 — Bobby Purify, RB
2005 — Joel Klatt, QB
2006 — Thaddaeus Washington, ILB
2007 — Jordon Dizon, ILB
2008 — Ryan Walters, FS
2009 — Cha'pelle Brown, CB
2010 — Cody Hawkins, QB
2011 — Rodney Stewart, RB
2012 — Will Pericak, DE
2013 — Parker Orms, S
2014 — Greg Henderson, CB
2015 — Nelson Spruce, WR
2016 — Sefo Liufau, QB
2017 — Phillip Lindsay, RB
To get from Oregon State's Reser Stadium to the visiting locker room, players have to walk up a short hill and cross the street to the basketball arena, Gill Coliseum.
In the moments after a game, crossing the street means wading through hundreds of fans that are leaving the area.
Following a 36-33 victory at Reser Stadium on Oct. 14, Colorado's Phillip Lindsay crossed that street with his helmet in one hand, and with the other, he helped teammate Lyle Tuiloma carry an exercise bike over to the equipment staff.
After 28 bruising carries for 185 yards, Lindsay still had enough in the tank to do some postgame grunt work.
Then, after dropping off the bike, he approached the stairs that led down to the locker room when he saw a security guard he had never met.
"I appreciate what you do. That's what I'm hoping to do one day," Lindsay, who has expressed interest in working in law enforcement, said before heading for the locker room.
"You can come work for us," the security guard responded, drawing a smile from Lindsay.
Those few minutes in Corvallis, Ore., said a lot about Lindsay, who has become one of CU's all-time greats with a blue-collar work ethic, a passion for his state and his university, and a true admiration for those around him.
Those qualities and many more made Lindsay a natural choice for the Buffalo Heart Award, which he received following Saturday's home finale against USC.
"It was very special," he said. "It was an honor that the fans think of me so highly and it's something I'm going to be able to cherish for the rest of my life."
Originating in 1998, the Buffalo Heart Award is presented by fans who sit behind the CU bench and it's designed to honor the senior that displays the best determination, toughness and spirit of a buffalo.
"Since its inception, I have never had a player like Phillip Lindsay who epitomizes what this award is all about: heart, grit, determination and desire," said Patric Grimes, one of the founders of the award.
It's easy to appreciate what Lindsay does on the football field. He's a tough-as-nails, 5-foot-8, 190-pound running back who runs like he's a fullback, takes big hits and bounces back up like an inflatable punching bag, and then praises everyone else for how well he played.
On Saturday, Lindsay rushed for 68 yards and moved into second place on CU's all-time rushing list, with 3,635 yards in his career.
With one game to play in the regular season, Lindsay is up to 1,402 rushing yards this season, the fourth-best single-season total in CU history.
Very few players over the years have earned the respect and admiration that Lindsay has earned from fans, opponents and teammates.
"If you watch Phillip, he talks on the field like he's as big as us," CU left tackle Jeromy Irwin said. "He's always barking up a big tree but we love him and he loves us. We go out there and we work hard for him and he works hard for us."
Lindsay's hard work has made him one of the all-time greats in CU history, and may lead him to the NFL next year. As he finished his last game at Folsom Field on Saturday, it's clear that he and CU fans won't soon forget what he's done in Boulder.
"I hope everybody's proud of what I've accomplished," he said. "It has flown by. It's going to be a sad moment when I have to leave this place."