Colorado’s Cha’pelle Brown (29) prepares to wrap up Nebraska’s Ray Helu (10) in Friday’s game at Folsom Field.
Colorado's Cha'pelle Brown (29) prepares to wrap up Nebraska's Ray Helu (10) in Friday's game at Folsom Field.
Colorado cornerback Cha`pelle Brown had walked off Folsom Field for the last time Friday afternoon after a disappointing loss to Nebraska in the finale of his senior season.

He thought it was done. A gritty, determined career most players could only dream of producing was over. He had finished it with a solid effort leading his team in tackles with 11 total stops, one sack and another tackle for loss.

Then a familiar face from the sports information office appeared in the locker room. Nick Bernal told Brown he was needed back out on the field for something special. A bit confused, Brown exited one final time, trotted out to the field, sans Ralphie, and was greeted by a small group of CU fans with a gift -- the Buffalo Heart Award.

It won`t go down as one the most memorable or emotional presentations of the award, which is presented to one player on each CU football team by the fans behind the bench. The award is 12 years old now and goes to the Buff the fans believe has shown heart, grit, determination and desire on and off the field throughout the season.

"It was surprising," Brown said. "I didn`t even know that they do that. So when they gave it to me it was surprising, but I really take it as an honor that they gave it to me.

"It means a lot. That`s why you go out there, you play for the team, play for the fans. They are the ones who cheer you on and pay for the game and pay for their tickets. It was a real special honor to go out there and get that."

Smith to consider future

Colorado cornerback Jimmy Smith has a decision to make about his future after completing his junior season on Friday.

Smith is already considered an NFL prospect and will have to decide whether to turn professional early or return for his senior season. The NFL has a committee in place to help advise underclassmen about their chances of being drafted and what round they might be taken in if they decide to turn pro early.

Smith would probably improve his draft position if he waited a year and performed well as a senior, but there is always the risk of injury in violent game.

Smith began this season with a goal of being selected as an All-Big 12 Conference player. He likely fell short of that achievement with 65 total tackles this season, two interceptions, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery. Brown was the only player on the field for the CU defense more this season than Smith.

Missing extra point?

The Buffs did not attempt an extra point after wide receiver Scotty McKnight scored a touchdown on the final play of the game as time expired.

The NCAA rulebook states, "If a touchdown is scored during a down in which time in the fourth period expires, the try shall not be attempted unless the point(s) would affect the outcome of the game."

CU senior backup long snapper Austin Bisnow would have liked the referees to allow the Buffs to run the play. Bisnow, who has a year of eligibility remaining but has decided to give up football, was in the game for what would have been his first career snap.

Attendance rises

Despite an increase in the price of tickets in parts of the stadium and subpar results on the field, attendance at six Colorado football home games this season was up slightly compared with last season.

The Buffs attracted 3,669 more fans this year than they did in 2008. The announced attendance at Friday`s game was 52,817, making the six-game total 300,527. The Buffs attracted 296,858 last year.

The figures are based on announced attendance figures, which include those who attend the game on passes and stadium workers. Announced attendance does not necessarily reflect ticket sales numbers.

Iltis at guard

Mike Iltis began the season at center, but suffered an injury and never regained his spot from walk-on Keenan Stevens who played well in his absence. Iltis did manage to work his back on the field.

He has been listed as a backup at both center and guard and had played in the Iowa State and Oklahoma State games at guard. He started there Friday and played the entire game.

It`s unclear what that might mean for the future. The most likely scenario would be Iltis and Stevens competing at center again in the spring and fall, and if Iltis doesn`t win the job, he could play guard again.

Sacks up

The Buffs were credited with three sacks on Friday to finish the year with 29 overall, a high in Dan Hawkins` four seasons as coach. The Buffs have now recorded at least one sack in 20 consecutive games. This is the first season in which the Buffs registered at least one sack in every game since 1996.

Notable

Wide receiver Markques Simas had his third 100-yard game in the final four outings this season and finished his sophomore season on a tear with 31 receptions for 463 yards in that span. His 31 receptions over a four-game span are the most in CU history. Simas also tied former Buff D.J. Hackett for the program record with four consecutive games with at least six receptions. ... The Buffs finished the season with 107 penalties for 907 yards. Neither are CU records.