Paul Aiken / Camera file
Cliff Grassmick / Staff Photographer
In 1924, ground was broken in January on the turf that eventually would be known as Folsom Field, named after pioneering Colorado football coach Frederick Folsom. Almost nine months later to the day, the Buffaloes hit the field at their new home for the first time.
On Saturday, the Buffs will do so for the 500th time at the venerable venue, widely considered one of the most scenic in all of college football. Folsom has undergone a number of facelifts in the 94 years since, the most recent of which of course was the $166 million addition of the Champions Center and indoor practice facility at the northeast corner of the venue.
Ninety-four years is far too many to offer a succinct and thorough list of the biggest thrills compiled by Buffaloes on the sunken gridiron at the foundation of Folsom. But here are 10 milestone Folsom victories.
1. Colorado 32, Oklahoma 23 (Oct. 27, 1990)
A home win against Texas earlier in the season buoyed the Buffs after a 1-1-1 start, and a win the following week at Nebraska was the regular-season highlight of the 1990 national championship team. But topping No. 22 Oklahoma counts as the top home win of the Buffs’ title team, with an 85-yard touchdown pass from Darian Hagan to Rico Smith providing the key cushion down the stretch.
2. Colorado 27, Nebraska 21 (Nov. 4, 1989)
Darian Hagan and JJ Flannigan ran the option play to perfection, with Flannigan taking a pitch well downfield on a 70-yard touchdown run that highlighted the third-ranked Buffs’ win against the No. 2 Cornhuskers. Though CU’s national title aspirations would be delayed a year, the win sent the Buffs into an Orange Bowl date against Notre Dame.
3. Colorado 62, Nebraska 36 (Nov. 23, 2001)
The Buffs rolled up 380 rushing yards and scored nine touchdowns in a waxing of the No. 2-ranked Cornhuskers. At the time it was the most points any team had ever scored against Nebraska, and the win secured CU’s berth in the Big 12 Conference championship game.
4. Colorado 41, Iowa State 20 (Nov. 19, 1994)
Few celebrations hosted at Folsom have been as festive as the one that took off spontaneously in the northeast corner after Rashaan Salaam topped the 2,000-yard mark by erupting for a 67-yard touchdown run. On a day that also saw Kordell Stewart become the Big Eight Conference’s all-time leader in total offense, Salaam, the eventual Heisman trophy winner, immediately was hoisted upon his teammates’ shoulders in a moment made even more indelibly poignant in the wake of Salaam’s 2016 suicide.
5. Colorado 20, Nebraska 10 (Oct. 25, 1986)
There would be more important wins against the rival Cornhuskers in the years to come, but this one against a third-ranked Nebraska team served notice Bill McCartney’s rebuilding project was for real. McCartney dug deep into the playbook, getting touchdowns on a 39-yard reverse by Jeff Campbell and a 52-yard halfback pass from OC Oliver to Lance Carl. The win ended an 18-game losing streak against Nebraska.
6. Colorado 20, Oklahoma 14 (Oct. 21, 1972)
In a battle of top-10 teams, the ninth-ranked Buffs outscored the No. 2-ranked Sooners 20-7 after halftime to pull out the win. It remains the highest-ranked foe to ever fall at Folsom.
7. Colorado 31, Missouri 24 (Oct. 25, 1969)
Missouri arrived in Boulder ranked No. 5 with a defense considered among the best in the nation. Legendary Buffs running back Bobby Anderson wasn’t impressed, rushing for 132 yards and two touchdowns to lead a 379-yard output by the CU offense.
8. Colorado 41, Penn State 13 (Sept. 26, 1970)
For the first time ever a Colorado Buffalo earned a prestigious spot on the cover of Sports Illustrated, with linebacker Phil Irwin receiving that honor after the CU defense forced five turnovers in a blowout win against the nation’s No. 4-ranked team.
9. Colorado 27, Oklahoma 24 (Sept. 29, 2007)
By far the highlight of the Dan Hawkins era. CU snapped a 14-game losing streak against ranked foes, topping the Sooners on a 45-yard field goal by Kevin Eberhart on the game’s final play. It remains the only time the Buffs have recorded a win as time expired.
10. Colorado 39, Regis College 0 (Oct. 11, 1924)
It’s difficult to put this list together without giving a shout-out to where it all began with the very first game at Folsom. Utah narrowly missed being opponent No. 1 and No. 500 at Folsom, as the Buffs faced the Utes in the second game at Folsom three weeks later.