** FORGOTTEN CLASSIC **
November 2: Missouri (4-1-1) at #18 Colorado (3-2-1)
Before Dallas Ward accepted the Colorado head coaching job in 1948, CU was a minor program. As part of the Mountain States Conference (along with teams like Colorado State, Utah, Utah State, Wyoming, BYU, and Denver), the Buffs had had some successful seasons, even making a lone bowl appearance in the 1938 Cotton Bowl (a 28-14 loss to Rice), but they took the big leap in '48, making the Big 6 Conference the Big 7. Under Ward, a longtime assistant at Minnesota, the Buffs made the slow climb toward respectability. They went just 5-11 in their first three Big 6 seasons but began to break through in 1951, winning 7, 6, 6, 7, and 6 games in respective seasons and entering the big-time with a 1956 Orange Bowl bid.
Ward's 1957 Buffaloes easily one of the most talented CU squads ever. Future Green Bay star Boyd Dowler was the quarterback, while other pro talent like RB Bob Stransky (a 2nd-round NFL pick in 1958), Eddie Dove (future star defensive back and punt returner for the 49ers), and John Wooten (future lineman for the Redskins and Browns) rounded out an impressive lineup. How impressive? The previous week, they had traveled to Norman and given OU a major scare--their 14-13 loss to the Sooners was the first time a visiting team had come within one possession of winning in Norman since TCU came within 21-16 in early 1954. In all, CU was in essence five points from being undefeated when Mizzou came to town--they had lost to OU by 1, KU by 1, and tied Washington.
A confident Mizzou squad came to Boulder intimidated by neither the talented Buffs, the overflow crowd of 41,000, the wet snow/drizzle, nor the presence of a live buffalo on the sideline for the first time. But before we get to how the game played out, let's take a quick detour into what (according to Bob Broeg) Frank Broyles thought about statistics:
"Statistics are for losers," Broyles would proclaim, prattling from the book of defense over offense, field position over possession, and all aspects of the kicking game, most certainly the quick kick.
Well, then. While that statement, for very obvious reasons, cuts me to the core, the benefit of the philosophy--a grave necessity for the coach of a beefy but outgunned, not-athletic-enough squad--was never more clearly illustrated than in Boulder on November 2, 1957. In less than ideal conditions, against a team that had significantly gained in confidence after a close loss to the best of the best, Missouri proceeded to get outgained by almost 300%, 329-123. But thanks to Bob Haas' quick kicks, they dominated the field position battle, and with Colorado clinging to an early 6-0 lead, eventually all-conference back Hank Kuhlmann scored to even things up, and Charlie Rash's PAT put Mizzou ahead by one.
Mizzou continued to leverage the field in their favor, and after pinning the Buffs deep with another nice kick, Bob Lee blocked a Boyd Dowler punt for a safety, giving Mizzou a 9-6 lead. They would hold on and pull out an unlikely 3-point win.
Two days after the big win, Missouri appeared in the AP Poll for the first time since the 1950 preseason. Broyles's 5-1-1 Tigers were the new #19 team in the country. And not only that...but undefeated Oklahoma was coming to town the next week with the Orange Bowl on the line. It would be the biggest game in Columbia since at least 1949 (when OU came to town) or maybe 1948 (when MU went to Norman). Columbia was ready to rock.
Missouri 9, Colorado 6