Stewart leads Colorado past Kansas State 44-36
By ARNIE STAPLETON
AP Sports Writer
BOULDER, Colo. (AP) Tailback Rodney Stewart's multitude of talents have the rejuvenated Colorado Buffaloes on the verge of bowl eligibility. Now, all they have to do is beat Nebraska next week in their Big 12 farewell.
Stewart ran for a touchdown and gained a career-high 195 yards on 34 carries, caught two passes for 49 yards and completed a 23-yard halfback pass for a TD in leading Colorado past Kansas State 44-36 Saturday.
Cody Hawkins threw for three TDs and 202 yards, pulling within 129 yards of Joel Klatt's career school record of 7,044, and the Buffaloes (5-6, 2-5 Big 12) won their second straight under interim coach Brian Cabral, who took over two weeks ago when Dan Hawkins was fired.
Kansas State (6-5, 3-5) lost starting quarterback Collin Klein late in the second quarter and couldn't quite keep up with Stewart. Klein suffered an unspecified injury when he was sacked by defensive end Josh Hartigan and was replaced by Carson Coffman, who threw for 270 yards and two touchdowns.
The 80 combined points marked the most in the 66-game history of the series that will fade away with the Buffaloes' bolting to the Pac-12 next fall. The previous high was 77 points in Colorado's 45-32 win in 1969.
Dan Hawkins was on the field with other family members for pregame senior day celebrations that included his quarterback son. Linebacker B.J. Beatty, a native of Hawaii whose mother made leis for all 16 seniors, ran over to Hawkins and put his lei around his neck.
The festivities had barely finished when the Wildcats quickly took a double-digit lead.
Ty Zimmerman returned the short punt 41 yards to the Colorado 1, and Klein ran it in from there on the first snap.
One play, one yard, three seconds.
Klein scored on another 1-yard keeper to make it 14-3 the second time the Wildcats had the ball. But Will Jefferson returned the kickoff to midfield and Stewart leaped in from a yard out. The point-after was blocked.
Daniel Thomas (58 yards on 14 carries) coughed up the ball and Colorado cornerback Jimmy Smith returned it 22 yards to the Kansas State 24, and Stewart took the pitch and hit Toney Clemons in the back of the end zone from 23 yards out with his first collegiate pass to put the Buffaloes ahead 16-14.
It was Colorado's first halfback touchdown pass since 1993.
Senior Scotty McKnight scored on a 37-yard catch and run, diving the nose of the ball into the end zone as he was knocked out of bounds, giving the Buffs a 23-14 halftime lead. McKnight's score was his 21st, setting a school record.
He caught another from 13 yards out to make it 30-14 after a roughing penalty negated Kansas State defensive back Thomas Ferguson's interception at the Colorado 20.
From then on, the teams kept trading scores.
Coffman scored on a 6-yard keeper and Thomas' jump-pass to Andre McDonald pulled Kansas State to 30-22.
Stewart responded with a 51-yard touchdown run for a 37-22 lead, but Kansas State stayed in it as Coffman connected with Aubrey Quarles from 16 yards out on fourth-and-goal to make it 37-29.
After Colorado went ahead 44-29 on Cody Hawkins' 3-yard touchdown toss to Paul Richardson, the Wildcats got into the end zone on fourth down, this time with Coffman hitting Chris Harper from 23 yards out on fourth-and-12 to make it 44-36.
Buffs punter Zach Grossnickle pinned the Wildcats at their 5 with three minutes remaining. And finally, the Buffs stopped Kansas State on fourth down when Hartigan recorded his third sack of the day, dropping Coffman on fourth-and-6 from the Wildcats 38 with 1:01 left.
Updated November 20, 2010