Sept. 14, 2007
By Luke Blount
On September 14, 1991, No. 12 Colorado had all the numbers on their side. The Buffaloes had won a school record 15 straight home games and a nation-leading 11 in a row overall dating back to their national championship season in 1990. The 50,754 fans at Folsom Field certainly expected a win, but No. 23 Baylor just wouldn't give up.
The Bears received the ball first and marched smoothly down the field into Colorado territory when Quarterback J.J. Joe threw an interception. However, Baylor returned the favor later in the first quarter when senior linebacker Curtis Hafford recovered a Colorado fumble on the Baylor goal line. The first quarter ended scoreless.
The Buffaloes opened up the second quarter with a 26-yard touchdown pass from senior quarterback Darian Hagan to senior tight end Sean Brown. The Bears quickly answered on their next possession with a 41-yard field goal by senior Jeff Ireland to make the score 7-3. Late in the second quarter, after a Baylor interception by senior Clifford Ellison, the Bears attempted another short field goal as time winded down. But Colorado senior free safety Greg Thomas blocked the attempt to end the half.
The missed opportunity seemed to have no effect on the Bears as they did the most damage in the third quarter. On Baylor's first offensive play of the second half, Joe threw a 74-yard bomb to junior Melvin Bonner over the middle for a touchdown. On their next possession, the Bears tacked on three more points on a 40-yard Ireland field goal to end the quarter at 13-7 Baylor.
"The defense fell asleep," said Thomas. "We weren't prepared for the long ball. J.J. Joe is a good athlete, and I'm not surprised he had the game he did."
In the fourth quarter Colorado quickly reclaimed the lead on a nine play, 80-yard drive resulting in a 10-yard touchdown run by freshman Kent Kahl. After a Baylor fumble in their own territory, the Buffaloes marched down to the Bear six yard-line before attempting a short field goal. But consensus All-American Santana Dotson broke through the line and blocked the attempt, knocking it forty yards back into Colorado territory.
"Usually in a field goal, the guard blocks down," said Dotson. "Robin Jones got a great block on the guard. I don't think I got touched."
With three minutes remaining on the clock, Baylor rushed five times, centered the ball, and Ireland made a 35-yard field to take the lead 16-14. Colorado quickly drove into Baylor territory with time running down, but senior Frankie Smith intercepted Hagan's pass on the Baylor 27 yard-line to end the contest.
"I've said all along my team was special because of what they learned last year," said head coach Grant Teaff. "Today they would not give up, they would not quit. They just kept coming back."
Baylor's rushing attack of David Mims, Robert Straight, and J.J. Joe combined for 195 rushing yards while Joe also had 233 yards in the air. The Bear defense also performed spectacularly as they snapped Colorado's 26 game streak of scoring at least 20 points.
The 1991 Bears opened their season with a 5-0 record and an Associated Press ranking of No. 8 before losing three of their last six conference games at home. Ironically, the Bears finished the season 5-0 on the road and 3-3 at home. They faced Indiana in the Copper Bowl and lost 24-0.
Santana Dotson was selected a national consensus All-American in 1991 and named the 1991 SWC Defensive Player of the Year. He was drafted by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and was named the 1992 NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year. He also played in two super bowls with the Green Bay Packers. J.J. Joe is currently the color commentator for Baylor football games on Baylor Sports Radio.