Colorado 35, Kansas St. 31

Oct. 5, 2002 at 8:16 PM
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BOULDER, Colo., Oct. 5 (UPI) -- No. 16 Kansas State nearly rallied from a 21-point deficit in the fourth quarter Saturday, but was hurt by a key penalty down the stretch and fell to Colorado, 35-31, in the Big 12 Conference opener for both teams.

Colorado (3-2, 1-0 Big 12 North) was paced by Robert Hodge, who was 13 of 20 for 289 yards and three touchdowns, and running back Chris Brown, who rushed for 164 yards and two scores. Brown ran 85 yards for a touchdown in the second quarter.

Colorado took a 35-14 advantage on a one-yard pass from Robert Hodge to Jesse Wallace with 8:27 to play in the third quarter, but Darren Sproles countered with touchdown runs of 80 and three yards to cut the deficit to seven points entering the fourth quarter.

After Buffaloes punt returner Jeremy Bloom lost a fumble at his 29-yard line, Kansas State drove to the five. But on fourth and three with eight minutes to go, Kansas State coach Bill Snyder chose not to kick a 22-yard field goal and Sproles was stopped for a loss on an option run by cornerback Donald Strickland.

With 2:16 to play, Kansas State kicker Jared Brite nailed a 35-yard attempt to cut the deficit to 35-31.

With Colorado facing third and eight near midfield with 1:24 to go, Wildcats cornerback James Dunnigan was whistled for pass interference on Derek McCoy, giving the Buffaloes an automatic first down that allowed them to run out the clock.

Sproles ran for 118 yards and three scores and Ell Roberson rushed for 187 yards and a touchdown for Kansas State (4-1, 0-1 Big 12 North). The Wildcats lost their second consecutive game against the Buffaloes after winning the previous four.

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