Baylor 34, Colorado 31, 3OT

Sunday, October 8th 2006, 12:59 pm
By: News On 6

BOULDER, Colo. (AP) _ Homecoming. Baylor. A beautiful, sun-splashed day. Seemed like the perfect time to finally spread some ``Hawk Love'' around Folsom Field in the form of a long-awaited victory.

Instead, it was just another spirit-sapping loss for Colorado and its new coach, Dan Hawkins.

The Buffs matched the longest losing streak in their 117-year history Saturday, falling 34-31 to Baylor in triple overtime for their 10th straight defeat.

The last six of those are on Hawkins, who was hired to restore a program that sagged under the weight of its turmoil during Gary Barnett's final seasons.

``I don't know that it's draining,'' Hawkins said. ``It's another variety of life. It's another adventure you go through, another battle you go through.''

Ryan Havens made a 22-yard field goal for the lead and linebacker Joe Pawelek clinched the win with a leaping interception in the end zone to help the Bears (3-3, 2-0 Big 12) win this thriller. It's the first time they've won back-to-back Big 12 games in the same season since joining the conference in 1996.

``It'd be fun if we played them all that way, as long as we win them,'' said Baylor coach Guy Morriss.

The Buffs (0-6, 0-2) remained winless on what was widely viewed as their best chance for the rest of the season to get that elusive `W' _ on homecoming, with the players still believing in their new coach, against a traditional conference doormat.

Now, it's CU that's the doormat, in need of a win next week against Texas Tech to avoid eclipsing the program's longest losing streak, first set in 1963-64.

Pawelek's walk-off interception was a beauty, though it helped that CU quarterback Bernard Jackson threw to Tyson DeVree far downfield and in heavy coverage on third-and-6 from the 21. The Buffs only needed a field goal to extend the game.

``Honestly, it was pretty surreal there for a while, seeing it and thinking, I can go get it,'' Pawelek said. ``Then, man, that was a pretty big play.''

While Pawelek, a redshirt freshman, was mobbed at the goal line _ the Bears can now legitimately think ``bowl game'' _ Hawkins gently took off his headset, placed it on the sideline and gave an enthusiastic hand to his team, which could have easily lost this game much earlier.

``Sometimes life keeps serving it up and doesn't serve it up the way we want it,'' Hawkins said. ``But we can predetermine our response to that. We can say, `Hey you'll never knock me out,' and keep getting back up.''

The Bears, averaging 27 yards rushing so far this season, finished with 110 against a struggling Colorado defense.

Paul Mosley ran for 85 yards for the Bears, and his 28-yard burst through the middle gave Baylor a 17-10 lead early in the fourth quarter and all the momentum.

Jackson answered by leading the Buffs on an 80-yard touchdown drive for CU's first fourth-quarter points of the season. The key play was the quarterback's 19-yard scramble on fourth-and-1.

The overtimes were typical college back-and-forth. Baylor scored first, helped by a ticky-tack pass interference call against defensive back Lorenzo Sims _ the kind of calls that always seem to go against teams with 0-6 records.

Colorado answered with a four-play touchdown drive, then Hugh Charles scored from 25 yards on the first play of the second overtime. Shawn Bell (31-for-44, 272 yards) kept Baylor alive when he hit Trent Shelton, wide open in the front corner of the end zone, for a 10-yard touchdown on fourth-and-7 in the second OT.

``I thought he was sacked, actually, then I saw the ball coming at me,'' Shelton said. ``It was one of the easiest catches I've ever made.''

The Bears were held to a field goal in the third extra session, but Jackson's interception on CU's possession kept Mason Crosby _ arguably the nation's best kicker _ off the field.

Not even Crosby was an automatic on this day, though.

Trailing 10-7 at halftime, CU's kickoff team recovered a fumble to open the third quarter. It could have been a huge momentum swing, but the Buffs couldn't gain a yard, then Crosby snap-hooked a 36-yard attempt and gave a huge boost to Baylor.

``Worst shank I've ever had,'' Crosby said.

CU surpassed 14 points for the first time this year, but it wasn't enough to prevent matching the worst losing streak since the start of coach Eddie Crowder's 11 seasons in Boulder.

After Texas Tech, the Buffs have Oklahoma, Kansas, Kansas State, Iowa State and Nebraska on the schedule. Baylor was supposedly a soft spot. Then again, that's what they said about Montana State, the Division I-AA opponent that beat the Buffs 19-10 on opening day.

``I've been in this long enough that I never assume this is a game we're going to win, or this is a game we're going to lose,'' Hawkins said. ``You just keep grinding.''