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Colorado Still on a Roll With Help of Wheeler

Big 12: Freshman cornerback has two interceptions as Buffaloes' defense is too much for Kansas State, 12-0.

November 17, 1996|From Associated Press

BOULDER, Colo. — Chris Canty, move over. The next budding defensive star in the Big 12 might be Colorado's Damen Wheeler.

Much as Canty made his reputation in Kansas State's game against Colorado last season, Wheeler rose to the occasion in Saturday night's rematch.

Wheeler, a backup freshman cornerback, had two interceptions and defensive tackle Ryan Olson a key fourth-down sack and No. 6 Colorado blanked No. 9 Kansas State, 12-0, for its seventh consecutive win. Herchell Troutman ran for 112 yards and a touchdown for the Buffaloes (9-1 overall and 7-0 in Big 12), who have one game remaining--against Nebraska on Nov. 29--to determine the conference's North Division champion.

Koy Detmer passed for 138 yards and scored Colorado's other touchdown on a one-yard sneak.

Kansas State (8-2, 5-2) managed only 228 yards against a Colorado defense determined to atone for giving up 42 points and 405 yards in an ugly 49-42 victory over Iowa State a week ago.

Wheeler set up a Colorado touchdown with his first interception and made a diving theft in the end zone to thwart Kansas State's last realistic scoring chance with 5:26 remaining.

"The kid has stepped up every time we've asked him to," Colorado coach Rick Neuheisel said. "Certainly Kevin Lockett is a premier receiver in the country, but I thought Wheeler was with him most of the night.

"Any time you come up with two interceptions in a game of this magnitude, that usually translates into a big-time game."

Kansas State mounted its only sustained drive in the third quarter, driving from its 8 to the Colorado 7 where, on fourth-and-4, Olson bolted up the middle to sack Brian Kavanagh for an eight-yard loss.

Lockett caught seven passes, giving him 209 for his career to break the conference record of 203 set by Oklahoma State's Hart Lee Dykes (1985-88).

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