CU FOOTBALL: Green has seen his share of red
BY CURT McKEEVER Lincoln Journal Star
Javon Green admits Colorado's football games against Nebraska during his career have reminded him of another team that couldn't quite win the big one.
"It feels somewhat like the Buffalo Bills losing four Super Bowls in a row," said the Buffs' affable senior wide receiver. "But hey, this is my fifth one. I have another chance."
Green remembers being in Memorial Stadium in 1996 as a redshirt freshman watching Colorado come up on the short end of a 17-12 decision.
"Koy Detmer was playing and it was amazing to see all the red. You get caught up in that HuskerVision," Green said, "but it was neat to experience that before I got on the field there two years later.
In that 1998 game, the Buffaloes again came up just short, losing 16-14.
Last year, Green did his best to end that trend, catching five passes for 100 yards and a touchdown. But Colorado, down 27-3 in the fourth quarter, came just short of posting the greatest comeback in school history, losing 33-30 in overtime when Jeremy Aldrich, the most accurate field goal kicker in CU history, missed a 34-yarder on the final play of regulation.
That remains, by far, the toughest setback in the series Green has endured.
"Wide right is a problem in my eyes," said Green, referring to Aldrich's miss. "When I become the head coach at the University of Colorado, we're going for it on fourth down."
But first things first.
Green is focused only on ending his playing career having helped the Buffs end a eight-year losing streak to the Cornhuskers.
Considering Colorado is about to cap just its second losing season since 1984, most people figure the streak will continue. But eventually, the odds will even out for a team that's lost to NU by just 13 points combined in the last four games.
Right, Mr. Green?
"I don't think what's happened this season overrides the confidence (gained from playing Nebraska close)," he said. "The last two weekends, its rivalry week. Oregon State wasn't the favorite and they beat Oregon. This is one of the biggest games of the year and it's not about records.
"We don't have a bowl game, so this is kind of like a bowl game for us. We talk to every guy about playing this for the love of the game."
The 6-foot-2, 200-pound Green grew up in Inglewood, Calif., a stone's throw from the glamour of Hollywood.
As one of seven seniors on the active roster, Green had hoped to receive some star treatment at last week's home finale against Iowa State.
But despite his career-best nine-catch, 167-yard performance, the Cyclones rallied for a 35-27 victory.
"I was like, 'We're going to win this game and I'm going to ride off into the sunset like those famous cowboys - John Wayne and them,' " he said. "But in the end, it just seemed like those desperadoes came up from behind and came after me, and it didn't go my way. It just didn't have that sweet ending as it should've been."
Now, Green is down to one last chance. And beyond wanting to end his career with a memorable team on a bang, he also can achieve a couple personal milestones.
Green is CU's leading receiver with 43 catches for 642 yards and four touchdowns. He needs five receptions to pass Rae Carruth (135) and move into third place all-time at CU. He needs 26 yards to become the fifth Buff to have 2,000 in a career.
"I thought I would leave here with every receiver record in my pocket," Green said, "but I've enjoyed playing at CU. I wouldn't change what I had my past five years, say winning a national championship, because I've learned about camaraderie and rapport."
Reach Curt McKeever at 473-7441 or email@example.com.