Accepts Scholarship To Colorado
Heavily recruited by a number of top colleges, Stewart eventually accepted a football scholarship to the University of Colorado. Although he saw limited action on the football field his freshman year, he became Colorado's starting quarterback during his sophomore year. He quickly proved his worth by passing for a new school record of 2,109 yards and tying Colorado's record with twelve touchdown passes. As a junior, he broke his own passing record by throwing for 2,299 yards and starting every game of the season despite a fractured bone in his left hand.
Stewart credits Colorado coach Rich Neuheisel with helping him to improve his game as a quarterback. The summer before his senior season, Stewart worked closely with Neuheisel, as the coach had done with Troy Aikman when Neuheisel coached at UCLA. Stewart later told Sports Illustrated: "If I'd had [Neuheisel as a coach] since my freshman year, I would have gone in the first round [of the NFL draft]. He taught me about coverages and gave me confidence." Stewart's work with the coach paid off, for Colorado enjoyed one of its best seasons ever, finishing with a 11-1 record and going on to beat Notre Dame, 41-24, in the Fiesta Bowl. After the Fiesta Bowl victory, Stewart, who passed for 226 yards and rushed for another 143, was named the game's MVP. For his four years at Colorado, Stewart compiled a brilliant record of 6,481 yards passing for thirty-three touchdowns and 1,289 yards running for another fifteen touchdowns.
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