It’s been known all year long that CU has major offensive weapons. The “Blackout Boyz”, in wide receivers Bryce Bobo, Devin Ross, Shay Fields Jr. and Jay MacIntyre provide a dynamic receiving core. They have a pro-style quarterback in Steven Montez, who has the ability to hit receivers in small slots with the instinct to escape the pocket and run the ball. And then there’s Phillip Lindsay, the senior running back that has provided consistent offensive performances all season.
It didn’t take long for Montez, to turn the page from last week’s debacle where he was substituted at half time. After a 39-yard rush by Lindsay to start the game, Montez found Ross in the end-zone for a 22-yard touchdown. On their next drive, Montez converted a 3rd and 17 to Bobo. This led to the first deep-pass completion by Montez, where he connected with wide receiver Livaska Shenault Jr. for 58 yards into the red-zone. Once Montez ran that in for six points, it was apparent the Buffs discovered a weapon they haven’t used much all the season, which is to throw long passes when the defense doesn’t expect it.
This theme continued the rest of the game as Montez connected with Fields Jr. on a 65-yard touchdown pass, which is the longest play the Buffs have completed all season. Montez achieved his most successful first half of the year, going 11-16 for 242 yards and two touchdowns. Montez finished the game with three touchdowns, completing 20-26 passes for 347 yards.
When asked about this game being a turning point for the Buffs mentality, Montez said, “I think that I needed to be a lot more focused when I’m reading the defenses.” Shay Fields mentioned that, “this offense needed a jump start earlier, but it’s better now than never. Last week was a bad game and we came out and performed well today.”
Regarding Montez’ stand-out performance, CU head coach Mike MacIntyre said “We practiced with a pass skeleton, without the defensive and offensive line. We don’t usually do that because it wears receivers out, but I said forget about that, just rotate every receiver in. We did 45 minutes more passing than we had the week before. I wanted to see the coverage, which I think definitely helped. We need more timing, more touch, and not worrying about the rush so as to see the coverages. We’ll keep doing that.”
While the offense continued to produce points in the second half, it was the defense that completely shut down the Cal offense which kept them from developing any sort of momentum. The Colorado defense finished the game with a season-high four sacks, plus one huge interception by defensive back Nick Fisher, who caught the ball in his own end-zone and ran it back for a touchdown. It was a school record of 107 yards on the return.
The only issue with the Buffs this season has been the lack of results. Two close losses to conference opponents, decided in the last plays of the 4th quarter, have deflated their ranking. However, it is still very much the same group of players that everyone believed at the beginning of the season would be able to repeat a Pac-12 Southern Division Title. Now, the Buffs look appear as dominant as last year. By no means are the Buffs writing this season off, as MacIntyre has highlighted “gold games” that can help them reach a bowl game. These games are in reference to their remaining matchups against Arizona State, USC and Utah. Should CU maintain their offensive threat, victories in these matchups can potentially give them a bowl game, which is the ultimate goal for this team.
CU will continue their road to a bowl game next Saturday, November 4th, where they take on Arizona State in Sun Devil Stadium, in Tempe, Arizona. This game will be shown nationally on the Pac-12 network.