On Friday night, #TheRise continued.
The Colorado Buffaloes football team got back in action on the gridiron as it started off the 2017 campaign with a win over the Colorado State Rams at Sports Authority Field at Mile High, 17-3.
The score was unexpected to most as many were expecting a shootout in the Rocky Mountain Showdown. Instead, they got a riveting game with good defense and crucial moments.
It got started with a 45-yard touchdown run in the middle of the first quarter by senior tailback Phillip Lindsay. The Denver native showed that he’s attained more strength and speed over his time as a Buffalo.
“I definitely worked on my strength and speed,” Lindsay said. “I thank Coach Drew [Wilson] for that. [He’s] been a phenomenal coach. It’ll show for the rest of the season as we continue to get stronger cause we’re still gonna be lifting and we’re gonna be able to peak at the right times.”
Lindsay ended up with 140 yards on 19 carries to his credit. Only 39 yards came in the second half, as the Colorado offense looked smooth and efficient in the first half. The solid first half also had to thank sophomore quarterback Steven Montez connecting with senior wide receivers Bryce Bobo and Shay Fields, Jr.
Bobo claimed eight catches for 49 yards while Fields caught six passes for 78 yards. Bobo kept drives flowing by running quick out routes for gains of roughly six yards while Fields was a different weapon for Montez. With the Buffs leading 10-0 early in the second quarter, Montez was rushed by a flock of Rams forcing him to run to the left, until Fields was open. It ended with a 31-yard touchdown.
“I just felt a little pressure, got out of the pocket and I spun out,” Montez said. “I was just kind of scanning the field, I knew I had a bunch of time and I was just hitching back. I saw Shay, I looked at him and I was like ‘just turn it up field.’ Sure enough he ran out there, I tossed it up to him and scored a touchdown.”
That touchdown would give Colorado a 17-0 lead at the moment. Colorado State only managed to muster a field goal before the half ended, making the score 17-3.
Montez would finish the game going 21-of-29 for 202 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions in what was his first appearance as a permanent starter.
“Steven did a good job,” head coach Mike MacIntyre said. “He’s been hearing about it all year [and] he’s been anxious about playing. As he keeps growing, and keeps doing it, and keeps understanding it and we keep improving, we’ll be a really good offense.”
Coming into the game, the matchup between the Colorado State receiving corps and the Colorado secondary was well anticipated. There were fresh new faces in the “Money Gang,” yet they have large shoes to fill from last year.
The marquee matchup came between Colorado junior cornerback Isaiah Oliver and Colorado State senior wide receiver Michael Gallup. It was tightly contested as Gallup claimed five catches for 67 yards while Oliver committed four breakups.
“That was worth the price of admission,” MacIntyre said. “Gallup’s a heck of a player and Oliver’s a heck of a player so it was fun to watch.”
Oliver himself reflected on what it was like covering a receiver like Gallup.
“He’s a great receiver,” Oliver said. “One of the better receivers I’ve faced in college football. It was a great test for myself and for him. It only made us both better and it was a lot of fun.”
On the other end of the secondary, freshman defensive back Trey Udoffia had a slow start to the game as he wasn’t able to lockdown on his assignment. Later in the game however he made some nice plays to help make up for a rusty start to his career at CU.
“That’s gonna happen as a defensive back out there,” MacIntyre said. “We’re gonna play aggressive, we’re gonna play tough, we’re gonna make teams have low percentage passing. [Udoffia] really did a good job to keep fighting and keep battling. He made a great pick, made a great play on that fourth down play too.”
The third quarter was nothing but gripping however.
Colorado State was plagued by many 15-yard penalties during the course of the game. The Rams committed two 15-yard penalties in the first eight minutes of the game. One of those penalties being an offensive pass interference penalty committed by Gallup that sparked some controversy among the CSU faithful.
One specific offensive pass interference call against Gallup again late in the third quarter had the Colorado State student section burst into a sea of bitter rage. Many from the section started to throw objects onto the field as they felt that most of the vital calls against the Rams have led them to becoming hoodwinked.
But MacIntyre and his men weren’t distracted by the commotion.
“Calls go either way all the time, I watch it on film, there’s no doubt about it and we never complain about officiating. We have a quote on our wall at CU that says ‘no excuses, no regrets.’ We just keep playing.”
Next up for the Buffaloes will be their home-opener next Saturday, Sept. 9, against the Texas State Bobcats. Kickoff is at 12 p.m. (MST)
Contact CU Independent Sports Staff Writer Drew Sharek at firstname.lastname@example.org.