A new season at Folsom Field debuted Saturday as the Colorado Buffaloes convincingly defeated the Texas State Bobcats 37-3.
The victory started off slowly, as the defense that allowed only 3 points against Colorado State last week gave up a 55-yard rush from Texas State freshman running back Robert Brown Jr. on the first play of the game.
It was a sign that the Bobcats weren’t going to go down without a fight.
“We just knew we had to be ready,” junior safety Evan Worthington said. “I was just messing up on the defense, but after that we just picked it up, and we were just ready for anything.”
The Buffs got away unscathed on that opening defensive drive, as the Bobcats’ James Sherman missed a 42-yard field goal.
Despite giving up that big play early on, the defense got back to what they were good at in not allowing touchdowns. It’s now back-to-back games where the Colorado defense only has allowed 3 points.
The Buffs’ offense showed signs of rustiness from last week, when the unit only scored 17 points against the Colorado State Rams.
Sophomore quarterback Steven Montez started off the game going 7-of-13 for 121 yards in the first half.
“I think a lot of the problems with the offense not getting going in the first half was definitely my fault,” Montez said. “I think I was getting out of the pocket way too soon.”
The offense had their struggles for most of that half, but Colorado was the first on the board via a slice of luck. Late in the first quarter, senior cornerback Isaiah Oliver returned a punt for a few yards, but fumbled near midfield.
But senior wide receiver Laviska Shenault Jr. easily picked up the fumble and saw daylight the rest of the way as he took it to the house, making the score 7-0 in favor of the Buffaloes.
“It was just a bang-bang play,” Oliver said. “I was trying to break too many tackles, I guess. It ended up as a touchdown, so just to see Laviska [Shenault] pick it up, that made me a little [bit] happy. But I’m definitely going to clean that up.”
Shenault made history as he is the 15th player in college football history to score on his first ever touch.
Oliver came up with an incredible over-the-shoulder interception in the third quarter
“It was very much like the play from last week where I broke it up,” he said. “The ball was pretty well thrown, a little to the outside, but I knew I wasn’t able to get two hands on it so I just tried to tip it to myself and it just worked out well.”
Head coach Mike MacIntyre gave high praise for his cornerback after the game.
“He’s basically always been close to ‘that good,'” MacIntyre said. “He’s just gotten stronger and faster over time. I’ve always thought that Isaiah’s a phenomenal corner, not a great one. He’s special.”
Even Montez raved about Oliver’s potential.
“I’ll tell you that Isaiah Oliver is one of the best corners in the nation,” he said.
Senior defensive end Leo Jackson III came up with three sacks on the day as he set the tone on the defensive line for most of the game.
“He’s a multidimensional lineman,” MacIntyre said. “He can play in the 3-4 [defense] and when we’re in the nickel he can pass rush too. He has a great ability now — he weighs 285 and he’s stouter now.”
Montez and the offense eventually got going in the second half as the El Paso, Texas, native finished with 299 yards passing on 19-of-31 throwing with both a passing and rushing touchdown.
Senior tailback Phillip Lindsay didn’t quite have the performance that he had against Colorado State, but nonetheless gained 87 yards on 26 attempts with a touchdown.
Senior wide receivers Bryce Bobo and Shay Fields had productive days as Bobo claimed seven catches for 75 yards and Fields caught five passes for 110 yards.
“We just stuttered a little bit here and there,” MacIntyre said. “The second half I felt like Steven [Montez] sat in the pocket, was able to see down the field better, make some throws [and] our line held up. We then got to play at a high tempo and I thought that was the difference between that and the first half.”
Despite the win, there is some room for improvement on the offensive side of the ball. Montez has confidence that they will improve as time goes on.
“I think people can see the progress that we have been putting on the field,” Montez said. “I think it is only going to continue to get better as the year goes on.”
The Buffaloes will return to Folsom Field next week as they finish their non-conference schedule against the Northern Colorado Bears next Saturday. The game will be aired on the Pac-12 Network at noon.
Contact CU Independent Sports Staff Writer Drew Sharek at firstname.lastname@example.org.