Buffs defeat ASU 28-21, stay perfect at 5-0

KD Nixon celebrates a fifth straight win for the Colorado Buffaloes. Oct. 6 2018. (Ryan Northrop/CU Independent)

The No. 21 Colorado Buffaloes moved to 5-0 in the 2018 season following a 28-21 victory over Pac-12 Conference foe Arizona State on Saturday at home in Folsom Field.

The Buffs’ offense got it done versus the Sun Devils. Colorado racked up 494 yards against ASU’s defense en route to the win. Sophomore wide receiver Laviska Shenault, Jr. was unstoppable once again as he scored all four of CU’s touchdowns.

Laviska Shenault Jr. scores a touchdown for the CU Buffaloes in the first half. Oct. 6, 2018. (Harry Palmer/CU Independent)

Shenault, Jr. had 13 receptions for 127 yards and caught two touchdowns through the air, while running in two as well.

Junior quarterback Steven Montez was solid, too. He was 24-of-33, threw two touchdowns and tossed 328 yards through the air on Arizona State’s defense.

Although Arizona State drew first blood in the game – Saturday marked the first time CU’s defense had allowed an opponent to score a touchdown on its opening drive of the game – the Buffs’ defense performed well enough and the Sun Devils’ defense simply had no answer for Shenault, Jr.

Senior linebacker Drew Lewis led the defense with 10 tackles and was a major hero for Colorado in the win, especially after sophomore linebacker Nate Landman was ejected in the second quarter following a questionable targeting call.

ASU’s tailback Eno Benjamin gave CU some trouble in the game as he rushed 28 times for 123 yards and scored twice. But ultimately, he was held in check and Buffs senior tailback Travon McMillian overshadowed him, getting the ball 30 times for 140 yards while averaging 4.5 yards per carry.

In the end, the third quarter proved to be the most pivotal portion of the game. The Sun Devils opened up the second half with a 4-play, 75-yard touchdown drive that took just 95 seconds.

Down 21-14, the Buffs responded quickly. Shenault, Jr. caught a 30-yard pass from Montez, finding the endzone and capping a fast strike that was itself just 1:49.

Colorado Buffaloes take down ASU Quarterback Wilkins. Oct. 6, 2018. (Ryan Northrop/CU Independent)

From there, both offenses stalled out, with the Buffaloes and Arizona State trading off five straight punts. But with 3:13 left in the third quarter, Colorado’s offense found the spark it needed. On the seventh play of the drive, Montez connected to sophomore wideout K.D. Nixon for a 51-yard gain.

The big gain set up Shenault, Jr., who punched it in for the Buffs from the 1-yard line.

Colorado took a 28-21 lead and, in the fourth quarter, crippled the Sun Devils’ offense by keeping it off the field. In the entire fourth quarter, ASU’s offensive time of possession was just 3:08.

Linebackers Rick Gamboa and Davion Taylor take down an ASU Sun Devil. Oct. 6, 2018. (Harry Palmer/CU Independent)

Up next for the undefeated Buffaloes is a road matchup with Southern California. Colorado and USC will kickoff from Los Angeles at 8:30 p.m. MST on Saturday, Oct. 13.

Contact CU Independent Head Sports Editor Justin Guerriero at justin.guerriero@colorado.edu and follow him on Twitter @TheHungry_Hippo.

Justin Guerriero

Justin Guerriero is a senior managing editor for the CUI from Pittsburgh, PA, who fell in love with the mountains upon touring CU Boulder for the first time prior to his freshman year. He studies broadcast production with minors in history and communication. Follow him on Twitter @TheHungry_Hippo

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