October 28th – Boulder           Colorado 44, California 28

On an afternoon when Rashaan Salaam’s No. 19 was retired by the school, the Colorado offense put forth an effort CU’s Heisman trophy winner would have been proud to witness. Steven Montez threw for 347 yards and three touchdowns as the Buffs posted 553 yards of total offense in a 44-28 Colorado victory over California.

A week after being benched in the second half against Washington State, Montez went 20-for-26, also rushing for a seven-yard touchdown. Phillip Lindsay posted “Salaam-worthy” 33 carries for 161 yards, while Shay Fields led the receiving corps with four catches for 101 yards, including a 65-yard touchdown.

“I was really happy with the way Steven [Montez] played,” said Mike MacIntyre. “That’s the way I expect him to play all the time, because he can do all those types of things. The offensive line did a good job and helped him. [Phillip] Lindsay does what Lindsay does. He’s pretty special always.”

For a team coming off of a 28-0 loss to Washington State, the Colorado offense wanted to establish itself early against a Cal defense which was ranked 100th nationally in total defense. Instead, the Buffs held the ball for four plays to open the game before punting.

Fortunately, the Buff defense came to play, forcing a three-and-out from the Cal offense.

On the Buffs’ second possession, the offense clicked. A 39-yard run by Phillip Lindsay was the highlight of a nine-play, 75-yard touchdown drive. Two plays after Lindsay’s run, the Buffs faced a third-and-17 at the Cal 22-yard line, but Steven Montez calmly hit Devin Ross on a crossing pattern, with Ross stepping into the end zone untouched.

Cal, though, responded on its next drive. Converting a fourth-and-two at the CU 45-yard line along the way, the Bears covered 75 yards in 11 plays to tie the score. The touchdown came on a trick play, with wide receiver Vic Wharton III hitting fellow receiver Kanawai Noa for a 15-yard score with four minutes remaining in the first quarter.

Two big plays for the CU offense put the Buffs up for good a few minutes later. A 20-yard completion from Montez to Bryce Bobo was followed two plays later by a 58-yard bomb from Montez to Laviska Shenault. On the next play, Montez took it in himself from the seven yard line, making it a 14-7 game late in the first quarter.

After forcing a punt from the Bears on their next possession, the Buffs took over at their four yard line. On third-and-11 at the three, Montez hit Devin Ross for 21-yard gain and new life. Two runs by Phillip Lindsay netted 11 yards before Montez hit Shay Fields for a 65-yard touchdown. Just like that, it was 21-7, Colorado.

The Buff defense then forced another three-and-out, giving the Buff offense a chance to blow the game open. The CU offense did not post a touchdown, but did put together a field goal drive. Unusual rushing gains – ten yards by quarterback Steven Montez and 11 yards by wide receiver Devin Ross – help set up the Buffs with a first-and-ten at the Cal 14-yard line. The Buffs couldn’t take advantage, however, settling for a 29-yard field goal by James Stefanou. Colorado 24, California 7.

The Bears then put together a drive which was as much about heart as ability. The Cal offense put together a 17-play drive, facing a third-and-eight (11-yard gain), third-and-ten (nine yard gain, followed by a four-yard gain on fourth-and-one at midfield), third-and-nine (14-yard gain), third-and-one (three-yard gain), and, finally, third-and-14 (27-yard touchdown pass from Ross Bowers to Kanawai Noa for a touchdown). Taking up over five minutes, it appeared that the touchdown drive would make it a 24-14 game at halftime.

The CU offense, though, had different ideas. Taking over at the 28 with 1:10 remaining before the break, the Buffs went 50 yards, highlighted by a 16-yard run by Steven Montez and 15-yard completion from Montez to Devin Ross. James Stefanou was called upon with six seconds remaining, putting a 39-yarder through as time expired.

Halftime score: Colorado 27, California 14

Down two scores, the Cal offense had a chance to make a game of it on the first possession of the second half. The Bears did push the ball into Colorado territory, but made it only to the Buff 42 yard line before punting.

On CU’s second play of the third quarter, quarterback Steven Montez was knocked out on a late hit. Red-shirt freshman Sam Noyer came in to replace Montez, but turned the ball over on a fourth-and-one fumble.

The Bears couldn’t take advantage, though, punting after three plays. Thereafter the two teams, which had combined for only four punts in the first half, traded punts three and four of the third quarter.

Colorado took over at its 26-yard line late in the third quarter, putting together perhaps its best all-around drive of the contest to put the game out of reach. Steven Montez, back in the game, hit Devin Ross for one ten-yard game, with Phillip Lindsay and Beau Bisharat chewing up yards and game clock on the ground.

The 14-play, 74-yard drive was capped by a Steven Montez 23-yard touchdown pass to Jay MacIntyre, giving Colorado a 34-14 lead with 13 minutes to play.

The teams traded punts before Cal put a bit of nervousness into the Folsom Field crowd of 47,216 with a touchdown drive taking only a minute off of the game clock. A 51-yard completion put the ball in the CU red zone, with the Bears converting on a 14-yard touchdown pass from Ross Bowers to Vic Wharton III.

The score was 34-21, with 8:24 remaining. Still time for a a Cal comeback …

Needing to run some clock, the Buffs turned to Phillip Lindsay, who carried the ball six straight times, covering 45 yards in all. The drive stalled in the Cal red zone, with James Stefanou connecting from 37 yards out to make it a 37-21 game with 5:22 to play.

The Bears continued to press the issue, quickly pushing the ball deep into CU territory. At the Buff 11-yard line, Cal quarterback Ross Bowers was intercepted by CU safety Nick Fisher. Nine yards deep in the Buff endzone, Fisher (unwisely) ran the ball out of the end zone instead of settling for a touchback. Fisher, though, converted the unwise play into a highlight film 100-yard interception return (the NCAA only recognizes 100-yard returns, the fourth in CU history).

Game over. Colorado 44, California 21.

Almost over … the Fisher touchdown came with 2:34 remaining, with the Bears posting a consolation touchdown on an eight-yard scoring pass from Ross Bowers to Jordan Veasy with 50 seconds remaining.

Final score: Colorado 44, California 28

The final numbers were fairly close, with Colorado gaining 553 yards of total offense to 435 by California. At the end of the third quarter, though, the Buffs had 453 yards of total offense, to just 225 yards for the Bears.

The Buffs had an all-around successful day, with a 300-yard passer (Steven Montez, 20-for-26 for 347 yards and three touchdowns) a 100-yard rusher (Phillip Lindsay, 161 yards on 33 carries) and a 100-yard receiver (Shay Field, four catches, 101 yards, including a 65-yard touchdown).

“’It is about time we started hitting them’ is what I told Coach Chev [Chiaverini] on the sideline,” said Steven Montez. “We have been working them all year in practice. We have hit some. And we didn’t hit a few in practice. Then we would get out in to the games and it was kind of all over the place. We couldn’t hit the deep ball. Then this week in practice, we really kind of focused on it and we knew we need to get serious if we want to be a legitimate force on offense. We need to be able to throw the deep ball consistently. We were hitting them in practice real well and it carried over to the game.”

Meanwhile, the Buff defense held its own, posting four sacks and forcing the Cal offense into five “three-and-outs” … and Nick Fisher’s 100-yard interception return for a touchdown.

“We didn’t have a turnover yet so everyone was fired up to get a turnover,” said Nick Fisher of his 109-yard interception return for a touchdown”. Once that happened, I was just trying to put an exclamation point on it. But looking back, I should’ve just took a knee in the end zone or slid at the one yard-line. That whole play took about 15 seconds and didn’t really run any time off the clock. So we could’ve gave it to our offense so they could have kneed. Then we wouldn’t have been in an onside kick situation.”

Even CU special teams had a good day. Freshman kicker James Stefanou was three-for-three on field goal attempts, with the Ronnie Blackmon posting a 25-yard kickoff return and a 26-yard punt return.

“We were pretty much just sick of losing,” said wide receiver Shay Fields of CU’s 1-4 start to Pac-12 play. “We came into this with four wins, and we feel like we should have won more than that.  We want to go 4-0 in the gold games, so we have a sense of urgency now.”

Here are video highlights of the game … 

Game Notes … 

— The victory was the 700th in school history, making Colorado the 25th team in NCAA history to achieve that milestone (700-498-36);

— The win left the series with Cal leading 5-4, with Colorado holding a 4-2 edge in games played in Boulder;

— The Buffs had 553 yards of total offense, the third game over 500 yards in 2017. The Buffs raised their record to 11-5 under Mike MacIntyre when gaining over 500 yards;

— Nick Fisher’s interception return went for 109 yards, but will go down in the records books at 100 yards – all that NCAA recognizes. Fisher became the fourth to have an interception return of 100 yards, with the most recent being by Steve Rosga in 1996 v. Oklahoma State;

— Steven Montez, with his 347 yards passing putting him over 2,000 yards passing for the season (17th 2,000-yard passing year in school history), and over 3,000 yards passing for his career (13th Buff to do so);

— Shay Fields (4 catches for 101 yards; 65-yard touchdown) moved past Paul Richardson for 6th on the all-time receiving yards list (2,420 yards);

— In addition to retiring Rashaan Salaam’s No. 19, CU also honored the 1967 Buff team, which went 9-2 and won the Bluebonnet Bowl, finishing with a No. 14 national ranking.




18 Replies to “Colorado 44, California 28”

  1. Living in New Jersey, I only get to make one trip (at best) to Colorado per football season. I am very happy that this year I made it for Homecoming. Terrific effort by the Buffs. I loved the ceremony retiring Rashaan Salaam’s jersey and the way the Buffs honored Emma Coburn, Kara Goucher, and Jenny Simpson too. It was nice to be present for what was their best all-around game of the year. Folsom was a lot of fun on Saturday afternoon and it was great to be in the stands and take in all of it.

  2. Stuart:

    It was great to see you at our 30th Law School Reunion.
    Could not make it to the game as I was badly under the weather.
    Montez was fantastic! He is a gunslinger, and needs to play loose.
    Go Buffs!

  3. It was great to see the team show up. The offensive play calling was great. Credit to whoever deserves it there, whether Lindgren or Chev or both. The first complete game of the season and what a day, with all of the homecoming festivities (retiring Rashaan’s number, Ralphie’s 50th, etc.) Fun game, fun day. If the Buffs play like this during the next three “gold” games remaining on their slate, there is bound to be one more win in there!

    Go Buffs!!!

  4. Great all around win. Play calling was on par I’ll say! All of November matters now. One more win! Not sure where it’ll come from but I have a little more faith in this team than years past.

    GO BUFFS!!!

  5. Excellent Win. Go Buffs. One more please. Damn proud. Nine weeks after the season starts and the Buffs show up. I really want the Buffs to whip the zonas, I really do.

    Interesting game. Montez was great. Hung in the pocket. You could actually count to 4+ when he was being rushed in a lot of cases. Oline, and dline played aggressive. Just like I like it. Lindsay was Lindsay.

    Ya know, I’m popping a Heineken right now and feeling good.

    I am negativeless. (is that a word Stuart) except for one thing.

    Mickey chewing Fischers arse. Dumb coaching. Gawd Mickey just drives me down.

    Risky play? Yes, but that is what has been missing. The attitude of going out ther balls to the walls the whole damn game.


    Note: Don’t worry I’ll be back for my excellent and correct critiques as the day/week rolls on.

    1. Sure vk. We like you better when the beer is flowing. I’ll buy!

      Good thing those coaches did a 180 and changed everything they do and and how they do it, this week. Whew.

      Either that, or maybe all that coaching finally sank in, and this year’s players all made plays. I guess we will see in the desert (or dessert…).

      Go Buffs.

      1. The coaches did look better. Except for Mac berating another player. Gawd that guy is jut like a banker.

        Dinkledorf type.

        Ole looney shark again blaming the players.

        You know looney, it is funny you think you speak for the crowd with your “we” krappola.


        Note: And I guarantee you, like Erica, the coaches will be taking credit for this win.

        Note 2: The Pac is a herd of middling teams.

        1. Ok VK. Of course you’ve read this but… from cubuffs.com, just a few tidbits that clearly demonstrate Mac always takes the credit, never says the coaches need to do better, and doesn’t praise his players:

          “Our guys played really well. I was really happy with the way Steven [Montez] played. That’s the way I expect him to play all the time, because he can do all those types of things. The offensive line did a good job and helped him. [Phillip] Lindsay does what Lindsay does. He’s pretty special always.”

          “I was really excited that both of them were helping each other. Both of them were focused. Both of them were competing. Nobody was pouting or hanging their head, so I knew they were going to get better. That was good to see.”

          “Beau [Bisharat] went in there and Laviska [Shenault] went in there and made some nice runs and came out and played good on special teams.”

          “I was like, ‘Nick’s going to take a knee right?’ Then, he took off running and I said, ‘Maybe he’ll slide at about the five (yard line).’ Then, I realized, ‘No, he’s going to the end zone.’ It was a great play.” To which he added:

          “That’s something I’ve got to do a better job of coaching. We talked about it after the game. It was a great play. He’s made some great plays for us. I’m really proud of him. We’ve just got to know the situation better and I’ve got to do a better job of explaining it to him. He does go down in the record books, so 20 or 30 years from now he’ll say, ‘I’m still in the record books coach.’”

          ““I just can’t say enough about Phillip, it sounds like I have a man crush. He’s awesome.”

          ““I think what helped him (in addition to the passing skeleton) was our offensive line inside, they didn’t let it get to him as much.”

          I could go on. But, there you go.

          Hopefully they keep it rolling at ASU.

          Go Buffs.

          1. Yo Eric,

            Glad to see Mac sharing the glory, but… as Martin Luther King Jr. said:

            “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”

            Or, in other words, the true measure of a man comes when things are bad, and not when things go his way.

            Mac seems to me a guy who continues to learn. Life continues to throw challenges at us. I just want to see Mac with the same attitude after a tough loss.

            It’s easy to be magnanimous when on the winning sideline. Show the same character on the losing side and I’ll be impressed.

            We’d all love for the Buffs to win out. Mac is a gracious winner if not a little self aggrandizing. I just want him to show the same class when losing.

            Or, better yet, just win out. All sins will be forgiven.


          2. Mark, that’s fair enough. But, I think what I get from him, is that he just calls it like he sees it. For better or worse. Sometimes, that comes off as pretty harsh and/or tactless, in the heat of the moment in the after-game pressers.

            Not being in the locker room, nor around him and the coaches and players, I’ve obviously no idea how he’s received by them all, but? In my estimation, they understand where he’s coming from, and continue to play hard for the guy. He is consistent. He is who he is. Doesn’t mean you have to like him, or his personality, but that’s not a default reason he’s a bad coach.

            Furthermore, I think it continues to be clear (and we’ve heard this since he got to CU) that the dude is a tireless worker, and continues to tweak what they’re doing to improve performance. Coming up w/ new drills, bringing back old ones (the whole skeleton bit) to address specific deficiencies, etc.

            Taking that ethos forward, I am confident he expects the same – and gets the same – from his staff. Does it always work? Clearly not. They’ve lost 4 games this year (two they really shouldn’t have but…).

            Either way, it seems to be working more often than not, so far. From arguably one of the worst teams in college football, to 10 and 4 in four years. They got a lot of breaks to go their way last year, no doubt. Many of them self-created, some of them bad plays by their opponents, but… that’s football (and life). They also got exposed by the more “elite” teams they played. That’s all part of growth and progress. Last year, they were a good team, not a great team.

            Year five, a slight step back, we’ll see how big/small in another three weeks (but still some close losses they could’ve won) and I say that’s largely growing pains. Nevertheless, I still think they’re a good team, somewhere in the top 30-ish of football, who can win or lose basically any game they play.

            Based on all that, I just don’t buy the premise that Mac, and any coaches on his staff (offense, defense or special teams) don’t know what they’re doing, and why.

            Having said that, just because you know what you’re doing and why does not mean you can get your team to execute it. That happens all the time. My favorite example is Singletary and Harbaugh at the ‘9ers; as Ditka said – yeah, VK, I do rely on things I hear from those who know more than me to inform my opinions – Harbaugh out-Singletaried Singletary. Same players, same type of smash mouth ball, but… Harbaugh got the guys to do it when Singletary couldn’t, for whatever reason. Does Jim know more about football than Mike? Probably not. But, he was able to take that knowledge and get his players to execute it.

            Now, for Mac’s part, he and his staff do seem to be able to get their players to execute more often than not. Again, they won 10 games last year with a cadre of 2-star recruits, and stuck a lot of them in the NFL. That speaks volumes, to me.

            Furthermore, if Mac feels there’s a need to change his staff, he’ll make it. If that happens to be a change that VK’s been crying about for five years? I guess that makes VK a genius, and football savant.

            But, I’d still like for you, VK or someone who can actually call the offensive formation, what the reads and progressions are, why they’re using that, what weaknesses they’re trying to target in that team’s defense, along w/ the defensive set, pre-and post snap, and include why a play did or didn’t work (bad design, bad execution, good execution by the D, etc.) as you point out your belief that the offensive plan and scheme were simply inadequate.

            That is a level of analysis I’ve yet to see/hear from anyone around here who criticizes Lindgren incessantly.

            Meanwhile, the actual analysts who have played and coached football at a high level, seem to give him some credit as I watch games on TV. What am I missing?

            As an aside, a good buddy of mine from CU, who spent a few years working w/ Marolt is also not a fan of Lindgren, but… he can’t put a specific “analysis” of why he’s not a good offensive mind, either; so… you guys are not alone out there, that’s for sure. Just makes your opinions wrong. Ha! Only VK’s opinions are wrong…

            Go Buffs.

          3. Mac is a front runner. All good when it is all good. Accolades are what he lives on. But when there is criticism, constructive or not, the Mighty Teflon Shield goes up. Don’t be sticking on the Mac.


            Mac’s coaching tree is small and will remain so. Meaning coaches he has helped bring up through the ranks and have gone on and on……….. Leavitt don’t count.


            Note: I think Baer should count though. (Smiling)
            Note 2: Yup nice article by the paid writer who by the way I respect immensely and spilled beer on him on the practice court before a game. Not my fault. I believe that I really do.

  6. I was in the third row behind the Cal bench, and we were all remarking how bigger and more physical the CU players were. Buffs should have won this game and they did in dominating fashion. Like BD says this was the offensive performance we were expecting to see. Some thows between the tackles, the flee flicker was fun. But the best for me was the pass to a tight end, on first down. Crazy right?! (Oh i guess there eas that little pick-6 play.). Too bad it took until game 9, but I’ll enjoy it for now.

  7. I’ll take Montez, thank you very much. Lindsay his usual stud self. Good solid game all around for the Buffs… sorely needed. Even some positive support on the sidelines between coaches and players, coaches and coaches, players and players. Loved Chev’s hug for Montez in the first half. One big happy Buff family today. Fun game to watch.

    1. I will take Montez as well. The only really bad game he had was at WSU. I didnt get to see the game but it sounds like (from VK anyway) the O line came to play. Too bad we will never see how much Montez can do with a decent OC.

  8. Yo Stuart,

    Wow! Good to see the Buffs finally unleash their “Joie de Vivre” on California. That was the Buffs we’ve been waiting to see all season. I’m glad to see they remembered that football is a game and it’s supposed to be fun.

    Great job all around, especially the play-calling. Imagine actually throwing to the ball between the hashes! What a concept. Happy for the seniors. One more to go to go bowling. Go Buffs!


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