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September 28th – Boulder           Colorado 38, UCLA 16

On a colder than expected Friday evening (46-degrees at kickoff), a Blackout Folsom field crowd of 46,814 was on hand to watch Colorado raise its record to 4-0 record for the first time since 1998, using a big second half to pull away from UCLA, 38-16.

Quarterback Steven Montez went 22-of-26 for 237 yards and a touchdown, with 11 carries for 81 yards and two more scores to lead the Buffs. Wide receiver Laviska Shenault had 12 receptions for 126 yards and a touchdown, also carrying the ball five time for 18 yards and another score. The rushing attack was led by Travon McMillian, who had 21 carries for 102 yards and a touchdown.

In all, Colorado out-gained UCLA, 477 yards to 289, with the Buffs dominating the second half. In the first half, the scoreboard and the stats sheet were about even, with CU holding a slight edge in total yards – 196-191 – and an even slimmer margin on the scoreboard, at 14-13. In the second half, however, the Buffs pulled away, scoring the final 24 points of the game after UCLA had taken a 16-14 lead early in the third quarter.

“I thought in the second half, the offense and the defense really made just good adjustments,” said head coach Mike MacIntyre. “Hats go off to our coaching staff. I thought our kids came out in the second half and kept playing and playing.”

“There are some good things that we can improve upon but the penalties are hurting us,” said first-year UCLA head coach Chip Kelly, who fell to 0-4 after losing only seven games in four years as head coach at Oregon. “We can’t live with those if we are expecting to beat a really good football team. That is what Colorado is right now”.

Game story … On a blackout Friday night in Boulder, the Colorado defense opened the game in fine fashion, with linebacker Drew Lewis sacking UCLA quarterback Donan Thompson-Robinson to force an early punt. The Colorado offense, however, failed to score on its first drive of the game for the first time in 2018, going three-and-out instead.

Drew Lewis picked up sack No. 2 on the first play of the Bruins’ second drive, and the Buffs had the Bruins facing a third-and-13 … but failed to get off the field. Donan Thompson-Robinson escaped on the next play, not only going for 18 yards and a first down, but also picking up 15 more yards on a personal foul called against Evan Worthington. Four plays later, Thompson-Robinson hit Michael Ezeike for an 11-yard touchdown.

Midway through the first quarter, the 46,814 on hand to watch the Buffs take out the winless Bruins instead saw a scoreboard which read: UCLA 7, Colorado 0.

Five plays later, the score was tied.

After picking up a gift first down on a pass interference call, quarterback Steven Montez hit Laviska Shenault for a 57 yard touchdown. It took only 2:20 of game clock for the Buffs to knot the score and get the crowd back into the game.

Eleven plays and 71 yards later, though, the Bruins reclaimed the lead. UCLA did have a first-and-goal at the CU seven-yard line, with a chance to post consecutive touchdown drives, but couldn’t convert. UCLA instead settled for a 21-yard field goal from J.J. Molson, making it a 10-7 game in the final minute of the first quarter.

After the teams traded punts, the Buffs took over at their 20-yard line. After a false start set the Buffs back five yards, the offense finally started clicking. A 12-yard completion to K.D. Nixon was soon followed by a 15-yard run by Travon McMillian. After a horse-collar penalty got the Buffs into field goal range, Montez hit Laviska Shenault for 14 yards, setting the Buffs up in the red zone. Three plays later, on third-and-four at the UCLA ten yard line, Steven Montez ran the ball around the right end, giving CU its first lead of the game, at 14-10, with six minutes to go before the break.

Rather than fold, the Bruins set off on their second 11-play field goal drive of the first half. A conversion on a fourth-and-two at the CU 45-yard line kept the drive alive, with the UCLA offense getting to the CU 33-yard line before J.J. Molson was called upon to put through the uprights a 50-yard field goal.

Halftime score: Colorado 14, UCLA 13 

In the first three games of the 2018 season, the Colorado offense had scored on the first drive of the first half and the first drive of the second half.

The Buffs failed to score on its first drive of the game against UCLA, and in their first drive of the second half … the Buffs again failed to score.

The Bruins’ offense, though, had no such issues. On the second play of their first drive of the second half, Joshua Kelley ran up the middle for 44 yards and a first down at the CU 20-yard line. The Buff defense then stiffened, forcing J.J. Molson to attempt his third field goal of the game. Molson was again perfect, giving UCLA the lead, at 16-14, with 10:36 to play in the third quarter.

On the ensuing drive, however, the Buff offense finally found its rhythm. A ten-yard completion from Steven Montez to Laviska Shenault was followed by a 17-yard completion from Montez to Shenault. Then, on a trick play, wide receiver Jay MacIntyre hit running back Kyle Evans for a 31-yard gain to the UCLA nine yard line. On third-and-goal at the Bruin one, the Buffs went into a wildcat formation, with Shenault taking the snap and going in standing up to give the Buffs the lead, at 21-16, midway through the third.

Then, the Buff defense took over the game.

After forcing its first three-and-out of the evening, the CU offense put together a methodical 13-play, 67-yard touchdown drive. The play of the drive, and perhaps the play of the game, came on a third-and-five at the UCLA 17-yard line.

The Bruins blitzed, and hadSteven Montez dead to rights for a sack. Instead, Montez ducked, escaping for an 11-yard gain and a first-and-goal at the UCLA six yard line. Instead of forcing a field goal attempt (which, even if successful, would have left it a one-score game), the Buffs scored on the next play, with Travon McMillian scoring on a six-yard run.

Suddenly, with the third quarter winding down, it was a two score game, at 28-16, Buffs.

After the Buff defense forced a second consecutive three-and-out from the UCLA offense, the CU offense took some more wind out of the Bruins’ sails. A 53-yard completion from Montez to Tony Brown set the Buffs up in Bruin territory, with kicker James Stefanou hitting a 41-yard field goal to make it a 31-16 game early in the fourth quarter.

A third straight three-and-out from the UCLA offense gave the Buffs a chance to put the game away. Four consecutive runs by Travon McMillian – covering 23 yards – left the Buffs with a third-and-four at the Bruin 35-yard line. Instead of handing off to McMillian for a fifth consecutive play, Steven Montez faked a handoff, faking out in the process the UCLA defense – and everyone in the stadium – racing down the left sideline untouched for a 35-yard touchdown.

Even though over seven minutes remained on the fourth quarter clock, the game was over, with neither team mounting a challenge in the final minutes.

Final score: Colorado 38, UCLA 16

With the win, the Buffs raised their overall record to 4-0 for the first time since 1998. When asked what was making the difference for the 2018 team, Mike MacIntyre responded: “Their brotherhood. Their closeness. That’s not just something (I’ve noticed), I’m having parents tell me about it, kids tell me about it, auxiliary people tell me about throughout the building. Their mental toughness. A lot of that I credit to our coaching staff and our captains and [Director of Football Strength and Conditioning] Drew Wilson”.

Steven Montez missed only four passes all night (22-of-26), with his 237 yards passing making him just the seventh quarterback in Colorado history to surpass 5,000 career passing yards (5,084).  “In the second half, we played well,” said Montez. “The first half was very sloppy and I think a lot of people would agree with that. Our guys have a lot of confidence which could be good, but could also be an achilles heel for us. I think we just have to come in on Monday next week and take it exactly how we’ve been taking it. Work hard Monday through Friday and then the product comes out on Saturday. We just have to keep working and stay humble.”

Another player who was humble after the game was senior transfer running back Travon McMillian, who was on the field as a starter for the first time as a Buff, but produced his third 100-yard effort in his fourth game in a CU uniform. “I’m willing to do whatever it takes for the team”, said McMillian, who had 21 carries for 102 yards and a touchdown. “If the coach needs me to touch the ball 20 times a game I’ll do that. I want to do whatever it takes, I’m really unselfish. I’m fine if I didn’t get any carries, I’m still over there cheering my team on. So I’m taking every week one week at a time and just trying to get better in practice each and every week.”

The Buffs were now 4-0, 1-0 in Pac-12 play, but perfection would not come without detractors. The first of CU’s three victims came into the last weekend in September with a combined record of 1-10 (CSU 1-4, Nebraska 0-3, New Hampshire 0-3), and UCLA left Boulder with an 0-4 record.

“We’ve done a really good job this year of taking it one step at a time, and not looking ahead to who is next,” said Steven Montez. “Not looking ahead to going to a bowl game or doing all of that stuff. The guys are in the moment and are figuring out that we need to take it one step at a time if we want to start stacking wins on top of each other. Our guys do a great job of studying and practicing. Hopefully we keep it up.”

Game Notes

— The win gave CU a 4-0 record for the 31st time in school history, but for first time since 1998. The victory was the first for the Buffs at home in a Pac-12 opener (3-5 overall; 1-4 in Boulder);

— The 38 points and 22-point margin of victory were both highs in the series against UCLA, with the Bruins maintaining a 10-4 advantage overall;

— The Folsom Field end zones were painted black for the first time in stadium history (496 games);

— The 38 points marked the fourth consecutive game to open the season with 30 or more points, with the Buffs doing so for just the second time in school history. The other time CU went for 30+ in the first four games of a season? Try 1896;

— Steven Montez (22-of-26, 84.6%) set a new record for completion percentage for a game with over 20 passes (previous record, Joel Klatt, 26-of-33, .788, v. North Texas, 2004);

— Laviska Shenault (12 catches for 126 yards) became the first Buff with a touchdown reception in four straight games since Nelson Spruce had touchdown receptions in seven straight (2013-14);

— Travon McMillian (21 carries for 102 yards, one touchdown) had third 100-yard game at CU (he had five at Virginia Tech); the last CU running back to have three 100-yard games in the first four games of the season was Hugh Charles in 2005 (the last to have four in the first five was Rashaan Salaam in 1994).

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11 Replies to “September 28th – Colorado 38, UCLA 16”

  1. I have been very impressed with our coaches ability to adjust in the 2nd half. If we can continually keep it close in the first half and then adjust and dominate the 2nd I will probably accept it. It might burn you some day but it has been impressive so far.

    We need to stop pulling two lineman in our run plays constantly. Our line man do not seem quick enough to get to the point of attack before the trailing d lineman interrupts the play. When we just line up put a hat on a hat and get a lead blocker we seem to do better.

    I am really impressed by Montez this year. His accuracy rates are great ( even accounting for all of the shuttle passes that add to it) especially as he is regularly taking shots down field. The o lines pass blocking seemed better. It could be UCLA rushers but that bodes well as we move forward.

    Viska is amazing. I am a bit worried they are using him too much but it felt a bit better last night. I
    Ike the emergence of Brown. I know KD is fast but I loved him on that slant route. I think he could be real good on short crossing routes as well.

    Love to see Drew Lewis getting his feel under him. I thought he was a better outside linebacker even last year. I have a feeling this is just the start for him. He lost contain on one key play but that can be fixed.

    Great game!

  2. Another good win.

    4 and 0 for the first time in 20yrs in year six?

    Competing for conference championship in year four?

    Rebuilding a program from the ground up, that was arguably the worst team in d1 when he took over?

    Building a pipeline of db’s to the nfl?

    Finding and developing talent across the field (and coaches too)?

    Nice work, Mac.

    What’s not to like?

    Sure, they still haven’t beaten “anyone” yet, this year. But they will. Bring on asu.

    Go Buffs.

  3. Ummm. Okay ep – great time to be negative. Yes, we all know that our 4-0 record is not against the best competition. Wait, did I just say we were 4-0? How many years would we have just loved to be able to beat CSU, Nebraska and UCLA in the same year?

    But, hey, our team sucks, our players stink (except our skill guys?) and our coaching staff is terrible because we are 4 – 0 and can’t recruit either (except, apparently, our skill guys).

    Sorry, but our coaching staff deserves massive credit. For the first time in fifteen years or so, I went to bed last night happy to finally be a respectable team again. We are not yet top 20 material, but this coaching staff has built a team that can endure and grow stronger. The CU team of 1986 was not the team of 1994 either, but without 1986 we never see 1990. Chill out and enjoy what we have for now. We are 4-0 with a chance to be 5-0. Imagine writing that four years ago.

    I am happy and proud of this team.

    P.S. – I loved the 2016 team and they set the stage for this one. But, this team feels like it has a core that will be more than a one year flash. This team looks like a team to build on.

      1. Better Believe That EP….. I don’t like to be toast…. As MnM has said, “You never stay the same….you’re either getting better or you are getting worse.”

  4. Go Buffs.

    Oline has problems. Big problems. Putting that on the coaching. Watched the oline alot

    Hagler got manhandled. In fact on many plays the line just got whipped on. EP is right on the backs etc making it happen. I put this on Adams. The oline has been an issue since he took over from Bernardi. Ugh.

    WHAT HAPPENED TO TIMMY? Didn’t start didn’t play? Injured? Maybe.

    Buffs.

    Note: Great win.Uh Oh Buffalo

  5. “(UCLA QB) escaped on the next play, not only going for 18 yards and a first down, but picking up 15 more yards on a hit out of bounds by Evan Worthington. ”

    Correction. That hit “out of bounds” would have been overturned if the play were reviewed. The QB was still in bounds when Worthington delivered the hit. Just frustrating because it led to UCLA’s only TD of the night.

    Great 2nd half, Buffs! Can’t look disinterested in the 1st half against AZ State, or we won’t be celebrating at the end of that game.

    Go Buffs!

  6. This game boiled down to QB play. Montez played great. Efficient, accurate throws. Good reads. Good runs. Good deep bombs. Oozed confidence.

    A few nice scrambles aside, UCLA’s QB was awful. Plenty of throws behind, above, and below his receivers (but rarely in front of). Did seem to go through his progressions effectively. Inches away from being picked off 3-4 times. Did not appear to be confident in just about anything. Has an asshole dad.

    1. If you hear what the dad has to say today please tell us all 🙂 The Bruin QB had more than adequate time to throw as well most of the time.

  7. This was all about the skill players. McMillan got his yards most of the time all by himself. Montez was running from the pressure again, with good success. The O line opened some good holes in the red zone but for most of the game were sub par.
    The D line once again sucked it up in the second half but I am skeered about both lines when the Buffs play USC and Washington.
    And of course our latest commit is a 2 star “athlete” or otherwise known as another D back or WR.

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