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September 8th – Lincoln          Colorado 33, Nebraska 28

Steven Montez hit Laviska Shenault for a 40-yard touchdown with 1:06 to play, giving Colorado a 33-28 come-from-behind win over Nebraska in Lincoln. Montez went 33-for-50 passing, going for 351 yards and three touchdowns. Shenault collected ten of those passes for 177 yards and a touchdown … also scoring on a three-yard run in the first quarter.

The game went back and forth all afternoon. The Buffs raced out to an early 14-0 lead, only to watch the Cornhuskers dominate play for the remainder of the first half. Nebraska led 21-17 at the break, having posted 243 yards rushing to CU’s nine. The Buffs steadied themselves in the second half, overcoming two missed field goals before securing the winning points in the final minute of play.

Nebraska had 565 yards of total offense against the Colorado defense, with freshman quarterback completing 15-of-20 passes for 187 yards and a touchdown (one interception), while also leading the Cornhuskers in rushing (15 carries for 117 yards and two touchdowns). For the Buffs, other than the Montez-to-Shenault combo, there was little offensive production (395 total yards of total offense). Kyle Evans and Travon McMillian each had 25 yards rushing, while no Buff other than Shenault was over 50 yards receiving (though Jay MacIntyre had eight catches for 45 yards and two touchdowns.

“They closed the middle of the field,” Montez said of the game-winning touchdown play. “I knew they were pressed on Laviska and I knew he was going to go beat his man. All I had to do was look the safety off for a split second. I looked him off for the first step of my drop and that got him out of the way just long enough.  I gave him a ball with air and Laviska made a helluva play.”

Said head coach Mike MacIntyre after the game: “The thing that I kept saying and I’ve seen in this team, and you guys might have felt my vibe a little bit as I’ve gone through since January, that is what I saw – a mentally tough football team, a team that is never going to quit and never give in.”

 

Game Story … In what promised to be an offensive showcase, both teams wanted to get their offenses on the field. Nebraska won the coin toss, and instead of deferring, elected to receive the opening kickoff.

The move seemed to look like a good one, as the Cornhuskers moved smartly down the field to open the game. A pair of runs by freshman quarterback Adrian Martinez – one for 18, the other for 11 – set the Nebraska offense up in Colorado territory. On the first third down of the drive, a third-and-four at the CU 23-yard line, running back Greg Bell fumbled, with the Buffs recovering at the CU 13 yard line.

On the first play in an hostile environment, Buff quarterback Steven Montez connected with K.D. Nixon for 18 yards. A 14-yard run by Steven Montez was then followed by a flea flicker pass to Laviska Shenault, good for 28 yards to the Nebraska 25 yard line. Another completion to K.D. Nixon, this one for 17 yards, set the Buffs up inside the Nebraska 10-yard line, with Montez soon thereafter connecting with Jay MacIntyre for a three-yard touchdown on second-and-goal.

Two plays later, the Buffs were back in business as Nebraska quarterback Adrian Martinez fumbled, giving the ball to Colorado deep in Nebraska territory. Facing a fourth-and-one on the Cornhusker three yard line, CU head coach Mike MacIntyre decided to go for the first down. On a direct snap, wide receiver Laviska Shenault not only got the first down, but a touchdown.

Midway through the first quarter, Memorial Stadium scoreboard read: Colorado 14, Nebraska 0.

The Buff defense almost had another stop on Nebraka’s next possession, but, on third-and-16 at the Nebraska 35, Adrian Martinez hit wide receiver Mike Williams for 19 yards and a first down. Two plays later, Martinez outran the CU defense for a 41-yard score, giving the momentum back to the Cornhuskers.

After the teams exchanged punts – with the Buffs going three-and-out twice – the Cornhuskers took over at their 48-yard line. A seven-play drive ensued, capped by an eight-yard touchdown run by Devine Ozigbo. With 10:15 remaining in the first half, the score was tied at 14-14.

A third consecutive three-and-out by the Buff offense gave Nebraska the ball back with a chance to take the lead. The Cornhuskers continued to dominate the line of scrimmage, marching into Buff territory. On a fourth-and-two at the Buff 32-yard line, however, Devine Ozigbo was stopped by linebackers Rick Gamboa and Nate Landman for a loss of a yard and a turnover on downs.

The Buff offense responded … with a fourth straight three-and-out.

This time, the Cornhuskers were not to be denied. It took Nebraska only eight plays to cover 79 yards, with the drive culminated by a three-yard scoring run by Adrian Martinez.

Nebraska 21, Colorado 14

For the first time since taking a 14-0 lead, the Colorado offense finally produced a first down. Completions to Laviska Shenault for 13 yards and for 14 yards to Juwann Winfree (on third-and-13) pushed the ball into Nebraska territory. A 16-yard run on a scramble by Steven Montez set the Buffs up at the Nebraska 25, but the Buffs could not advance into the red zone. With under a minute remaining in the first half, James Stefanou was called upon to kick a 40-yard field goal. The successful kick gave the Buffs a much needed boost heading into the locker room.

Halftime score: Nebraska 21, Colorado 17

While the scoreboard showed a close game, the stats sheet did not. Nebraska had 329 yards of total offense in the first two quarters, compared to 140 for Colorado. The Cornhuskers had 243 yards rushing; the Buffs had nine. Had it not been for the two turnovers by the Nebraska offense on its first two drives … it could have been much worse.

Taking the ball to open the second half, the Buffs put together their second consecutive long field goal drive. Three straight carries by Kyle Evans gained 15 yards (more than doubling the Buffs rushing total for the game) before Steven Montez hit Jay MacIntyre for 12 yards on third-and-seven. Three plays later, James Stefanou hit a 35-point field goal to make it a 21-20 game four minutes into the second half.

After the Buff defense forced its first three-and-out of the game, punctuated by a sack by Mustafa Johnson, the Buffs took over at their own 41-yard line with a chance to take the lead.

Instead, the CU offense went three-and-out as well, giving the ball back to Nebraska.

It took the Cornhuskers only six plays to extend its lead. A 57-yard touchdown pass from Adrian Martinez to J.D. Spielman upped the lead to eight, at 28-20, with 5:35 left to play in the third quarter.

Two plays into the Buffs’ next drive, after the CU offensive line had surrendered its sixth sack of the game, the Buff offense faced a third-and-19 at its own 16-yard line. Instead of a three-and-out, Montez connected with Juwann Winfree for 20 yards and a first down. Later, facing a third-and-nine near midfield, Montez hit Laviska Shenault for a 37-yard gain. Then, on third-and-seven at the Nebraska eight, Montez hit Jay MacIntyre for an eight-yard touchdown.

Late in the third quarter, the Buffs were back in the game. Nebraska 28, Colorado 27.

Nebraska responded with an eight-play drive deep into Colorado territory. The drive stalled, however, at the Buff 26-yard line. Freshman kicker Barret Pickering attempted a 44-yard field goal, but came up short, leaving it a one point game early in the fourth quarter.

The Buff offense next posted a long drive of its own … but was also ultimately unsuccessful. Over 13 plays, the Buffs picked up 53 yards, none more important than a two-yard run for a first down on fourth-and-two at midfield. Two decent runs by Travon McMillian – for 10 and 12 yards – got the Buffs into field goal range. Stalled at the Nebraska 20, James Stefanou was called upon to kick his third field goal of the game. The effort drifted to the left, however, and the Buffs remained down a point, at 28-27, with ten minutes remaining.

On its next drive, Nebraska also faced a fourth-and-short near midfield. Unlike the Buffs, however, the Cornhuskers were unsuccessful, with linebacker Nate Landman taking out Greg Bell for a one yard loss and a turnover on downs.

Three plays later, the Buffs faced another fourth down. Again, the Buffs went for it. This time, however, Laviska Shenault didn’t get the ball. Instead, it was a pitch to Kyle Evans … for no gain and a turnover on downs.

With the ball at midfield and a chance to put the game away, Nebraska committed its third turnover of the game. On the Cornhuskers’ first play, Adrian Martinez was intercepted by Nate Landman, with the sophomore linebacker returning the pick 22 yards to the Nebraska 32-yard line.

The Buff offense, with the game in its hands, gained six yards in three plays. Back into the game came kicker James Stefanou. From 43 yards out, though, Stefanou was wide left again, leaving it at 28-27 with under five minutes remaining.

Nebraska had a chance to put the game away by running out the clock, but a holding penalty and an injury to starting quarterback Adrian Martinez gave the Buffs one last chance.

Starting at their 23-yard line with 2:15 to play, the Buffs took off on a drive which will be discussed for years. A 15-yard completion to Laviska Shenault opened the drive, with a 17-yard completion to Tony Brown on third-and-six at the CU 42 keeping the chains moving. There, however, the Buffs stalled. A sack and a false start left the CU offense with a third-and-24 at the 45 yard line.

The third down offering by Steven Montez across the middle sailed high and wide … but the Nebraska safety leveled Jay MacIntyre instead of playing the ball. Instead of fourth-and-24, the Buffs now had a first-and-ten at the Nebraska 40-yard line. On the very next play, Montez lofted a ball deep down the right side, where Laviska Shenault hauled it in at the three, falling forward into the endzone.

Colorado 33, Nebraska 28, after the failed two-point conversion attempt.

But … 1:06 remained on the clock. Sophomore walk-on quarterback Andrew Bunch was called upon to make a name for himself in the annals of Nebraska lore. Bunch did complete four of his nine passes, and did get the ball to the Colorado 20-yard line. His fourth down attempt as time expired, though, sailed wide of the endzone, and the Buffs had their first win against the Cornhuskers since 2007.

Final score: Colorado 33, Nebraska 28

“That is a physical football team, that is one of the most physical teams we will play all year”, said Mike MacIntyre. “The size of their D-line, the size of their linemen and their powerful backs. I couldn’t be prouder of the players and the coaching staff and their never-flinch attitude and their togetherness to me was amazing.”

The stats sheet was not a pleasant one to look at for Buff fans – 44 rushing yards in 35 attempts (including seven sacks for 43 yards in losses); 565 yards of total offense surrendered; six-of-18 on third down attempts; two missed field goals in the fourth quarter – but the scoreboard still showed a Colorado victory.

“It was a great time”, said linebacker Nate Landman, who led the team with 12 tackles (including two crucial fourth down stops) and an interception). “We were all flying around. I saw a lot of guys making great tackles today, some big hits out there, and like I say all the time, I can’t do what I do without my D-Line or my secondary.”

“We could have easily gave up,” said senior safety Evan Worthington, “but we kept on each other, we kept fighting and we knew we could do it. Sure enough we did.”

Here is the YouTube video of the game:

Game Notes …

— Attendance for the game was 89,853, the eighth-largest crowd to watch Colorado play (four of the top 13 are games played in Lincoln;

— The win was the first for the Buffs in Lincoln since 2004. Nebraska lead in the all-time series was cut to 49-19-2;

— With 344 yards of total offense, Steven Montez (33-50, 351 yards, three touchdowns; 11 carries for minus-seven yards) became the ninth player in CU history with over 5,000 yards of total offense (5,261);

— Laviska Shenault finished with ten catches for 177 yards and the game-winning touchdown (with two rushes for five yards and another score). For his efforts, Shenault was named the Pac-12 Offensive Player-of-the-Week. The numbers were also new highs for a Colorado receiver against Nebraska (previous highs: nine catches, D.J. Hackett, 2003; 116 receiving yards, Blake Mackey, 2004);

— Punter Alex Kinney broke his collarbone on his first punt of the game, and was lost for the season. Backup punter Davis Price had four punts for a 40.8 yard average in Kinney’s place;

— Jay MacIntyre had a career-high eight catches. It was also his first two-touchdown game in his career;

— Nate Landman had an interception for the second straight game. Landman again led the Buffs with 13 tackles (eight unassisted), with two fourth down stops, a third down stop and two tackles for loss;

— James Stefanou had three extra points, making him 44-for-44 to open his career, surpassing the record set by Neil Voskeritchian, who was 41-for-41 in PAT’s to open his career back in 1994;

— Nebraska had two 100-yard rushers, quarterback Adrian Martinez (117 yards) and running back Greg Bell (104). The CU game marked the first time in Nebraska history in which the Cornhuskers had two 100-yard rushers in a home game … and lost.

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23 Replies to “Colorado 33, Nebraska 28”

  1. Boy oh boy this game brought back the old memories. There was a little of everything in this game for both teams good and bad, but the biggest thing is BUFFS WIN !!! BUFFS WIN!!! Who cares how it happens. I remember once when we should have won in Stinkin Linkin, when JJ Flanigan running free dropped the damn ball and yes we did lose that game.

    The 2nd Qtr looked like we were in for another good ole butt wuppin’ and I hoped that there would at least some attempt for some adjustments for the second half. Lo and behold there was. Yes our boys in the trenches still need some work but even though we had a first game agains CSU this really was our FIRST REAL GAME for the 2018 campaign.

    I will still remain optimistic even with some of the warts that were exposed, and one of the reasons for that is that even with the continual line play problems, I still think there is more talent in both O & D lines to make a difference then in years past, and no argument that there are some other very very talented players on this team that seems to have bought in to what the coaches are promoting.

  2. A couple of quick notes
    1. The huskers had 7-8 in the box most of the game. In many of our run plays they outnumbered us in the box. You cannot run against that. They were able to do this because our pass offense is so focused on 5 yard passes. We need to introduce more intermediate routes. Go back and watch the game and see how successful our intermediate routes are.
    2. Our o line is bad. I hate to say it but they had a horrible game. They all need to get better across the board. Hopefully it was just a bad game against a really good defensive line but I saw way too many “watch out” blocks, unsustained blocks, missed blocks, and lineman when they were free not knowing who to help block. In the next 3 weeks the development of this line will determine our season.
    3. The d got better in the second half. I am not sure where this came from. Better conditioning, better understanding of the husker offense, better d play calling, but don’t give up on this d. I don’t think we are ever going to be ranked very high except in one category which is points against. Elliott seems to be a bend but not break guy. He said something during the spring game interview that caught my ear, we were middle of the pac12 in scoring defense. Watching this game, I think I start to see his strategy. He put his players in positions to make plays, makes the opposing offense run sustained drives and then teaches his players to capitalize on their opponents mistakes. The huskers have been saying we were unstoppable unless we stopped ourselves. I am now wondering if that is Elliot’s philosophy? Not sure I like it but I wonder if that is what it is.

  3. I could be wrong, but I think the lousy stats all come from the first half. The second half we contained their running game far more effectively. This lends credence to the idea that it was subpar tackling in the first half that was the problem. If so, I think you can say our d line held up pretty well considering we held them in check most of the second half. And when they needed yards our d line allowed our linebackers and db’s to penetrate on those fourth down plays.

    O line had problems, but their d and linebackers looked pretty solid. That was not a cupcake team. I thought our staff made good adjustments at the half. Way better than years past.

    I am so happy this morning. I loved the 2016 Buff team, but this team reminds me of the old Buffs.

  4. Looking at it:

    Running game………….What running game.
    Running defense……..What running defense
    Oline play………….What oline play
    Dline play…………What dline play

    The above?

    Don’t matter.

    You play to win the game.

    Now if it would have been a loss, well then different deal.

    Uh Oh Kornholers whipped by the Mighty Buffalo.

    Note: It is said that the biggest improvement comes between game 1 and 2. Interesting.

    Note 2: Hopefully in this case it’s between 3 and 4 and then again at 4 and 5.

    Note 3: Mein Gott, the Mighty Buffs could be one game away from a bowl game with 7 games to go.

  5. For what it’s worth;

    The local Portland radio sports stations have been talking about CU’s victory almost more then the Ducks thrashing of Portland State.

    Talk here in Portland suggests that the Buffs earned a lot of credit nationally this afternoon.

    First time in a long time I’ve heard positive things about the Buffs up here.

    They say it was a huge win for the Pac12.
    I completely agree.

  6. In the deed the glory…unless that deed is just an awful cheap shot half a second before you have the game won.

    I’m going to send that safety a fruit basket.

    Other than that….the running game never got going and the option call to Kyle Evans on 4th and 1 was inexcusable. The defense bent, broke, taped it back together, and played a fantastic second half.

    Any win is a good win. Especially in Lincoln.

  7. This was not (repeat) NOT a push-over team. They’re going to turn some heads in the Big-10 if Martinez’s knee isn’t serious. The KornKobs somewhat surprised me as I didn’t think the coaching change could turn this team around with one regime change. Wrong. Frosty brought a full-house complement of coaches with him…. and their recruiting hasn’t been all that bad the past few years. Their draft horses in the trenches WERE – as advertised – HUGE. However… talent prevailed. I was surprised that M2 stayed with our smaller, speedy RB’s who were negated at the LOS. Where was Beau ? Someone please tell me why his presence wasn’t apparent, although I was watching the game at my brother’s nursing home and he was having some urgent problems so I may have missed something. Thankfully, my brother was doing better about the time Viska caught the go-ahead TD. (Maybe that helped him).

    Yea Buffs !

  8. I’m seeing excuse making and griping in the Nebraska media domain. Limited credit to the opponent. I will add one more post-game joke to the mix:

    Do you know what Cornhusker fans are right now? Hint: It is what they will eat tomorrow morning for breakfast as well.

    “Frost-ed Flakes”.

    Yes, that joke is really bad but the win is great. Lots to work on, including both sides of the trenches but the second half adjustments were good and the resiliency was awesome. Shenault is a beast and Montez gave him two beautiful deep balls.

    Go Buffs!!!

    1. Frost will probably be successful….at least more successful than his last 2 predecessors meaning he may avoid the death threats…..from the best fans in the country of course

      1. Agree. But. Huskers are already a good team, (My take) however we’ll see if I’m clairvoyant…. and, yes, I think he will avoid the death threats…. after all, they love Frosty in Stinkn Linkn.

  9. always take the win…especially in the corn pit….however….both lines were somewhat exposed.
    That kind of performance in the trenches may prevent a few wins.

  10. Stayed around in the stadium for a bit and was down near the field and heard what the local reporters were saying…

    One of them talked about how “there are unsubstantiated rumors that CU players were intentionally twisting the ankle” of Nebraska ‘s QB.

    ugh. Didn’t look like that to me in the stands…

  11. What a weird game. LilMac did great. Showed some good hands on the first TD. Pretty good speed on the second td. And 1990is Buff Toughness Throughout!!! Shenault is an amazing player. The hammer, cripes he won the game.

    Well, extra bottle of wine tonight as the party rolls on.

    As they say in stinkn linkn…………….UP YOUR BUFFALO BABY.

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