September 14th – Boulder          Air Force 30, Colorado 23 OT

Air Force running back Kadin Remsberg went 25 yards for a score on the first play of overtime to give the Falcons the lead, and Colorado was unable to answer, giving the Falcons a 30-23 overtime victory in a series which had laid dormant for 45 years.

Montez went 26-for-43 for 220 yards, with two touchdowns and an interception, while Lavisksa Shenault (eight receptions for 124 yards and a touchdown) had his first 100-yard game of the season, but Montez was unable to hit Shenault on a fourth-and-12 at the AFA 16-yard line on the game’s final play. Jaren Mangham (ten carries for 56 yards) and Alex Fontenot (13 carries for 42 yards) for a Buff offense which was held to 325 yards by an Air Force defense which struggled in the 2018 season, but kept the Buffs from scoring for three full quarters of the game.

The game was played in three parts. Colorado jumped out to a 10-0 lead midway through the first quarter, but didn’t score again until 6:09 remained to be played in the game. In the interim, Air Force scored 23 points, dominating on both sides of the ball for over 45 minutes of game clock. The Buffs came alive late, with two touchdowns in the final six minutes to send the game into overtime, but were not able to sustain the momentum into the extra period.

“I told these guys that this is a very unforgiving game at times”, Mel Tucker said. “We have all been in locker rooms where we have been disappointed. How do you handle adversity? How do you handle a loss? Do you make excuses? We are not going to do that.”

“I just thought we didn’t execute today, especially on offense and I mean, a lot of that just plain and simple is on me,” said quarterback Steven Montez, who underthrew K.D. Nixon on one sure touchdown pass, and overthrew Laviska Shenault on another. “I’ve just got to do a better job, can’t come out there lethargic like that.”

The game left the Buffs with a 2-1 non-conference record, giving Mel Tucker his first loss as CU’s head coach. The win left Colorado with a 12-5 all-time advantage in the series, which hadn’t been played since 1974.

Game StoryIn a game where offenses expected to dominate defenses, it was not a surprise that, when Colorado won the opening coin toss, the Buffs elected to receive rather than defer. The CU offense didn’t make it easy on itself, with a false start penalty and a sack leaving the Buffs with a second-and-23 at their own 22-yard line. But an eight-yard run by Alex Fontenot and a 17-yard pass from Steven Montez to Laviska Shenault kept the drive alive.

Three plays later, it was fourth-and-one at the AFA 44-yard line. A two-yard run by Jaren Mangham gave the Buffs a fresh set of downs, before Montez hit Shenault near the 30-yard line, with Shenault doing the rest on his own. Colorado 7, Air Force 0, with 9:37 to play in the first quarter.

It appeared to be CU’s day a few plays later when, on third-and-three at their own 32, Falcon running back Taven Birdow fumbled (forced by Aaron Maddox, recovered by Davion Taylor), with the Buffs taking over at the Air Force 34-yard line.

A quick 13-yard completion from Montez to Tony Brown put the ball at the 21, but from there the Buff offense stalled. A Montez pass to a wide open K.D. Nixon was underthrown, allowing Falcon Zane Lewis to break up the pass. James Stefanou, though, made the turnover payoff, hitting a 36-yard field to goal to make it a 10-0 game midway through the first quarter.

And that was the last the Buff fans would hear from the CU offense for the next three quarters …

Unfazed by the two-score deficit, the Air Force offense began to click, needing only seven plays to cover 75 yards. The Buff defense appeared to be ready to make a stop, but on third-and-nine at the Buff 32, Air Force quarterback Donald Hammond III found Geraud Sanders behind the Buff secondary. The extra point attempt hit the upright, leaving it a 10-6 game with four minutes remaining in the first quarter.

With the opportunity to respond and retake control of the game, the CU offense sputtered, mostly hurting itself with mistakes.

— A holding penalty and a false start penalty nixed the next drive after seven plays.

Air Force responded with another touchdown drive, this one taking 12 plays to cover 78 yards. In a six-minute drive which took the game into the second quarter, quarterback Donald Hammond III had the honors, scoring on a two-yard run to make it a 13-10 game.

— A false start and a sack ended CU’s next drive, punting the ball away after six plays gained a total of 11 yards.

Air Force then needed only two plays to make it a 20-10 game. Quarterback Donald Hammond III hit wide receiver Benjamin Waters for an 81-yard touchdown, giving the Falcons three touchdowns in three consecutive possessions.

— CU held the ball for only two plays on its next possession. After a run for no gain – and another false start penalty – Steven Montez was intercepted by Milton Bugg III at the Buff 44-yard line.

With a chance to go in for the kill, the Air Force offense methodically moved the ball downfield. Taking ten plays to cover 32 yards – and taking over five minutes of clock to do so, the Falcons faced a second-and-goal at the CU six-yard line. There, quarterback Donald Hammond III got a little greedy, trying to throw a pass late to the middle of the field. The ball was tipped, and then intercepted by CU safety Mikial Onu in the end zone. Threat averted, leaving the Buffs down only ten at intermission.

Halftime score: Air Force 20, Colorado 10

With a second chance to put in a deciding dagger, the Falcons received the second half kickoff with a chance to take a commanding lead over the stagnant Colorado offense. The Falcons quickly pushed the ball to midfield, but there Kaden Remsberg fumbled, with the ball recovered by Nu’umato Falo – his third fumble recovery in three games.

That evened the Air Force drives for the game … six drives, with three touchdowns … and three turnovers.

Given a reprieve, the Colorado offense drove … to the Air Force 37 yard line before punting.

The Air Force offense then did something it hadn’t done all day – punted the ball away. The Buffs again went nowhere, gaining no territory but losing precious clock.

The Falcons then put together a drive which should have ended the game. Covering 51 yards in 13 plays, and, just as importantly, chewing up 8:35 of game clock, Air Force was finally stopped at the CU 30-yard line. A 47-yard field goal by Jake Koehnke was the consolation prize, making it a 23-10 game with 10:23 remaining to be played in the game.

Desperate, the Buff offense finally put together its first scoring drive since the first quarter. A 12-yard completion from Montez to Shenault on third-and-six at the CU 29 moved the chains, with the Buffs needing a Laviska Shenault wildcat run keeping the drive alive moments later. Facing a fourth-and-one at the AFA 38, Shenault went for 19 yards, giving CU new life.

Three plays later, on third-and-four at the Air Force 13-yard line, Montez hit Dimitri Stanley for a 13-yard touchdown. Suddenly, it was a one score game again, at 23-16 … after James Stefanou missed the first extra of his career (and the first for CU in almost three years, a span of 107 consecutive made extra points).

The Buff defense – and the CU crowd – finally rose to the occasion on the Falcons’ next possession. Taking over with 6:09 to play, and needing its ball-control offense to do just that, the Falcons went backwards, with two false starts helping the Buffs force a three-and-out from the AFA offense.

Taking over at the CU 40, with 4:21 to play and needing a touchdown to force overtime, the Buffs took off on a 13-play drive to tie the score. A 15-yard completion from Montez to Shenault put the ball on the AFA side of the field, before three consecutive Jaren Mangham carries netted 16 yards and a first down at the 23-yard line. A 12-yard completion from Montez to Shenault on third-and-eight gave the Buffs a first-and-goal at the Air Force 5-yard line. On second-and-goal at the two-yard line, Shenault took it in for a score. Stefanou’s extra point was good, and, with 28 seconds remaining, the score was tied.

End of regulation: Colorado 23, Air Force 23

Any and all of the momentum the Buffs took into the extra period was quickly squelched, as Air Force running back Kaden Remsberg took off around right end, scoring from 25 yards out on the first play of overtime to give the Falcons back the lead.

Needing a touchdown to tie and force a second overtime, the Buffs were unable to answer. A four-yard run by Laviska Shenault on third-and-three at the AFA 18 gave the Buffs a fresh set of downs, but the Buffs went no farther. On fourth-and-12 at the Air Force 16, Steven Montez threw the ball to the corner of the end zone towards Shenault, but the offering fell short … just like the Buffs’ bid for a second consecutive comeback overtime win.

Final score: Air Force, 30, Colorado 23 OT

“We have to give Air Force a lot of credit,” said Mel Tucker. “Those guys have some good players, play extremely hard, are well coached and made more plays than we made”. In all, Air Force had 444 yards of total offense, to just 325 for the Buffs. The Falcons, who threw only one pass in a season-opening rout of Colgate, threw 12 passes against Colorado, with seven completions going for 155 yards and two touchdowns.

“We just have to come out and be focused and ready to practice and listen to what our coaches have to say,” said tight end Brady Russell about the end of non-conference play and the start of Pac-12 play. “Not be on our own agendas, we just all need to be together and one and working together out on the field and learn from today for sure.”

If you are up for it, here are the YouTube highlights of the game … 

Game Notes …

— Attendance for the Air Force game was 49,282. While not a sell-out like the Nebraska game (52,829), the two-game total of 102,111 represented the best back-to-back total since games against CSU and Wyoming in 2009;

— For the first time in school history, the Buffs played back-to-back overtime games. CU dropped to 7-9 all-time in overtime contests;

— The loss snapped a 13-game winning streak for CU in non-conference games played in the state of Colorado. The win was the fifth for Air Force in the series, leaving the Buffs with a 13-5 all-time advantage (the teams are scheduled to play again in Colorado Springs in 2023);

— Colorado had made 107 consecutive extra points (with five different kickers, dating back to 2016), before the James Stefanou offering in the fourth quarter was blocked;

— Safety Mikial Onu posted his third interception of the season against Air Force. Nate Landman led the Buffs in interceptions in 2018 with two. With two forced fumbles, Onu was credited with five turnovers in the first three games of the 2019 season (school record for a season: nine, by Dick Anderson, 1967, and John Stearns, 1972);

— Steven Montez started his 30th game at quarterback, the sixth-highest total in CU history (14-16 record);



33 Replies to “Air Force 30, Colorado 23, OT”

  1. Typical classless cu fan berlin. Cool aide drinking fool. Awesome to beat csu, nebraska and unfortunate to schedule air force game 3, with a bye and 45 years of hatred for everything cu, especially the likes of you.
    It was impressive the efforts the university made to heal those wounds with the AFA.
    Proud of Colorado Football, sad to share the same love with morons

    1. Listen Dick,

      You need to learn to read. The fans were in total support of AFA and the air force. Me too.

      Now get your pipe outta your eyeball.


  2. Some of these comments are overly harsh and to a certain extent unfair. The team is playing as they were expected. The big surprise is that the D has shown a propensity to force turnovers at key times to keep us in games and even secure wins. It is not realistic to think that the O line would be road graders in one off season, considering the mediocre level of coaching they’ve received over the last 5 years. The big disappointment to me, and seems to be for a lot of Buff faithful is the inconsistent and maddening QB play. If there is a repeat of the inconsistency at ASU next week, it may be time to see if Lytle or Stentstrom can do the job.

  3. Everyone is complaining about Montez and I completely understand, but the glaring issue is that crappy defensive backfield. Our DBs were 3 steps behind AF WRs!!!! Let that sink in. They can’t cover anyone 1on 1, they are lost in zone, no one understands their assignments in cover 2. I put it on coaching as they know we don’t have the athletes, even against AFA. But our defensive is no better in most of these games as the Embree era. I know they don’t have “their” players, but it’s obvious they also don’t have a game plan

    1. I agree, generally, our DBs are young and too undisciplined/inexperienced to play against multiple option teams. I guess our opponents will now exploit the hell out of this.

      But I also found the coaches lacking in this game. Fontenot couldn’t get to the line of scrimmage in 75% of his attempts; our OL was viscous. Mangham broke through multiple times by accelerating into what holes there were faster than Fontenot. So why run Fontenot at all if you see this? The way the AF DL was playing, we needed a different approach. But the coaches didn’t/couldn’t make that decision…Hagen must know better!?!?

  4. We’re now officially set to to see what this new staff and program and attitude are all about. The clock has been ticking for way too long. In fact for nearly two years dating to October 28th 2017. That is the last time the Buffs bounced back for a win after losing the previous week (beating Cal after losing to Wazzu on 10/21/17). Losses are inevitable. I can only hope now that the team learns from this loss sooner rather than later and puts a stop to that 2 year old ticking clock.

  5. Credit them for rallying again. As poorly as they played, still came down to a couple of plays. Nevertheless, at some point, somehow, CU needs to recruit a big time stud QB. Montez seems to only have improved marginally since his sophomore year, and appears more like Sefo 2.0. Not terrible, but inconsistent, and an average QB, no more no less. Some of those passes today were just awful. Painful to watch. That said, questionable play calling imho also, problems with pass rush, and blitzes. Don’t recall seeing a single screen pass, or shovel pass…plays often associated with success against such pressure, to keep Montez alive…poor guy was taking a beating.
    Not to mention successive drives starting off with false start penalties, immediately followed by sacks, hence long yardage situations.
    Another close game which just as easily could have been a win instead of a loss. Next game will be interesting to see how they respond. Here’s hoping it’s not yet another frustrating repeat season. Go Buffs!

  6. Like I said this looks like a 4-8 season, 1st year coaches rarely have winning seasons. Still I’ll take the 2-1, with victories over CSU and Nebraska. I suspect we’ll get a couple more victories in PAC-12 play but that will be it.

  7. Well this is exactly what i expected of AFA. This is how they play decade after decade. Congratulations to them. I thought CU would start slow and finish strong as they have the previous 2 weeks. Started out that way but didn’t finish as i expected. This is who Steven Montez is unfortunately. He should be a much improved player at this point but he just hasn’t made that leap. Assuming this 2nd half adjustments continues i expect most if not all remaining games to play out like the 1st three games of the season. This AFA game was unique considering the type of offense they run. BUFFS still have a good chance of winning enough games to go bowling. We have to accept that every game is probably going to play out this way from here on out. Gonna be a long season. GO BUFFS !!!!!

    1. if the rest of the games play out like the first 3 it will be fun season! Last year the coaches gave up and thereby so did the players. We didn’t stand a chance in any of those last 7 games. Even the close ones like UW. I don’t anticipate a repeat of last year.

  8. At some point we all have to realize that playing qb is more than throwing the ball 60 yards. It’s about making decisions and putting your team in a position to make plays. If the backup qbs aren’t even good enough to make an appearance shame on recuiting. Like it or not Montez will be gone next year. It’s time for an audition

  9. Vanilla offense by the Buffs. Defense was mediocre at best. AF handled the line of scrimmage on both sides. End of story. Another year of “wait ’til next year”…(apples to the Broncos too,…….sadly)

  10. This just in: Colorado’s defense is slightly better than Colgate’s. AFA had 464 yards against mighty Colgate, while the Buffs remained stout and held AFA to 444 yards.

    Against 2 Mountain West teams (CSU and AFA) the Buffs “defense” (snicker) gave up 946 yards!

    Heaven help us when we play Wazoo and the Ducks.

  11. All week the Buffs practiced trying to stop Air Force’s triple option running attack. So what happened? They actually beat us with a near perfect Passing attack. Unfortunately, this loss will probably keep us home over the holidays instead of a bow game.

  12. Please don’t start 2-0 followed by 0-9. If they can’t put more than one well executed quarter together per game, it’s going to be a long season.

    1. Sadly, that is a very real possibility if not a probability. Bufs knew what that had to do to win and there was nothing forthcoming……I blame the coaches for a lackluster gameplay and execution. Having said that, the defense is inexperienced and will get better… where was the offense????

  13. I try to refrain from commenting on specific players but not today. This is not the performance we should expect to see from a senior, 3 year starting QB. Receivers were open and consistently overthrown. Montez needs to settle down. Quickly, otherwise we are looking at another losing season. Also, I know we are just three games into the Tucker era and it’s great to see second half adjustments but there has been significant discombobulated behavior during the first half of the last two games that has contributed to having to come from behind. Hopefully just growing pains and not a trend. The resilience and belief in coming back are great but I hope it doesn’t become an operating mode. There are much tougher opponents ahead where this type of ground can’t be made up.

  14. Tough loss. Seemed like it could go that way knowing how the service academies play. Air Force is probably the best team we have played so far. That could be scary. I liked the first words out of Mel’s mouth in his post game interview. We have to execute better. Truer words have never been said. Here’s to hoping this staff can get the talent they have to execute better than the last staff. I remain guardedly optimistic. On to asu.

    Go Buffs

    1. I don’t know, maybe guardedly optimistic. We all knew AF was going to rack up some yards and points, but thought they couldn’t contain the CU offense. Nope. I think the main reason CU has had to come from behind in all games this year is because Montez’s play. But then, he gets them out of the hole when the backs are to the wall. Shouldn’t be in that hole in the first place though.

  15. Notes:
    1. Very dissapointing
    2. The crowd was more than in support of the Air force. (Nice Jets) and what they do……………Scru you AD and Roony…………losers looking for clicks
    3. Montez may have petered in 2016. He was not good today. At all. And it wasn’t the AF D
    4. The DC was out coached by the AF OC
    5. Many questionable play calls………………see OT
    6. AF scored two passing touchdowns………………That dudes throws a beautiful ball.
    7. The missed Buff missed extra point (AF missed one as well) was not the reason the Mighty Buffs lost. See above.
    8. AF new what they had to do to win. Buffs were uncertain.
    9. So hope for 3 and 0 is history
    10. As stated previously, it will be interesting to see how the coaches and players react to their first loss. Can’t wait.
    11. If AF beats CSU, they will be the Champions of Colorado………………….I wanna go puke.


    Bowl game is all that matters…………..really………….seriously

    After note……………Beautiful day for football in Boulder

    1. If losing to a service academy at home and scraping together a 6-6 season is the panacea then the facilities investments are borderline fraud. I’ll bet the young men in that locker room wouldn’t be happy with that. I hope not

  16. Right up there with Montana St. and Toledo. Just humiliating. Our receiving core is top notch. All they need is a chance. And Mr. Montez couldn’t even give them that. As a Senior no less. And what happened to running the ball? Wow. Just wow. As appalling performance by everyone not playing receiver. I hope Mr. Maddox has a speedy recovery. Hang in there.

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