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November 9th – Boulder           Colorado 16, Stanford 13

Red-shirt freshman kicker Evan Price, subbing for James Stefanou, connected on three fields, the last being a 37-yarder on the game’s final play, giving Colorado a 16-13 win over Stanford. The Buffs took a 7-0 lead on their first drive of the game, but lost the lead early in the fourth quarter on a 79-yard touchdown pass from Stanford quarterback K.J. Costello to Simi Fehoko. Down 13-10, the Buffs launched two long fourth quarter drives – 14 plays for 69 yards and 13 plays for 61 yards – to tie the game and then post the game’s final points.

“I just wanted to go out there and pretend it was a practice kick and do what I normally do,” Price said. “Trust the holder, trust the snapper and trust the line, and everything just went right”.

Quarterback Steven Montez went 20-for-30 for 186 yards, also rushing for 40. Montez scored on a 17-yard run on the game’s first possession, with the scoring run proving to be the only touchdown for the Buffs all afternoon. Alex Fontenot led the rushing attack for CU, posting 95 yards on 19 carries. Laviska Shenault had eight receptions, good for 91 yards, but his lone carry of the day, a five-yard run on fourth-and-one at Stanford 34 with just over a minute remaining, was crucial.

Stanford out-gained Colorado on the afternoon, 372 total yards to 358. In the fourth quarter, however, after the Cardinal took the lead at the 14:05 mark, the Buffs ran 27 plays for 130 yards … to three plays and nine yards for the Cardinal.

The victory was the first for the CU program in a November game since 2016, and snapped a five-game losing streak. The Buffs improved to 4-6, keeping CU’s slim bowl hopes alive with games against Washington and Utah remaining.

Game Story … Colorado won the toss and elected to receive, hoping to put it’s better unit on the field to open the game … and it paid off. A 13-yard completion from Steven Montez to Tony Brown, combined with a pair of Alex Fontenot runs totaling 12 yards, got the ball out to midfield. Two more runs, a nine-yarder by Montez and an 11-yarder by Fontenot pushed the ball down to the Stanford 30-yard line. Facing a third-and-four at the 24 two plays later, Fontenot pushed ahead for another 11 yards and a red zone opportunity. On the next play, Montez completed the nine-play, 75-yard drive with a 13-yard touchdown run.

Stanford responded with a successful drive of its own, not facing a third down until the Cardinal was deep into Colorado territory. The drive stalled, however, once Stanford got to the CU 21-yard line. Two incompletions and a completion for a loss of a yard forced the Cardinal to settle for a field goal attempt. Kicker Ryan Sanborn was good from 40 yards out, making it a 7-3 game with just under six minutes remaining in the first quarter.

The Buffs’ second drive got off to a good start, with a seven-yard completion from Montez to tight end Brady Russell followed by a pair of Jaren Mangham runs for six yards and a first down. A K.D. Nixon 12-yard run to midfield had the Homecoming crowd excited, but thereafter the drive stalled. An Alex Kinney punt was muffed at the Stanford ten yard line, with the Buffs recovering … but … the Buffs were called for holding on the punt, nullifying the turnover.

The Buff defense forced a three-and-out from the Cardinal, though, giving the CU offense another chance at a two-score lead. Completions of 11 yards and 29 yards from Montez to Laviska Shenault gave the Buffs a first down at the Stanford 31 yard line. On the next play, however, after the long completion to Shenault, Montez threw an interception to J.J. Parson on a slant pattern, ending the drive.

Stanford had a long completion of its own on its next drive – a 31-yard pass from quarterback K.J. Costello to Osiris St. Brown – again setting up the Cardinal just outside the red zone. As had been the case in the first quarter, however, the Buff defense again made a stand – with the help of an over-turned touchdown pass. Ryan Sanborn was again good, this time from 36 yards out, making it a 7-6 game with nine minutes remaining in the second quarter.

The Buffs held the ball only four plays on their next drive before punting the ball away, giving Stanford another opportunity to take the lead. It took only six plays for the Cardinal to move into CU territory, but on a third-and-eight at the Buff 40-yard line, K.J. Costello threw a deep pass which was intercepted by Derrion Rakestraw at the Buff 20-yard line.

After a sack of Montez set the Buffs back ten yards, a 16-yard completion from Montez to Shenault on third-and-16 kept the ball alive. A holding call set the Buffs back again, but a 17-yard run by Montez gave the Buffs new life, with a ten-yard run by Alex Fontenot on third down giving CU another first down. Completions of nine yards to Tony Brown and 11 yards to K.D. Nixon gave the Buffs a scoring opportunity. The drive ended at the Stanford 18-yard line, with Evan Price hitting his first field goal attempt of the season, giving the Buffs a 10-6 lead with under a minute remaining in the half.

Halftime score: Colorado 10, Stanford 6

Stanford took the second half kickoff and marched smartly down the field. Taking over at their seven-yard line, the Cardinal held the ball for 12 plays, covered 79 yards, and again pushed the ball into the CU red zone. For a third time in as many quarters, however, the Cardinal offense was unable to convert. Kicker Ryan Sanborn came in for his third field goal attempt for the game, this time from 32-yards out. The Sanborn offering, however, was wide right, keeping the game at 10-6.

A quick three-and-out from the CU offense gave the ball right back to Stanford, and, once again, the Cardinal offense was able to push the ball into Buff territory without much difficulty. Back-to-back sacks, though, by Mustafa Johnson and Terrance Lang, thwarted the threat.

The Buff offense, which held the ball for three plays and nine yards on its first drive of the second half … held the ball for five plays, going for 14 yards, before punting the ball back to Stanford.

This time, the Cardinal was not to be denied.

The Stanford offense only held the ball for four plays, but four plays were all that were needed. Facing a third-and-15 at the 21-yard line, K.J. Costello hit Simi Fehoko for a 79-yard touchdown on the second play of the fourth quarter. Stanford 13, Colorado 10, with 14:05.

Down for the first time on the afternoon, the Buff offense, stymied in its first two drives of the second half, went to work. A seven-yard run by Alex Fontenot followed by a six-yard completion from Montez to Dimitri Stanley got the Buffs heading in the right direction. An 18-yard run by Fontenot pushed the ball into Stanford territory, but the Buffs were then faced with a fourth-and-one at the Cardinal 31-yard line.

Rather than go for a game-tying 48-yard field goal attempt, the Buffs went for the first down. An Alex Fontenot run was just enough for the first down, keeping the drive alive. A face mask penalty gave the CU offense a red zone opportunity, but the drive ended at the Stanford six yard line. From there, Evan Price hit a 23-yard field goal, tying the score at 13-13, with 7:34 remaining in the game.

The much-maligned Colorado defense, which hadn’t given up fewer than 30 points to any opponent in over a year, came up with a three-and-out. Stanford gained only nine yards on three plays, with star back Davion Taylor making plays on second and third down to force a Stanford punt.

With six minutes left on the clock in a tie game, the Buff offense set off on a drive which they couldn’t produce in the final minutes of the USC game two weeks earlier. A quarterback sneak by Montez on third-and-one gave CU its first first down of the drive, with a ten-yard completion to Tony Brown giving the Buffs another first down. Two plays, later, on third-and-nine, Montez threw an incomplete pass, but Stanford was called for pass interference on the play, giving the Buffs a first down in Stanford territory.

Three runs by Jaren Mangham netted nine yards, leaving the Buffs with a fourth-and-one at the Cardinal 34-yard line. The clock was stopped at the 1:05 mark. Left with the choice of a 51-yard field goal attempt or go for it … the Buffs went for it. The give was to Laviska Shenault, who was hit at the line, but knocked the defender to the ground, gaining five and a first down.

A 12-yard completion from Montez to K.D. Nixon and a kneel down by Steven Montez put the ball at the Stanford 20-yard line. With two seconds remaining, Evan Price became the first CU kicker since Kevin Eberhart against No. 3 Oklahoma in 2007 to kick a game-winner on the game’s final play.

Final score: Colorado 16, Stanford 13

“That was a very good team win for us, with offense, defense and special teams playing complementary football and playing together,” Tucker said. “We talked all week about guys playing for each other and playing for the man next to you. I saw that out there today.”

The Buff defense not only held an opponent under 400 yards for the first time under Mel Tucker (372), but held an opponent to less than 30 points for the first time in 14 games. “We came out there and didn’t do anything crazy,” CU linebacker Nate Landman said. “We did our base stuff and got back to the basics. That’s what our emphasis was. Doing little things better and getting back to the basics.”

Video highlights from the game, from BuffsTV:

Game Notes … 

— With the loss, Stanford’s advantage in the series dropped to 6-5 (3-3 in games played in Boulder);

— The Buffs won a game scoring only one touchdown for the first time since … the last time they played Stanford, a 10-5 win in 2016;

— In five games against Stanford as a member of the Pac-12, the Buffs have yet to score more than 16 points in a game (winning two – 10-5 in 2016 and 16-13 in 2019);

— For just the fifth time in school history, Colorado started two freshmen cornerbacks – K.J. Trujillo and Tarik Luckett;

— The Buff defense held an opponent under 400 yards of total offense (372) for the first time in the 2019 season;

— Evan Price’s game-winning field goal as time expired was just the third in school history, joining John Zisch (a 36-yarder to beat BYU, 9-7, in 1947) and Kevin Eberhart (a 45-yarder to beat No. 3 Oklahoma, 27-24, in 2007);

— Attendance for the game was 49,224, keeping Colorado above capacity for the season (averaging 50,563 – capacity 50,183);

— Punter Alex Kinney played in his 53rd career game, setting a new program record. The previous record of 52 was held by tight end Quinn Sypniewski (2000-05). Kinney celebrated his record by posting four punts for a 50-yard average;

— Steven Montez became the second player in CU history to exceed 10,000 yards in total offense – 10,194, trailing only Sefo Liufau’s 10,509. With the rushing touchdown, Montez posted his 71st “touchdown responsible for”, trailing Liufau by one. Montez remained tied with Liufau and Cody Hawkins with 60 career touchdown passes;

— Laviska Shenault (nine receptions for 91 yards; one rush for five) moved into the top ten in career receptions (ninth, with 88), and 11th in career receiving yards (1,800). Shenault also became the 33rd Buff in CU history with over 2,000 yards from scrimmage (2,033).

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9 Replies to “Colorado 16, Stanford 13”

  1. It wasn’t pretty but a good win. I thought the Stanford secondary did a good job covering (also some questionable non-reads on Montez but I’m going to stay positive). The running game was just good enough to keep possession time and some drives alive. Fontenot does a really good job of making something out of apparently nothing. I think the Buffs D does better vs. a traditional stay-in-the-pocket QB.
    Question: Anyone know what happened to Abrams? He was dressed in pads but didn’t see him play. Gotta say the young freshman CBs have made a lot of progress though.
    Question2: Anyone know what’s up with Stefanou? I thought he maybe had a leg injury?

  2. As the Buffs headed into the fourth quarter and were down to Stanford, I told fans next to me: this feels like the same movie but I want a different ending, please. Though Stanford is not a stellar team this year and the Buffs, in all probability, are not going bowling, I feel this was a great win because the Buffs found a way to win instead of succumbing to the same old script. In a losing culture, this is huge. And it came when big recruits were in town. I love seeing the crowd coming to games and being pumped and supportive of a 3-6 team heading into this game. I can’t recall when the Buffs last averaged capacity for their home games? That is probably a Dave Plati factoid. I am glad that my pick was wrong and feel that this was a very good win for the culture of the program. What a nice fall day: great weather, packed house, homecoming, military appreciation and flyover, and a win. Fun!

    1. Good point on attendance … so I thought it was worth looking up … With the 49,224 on hand for the Stanford game, CU is averaging 50,563 per game this year (still over capacity of 50,183). The last season Colorado averaged over 50,000 was 2011 (CU’s first season in the Pac-12).
      If the Buffs pull in 48,281 for the Washington game, the Buffs will average a sell out in Mel Tucker’s first season (in his post-game press conference, Tucker gave a shout out to the Buff Nation right off the top).

  3. Can anyone explain why mangum was the running back for that entire final drive? With six minutes left in the game, Fontenot was averaging five yards a carry and had almost a hundred yards on the ground… And mangum had five carries for six yards. And didn’t do much better on that final drive. Injury?

    We’ve all given Montez a ton of shit recently but he bailed out a terrible performance running the ball on that drive. Great job by him. Huge win. Very needed just for recruiting. Great play by the defense except on that one play.

  4. Referencing todays poll question. The games that got away. We could have been a bowl team. Still wondering about some of those 4th quarter offense calls.
    Darn it… also, a few more iffy ref calls today. The spot on Montezs rush comes to mind. Spot was a yard to a yard and a half off… refs are either struggling or not our friends…

    1. The refs were awful all game. I can’t believe how many blatant holding calls they missed, only to call a holding on the punt? Or the late hit where Stanford player stomped on a guy?

  5. A November win. Not easy no matter the opponent, at least in the last decade. Lots of recruits on site. Well done Buffs…! Team and stadium crowd included.

    1. And 77 degrees too, recruits don’t understand that Boulder has 300 days of sunshine per year and 77 on a November day to a recruit from a sunny local, well, that just has to be like a “Blue Bird Day” to a skier. 😉

      A great win against a solid PAC12 team, 1pm, sunny it all went well for recruiting.
      What’s the over & under on the commits?

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