CU 37, Texas State 3
How it happened: The Buffs rode their defense and a special teams touchdown at the start and then finally got its offense going in the second half to pull away from the underdog Bobcats.
Turning point: An interception by Isaiah Oliver midway through the third quarter set up a 7-yard touchdown run by Phillip Lindsay to extend the lead to 24-3. That pretty much put the game out of reach for Texas State.
CU's stars of the game
WR Bryce Bobo: The senior continued his hot start to the season with seven catches for 75 yards and a touchdown. He also topped the 100-catch mark for his career and now has 103.
DL Leo Jackson III: Came into the game with three career sacks, and added three more against the Bobcats.
S Evan Worthington: Had a nice game against the run and in coverage, finishing with nine tackles and a pass breakup.
Bottom line: Ultimately, the Buffs did what they were expected to do in rolling to a victory and it's never a bad thing to start a season at 2-0. It's clear, however, that the offense is not in sync and has a ways to go.
When he was a star at Del Valle High School in El Paso, Texas, Steven Montez was nearly unstoppable when he'd get out of the pocket.
A big, athletic quarterback, he could beat just about anybody with his arm or his feet, and he was so good that it became second nature.
Now that he's the starting quarterback at Colorado, Montez is still itching to get on the run.
"I just kind of revert back to that whenever I'm in a game," Montez said Saturday after helping the Buffs to a 37-3 victory against Texas State in the home opener at Folsom Field.
While that style worked like a charm in high school, it's causing some problems right now and it's been a big factor in the Buffs' early-season struggles on offense.
Saturday's final score was lopsided, but for the second game in a row, the Buffs (2-0) failed to impress with its highly touted offense.
CU's defense was exceptional once again, holding Texas State (1-1) to just 283 yards, and special teams produced 16 points.
Offensively, however, the expectations were that the Buffs would be one of the most explosive teams in the country. Those weren't outside expectations. That's what the Buffs — including head coach Mike MacIntyre — told anyone who would listen.
"I put (those expectations) on us," MacIntyre said. "I still think we're going to be pretty good. I think we've shown really good glimpses of it. We'll put that together for a whole game and do some really good things. We can make some big plays. We have good players across the board."
Those glimpses added up to decent numbers overall against Texas State, as the Buffs had 430 yards in total offense. And, it's never a bad thing to put 37 points on the board.
Montez shook off some early struggles to throw for 299 yards and a touchdown on 19-of-31 passing. Phillip Lindsay added 87 yards and a touchdown on the ground and Shay Fields had five catches for 110 yards.
It wasn't a sharp performance, however.
After failing to score in the final 43 minutes, 36 seconds in a 17-3 win against Colorado State on Sept. 1, the Buffs needed nearly the entire first quarter to get on the board against the Bobcats, who came in as a 37-point underdog. Even then, it wasn't the offense doing the scoring.
In the final minute of the first quarter, Isaiah Oliver fumbled a punt return, but true freshman Laviska Shenault scooped it up and sprinted 55 yards to the end zone. It was Shenault's first touch of his career and it gave the Buffs a 7-0 lead.
After three consecutive punts to open the game, the CU offense finally got going a bit in the second quarter.
Montez capped a nine-play, 96-yard drive with a 2-yard touchdown run to make it 14-0. Montez had passes of 44 yards (to Fields) and 28 yards (to Bryce Bobo) to spark that drive.
After taking a 14-0 lead into halftime, the Buffs had a 17-3 advantage in the third quarter. In that quarter, Lindsay scored on a 7-yard run and Montez hit Bobo for an 11-yard touchdown pass to extend the lead to 31-3.
Pulling away gave the Buffs the cushion they needed to rest the starters in the fourth quarter, but it wasn't enough to mask the reality that the offense has some work to do, and that starts with Montez.
"A lot of the problem with the offense not getting going in the first half was definitely my fault," Montez said. "I was getting out of the pocket way too soon and I think that we cleaned that up in the second half."
Montez said true freshman quarterback Tyler Lytle gave him some advice on the sideline.
"Tyler's not a very good runner, and it's kind of known on the team," Montez said. "He said, 'Pretend you're me for a second and just stay in the pocket, because I can't run, and you'll start delivering the ball.' Sure enough, I took his advice, stayed in the pocket and that's what started happening."
With an initial instinct to get on the run, Montez said he's put his offensive linemen in tough situations. Montez was sacked twice and pressured on several other plays against the Bobcats. It's easy to pin that on linemen for not protecting the quarterback, but Montez pointed the finger at him.
"I put both (tackles) in a very hard spot with me dropping so far out of the pocket," Montez said. "Then those ends can just rush up field. In (the minds of the tackles), I was sitting in the pocket like I should be, but I was drifting out. A lot of that is on me. A lot of that is my fault."
MacIntyre said he was pleased with the improvement Montez made in that regard during the third quarter. It's on Montez to make that consistent.
"Now that I'm conscious of it, I just need to keep working it and working it and hopefully we can just make it a habit of staying in the pocket and getting outside of the pocket and making plays only when we have to and not choosing to do that first," he said.
It's improvement that Montez is confident he can make, and the Buffs are confident they'll get their offense rolling.
"I don't think there's any concern to be honest," Montez said. "It takes a couple weeks to start clicking. We're just starting to get that chemistry going on the offense."
Texas State 0 0 3 0—3
Colorado 7 7 17 6—37
First quarter: COL — Shenault 55 fumble recovery (Stefanou kick), :43. Second quarter: COL — Montez 2 run (Stefanou kick), 9:33 Third quarter: COL — FG Stefanou 34, 12:53 TXST — FG J.Sherman 32, 9:39 COL — Lindsay 7 run (Stefanou kick), 5:26 COL — Bobo 11 pass from Montez (Stefanou kick), :39 Fourth quarter: COL — FG Stefanou 40, 10:12 COL — FG Stefanou 35, 8:46TXST COL
First downs 12 21
Rushes-yards 47-156 41-91
Passing 127 339
Comp-Att-Int 8-18-1 23-36-0
Return Yards 42 20
Fumbles-Lost 1-1 2-0
Penalties-Yards 2-16 5-35
Time of Possession 33:29 26:31
RUSHING — Texas St., Anthony Taylor 8-66, Brown 11-41, Morbley 2-23, A.Smith 5-11, W.Jones 9-5, D.Williams 10-4, Watts 1-3, Nelson 1-3. Colorado, Lindsay 26-87, Adkins 4-16, Nixon 1-5, Bisharat 2-(minus 1), (Team) 2-(minus 3), Montez 5-(minus 5), Noyer 1-(minus 8).
PASSING — Texas St., D.Williams 6-16-1-95, W.Jones 2-2-0-32. Colorado, Noyer 4-5-0-40, Montez 19-31-0-299.
RECEIVING — Texas St., Morbley 5-96, Brown 1-12, Hays 1-11, D.Johnson 1-8. Colorado, Bobo 7-75, Fields 5-110, D.Ross 4-68, Winfree 2-28, Shenault 1-18, Lindsay 1-16, MacIntyre 1-15, Nixon 1-5, Adkins 1-4.
MISSED FIELD GOALS — Texas St., J.Sherman 33.