Following the worst game of his young career, Steven Montez sat in front of the media and answered questions.

It could have been very easy for the sophomore to skip the press conference after a 37-10 loss to Washington, during which he threw three interceptions. He could have given terse answers and got out of there as quickly as possible.

Instead, he answered every question in detail and, as he always does, ended the session by telling the media, "I appreciate you guys."

It might seem minor, but chalk up a victory for the young quarterback.

This was the first time Montez has had to deal with an ugly performance in a humbling loss and the first time where he's the guy getting blamed, and he handled himself with class.

Just seven starts into his career, Montez is still learning. Some lessons will be tougher than others, but Saturday's loss could be significant for his development as a quarterback and as a leader.

"I definitely hope so," head coach Mike MacIntyre said. "I definitely hope it can be and it needs to be. As he watches the film and talks about what we're doing; we have to find out maybe more ways to help him, so to speak, as we watch and look at it and talk to him."

The Buffs know what they have in Montez. He's an athletic, 6-foot-5, 225-pound gunslinger with a rocket arm and quick feet.

Montez will make brilliant plays, as he's done already this season. He will also make plays that cause Buff Nation cringe and he's done that this year, too.


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MacIntyre has said many times that, with Montez, the Buffs have to live with the good plays and the bad plays, with the hope that there's more good.

So far, there's been more good, as Montez carries a 5-2 record as a starter. He's already had two of the most dynamic games in CU history for a quarterback.

On Saturday night, the bad outweighed the good.

Montez was really good early, engineering an impressive 11-play, 75-yard touchdown drive on the Buffs' first possession.

He had other good moments, as well, but most of the game will be remembered for the passes he threw to Washington defenders - including the back-breaking pick-six that broke the game open for the Huskies in the third quarter.

"I thought we were driving the ball pretty well up and down the field," he said. "The picks just stopped those drives. It just shut what we were trying to do down on offense."

Montez never blamed a single teammate or coach. He wasn't the only CU player to make mistakes, but he's the one that'll get the lion's share of the blame.

That's part of the job of being the starting quarterback, and Montez gets it.

Known for his ability to brush off a mistake and just keep playing, Montez will be tested in that regard this week.

Throughout his career at CU, Montez will have more games like this, but this was the first one. How he handles it will be crucial for his development, and for the good of the team.

If Saturday's postgame press conference was an indication, Montez will figure out how to bounce back.

Yeah, it was an ugly loss, but ultimately, it could be an important night for a player that's maturing on the fly.

Asked if the Buffs can compete for the Pac-12 title, Montez confidently said, "Most definitely," without hesitation.

Montez is not a captain, but he's definitely a leader on a team that still believes there's more good to come.

"We just have to be better," he said. "We have to go in, watch the film and come out ready for UCLA."

Contact staff writer Brian Howell at howellb@dailycamera.com or twitter.com/BrianHowell33.