Colorado 45, New Hampshire 14
Play of the game: Travon McMillian's 75-yard touchdown run on the first play of the third quarter put the senior's speed and power on display. After running through an arm tackle 8 yards into the run, he turned on the jets and out-raced a pair of Wildcats to the end zone.
Turning point: It came early, as Rick Gamboa picked off a UNH pass just six plays into the game. That set up the Buffs' first touchdown, a 28-yard pass from Steven Montez to Laviska Shenault.
Top 3 Buffs of the game
1. RB Travon McMillian: The senior rushed for a career-high 162 yards and two touchdowns.
2. DL Mustafa Johnson: He was disruptive once again, with a sack and two tackles for loss.
3. QB Steven Montez: Not his best game ever, but he was solid overall (14-for-19, 166 yards, 1 TD), aside from an interception on the last play of the first half.
Colorado took care of business and moved to 3-0 on the season. It wasn't a flawless performance, but CU did run out to a 35-0 lead early in the third quarter, and will take some momentum into next week's bye.
Most people expected the Colorado football team to have a relatively easy victory on Saturday afternoon.
To actually come through and pull away for that win was satisfying for the Buffaloes, however.
Quarterback Steven Montez was mostly sharp, running back Travon McMillian had a career day and scored two touchdowns, and the defense came up with some big plays early to spark the Buffs to a 45-14 rout of New Hampshire in the home opener at Folsom Field.
"Sometimes the expected games are the most difficult to win, because you worry about guys not being focused and not truly buying into the game or just looking at the crowd or just getting distracted during the game," said Montez, who completed 14-of-19 passes for 166 yards, a touchdown and one interception. "I thought we handled it well, I thought we played well. We had a few mistakes; we'll come back and correct them and we'll be better for it."
The mistakes couldn't prevent CU from a 3-0 start for the second year in a row, while improving to 16-4 against nonconference foes in head coach Mike MacIntyre's six seasons with the Buffs. MacIntyre is 9-0 at Folsom Field in nonconference games.
Heavily favored against the Wildcats (0-3), CU improved to 6-2 all-time against teams from the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS), taking some momentum into their bye week.
"I thought our team came out and played hard and physical," CU head coach Mike MacIntyre said. "We had a couple mistakes that made the game last longer than it should. But, I was pleased with our state of mind, our aggressiveness, our physicality in the football game."
Coming off an emotional, 33-28 win at Nebraska a week ago, the Buffaloes didn't wilt under the 90-degree heat or the pressure of a letdown.
Montez once again was efficient in leading the offense, while McMillian rushed for 162 yards and two touchdowns, including a 75-yarder on the first play of the third quarter to put the Buffs ahead 35-0.
CU's offense needed a little time to get going, but fed off the defense setting the tone early.
CU linebacker Rick Gamboa picked off a UNH pass on the opening possession and returned it to the Wildcats' 28-yard line. Three plays later, Montez connected with Laviska Shenault for a 28-yard touchdown pass.
McMillian and Kyle Evans added touchdown runs in the second quarter to make it 21-0, and then the defense came through again. The Buffs' Davion Taylor scooped up a UNH fumble and returned it 14 yards for a touchdown and a 28-0 lead.
It was the first touchdown of Taylor's life.
"When I saw the ball, I picked it up and saw the end zone," said Taylor, who didn't play football in high school. "When I got the touchdown, I didn't know how to celebrate. It was a dream come true, because I had never scored a touchdown before. I didn't know what to think. I got the sideline and everyone was happy. I was overjoyed myself."
The Buffs weren't flawless, of course, with Montez and backup Sam Noyer both throwing interceptions. Noyer's interception — the first of his college career — was returned 15 yards for a touchdown by UNH safety Pop Lacey, cutting the CU lead to 35-7 with 6:56 to play in the third.
The Wildcats added a 71-yard touchdown pass from Christian Lupoli to Neil O'Connor late in the third.
Overall, though, the Buffs controlled the game, as expected. They outgained the Wildcats, 491-270, and were never in danger of losing.
It was the type of performance that MacIntyre is getting used to seeing from this team.
"I like our fight and our effort, I like our closeness, I like our mental toughness, I like our physical toughness," he said. "We're going to get punched some, but we're not going to stay down. We're going to get back up and punch back. You can't count these guys out, ever."
So far, it's been the Buffs doing the punching, and that has them with a perfect mark after three weeks.
"It just shows we've been taking care of business and we've been working hard," Montez said. "We've been working real hard as a team; we've been putting in the hours, watching film, sweating our butts off at practice.
"It shows how hard we've been working."
Colorado 45, New Hampshire 14New Hampshire 0 0 14 0 — 14
Colorado 7 21 10 7 — 45
First quarter: COL — Shenault 28 pass from Montez (Stefanou kick), 10:06Second quarter: COL — McMillian 1 run (Stefanou kick), 10:45 COL — Evans 6 run (Stefanou kick), 3:57 COL — Taylor 14 fumble return (Stefanou kick), 2:36 Third quarter: COL — McMillian 75 run (Stefanou kick), 14:48 NH — Lacey 15 interception return (McPike kick), 6:56 COL — FG Stefanou 19, 3:27 NH — O'Connor 71 pass from Lupoli (Hughes kick), 2:38 Fourth quarter: COL — Fontenot 15 run (Stefanou kick), 4:24
First downs 15 22
Rushes-yards 31-42 51-311
Comp-Att-Int 16-39-1 17-24-2
Return Yards 33 13
Punts-Avg. 6-47.5 5-37.2
Fumbles-Lost 2-2 4-0
Penalties-Yards 6-35 6-60
Time of Possession 27:28 32:32
RUSHING — New Hampshire, Coyne 3-21, Washington 5-13, Lupoli 11-8, Bryant 5-7, (Team) 1-(minus 1), Gallagher 2-(minus 1), Herion 1-(minus 2), Gray 3-(minus 3). Colorado, McMillian 15-162, Bisharat 13-92, Fontenot 8-29, Evans 5-25, Sanders 4-8, Haigler 0-0, Montez 4-0, Noyer 2-(minus 5).
PASSING — New Hampshire, Lupoli 13-31-1-160, Herion 3-8-0-68. Colorado, Montez 14-19-1-166, Noyer 3-5-1-14.
RECEIVING — New Hampshire, O'Connor 5-98, Gray 3-27, Washington 2-14, Lubischer 1-37, Gibson 1-21, Love 1-10, Gallagher 1-10, Coyne 1-7, Presley 1-4. Colorado, Nixon 6-30, Brown 5-80, Shenault 5-67, Ento 1-3.
MISSED FIELD GOALS — New Hampshire, Hughes 42.