BERKELEY, Calif. — Colorado's football season certainly didn't play out as it had hoped — or expected.

The Buffaloes did, however, achieve a milestone for the first time in program history.

Receiver Laviska Shenault and running back Travon McMillian both eclipsed the 1,000-yard marks for the season. It's the first time in program history that CU had a 1,000-yard rusher and receiver in the same season.

Their milestones provided one of the few highlights of Saturday's 33-21 lost to California at California Memorial Stadium.

"It was fun to watch them all year long," CU interim head coach Kurt Roper said. "I think they have a lot football left in front of them."

McMillian rushed for 58 yards on 21 carries and finished his season with 1,009 yards.

"I just think it's a pretty good deal," McMillian said of the milestone. "I'm on my way (to the NFL), so this guy (Shenault) is coming back next year, so he's going to have to do his thing again."

A graduate transfer from Virginia Tech, McMillian had the second 1,000-yard season of his career. He rushed for 1,043 yards in 2015, as a freshman at Tech. For his career, McMillian finished with 3,062 yards.

"I prayed about it and it ended up happening," he said of reaching 1,000 yards. "I'm really grateful for the opportunity (at CU). I'm just looking forward to the next opportunity and see what happens next. I'm excited about it."

Shenault, meanwhile, caught seven passes for 65 yards against the Bears.


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The sophomore finished his season with 86 catches for 1,011 yards.

"It's definitely a blessing, growing up seeing all the college receivers or NFL receivers get 1,000 yard seasons, and now I'm leading my own life of getting a 1,000-yard season," he said.

Shenault's 86 catches rank third in CU history for a single-season, and his yardage total ranks ninth. Shenault's numbers are even more impressive because he missed three full games with a toe injury.

He wound up playing the last three games, but admitted he wasn't fully healthy.

"I've been good enough to play, but definitely wasn't 100 percent," he said.

Shenault will finish the season as the nation's leader in receptions per game, at 9.6. He is fourth with 112.3 receiving yards per game.

Ugly day for Montez

CU quarterback Steven Montez came into Saturday's game with six interceptions on the season, and no more than one in any game.

Two of his first four passes were picked off - and returned for touchdowns - by the Bears. Montez finished with three interceptions on the night - his first three-interception game since Sept. 23, 2017, against Washington.

"I think (Cal) did a good job of mixing up how they were defending the flats and I think he got surprised early on with a couple of changes in coverages post snap and it affected it," CU interim head coach and quarterbacks coach Kurt Roper said. "That's not the first time I've been a part of a game where a guy throws two picks for a touchdowns. That's a good football team and they made some good plays."

During the first nine games of the season, CU had just eight total turnovers. They had five against the Bears and 11 in the final three games.

One more for Johnson

Defensive end Mustafa Johnson recorded a sack against the Bears and finished the season with a team-high 8.5 for the season. Johnson wound up 18 tackles for loss, including 1.5 on Saturday.

Johnson was part of a dominating effort on defense, as the Buffs held Cal to just 211 yards and 1-for-17 on third downs. Cal finished with 95 rushing yards on 38 carries.

"The defensive definitely dominated all around," Johnson said. "We basically came out and did what we knew we needed to do. We stopped the run game, we stopped the pass game. It just came down to execution defensively."

Healthy Buffs

CU went into the game about as healthy as it's been all season.

Safety Evan Worthington returned to the lineup after missing the previous two games with a concussion, while cornerback Delrick Abrams returned after missing one game with a concussion.

Running back and special teams standout Beau Bisharat also returned after a rib injury and CU had its full group of receivers for the second game in a row.

Notable

For the first time this season, co-offensive coordinator Darrin Chiaverini coached the game from the sidelines, while defensive coordinator D.J. Eliot coached from the press box. Carson Wells had a sack and finished with 4.5 on the season, four of those in the final five games. The Buffs rushed for 148 yards, snapping a streak of three consecutive games under 100.

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