Colorado's junior kicker went 4-for-4 on fields and 3-for-3 on extra point attempts in the Buffaloes' 41-27 win against Colorado State at Sports Authority Field.
"It felt really good," Oliver said. "Just to know that what you're working for has at least started to pay off."
Throughout training camp, Oliver had been very pleased with his accuracy and distance on kicks. Getting so many opportunities in the opener will only help his mindset.
"It builds my confidence that he trusts me," Oliver said. "I'm always of the mindset that as you go, when they put you on the field, they believe you can make the kick."
Oliver was especially pleased that new head coach Mike MacIntyre allowed him to attempt a 52-yard field goal early in the fourth quarter. In three years as the San Jose State head coach, MacIntyre's kickers attempted 71 field goals, but only three from beyond 46 yards (going 0-for-3). Oliver's successful kick from 52 tied his career high and is now the longest kick ever for a MacIntyre-coached team.
"I think they were pleased with how camp went," Oliver said. "It's good to see it pay off and it's good to be able to be productive on those opportunities so (MacIntyre) can build that confidence."
Oliver is now 10-for-12 since the start of last year on field goals and he extended his streak to 33 consecutive makes on extra points.
MacIntyre has started two new traditions for the Buffs. When the Buffs took the field Sunday, one player carried a toolbox -- to signify the commitment the players have made to each other -- and one player carried a sledgehammer.
The tool box contained "commitment cards" on which players wrote something significant they would do during the game. The sledgehammer goes to the player who had the biggest or most important legal hit of the previous game.
Captains carried the tool box and sledgehammer Sunday, but players will vote on who gets the honors in future games.
Smith out for season
Senior safety Terrel Smith will not play this season after electing to undergo surgery on his right shoulder. He injured his shoulder during the 2012 season, he said, but it really started to bother him throughout training camp in August. He will have surgery on Thursday.
"Usually I can suck things up, but I couldn't shake this one," he said. "I was thinking about my future and my team, most importantly, because I knew if I had gone out there, I wouldn't have been 100 percent."
Smith has not used his redshirt year and plans to do that this season and return in 2014.
For the first time, the NCAA's new targeting rule impacted the Buffs. With 31 seconds to play in the first half, CSU's Cory James was flagged for targeting on a hit of CU quarterback Connor Wood.
By rule, that's a 15-yard penalty and an automatic ejection from the game. Officials reviewed the play, however, and determined that James would not be ejected. The 15-yard penalty stood, though, and that helped the Buffs to a 41-yard field goal to end the half.
Six true freshmen made their collegiate debuts for the Buffs on Sunday. Middle linebacker Addison Gillam got the start, while Chidobe Awuzie was the Buffs' starting nickel back. Defensive lineman Jimmie Gilbert rotated in on defense, and Kenneth Olugbode, Ryan Severson and Tedric Thompson all played on special teams.
Redshirt freshmen Sean Irwin, Alex Kelley and De'Jon Wilson, along with sophomore Jordan Murphy and junior Wes Christensen also made their CU debuts.
Attendance for Sunday's game was 59,601 -- a slight jump from the 58,607 that attended the game in 2012. It was the third year in a row, however, that attendance for the Rocky Mountain Showdown dipped below 60,000. ... CU's defense went without an interception for the ninth straight game. But, Gillam, Parker Orms and Greg Henderson all came close to picking one off. ... CU receiver Jeff Thomas and defensive lineman Samson Kafovalu both served one-game suspensions for violating team rules. ... CU reported no major injuries from the game.
Contact staff writer Brian Howell