Steven Branscombe / Getty Images
Steven Branscombe / Getty Images
LINCOLN, Neb. — Amid the excitement of one of its biggest non-conference wins of the past decade, the Colorado football team had to deal with loss of one of their leaders on Saturday.
Senior punter Alex Kinney broke his collarbone while making a tackle on a punt return in the first quarter of the Buffs’ 33-28 win at Nebraska, and he is likely out for the remainder of the season.
“He’s a phenomenal kid,” CU head coach Mike MacIntyre said. “It’s a tough loss for us.”
Voted a team captain this summer, Kinney had handled every CU punt from the start of the 2015 season. The Rocky Mountain High School graduate had his best season in 2017 and was on the watch list for the Ray Guy Award, which goes to the nation’s top punter.
In his place, the Buffs turned to junior kickoff specialist Davis Price. The former walk-on, who was placed on scholarship last month, punted four times, averaging 40.8 yards per kick.
Walk-on quarterback Josh Goldin took Kinney’s spot as the holder on field goals and extra points.
“Other guys have to step up,” MacIntyre said.
MacIntyre did not rule out Kinney returning later in the season, but also said that with the NCAA’s new redshirt rule — which allows players to participate in four games and keep a redshirt — Kinney could return in 2019.
Shenault shines again
After busting loose for 11 catches for 211 yards and a touchdown in the season-opening, 45-13 win against Colorado State on Aug. 31, sophomore receiver Laviska Shenault was sensational once again.
Shenault caught 10 passes for 177 yards , including the game-winning 40-yard touchdown in the final minutes. He also ran for a 3-yard touchdown in the first quarter.
“It was man on man,” Shenault said of the winning score. “I saw my route, I saw what he gave me and I took advantage of it and went up and got the ball, and I had to get in the end zone.”
Shenault wore a sling on his right arm after the game and said he hurt his elbow during the game. Both he and MacIntyre were optimistic that Shenault would be OK.
Left tackle Josh Kaiser, receiver KD Nixon and defensive lineman Israel Antwine also left the game with various injuries, but according to CU, all three had “nicks and bruises.”
Big play Jay
Senior receiver Jay MacIntyre caught a career-high eight passes for 45 yard and two touchdowns – the first multi-touchdown game of his career. He had just four touchdowns in his career before Saturday.
“Scoring here (at Nebraska) is always a dream,” he said. “Scoring in college football in general is one of my dreams. To just come out here and score two touchdowns in the first time I’ve ever been in this environment, this game, is probably the best feeling I’ve ever had.”
MacIntyre continues approaching the 1,000-yard mark for his career. He now has 75 catches for 925 yards.
The Buffs were held to just 44 yards rushing on 35 carries, their lowest rushing yardage total since having negative-21 in a 48-0 loss to Stanford on Nov. 3, 2012. It was their lowest total in a win since Sept. 19, 1998, when they had negative-2 vs. Utah State.
That number includes sack totals, but it was still a rough outing for the CU run game.
Quarterback Steven Montez was sacked seven times, losing 43 yards on those plays. But, tailbacks Kyle Evans and Travon McMillian were stuffed all afternoon.
Evans finished with 25 yards on 12 carries, while McMillian had 25 yards on eight carries.
Montez became the ninth player in CU history to surpass 5,000 yards in total offense, with 5,254 (4,681 passing, 573 rushing). … Linebacker Rick Gamboa had 10 tackles and became the 16th player in school history to top 300. He now has 309, ranking 13th all-time. … Kicker James Stefanou was 3-for-3 on extra points, and is now 44-for-44 in his career. He broke the CU record for most consecutive PAT makes to start a career (43, Neil Voskeritchian in 1994). … Since the 1976 opener, CU is now 241-32 in games it led by at least two scores at some point.