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Kyle Evans, CU Buffs hope to get run game rolling in home opener

  • Colorado running back Kyle Evans had 25 yards rushing against...

    Steven Branscombe / Getty Images

    Colorado running back Kyle Evans had 25 yards rushing against Nebraska.

  • Colorado running back Travon McMillian leads CU with 128 yards...

    Cliff Grassmick / Staff Photographer

    Colorado running back Travon McMillian leads CU with 128 yards on 18 carries.

  • Colorado running back Kyle Evans leads the Buffs with 24...

    Cliff Grassmick / Staff Photographer

    Colorado running back Kyle Evans leads the Buffs with 24 carries but only has 84 yards.



Game at a Glance

Matchup: New Hampshire Wildcats (0-2) at Colorado Buffaloes (2-0)

Kickoff: 3:07 p.m. MT

Where: Folsom Field in Boulder. Capacity: 50,183. Turf: Grass.

TV: Pac-12 Mountain

Radio: KOA (850 AM & 94.1 FM)

Odds: No line

Coaches: Colorado — Mike MacIntyre, 6th season (27-38; 43-59 career); UNH — Sean McDonnell, 20th season (150-89)

Series: First meeting

Kyle Evans worked diligently to earn a scholarship by his third season with the Colorado football team.

Now in his fifth season with the Buffaloes, Evans’ hard work has paid off with a starting role.

Entering Saturday’s home opener against New Hampshire, Evans is now waiting for the explosive play to finally come his way.

“I haven’t necessarily had a big run, in my book yet, so for me, it’s just being patient and making sure I do the little things right and hopefully soon enough it’ll come,” Evans said.

Evans and the Buffs are hoping the run game, in general, gets on track against New Hampshire. CU ran for 258 yards in a season-opening win against Colorado State, but was bottled up for 44 yards on 35 carries last week against Nebraska.

While sack yardage is a part of that total, Evans and fellow senior Travon McMillian didn’t find much room against the stout defensive line of the Huskers. Both finished with 25 yards.

Finding consistency in the run game is a priority for the Buffs (2-0).

“We do need to run the football better,” head coach Mike MacIntyre said. “We rushed really well the week before. The way (the Cornhuskers) were fitting the run and doing some things, it enabled us to hit big pass plays.”

Given that the Buffs did run well against CSU, MacIntyre wasn’t too concerned about the Nebraska game — despite the 44 yards being CU’s lowest single-game total since finishing with negative-21 in a 48-0 loss to Stanford in 2012. It was CU’s lowest rushing total in a win since having negative-2 against Utah State in 1998.

“We’re going to find a way to win that game on each Saturday,” he said.

Generating a consistent run game will help to win each Saturday, however, and Evans said he and McMillian and the rest of the backs are aiming to do their part.

“For us, it’s just when we’re called to get the ball, we have to make a play and make the most of what we can,” Evans said. “Nebraska was great on defense, so we got as many yards as we possibly could get.

“As we go forward, it’s just about getting on the same page with the (offensive linemen) and making sure we’re helping them as much as they’re helping us. And then just get it going, so we can get our run game going like our pass game is going.”

McMillian, a graduate transfer from Virginia Tech, leads CU with 128 yards on 18 carries, including 103 yards in the opener against CSU. He found the end zone against the Rams on a 49-yard run.

Evans has received the starting nod in both games and leads the Buffs in carries (24), but had just 84 yards. He has yet to find the end zone and has a long run of only 11 yards.

The yardage total, however, is not indicative of how much Evans has improved. A former walk-on from Archbishop Mitty High School in San Jose, Calif., the 5-foot-7, 180-pound Evans said he’s becoming a more complete back.

“I think I’ve improved a lot, especially in pass blocking,” Evans said. “In terms of just running the ball, I think I understand schemes better. For me, I need to be patient, press the line of scrimmage and then hit the hole when I see it.”

Evans was the No. 2 tailback in 2016, rushing for 346 yards on 84 carries. After a hip injury in the spring of 2017, he finished with just two yards on two carries last year.

Sharing the load with McMillian this season, Evans said he believes that has made both of them fresh throughout the games.

Although he is splitting carries, Evans is enjoying his expanded role.

“I’ve always wanted to take a bigger role, to contribute more for the team,” he said. “That’s what I’m doing right now and I just have to keep it going; shore up the mistakes, do the right things and make a play when I can.”

As for the big, explosive run, Evans is optimistic that won’t be too far down the road.

“I don’t know what week it’s going to happen, but hopefully it’s this week,” he said.

Contact staff writer Brian Howell at or