Last week against UCLA, Colorado quarterback Steven Montez went on the run quite a bit.
It’s nothing new to see Montez running, as it has been a big part of his game the past two years. But for this year, it was unique.
Montez finished second on the team in rushing (338 yards) in 2017, while averaging 11 attempts per game. Not counting sack yards, he had 563 yards on 97 attempts (5.8 yards per attempt).
During the first three games of this season, however, Montez had just 27 yards on 18 attempts – and nine of those attempts were sacks.
Last week’s 38-16 win against UCLA was the first time this season the Buffs used Montez’s running ability as a major weapon. He ran 11 times for 81 yards and two touchdowns. UCLA had been burned by QB runs in previous games, and CU exploited that weakness.
“I don’t want to see him running it too much but when they give it to us, and he has the ability to pull it, read it, see it, he’s able to get down and scramble,” head coach Mike MacIntyre said.
Montez did a nice job of reading the defense on the run/pass option plays against the Bruins, and has been smart with the ball all season.
“He’s done an excellent job this year in the first four games of being able to step up in the pocket, knowing when to throw it away, knowing when to get outside,” MacIntyre said. “You haven’t seen him make a lot of those run around circus plays.”
Montez’s big game as a runner will give Arizona State (3-2, 1-1 Pac-12) yet another thing to think about against the No. 21 Buffaloes (4-0, 1-0) today game at Folsom Field.
Lewis warming up
Senior linebacker Drew Lewis is getting more and more comfortable with his move to the outside, and he is coming off his best game.
A star at inside backer last year, Lewis has been playing mainly outside this year. Last week against UCLA, he had two sacks (and nearly a third) and a season-high eight tackles.
“Now I think it’s just a matter of the offense will have to recognize me as a threat from the outside,” he said. “It just adds more pressure from the outside. It’s making the defense more of a threat all around.”
Ticket sales soaring
As of Friday night, CU had topped the 50,000 mark in tickets sales for the ASU game, and was only about 700 away from a sellout.
CU has had just one sellout in the last 10 years – the 2016 finale against Utah. Prior to this week, that Utah game was the only one in the MacIntyre era (since 2013) to reach 50,000 in sales.
A few notables going into today’s game against the Sun Devils:
- This will be the first time in 10 meetings with ASU that CU goes into the game with a national ranking.
- CU has averaged 507.3 yards in the last four meetings with Arizona State.
- Montez needs 307 passing yards to pass Koy Detmer for sixth on CU’s all-time list. Detmer had 5,390 yards from 1992-96, while Montez is at 5,084.
- Kicker James Stefanou needs just two points to move into 10th on CU’s career list for kick scoring. Stefanou has 121 career points, one behind Fred Lima (1972-73), who is currently 10th.
- MacIntyre’s thoughts on the Buffs being ranked: “I haven’t said anything to the team about it and not one of the players has said anything to me about it. They know what we have ahead of us. We have bigger aspirations than just being ranked.”
Contact staff writer Brian Howell at firstname.lastname@example.org or twitter.com/BrianHowell33.