When he came to Colorado as a graduate transfer this summer, running back Travon McMillian wanted to make the most of his final season in college football.
He wanted to win, of course, but also set his sights on the coveted 1,000-yard mark. This week, he said he wasn’t sure how many yards he needed, but, “I know I’m pretty close.”
With one game to play in the regular season, Saturday at California, McMillian needs just 49 yards to reach 1,000. He’s gained 951 yards on 180 carries (5.3 per carry), while scoring seven touchdowns.
Although the CU running game has sputtered in recent weeks, his milestone is certainly within reach and he said it would mean a lot to him to get there.
“I definitely want to pass that and that’ll be big time for me,” said McMillian, who rushed for a career-high 1,042 yards as a freshman at Virginia Tech in 2015. “I’m just really grateful I’m that close to it. I’m just really blessed to be in this situation.”
More than anything, McMillian knows that if he gets there, it means the Buffs are moving the football on the ground.
McMillian isn’t alone in wanting to reach the milestone. A 1,000-yard running back means a lot to offensive linemen, too. CU’s line has had some struggles this year, but junior Aaron Haigler said it would be big for everyone to see McMillian get to 1,000.
“The 1,000-yard mark is obviously a huge goal for any team,” Haigler said. “We want to get him there. Also for us (as linemen), too, we want to get there. To get him to 1,000 yards would be a really great feeling.”
Montez feeling good
Starting quarterback Steven Montez left Saturday’s game against Utah with an injury and has been considered day to day. On Tuesday, however, the junior was optimistic.
“I’m a little sore, but I feel good,” he said. “I feel really good. I’ve been practicing. We’ve been putting more and more on it each day in practice, Monday and Tuesday. Tomorrow hopefully it will feel even better than it did today.”
As CU seeks a replacement for head coach Mike MacIntyre, who was fired Sunday, several Buffs are curious about who will lead them next year. Haigler, a junior, is one of several Buffs slated to return in 2019.
On Tuesday, he was asked what qualities he would like in the next CU coach.
“Last time I had to really choose a coach was in my recruiting, so I’ll go back to that,” he said. “When I came on a visit here and talked with coach Mac and my recruiter was (tight ends coach Gary) Bernardi, something I saw right away was honesty. (MacIntyre) was up front with me. He told me he wanted me here and I believed him and it worked out. For coaches, it’s cliché, but honesty is the best policy. We want guys that are going to tell us what to do, straight up. Coach Mac did a great job of that. Say what you will about it, but we want someone like that. I want someone who will tell me what it’s like.
“On the flip side of that, we also want someone that brings a new energy to practice, brings a new energy to games and lifts spirits up. Not that coach Mac didn’t do that — he did that— but maybe it’s important for us to get that in a new light. Someone who is honest and energetic and cares about his players.”
McMillian isn’t the only Buffs going for the 1,000 yards this week. Receiver Laviska Shenault needs just 54 receiving yards to reach the milestone. CU has never had a 1,000-yard receiver and rusher in the same season. … Montez is 321 passing yards away from 3,000 for the year.