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CU Buffs’ Steven Montez hoping for better results in Pullman

Senior QB aiming for bounce-back performance from last week – and from 2017 visit to Washington State

Colorado quarterback Steven Montez had the worst start of his career last time the Buffs visited WSU.
Cliff Grassmick/Staff photographer
Colorado quarterback Steven Montez had the worst start of his career last time the Buffs visited WSU.

Based on the current forecast, the weather is not supposed to be very good on Saturday in Pullman, Wash.

“It’s not? That’s what I figured,” Colorado quarterback Steven Montez said when provided that information on Tuesday. “Pullman’s hardly ever nice.”

When the Buffaloes (3-3, 1-2 Pac-12) face Washington State (3-3, 0-3) at Martin Stadium at 5:02 pm MT (TV: ESPNU) on Saturday, the prediction is that it will be low 40s, rainy and windy.

“Well, that’s fantastic,” Montez said, with more than a hint of sarcasm.

That forecast might provide Montez with a nightmare or two this week. The last time he was in Pullman, in 2017, it was 41 degrees at kickoff, rainy and windy and he had the worst start of his career in a 28-0 loss.

“Last time, the weather wasn’t the best, but I mean that shouldn’t stop us,” said Montez, who also made the trip to Pullman in 2015, when the Buffs lost 27-3 on a cold night. “We’ve got to fight through the weather, fight through whatever forces are going to go against us and do our best to go out there and get the job done.

“I don’t know if it’s supposed to rain or supposed to snow or … whatever the weather is like in Pullman on Saturday. Hopefully it’s nice, but in the case that it’s not, then we’re still going to go out there and play football and play tough and play physical just like we always do.”

Regardless of the weather, the Buffs have plenty to worry about this week as they try to snap a two-game losing streak. They are coming off their worst performance of the season, having lost 45-3 at Oregon on Friday night. Unlike previous losses, which came down to the wire, the Buffs were soundly beaten by the Ducks.

“(Blowout losses) are not easy to shake off,” head coach Mel Tucker said. “But you have to turn the page nonetheless.”

So far this week, he has seen some resiliency from his team.

“We’re on track this week,” Tucker said. “Anytime you don’t have success, if it doesn’t bother you, something is wrong, I think. There was a time to think about it and reflect.”

That time has passed and, Tucker said, “Naturally, you have to turn the page because you have another game to play.”

Montez, in particular, is in need of a bounce-back game. He completed just 19 of 34 passes for a season-low 131 yards and a career-high four interceptions last Friday. It was arguably his worst game since that dreadful night in Pullman two years ago, when he was 4-of-13 for 21 yards and got the hook at half time.

Montez has shown an ability to bounce back throughout his career, and Tucker said he’s not worried about his senior quarterback this week.

“We had a rough day (at Oregon), but we moved on,” Tucker said. “He looked good today. He looked good yesterday. So I don’t have those concerns. He’s a really good player.

“We have to all execute better and he’s no different from anyone else. Whatever mistakes he’s made, he’s got to clean them up, and he’s going to do that. If he wasn’t deliberate about getting better, or if he didn’t care, then I would be concerned. But he’s far from that.”

Having lost two in a row, and with a tough stretch that includes the trip to Pullman and an Oct. 25 home date with Southern California (which is 13-0 all-time against CU) on the horizon, the Buffs are hoping to avoid a tailspin that conjures up memories of last year’s seven-game skid to end the season.

“I think you just avoid that by going and working every single day in practice, coming in with the right mentality and just putting your work, putting your time in,” Montez said. “I think that definitely combats losing control and kind of spiraling out of control a little bit like we did last year. From what we had (at practice) yesterday and today, dudes are focused, dudes are locked in.

“Everyone’s really, really excited to play Washington State and get another opportunity to play football. We’re excited and hopefully we’ll make the most out of it.”

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