QB Steven Montez struggles in CU Buffs loss

Senior has thrown six interceptions in past two games

Pete Caster/Tribune Staff Photographer
Colorado quarterback Steven Montez (12) brushes away Washington State defensive lineman Karson Block (50) as he scrambles out of the pocket during the first quarter of a Pac-12 Conference game on Saturday afternoon at Martin Stadium in Pullman, Wash.

PULLMAN, Wash. – Life hasn’t been easy for Steven Montez lately, but Colorado head coach Mel Tucker isn’t ready to make a change at the position.

“I think we just need to get him right,” Tucker said after the Buffaloes’ 41-10 loss to Washington State on Saturday at Martin Stadium. “We evaluate everything all the time. It is continuous. I think we just need to get him right. It is really tough, right after a game, when emotions are high, you are coming off of a tough loss; this is not the time to make those type of decisions.”

Even if Tucker wanted to make a change, his options would be limited. Backup Tyler Lytle played one snap Saturday before leaving with a shoulder injury, and his status going forward is unknown. The only other scholarship quarterback is redshirt freshman Blake Stenstrom, who made his debut Saturday, going 1-for-3 for 12 yards and an interception.

A fifth-year senior, Montez made his 31st consecutive start on Saturday, matching the longest starting streak by a quarterback in program history (Gale Weidner started 31 in a row from 1959-61).

The streak that matters most to the Buffs (3-4, 1-3 Pac-12), however, is that Montez has now struggled in two consecutive games. After throwing a career-high four interceptions in a 45-3 loss at Oregon on Oct. 11, Montez completed 16-of-30 passes for 129 yards and two interceptions against Washington State.

Through five games, Montez had a 10-to-2 touchdown-to-interception rate; the past two games, that rate is 0-to-6.

“I didn’t feel like he was pressing, but I’ll watch the tape,” Tucker said of Montez’s performance Saturday. “I’ll get with (offensive coordinator Jay Johnson) and we’ll see what his reads were, whatever mistakes he made or what he saw or didn’t see, and then we’ll address it. I didn’t feel like he was pressing, but obviously we have to get more production out of our passing game.”

Montez was the victim of some bad luck at Oregon, as three of his four interceptions were tipped passes that landed in the hands of the Ducks.

Against Washington State, his first interception was a pass that he floated to Tony Brown. Montez apparently never saw Cougars’ safety Skyler Thomas, who stepped in front of Brown for the pick, which set up the Wazzu’s second touchdown.

On the second, the Buffs had third-and-7 from the WSU 15-yard line and Montez scrambled and forced a ball to Brown in the back of the end zone. Cornerback George Hicks III picked that one off and ended the scoring threat for the Buffs.

Saturday’s game was Montez’s third against the Cougars, and he’s surely pleased to never see them again. In his career against them, Montez, went 40-for-80 (50 percent) for 349 yards, zero touchdowns and two interceptions. The Buffs went 0-3 in those games, scoring a total of 17 points.