As the second half was getting underway on Saturday at Folsom Field, Colorado announced that receiver Laviska Shenault was questionable to return to the game with a knee injury.
Quite often, that means the player won’t return. That’s not what it means with Shenault, however, who not only returned, but caught a pass on CU’s first play of the half.
“I was definitely dealing with pain,” he said after CU’s 16-13 win against Stanford. “It’s the game of football. I’ll be all right. I can’t quit now. There’s no point of quitting, so I’m going to give it my all, any chance, any way possible.”
Shenault said he hyper extended his knee late in the first half, but he still led the team with eight catches for 91 yards. Then, with 65 seconds to play, they called his number in the run game.
With the game tied at 13 and CU facing fourth-and-1 from the Stanford 34, Shenault went in motion and Buffs’ quarterback Steven Montez had the option to hand it off to Shenault or give it to running back Jaren Mangham.
“Tony Brown was supposed to be in a slot and he wanted to switch with me,” Shenault said. “I’m a big competitor. I’m a big person that wants to do stuff when the pressure is on the line. I’m just thinking, ‘Give me the ball.’ I guess Steven trusted me. I live for moments like this.”
Shenault was hit behind the line of scrimmage by Stanford safety Stuart Head, but knocked him down and kept going, picking up five yards to keep the drive alive.
“It kind of gave everybody just a jolt of energy,” Montez said. “We were excited. I was screaming.
“When Viska goes and makes those plays that he does, I mean all you can really just do is sit and admire him. He’s just such a great player. We’re just really lucky to have him.”
For Shenault, though, it was another game where he had to fight through pain, and he is welcoming the upcoming bye week.
“Very frustrating,” he said of the injuries. “I was just raised the right way to keep going and keep pushing.
“This second bye week is definitely big for me and the team.”
Shenault moved into ninth in CU history for career catches, with 138.
Stanford tight end Colby Parkinson, a 6-foot-7, 251-pound junior, gave the Buffs fits all game and finished with five catches for 54 yards.
“He’s a hard matchup,” CU head coach Mel Tucker said. “He’s a really good player. When you have a player like that, he’s going to make some plays, and we just had to keep coming at him and try to tighten up the coverage and fight for the ball.”
While Parkinson made some big plays, the Buffs’ Davion Taylor made a huge play against him. Midway through the fourth quarter, Stanford had second-and-3 from its 32-yard-line and quarterback KJ Costello threw to Parkinson. Taylor timed it perfectly and knocked the pass away.
“(Parkinson), he’s a top target, so I knew they were trying to get him to the sticks, so I tried to make sure I had great eye discipline, like focus on stuff we practiced this week,” Taylor said.
CU had one of its biggest recruiting weekends in recent memory. In all, four prospects were on official visits and 85 total recruits were on hand to see the Buffs’ victory.
“Our recruiting is strong,” Tucker said. “There were a lot of really good players in attendance and guys that we want. This a very exciting, explosive type of atmosphere when the crowd is just so into it; you can just feel the energy, you can feel everyone pulling in the same in the same direction. Our fans are extremely hungry and Buff nation deserves a winner. We’re going to accomplish that through developing the players that we have on our roster and continue to coach those guys and through recruiting.
“It’s impressive to our recruits and to their parents when they come to Boulder and they take in a game and they see what we have to offer.”
Announced attendance was 49,224. The Buffs have had at least 48,913 at each home game. … Montez became the second player in CU history to reach 10,000 yards of total offense. He now has 10,194, trailing only Sefo Liufau (10,509). … Stanford ran just 54 plays, the fewest by a CU opponent since 2012 when Arizona ran 52. … CU started two true freshmen at cornerback – KJ Trujillo and Tarik Luckett. They are just the second set of true freshmen corners to ever start for CU (Kenneth Crawley and Yuri Wright started four games together in 2012). … CU’s Mustafa Johnson recorded his fourth sack of the season and his first since a three-sack game against Nebraska in Week 2.