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BOULDER-CO-October 15 :Chip leads the student ...
Chip leads the student section in the slow clap cheer during the University of Colorado Boulder and Cal Bears game on October 15, 2022. (Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer)

Family weekend generally leads to great ticket sales for the Colorado football program.

Nevertheless, the near-sellout crowd at Folsom Field brought a high level of energy on Saturday and played a role in the Buffaloes’ 20-13 overtime win against California.

The announced attendance was 50,471, and they didn’t act like a crowd supporting what was a winless team coming into the day. The Buffs improved to 1-5 (1-2 Pac-12).

“I have some pretty good moments with this program but I definitely put this one in the books,” sixth-year senior defensive end Terrance Lang said. “It was a hard-fought win and we deserved it. And credit to those fans, man. I love our fans, they show out every time.

“It made a huge difference. We’ve got the most love and respect for our fans. Without them we couldn’t do it and they deserve to win at the end of the day. More to come.”

CU has topped 50,000 in attendance for three of the last four family weekend games, with the only exception coming in 2021 against Arizona (49,806).

Snapping a six-game losing streak in dramatic fashion prompted many of the fans – wearing white in support of CU’s “white-out” efforts – to party on the field after Cal’s final pass fell incomplete.

“The fans, when they come with it like that, that’s one of the main reasons I came here, to play at a place where you’re completely backed,” sophomore safety Trevor Woods said. “We were 0-5 and we had a full sellout crowd right there. That’s different.”

Despite going just 5-13 over the past two seasons, CU has now had at least 47,000 fans for six of nine home games in that stretch.

“We love Buff Nation,” receiver Montana Lemonious-Craig said. “They stay with us through thick and thin. When they stormed the field, it’s just great vibes, great energy all over the place. We’re just happy we was able to get the win for them because at the end of the day, our fans show up week in, week out, no matter the record, no matter nothing, and they come here and give us their all. So, we was glad that we were able to give them our all.”

BOULDER-CO-October 15:University of Colorado Boulder's Anthony ...
University of Colorado Boulder’s Montana Lemonious-Craig gets past a Cal Bears defensive back on October 15, 2022, as interim head coach Mike Sanford celebrates. (Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer)

Big day for MLC

Lemonious-Craig has made some big plays in his career at CU, but he had never had a day like he had Saturday.

The third-year sophomore had career highs in catches (eight) and receiving yards (119) while also snagging the game-winning touchdown in overtime. Prior to Saturday, his career highs were three catches for 52 yards against Arizona on Oct. 16, 2021.

“The ball just found me,” said Lemonious-Craig, who had five catches for 49 yards on the season before Saturday. “It was really the same game plan. And really, the base stuff we do is just (this was) the game where the ball found me and I was able to take advantage of every opportunity that I had.”

Lemonious-Craig now has 13 catches for 168 yards on the season, already topping his numbers from the entire 2021 season (10 catches for 123 yards).

“He made a great play when the moment was the biggest and that’s how Montana is,” quarterback JT Shrout said. “He’s a gamer and when the moments are the biggest, that’s when he plays his best football.”

Lemonious-Craig was the first Buff to catch eight passes in a game since Laviska Shenault had the same amount against Stanford on Nov. 9, 2019. His 119 yards were the most by a CU receiver since Dimitri Stanley had 126 on Nov. 14, 2020, at Stanford.

Tough yards

Cal came into Saturday with one of the best run defenses in the Pac-12, allowing 118.6 yards per game on the ground.

CU finished with 118 yards on 35 carries. It wasn’t a dominating effort on the ground for the Buffs, but they picked up some critical and tough yards in key situations.

“It’s totally fun, especially as a running back,” freshman Anthony Hankerson said of playing in a hard-nosed run game like Saturday. “You just get to run the ball, pound the ball and as a physical back. Sometimes you get to catch the (defensive backs) on their toes and you get to that secondary and you get to make moves.”

There weren’t many of those big plays, but Hankerson (16 carries for 47 yards, 1 touchdown) and Deion Smith (12 carries for 48 yards) were important to CU’s offense. Even Jayle Stacks powered his way to a first down on a third-and-2 situation.

Hankerson scored on a 1-yard touchdown run and then picked up two first downs a field goal drive late in the fourth quarter. At one point, he took the handoff on six consecutive plays on that drive.

“Big-time players make big-time plays,” Hankerson said. “A lot of us was able to do that, so it was pretty fun out there.”


CU was a 15-point underdog on Saturday. The Buffs had not won while being that big of an underdog since a 2012 victory at Washington State. That day, the Buffs were 20-point underdogs and won, 35-34. CU won as a 14-point underdog against Washington in 2019. … Per, the Buffs are a 23.5-point underdog for Saturday’s game at Oregon State (5-2, 2-2).