A couple of years ago, the Colorado Buffaloes and their fans would have taken any win, let alone a “sloppy” 37-3 victory over a Texas State Bobcats squad coming into Folsom Field. This isn’t a couple of years ago however, as many fans left Folsom feeling unimpressed with an offense that promised explosiveness, one that has struggled for the most part over both games in the 2017 season.
Colorado got out to a sluggish start, with their first touchdown coming with only 43 seconds left in the first quarter. This was no ordinary touchdown, as punt returner Isaiah Oliver fumbled, right into the hands of freshman Laviska Shenault Jr. who scooped it up and rumbled 55 yards for the games first points. In the second quarter, Colorado drove 96 yards in 9 plays but only took 2:44 off the clock, capped off by a Steven Montez two-yard touchdown run to give the Buffaloes a 14-0 lead at halftime. After CU took the lead 17-0 on a Jame Stefanou 34-yard field goal, Texas State answered with their only points of the game, ending in a 32-yard field goal after a 7 play, 60-yard drive to make the score 17-3. From that point on, it was all Buffaloes, as they found their offensive rhythm, and pulled away for the 37-3 win to move to 2-0. Quarterback Steven Montez finished 19/31 and threw for 299 yards and one touchdown. Phillip Lindsay never really found any running room, but carried 26 times for 87 yards and a score.
While Colorado’s offense struggled in the first half to find its rhythm, the new look defense continued to impress. After losing 8 starters off the 2016 version, the Buffaloes are one of only three teams in the country to not have given up a touchdown this year (Clemson and Air Force). Defensive end Leo Jackson III harassed Texas State all day, finishing with 3 sacks, while the defense as a whole forced 2 turnovers, highlighted by a magnificent interception from corner Isaiah Oliver.
Moving forward, Colorado has a lot to work on offensively before Pac-12 Champion Washington heads to Boulder in two weeks. An offensive line that was supposed to be a strength has struggled against inferior opponents, but should get a boost when senior leader Jeromy Irwin returns from his two-game suspension. Steven Montez needs to improve on his decision making, and continue to progress through his reads to find the open receiver. The play calling can also improve. Montez has a distinct ability to move around, and he makes his best throws when outside of the pocket. Allowing him to move around, using play action and rollouts could play to his strengths, and help him find a way to get the ball out to the playmakers on the outside.
Looking ahead, Colorado hosts the Northern Colorado Bears on Saturday, hoping to finish their non-conference schedule 3-0 before Pac-12 play.