Colorado quarterback Steven Montez threw three first-half touchdowns and ran for another first-half score to lead the Buffaloes past Colorado State 45-13 on Friday night at Broncos Stadium at Mile High in Denver.
In the 90th edition of the Rocky Mountain Showdown, Montez completed his first 12 passes as the Buffaloes (1-0) jumped out to a 21-7 first-quarter lead. Montez finished 22-for-25 for 338 yards and four touchdowns. He rushed for another 34 yards and a score.
One week after losing to Hawaii and giving up 617 yards, the Rams’ defense was torched again, this time giving up 596 total yards. Meanwhile, the Rams (0-2) managed only 284 yards of total offense.
Washington transfer quarterback K.J. Carta-Samuels completed 18 of 33 pass attempts for only 176 yards and one touchdown and one interception. But Carta-Samuels couldn’t provide the spark the Rams desperately needed to try to keep up with Montez and the Buffaloes.
Trailing 21-7 in the second period and with momentum on their side after the CSU defense picked off Montez, Carta-Samuels threw a costly interception as the Rams were trying to cut into the deficit.
Montez and the Rams took advantage of the miscue when the junior quarterback threw a four-yard strike to Juwann Winfree to put the Buffaloes up 28-7.
The Buffs looked ready to drive and score again after Ronnie Blackmon returned a punt 19 yards to the Colorado State 38-yard line with 1:12 left in the half. But wide receiver K.D. Nixon’s fumble on the first play after the return was recovered by the Rams, and CSU had new life.
Carta-Samuels drove Colorado State to the Colorado 38-yard line where Braxton Davis’ field-goal attempt was off target. But a roughing the kicker penalty gave the Rams another chance, and this time Wyatt Bryan was good from 51 yards and the Rams trailed 28-10 at halftime.
If the Rams had any ideas of climbing back in the game, Montez put those thoughts to bed early in the third quarter when he and Laviska Shenault Jr. combined for an 89-yard score to put the Buffaloes up, 35-10.
Shenault took the pass from Montez over the middle at around the 20-yard line and raced untouched the final 80 yards.
The Shenault touchdown play was the longest play from scrimmage since a 94-yard pass was corralled by wide receiver Jeremy Bloom from Robert Hodge in 2002.
The Rams temporarily benched Carta-Samuels and replaced him with Colin Hill. The CSU offense stalled, and the Rams promptly punted the ball back to the Buffaloes, who drove 70 yards in five plays, with Travon McMillian scampering the 49 yards to put Colorado up, 42-10.
And the rout was on.
Shenault, a sophomore from Desoto, Texas, finished with 11 receptions for 211 yards and one touchdown.
McMillian, a graduate transfer from Virginia Tech, rushed 10 times for 103 yards and one touchdown.
Colorado has won four straight against Colorado State and holds a 66-22-2 all-time series advantage in the Rocky Mountain Showdown.
—Field Level Media