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Colorado knocks off Cal in OT, 20-13

A great way to start a new era in Boulder as the Buffs defense came alive

California v Colorado Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images

Montana Lemonious-Craig had eight catches for 119 yards, including a monster go-ahead 22-yard touchdown from J.T. Shrout in overtime, securing Colorado’s 20-13 win against California on Saturday afternoon.

It was a gutsy 60 minutes of football at Folsom Field and CU’s first victory of the season couldn’t have come at a sweeter time for Mike Sanford’s head coaching debut. There hasn’t been much for the Buffs to celebrate, but the faithful who came out to support made the win feel special by storming the field as Jake Plummer’s fourth down pass fell incomplete for the final.

Colorado put together a 3-0 shutout in the first half before the Bears awakened out of hibernation after halftime. But it was the Buffs defense that kept on swinging early and often, allowing a season-low 35 rushing yards on 22 attempts. Plummer was also kept in-check for a majority of the time, completing 29-of-52 passes for 262 yards with a touchdown and an interception. The Bears’ first turnover in four games after playing mistake-free for over 14 quarters.

Sanford and the Buffs had two weeks to prepare for Cal and made the most of it when it mattered. The new-look CU team played inspired football, despite not having a complete performance on offense. A short turnaround after giving up nearly 700 yards to Arizona and Karl Dorrell exiting.

Shrout came in the game for a banged up Owen McCown late in the 3rd quarter. Sanford said after the game he took a shot in the abdomen and was pulled for the injury, and wasn’t due to his play. The true freshman got this third start of the season, finishing with 104 yards and one interception.

McCown wasn’t the only injured Buff to leave early. Deion Smith took a crossing route and was knocked unconscious on a legal hit. He was strapped to a stretcher and carted off to the Champions Center for further evaluation. CU athletics later reported Smith was awake and had movement in his head and neck.

This marks Colorado’s third straight series win at home over California. The Bears haven’t pulled away from Folsom with a win since CU’s second year as members of the Pac-12 conference in 2011.

A momentum boost for the Buffs as they head to Corvallis to face Oregon State next Saturday.