No Sefo Liufau, no problems for the Colorado Buffaloes.
Steven Montez's first college start seemed like it could've be scripted out of a movie. A redshirt freshman backup quarterback leading his team into a place that CU hasn't pulled off a victory in the past 49 years. With all the odds against him, Montez didn't disappoint, leading the Buffs to a 41-38 win over the Oregon Ducks.
For the second straight week, the Buffs jumped out to a quick two score lead in the first quarter and never looked back, scoring every trip in the red zone (5/5) in the first half. Montez had only three incomplete passes at halftime and looked nearly flawless, helping Colorado establish a 26-17 halftime lead. The Buffs defense held up their end by dismantling Oregon's high-powered offense and keeping them off the scoreboard.
The Buffs settled for a field goal on a drive before the half that should have yielded an additional four points. CU receiver Bryce Bobo caught a sensational pass in the back corner of the end-zone over Oregon defensive back Arrion Springs. With 0:16 left in the 2nd quarter, the play was ruled an incomplete pass and controversially upheld after a review by the officials.
Colorado came right out of the gate after halftime with a 49-yard touchdown strike from Montez to receiver Devin Ross, increasing the Buffs' lead to 33-17.
Autzen Stadium is known for being one of the loudest places in college football and it was unlikely that a big lead on the road could’ve lasted. CU's offense looked unstoppable, that was until Ducks' defensive back Brenden Schooler intercepted Montez and took all of the Buffs momentum in the process.
Oregon scored 21 unanswered points from drives that included two CU turnovers. The Ducks took a 38-33 lead with a Dakota Prukop 18-yard pass to Darren Carrington at the 0:54 mark in the 3rd quarter.
The Buffs behind Montez wouldn't stop fighting and regained the lead from the Ducks with a makeup touchdown call to Bobo that was upheld after review. Bobo would add another catch for a two-point conversion on the next play, giving CU a three point advantage.
The Buffs defense finished the game with a solid performance, forcing two Oregon punts. A goal line interception of Prukop by CU defensive back Ahkello Witherspoon, sealed the victory for Colorado with 1:34 left in the game
Montez had one of the best opening games in school history, finishing the game going 23-for-32, for 333 yards passing, three touchdowns and 2 interceptions. CU had 593 yards of total offense, along with Montez leading the rushing attack with 135 yards and another score on the ground.
With Witherspoon's pick, CU extends the nation's longest consecutive streak with a defensive turnover to 16 games.
The last time Colorado defeated Oregon was a 51-43 shootout in the 1998 Aloha Bowl.
The Ducks were heavily-favored coming into the first Pac-12 conference game of the season for both teams. With the loss, Oregon drops to 2-2 on the season and a 20-5 record at home since 2013.
Colorado improves to 3-1 on the season and hosts Oregon State next week at home. The Beavers dropped to 1-2 with a 38-24 home loss to the Boise State Broncos. The Buffs will be looking to improve to 4-1 for the first time since 2005.