clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Day after thoughts: Buffaloes win fourth straight Rocky Mountain Showdown

Colorado made a statement in their big win over the Rams.

NCAA Football: Colorado at Colorado State Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

For the third straight year, the Colorado Buffaloes opened a season with a convincing victory over their Centennial State rivals, the Colorado State Rams. With the 45-13 win Friday night in Denver, Mike MacIntyre improved to 4-2 in season openers at Colorado and is now 5-1 in the Rocky Mountain Showdown.

Here are my three biggest takeaways from the Buffaloes brilliant performance:

1. Steven Montez and the DeSoto Duo dominate

Aside from an underthrown pass that was intercepted by Colorado State’s V.J. Banks on the first play of the 2ndquarter, Buffaloes quarterback Steven Montez played a flawless game. His 12 straight completions to start the game matched Joel Klatt’s school-record set against Missouri in 2005. His 38-yard touchdown run to open the scoring was the longest run for a score by a CU quarterback since Kordell Stewart’s 60-yard touchdown run against Kansas State in 1994.

“He’s seeing everything better. Coming into this game he had 15 starts and that’s kind of honestly when you start clicking [for quarterbacks].” MacIntyre said of his junior signal caller. In addition to that touchdown run, Montez completed 22 of his 25 passes for 338 yards and four touchdowns.

Two of his four touchdown passes went to products out of DeSoto H.S. (DeSoto, Tex.), sophomores Laviska Shenault Jr. and K.D. Nixon. The ‘DeSoto Duo’ announced themselves to the college football world in a big way on Friday night. Shenault Jr. finished with 11 catches for 211 yards and a touchdown, becoming just the 4thdifferent player in CU history to record a 200-plus yard receiving game. Making his first career start, Nixon hauled in six passes for 112 yards and a touchdown. “We’re brothers, we push each other and feed off of each other. We’re happy that we did so well but we’re not satisfied.” Nixon told reporters following the game. Buffaloes co-offensive coordinator Darrin Chiaverini deserves a tip of the cap for not only recruiting this dynamic duo, but for finding a way to exploit their talents Friday night against Colorado State.

2. ILB Nate Landman makes the most of his opportunity

Senior Drew Lewis’ recent move to outside linebacker allowed Nate Landman to get the start at inside linebacker against the Rams Friday night, and he did not disappoint. Landman brought the sledgehammer against Colorado State, literally and figuratively. The sophomore out of Monte Vista H.S. (Danville, Calif.) led all players with 16 total tackles (6 solo, 10 assists), had two tackles for loss, an interception and broke up a pass.

“I saw Nate flying around, making plays, made a pick. I saw the Nate Landman that I see every day in practice. He’s just a football player that arrives in an angry mood and makes plays. He’s gotten bigger and stronger, he can dissect plays really well, He’s an excellent football player.” MacIntyre said of the true sophomore.

In the Buffaloes strength and conditioning testing following spring semester, Landman power cleaned 355 pounds and squatted 475 pounds, proving he’s a beast in the weight room. Friday night he proved he can be a beast at inside linebacker.

3. Secondary shines against Colorado State

One of the biggest question marks entering Friday’s contest was how the Buffaloes secondary would perform against one of the better receiving units in college football. In a 43-34 Week 0 loss to Hawaii, Colorado State’s Olabisi Johnson and Preston Williams combined 15 receptions for 345 yards and four touchdowns. Friday, the Buffaloes secondary held Johnson and Williams to a combined 12 receptions for 131 yards and only one score. Making his first career start, junior college transfer Delrick Abrams Jr. led the Buffaloes secondary with nine total tackles and a pass breakup.

NEXT UP: September 8 at Nebraska – 1:30 P.M. MT, ABC

For the first time since joining the Pac-12 conference, the Buffaloes will take on a familiar foe next Saturday, the Nebraska Cornhuskers. The Huskers hold a 49-18-2 edge in the series which dates back to 1898. New head coach Scott Frost and Nebraska are thin at quarterback after Tristan Gebbia - who lost the starting job to true freshman Adrian Matinez - announced his intentions to transfer to Oregon State last week. The Cornhuskers biggest weapon is senior wide receiver Stanley Morgan Jr., who caught 61 passes for 986 yards and 10 touchdowns last season.