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Colorado overcomes a slow start to roll past UCLA

The Buffaloes dominated in the second half to move to 4-0.

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

It’s been 20 years since the Colorado Buffaloes started a season 4-0. With a 38-16 win over the UCLA Bruins at Folsom Field they reached the mark again and set the stage for a run towards a bowl berth and potentially a lot more.

The Buffaloes started this game slowly and didn’t really assert themselves until the second half. After a punt on the second drive of the game UCLA took over at the Colorado 47 and marched down the field in eight plays to take a 7-0 lead on a touchdown pass to Michael Ezeike.

The Buffs quickly answered on the fifth play of a short drive with a beautiful 57-yard touchdown pass from Steven Montez to Laviska Shenault. After a UCLA field goal Colorado took a 14-10 lead with a 10-yard Steven Montez run that the Bruins cut to 14-13 on the next drive.

Colorado had a chance to tack on some more points before the half but were undone by some boneheaded penalties from offensive lineman Brett Tonz. However, the twenty minutes in the locker room helped bring the team down to earth removing any degree of cockiness.

“At halftime we got together as an offense and made a few adjustments,” Travon McMilian said. “We just had to execute better, we were killing ourselves with penalties. We came out of that second half with a different attitude.”

In the second half the Buffaloes went scorched earth on a tired Bruins team, outscoring them 24-3 to get to our final margin. Montez finished the game a red-hot 22-26 for 237 yards and a touchdown through the air and two on the ground while the nation got another look at Shenault with his 12 receptions for 126 yards and a touchdown, with a rushing touchdown of his own.

With an opponent’s combined record of 1-13 it’s still a bit tough to know what we really have in this Colorado team. Next week the Buffaloes welcome an Arizona State team that started fast but has faded a bit and then head to USC and Washington to really show what they’re made of. But between Montez, Shenault, Landman and a host of other names this team is proving that they are a force to be reckoned with in the Pac-12 South and the nation will soon take notice, if they haven’t already.

While it’s easy for this team to get complacent sitting undefeated at 4-0, the level of hunger and motivation in the locker room hasn’t changed at all. As they should, the Buffs have their eyes on the Pac-12 South crown, and that starts with a day-by-day, week-by-week approach.

“It feels good to go out there and get a win, but like I always say, this isn’t the end game for us, Montez said. “It is really now just preparing (for Arizona State).”

The focus, leadership, and level of humbleness in the locker room is something that should greatly benefit this team in the coming days, weeks, and months.