The Idaho State Bengals thought that Saturday night’s matchup against the Buffs was at Folsom Field. But for ISU, Folsom Field turned into Folsom Prison faster than you could say “Run Ralphie run.”
The University of Colorado Buffaloes football team put up 597 total yards of offense. Quarterbacks Sefo Liufau, Stephen Montez and Jordan Gehrke combined for 335 passing yards and four touchdowns.
Conversely, Idaho State managed a meager 96 yards of total offense, averaging just 1.7 yards per play during the game on 55 total offensive snaps.
Bengals head coach Mike Kramer commented earlier this week about the David vs. Goliath-esque odds of a Big Sky Conference team competing with a Pac-12 program.
“When you’re going up against resources that are just unimaginable above you, and you’re saying that they got 11 guys, you got 11 guys … ‘compete.’ It’s not quite the same,” he said.
Kramer proved himself right on Saturday, as Bengals struggled to find any rhythm whatsoever during the game.
After deferring the opening coin toss, the Bengals began the first drive of the game, but ISU stalled out after gaining 11 yards on three plays and punted.
The Buffs got to work quickly. They capped an eight-play, 77-yard drive when Liufau found junior wide receiver Devin Ross for a 15-yard touchdown.
Junior tailback Phillip Lindsay found the end zone next for the Buffs, rushing up the middle for a six-yard score. He would add another touchdown to his box score and finished the night with 30 rushing yards on seven carries.
On both sides of the ball, the wealth of contributions and playing time was spread wide for Colorado.
Twelve Buffaloes receivers had receptions in the game, and 25 CU defenders were in on at least one tackle.
“It was exciting to see so many of our players get their first catches and to see how excited they were,” Ross said after the game. “We just tried to teach them how to handle the atmosphere and the fans so it was fun.”
“Exciting” probably falls quite short of what some of the younger players experienced on Saturday. Running behind Ralphie at Folsom Field for the first time and playing in front of 39,505 Buffalunitics is an experience that’s likely hard to put into words.
Take for example wide receiver Kabion Ento. The junior from Pine Bluff, Arkansas recorded his first two catches in a Buffaloes uniform. Both went for touchdowns.
“It’s all I dreamed about,” Ento said. “I’m lucky and blessed.”
He finished the night as the Buffs’ leading receiver, as his two catches went for 88 yards.
Junior wide receiver Shay Fields, Jr. was a favorite long-range target of Liufau’s early in the game. He battled through defensive pass interference called on his defenders and caught two passes for 78 yards. One of his snags was an impressive 42-yard bomb from Liufau which put the Buffs on ISU’s 11-yard line and eventually set up a touchdown caught by senior tight end Chris Hill to put the Buffs up 35-0.
If the Buffs dominated in the first quarter, then what to call the second quarter of play is probably beyond anyone’s labeling capabilities. Colorado outscored the Bengals 35-0 in the second quarter to go up 49-0 by halftime.
“[The win] shows a big maturity factor,” Liufau said. “[It shows] the ability to go there and when you’re supposed to handle business, you go out there and handle business. Idaho State is a good team, but we knew that they had some weaknesses and so we tried to attack that.”
Liufau’s day ended before halftime. He was pulled in favor of Montez shortly before time expired in the half. He completed 15 of 18 passes for 204 yards and two touchdowns. He also ran the ball for 56 yards, including a 19-yard scramble on his final drive that he turned into six points.
Sophomore tailback Kyle Evans opened up the scoring in quarter two, bursting through the Bengals’ goal line defense for a one-yard touchdown run. He finished the night with 56 yards on 15 carries.
Montez entered the game shortly after and was impressive, showing good movement in and out of the pocket. He threw for 117 yards and two touchdowns, while completing six out of 10 attempted passes. He sits at a slightly better quarterback rating than Liufau (224.3 compared to his 215.2).
“It was good to get some guys in, especially on special teams and different things that we did to see some other guys go,” head coach Mike MacIntyre said. “I thought they did good.”
MacIntyre’s son, sophomore wide receiver Jay MacIntyre, had a career day in the total receptions and yardage departments. He was electric in the first quarter, and between his receptions and punt returns, he accounted for 106 total yards of offense.
“I thought Jay did well,” MacIntyre added. “He’s doing an excellent job of making good positive yardage and making smart decisions so I was definitely proud of the way he played.”
So what do these two first wins of the 2016 season, both of which were massive blowouts, say about the Buffs?
“Coach Mac and his staff told me this program is on the rise and so I believed it,” said Jordan Carrell, senior defensive end. “You can see it. We are out here playing as hard as we can and we are doing some great things right now.”
The Buffaloes face an arduous test next week in the form of the No. 5-ranked Michigan Wolverines, who play Colorado in Ann Arbor this upcoming Saturday for the first time since 1997.
“This is a really good football team we’re going to play,” MacIntyre said of Michigan. “What we need to do is just prepare and practice every day and then come ready to be Colorado.”
The Buffaloes and Wolverines will square off at 1:30 p.m. MST.
Contact CU Independent Head Sports Editor Justin Guerriero at email@example.com.