BOULDER, Colo. — Steven Montez had three long touchdown throws to Shay Fields and Colorado cruised past Oregon State 47-6 on Saturday, easily handling an unfamiliar role as a heavy favorite in a conference game.
“We just called some plays that worked,” Fields said with a shrug.
The last time the Buffaloes (4-1, 2-0 Pac-12) were a double-digit favorite in a league game was Nov. 25, 2005, against Nebraska — and they didn’t wear the tag well, getting walloped 30-3 by the Cornhuskers when they were part of the Big 12.
This time, they came in as an 18-point darling against the Beavers (1-3, 0-1) and they handled their business a week after a signature win at Oregon.
“It proves we’re legitimate, maybe, that we can do it,” Colorado coach Mike MacIntyre said. “Everybody kept asking me all week, ‘Are they going to have a letdown? Did they play out of their minds?’ Like I said since Day 1, we’re a good football team.”
The Buffs, who entered this season 5-40 in Pac-12 play, failed to score a touchdown on their opening drive for the first time all season. But they scored on their next five possessions to turn the game into a rare October laugher at Folsom Field, where a crowd 47,000-strong relished in Colorado’s resurgence after nearly a decade of so much disappointment.
Fields had seven receptions for 169 yards and Montez completed 19 of 27 passes for 293 yards without a sack or an interception.
When the Buffs finally stalled again, Davis Price trotted in and nailed a line-drive 54-yard field goal, the longest by a freshman in school history, for a 30-6 lead with less than a minute left in the first half.
Colorado wasn’t done.
Freshman QB Conor Blount’s quick throw to running back Artavis Pierce was snared by linebacker Rick Gamboa, whose 20-yard pick-6 gave Colorado a 31-point halftime cushion.
This time, when the crowd streamed out of the stadium in the fourth quarter of another blowout, it was in celebration, not resignation.
Colorado continues inching its way toward its first Top 25 ranking since Nov. 6, 2005, when the Buffaloes peaked at No. 22.
“From what I saw? Yeah, why not?” said Beavers coach Gary Andersen. “Put them in the Top 25.”
BOLDEN BOTTLED UP: The Buffs neutralized Victor Bolden Jr., who came into the game leading the nation with a 40.2-yard average of kickoff returns. He returned two kickoffs for a 22.5-yard average and fumbled one kickoff but recovered another coughed up by Jaylynn Bailey.
OREGON STATE: Left guard Fred Lauina hurt his left knee and was helped off the field. Outside linebacker Titus Failauga limped off and cornerback Jay Irvine left with an arm or shoulder injury.
COLORADO: The Buffaloes hadn’t had more than one conference win since 2011, when they beat Arizona at home and Utah on the road in their first season in the Pac-12. They haven’t won more than two league games since 2007, when they went 4-4.
OREGON STATE: It doesn’t get any easier for the banged-up Beavers who host Cal next weekend.
COLORADO: The Buffaloes travel to USC next weekend and they can really make a statement with their first win over the Trojans, against whom they’re 0-10.
AP college football site: http://collegefootball.ap.org