In the matchup between the Colorado Buffaloes and the Oregon State Beavers, both teams were looking for their first conference win. The Beavers dominated time of possession and had over 200 more yards of total offense but the Buffs contained the Beavers and pulled out the victory. So what did we learn?
The Buffs stepped up when it mattered most
The Buffaloes didn’t play their most complete game on Saturday, but they had their best fourth quarter and that’s why they came out with a victory. Steven Montez seemed to play his best when the game was on the line. On the game-winning drive he was 4-for-4 including three completions to Bryce Bobo. The offensive line saved their best pass protection for the end of the game, and Montez had plenty of time to make those throws which is why he completed so many. On the defensive side of the ball, they were finally able to stuff the run. Leo Jackson and Nick Fisher combined for the biggest play of the game on a second down tackle for loss that seemingly put the Beavers out of field goal range. They didn’t play their best, but they showed up late and that’s sometimes all that matters.
Montez is still a work in progress
Like I said in my game grades, this has been a difficult season to evaluate Montez. He had high expectations heading into the season because of his breakout games against Oregon and Oregon State last year. He hasn’t lived up to those expectations but that’s not all his fault. His offensive line has struggled to pass protect for most of the season, his wide receivers have struggled to get open at times and it seems like the play calling isn’t necessarily designed for his strengths.
What we do know about Montez is that he struggles to go through progressions. This was apparent during the first game of the season and, although he has gotten better, it’s still clearly a work in progress. Montez has been limited to one or two progressions when he drops back to pass, that’s not going to cut it when he has so many different weapons at the receiver position.
Sam Darnold is having the same issue at USC. They both have all of the talent in the world but they’re struggling to grasp the mental side of the game. That can be attributed to both of them being redshirt sophomores and still growing as quarterbacks. As more time goes by, Montez should be able to grasp the mental side of the game and we will see obvious improvement in that area. It’s not a reason to panic but he’s just not there yet.
The thing that impressed about Montez is his play down the stretch on Saturday. He was 9/10 passing and also added 29 yards on the ground in the fourth quarter. Without that type of play, the Buffs would have never won that football game.
Buffs have a gem in Worthington
Evan Worthington was the best player on the football field not named Phillip Lindsay on Saturday. He was all over the field. He racked up a total of 12 tackles, which is a preposterous number for a safety. Worthington also had the lone interception of the game and added two pass break-ups. All you have to do is look at the stat line to see how good of a game Worthington had. But his work off of the football field is the real reason he’s been so successful.
He could’ve taken his dismissal last year and gone to play JUCO to try and transfer to a different school, but he didn’t. He took it as a time to get better and worked with Matt McChesney at Six Zero Strength to get faster and stronger. That work is clearly paying off and there’s not a better story on this football team than what Worthington is currently doing.