BOULDER, Colo. (AP) — One moment, Laviska Shenault Jr. was blocking on a punt return. The next, he was igniting a lethargic Colorado team. A fortuitous bounce.
BOULDER, Colo. (AP) — One moment, Laviska Shenault Jr. was blocking on a punt return. The next, he was igniting a lethargic Colorado team.
A fortuitous bounce.
Shenault's 55-yard score off a teammate's fumble during a punt return got things rolling and the Buffaloes cruised late in a 37-3 win over Texas State on Saturday.
The freshman becomes the 15th player in school history with a score on his first touch.
"Everybody was telling me it was a boost to get us going," Shenault said.
Stagnant on offense, the Buffaloes received a lift from the special teams late in the first quarter. Returner Isaiah Oliver fielded a punt, tried to break a tackle and had the ball ripped away. Shenault was there to pick it up and took off for the end zone.
"There was some momentum swing there. We were playing pretty well," Texas State coach Everett Withers said. "It was kind of a freak play."
Quarterback Steven Montez threw a touchdown pass and ran in another score for Colorado (2-0). Leading 14-0 at halftime, the Buffaloes pulled away in the third quarter against the Bobcats (1-1), who were a 35-point underdog.
It's the second straight week the offense hasn't exactly been the high-powered version of what everyone thought it would be. Coach Mike MacIntyre thinks it's only a matter of time before it starts clicking, though.
Montez & Co. narrowly missed several big plays downfield and still finished with 430 total yards.
"I saw some really positive things there," MacIntyre said. "I think we'll be a very good offense."
Until it does, Colorado's defense has proven to be dependable.
To think, the Buffaloes "D'' was supposed to be a work in progress this season after losing so many starters and bringing in a new coordinator. Instead, it's holding things together as the offense tries to find a rhythm. The unit allowed a 55-yard run by Anthony Taylor on the first play and then settled down.
Texas State finished with 283 total yards and two turnovers.
"(Our) defense is nasty," Montez said. "I like our defense to do big things as the year goes on."
This defensive performance comes on the heels of holding Colorado State to three points the week before. It's the first time since 1958 the Buffaloes have not allowed a touchdown in its opening two games, according to the school.
"We just do what we do," safety Evan Worthington said, "and we're going to keep doing it."
Colorado turned in two dazzling one-handed catches. The first was by receiver Bryce Bobo , whose reception near the end zone set up a 2-yard TD by Montez in the second quarter. The other was from Oliver as the cornerback reached over a receiver to pick off a Damian Williams pass. Oliver's play in the third quarter led to a score to give Colorado some breathing room.
"The ball was well thrown and I knew I wasn't going get two hands on it, so I tipped it to myself," Oliver explained. "It just worked out well."
Texas State: The Bobcats represented well until the third quarter in their first game against a Pac-12 squad. On top of that, the school pockets a $900,000 paycheck for visiting Boulder.
Colorado: The Buffaloes are knocking on the door of the AP Top 25 poll and should pick up a few more votes. They haven't been ranked in September since 2003.
The Buffaloes have been on the right side of calling 15 of 16 coin tosses dating to the start of last season.
Despite his defense's solid showing, Texas State linebacker Gabe Loyd wasn't buying into the notion of a moral victory.
"I do know that throughout the whole game, I felt like my guys went out there and played hard," said Loyd, who had 12 tackles and a sack. "It meant a lot to me. We never gave up, never put our heads down."
Texas State: Host Appalachian State next Saturday, the third meeting between the schools and the first at Bobcat Stadium in San Marcos, Texas.
Colorado: Meet Northern Colorado in the first game between the Buffaloes and Bears since 1934. Northern Colorado was supposed to play at No. 22 Florida this weekend, but it was canceled because of Hurricane Irma.