EUGENE, Ore. (AP) — Steven Montez threw for 333 yards and three touchdowns in his first career start and Colorado held off Oregon 41-38 on Saturday, the Buffaloes’ first victory over the Ducks since joining the Pac-12 in 2011.
Ahkello Witherspoon intercepted Dakota Prukop’s pass to Darren Carrington in the end zone on Oregon’s final drive to preserve the win for Colorado (3-1).
The Buffaloes had retaken the lead following a controversial 31-yard touchdown from Montez to Bryce Bobo. After review, the officials ruled Bobo had control of the ball in his right hand when his right foot came down in the end zone — but the crowd at Autzen Stadium booed in disagreement.
The Buffaloes led from the start and went up 33-17 following Montez’s 48-yard TD pass to Devin Ross to open the second half.
But Kani Benoit scored on a 3-yard touchdown to pull Oregon (2-2) within 33-31. Troy Dye’s interception on Colorado’s subsequent possession led to Prukup’s 18-yard go-ahead TD pass to Carrington late in the third quarter.
Colorado: The Buffaloes showed surprising toughness on defense despite missing one of their top defensive players, linebacker Derek McCartney, who tore his right ACL and is out for the season. They also were resilient on offense in the absence of Liufau. Ross finished with seven catches for 153 yards.
Oregon: It was anticipated that the Ducks would come out with zeal following the disappointing loss to the Huskers but they sputtered from the start, allowing Colorado to jump out to an early 22-7 lead in the opening half.
Colorado: After two straight on the road, the Buffaloes return home to host Oregon State. The Beavers (1-2) hold a 5-3 advantage in the all-time series, but Colorado won the last one, 17-13. Oregon State fell 38-24 at home to Boise State earlier Saturday.
Oregon: The Ducks head north for a game against Washington State in Pullman. The Cougars (1-2) have a bye this weekend. While Oregon has a 47-34-6 advantage in the all-time series, Washington State pulled off an 45-38 upset in double overtime last year in Eugene.