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Colorado hosts winless UCLA with chance to start season 4-0

September 27, 2018
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FILE - In this Aug. 31, 2018, file photo, Colorado quarterback Steven Montez warms up before the first half of an NCAA college football game against Colorado State in Denver. Colorado hosts UCLA on Saturday, Sept. 29, 2018. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski, File)

BOULDER, Colo. (AP) — Colorado coach Mike MacIntyre carefully crunches all the figures and reaches the same conclusion.

“They’ve got our number,” he said.

That’s why he’s not putting too much stock in the Buffaloes being a 9½-point favorite or UCLA struggling to a 0-3 start in the first season under coach Chip Kelly.

Since the Buffaloes (3-0) started Pac-12 play in 2011, they’ve gone 1-6 against the Bruins. It’s a trend Colorado would very much like to curb Friday night in the conference opener for both schools.

Colorado can improve to 4-0 for the first time since 1998. On the flip side, the Bruins hope to prevent dropping to 0-4 for the first time since 1971.

“They have always had great athletes and they have a great history of football and so do we,” said MacIntyre, whose team is coming off a bye week. “We have had some unbelievable games out here.”

Although the Bruins have been outscored 113-52 and outgained by 83 yards per game, they are staying the course.

“We spend the same consistent amount of time on everything we do,” said Kelly, who was 2-0 against Colorado while coach at Oregon. “There’s not a change: ‘Say we lost a game let’s do this. We won a game, let’s change and do this.’ We’ve been very consistent with our guys.”

Mention the idea of preparing for UCLA’s two quarterbacks — Dorian Thompson-Robinson and Wilton Speight — and MacIntyre breaks into a sweat. He remembers a similar scenario last season, when Arizona starter Brandon Dawkins got injured and Khalil Tate entered the game. Tate rushed for 327 yards and four TDs, along with throwing for 154 and another score.

“It’s hard to prepare two offenses,” MacIntyre said. “Hopefully, your defense is able to adjust to different things. We teach them that. They understand that.”

Kelly wasn’t about to offer up any hints as to his QB intentions earlier in the week. Asked what factors went into his decision, he simply responded: “Who’s available. Who’s healthy. Who’s our best opportunity to beat Colorado.”

Things to know in a series where the last four games have been decided by a total of 21 points:

FAST START: Colorado has scored on its opening drive in all three games. The offense has put points on the board to begin the second half in all three contests as well.

“They go fast. We have a term called ‘Folsom Fast,’” linebacker Nate Landman explained. “They are super athletic. ... I think their speed and the leadership they have on there is making them really explosive this year.”

TOUGH ASSIGNMENT: So about that chemistry between Buffaloes receiver Laviska Shenault Jr. and his quarterback Steven Montez.

“I make him look good sometimes,” Shenault said, laughing. “He’s definitely on target. Every pass I have caught from him has been on target, 100 percent.”

Shenault has 26 catches for 455 yards and three TDs this season.

“Any time we can get the ball in No. 2′s hands, it’s going to be good news for us,” Montez said.

HAGAN’S MILESTONE: Former Colorado standout player and current assistant coach Darian Hagan will celebrate his 250th game as a Buffalo. He’s been an assistant for 104 games, a staff member for an additional 97 and played in 49. Hagan was a quarterback in 1990 when Colorado won a national championship. He was inducted into Colorado’s athletic hall of fame in 2002.

OH, BROTHER: Colorado senior returner Donovan Lee’s younger brother, Dymond, is a sophomore receiver for the Bruins. Donovan has a 31-yard kickoff return for the Buffaloes. Lee has five catches for 36 yards for UCLA.

“They kind of know each other well,” MacIntyre cracked.

BYE WEEK TALES: UCLA long snapper Johnny Den Bleyker spent some of the team’s bye week cleaning up his apartment.

“It was a little messy. I cleaned up. Watched some football,” he said.

Montez went home to El Paso, Texas, to watch his younger brother play high school football.

“He’s the best quarterback in the nation, but I think I’m a little biased,” Montez said. “I just love watching him play. I love everything about his game.”

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AP freelancer Monica Costello contributed to this report.

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