What was supposed to be an easy afternoon for the Colorado Buffaloes against the Northern Colorado Bears instead turned into a surprising dog fight as the Buffs needed a strong second half to secure a 41-21 victory and improve to 3-0.

“Coach [Earnest] Collins and the University of Northern Colorado had some big plays on us” said Buffaloes head coach Mike MacIntyre. “We didn’t do a good enough job of staying on top of them, and they made some plays.”

Northern Colorado made it known early that this was going to be a battle when they did what neither Colorado State University or Texas State could: put up a touchdown. Then another came… and then another.

“We didn’t come out very hard today, and UNC played really hard; came out ready to play,” said defensive lineman Derek McCartney. “We just have to be more disciplined and make better decisions.”

Bears quarterback Jacob Knipp did all that he could to give his team a chance to win the game, but they fell short. He finished the game 19-of-34 for 202 yards and threw three touchdowns.

“I think No.7 [Knipp], their QB is a very, very, very good player — he’s a freak out there,” said Buffs QB Steven Montez. Northern Colorado’s Alex Wesley was the recipient of two of those touchdowns; finishing the day with five catches for 102 yards while causing fits for the Buffs all game long.

The Buffs’ offense has been an area of concern so far this year after two slow starts, but showed signs of life in the second half of the Texas State game, and finally came to life in Saturday’s game.

Steven Montez showcased his unique athletic ability and his knack for extending the play with his feet before finding his target as shown here:

Montez was 29-of-41 with four touchdowns while also rushing for 76 yards. Although he’s happy with the 20-point victory, he understands that the offense must be better if they want to win next week against a very talented Washington team.

“I think we’re continually just getting better,” said Montez. “Hopefully, we just keep building these blocks and keep getting better and better.”

Wide receiver Devin Ross, who got his first touchdown on the year as one of his eight catches for 143 yards, agrees with Montez’s assessment of the offense, but Ross feels that their offense is ready for Washington.

“We’re definitely ready. We’ve had a good few weeks and we’re just scratching the surface offensively, but we have potential and we have to come out next week and get ready for Pac-12 play. It’s going to be a tough opponent;  a rematch of the Pac-12 championship — and we’re ready.”

The Buffs welcome the Washington Huskies into Boulder on Saturday. The last time these two teams played, it ended as a 41-10 blow-out in the Pac-12 Championship, so expect to see a fired-up Buffaloes squad ready to avenge last year’s loss. When MacIntyre was asked about this game having a bit more meaning due to last year’s results, he responded, “you don’t forget.”