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Those who have been eagerly awaiting, and predicting, the first loss of the 2018 season for Colorado had yet another disappointing day on Saturday. The Buffaloes rode a four-touchdown day by budding superstar wideout Laviska Shenault Jr./strong> en route to a 28-21 win over Arizona State.

Colorado came from behind in each of the first three quarters, matching the Sun Devils touchdown-for-touchdown before finally taking the lead with their final score late in the 3rd quarter and holding on for the win. The Buffs shut the door on ASU with an impressive 13-play, 7-plus minute drive, running out the clock in the process. 

QB Steven Montez 

Montez continued his top-flight play, completing 24 of 33 passes for 328 yards and two touchdowns, both to Shenault. The second TD pass was a particular thing of beauty, a perfectly thrown 30 yarder to Shenault in stride in the corner of the end zone. 

Grade – A

Draft Projection – Early 3rd Round 

Preview for USC

The Buffalo signal-caller should face his toughest test yet this season as the Trojans defense features a talented and experienced (3 seniors) defensive backfield, led by ball-hawking free safety Marvell Tell III. 

The junior also must contend with OLB Porter Gustin and his pass rushing prowess (6 sacks). Could be an interesting day for Montez, to say the least.

WR Laviska Shenault, Jr. 

Shenault continued his electrifying play, hauling in 13 passes for 127 yards and two touchdowns. The super soph added to his ever-growing resume by rushing for two touchdowns from the wildcat formation. 

Grade – A 

Draft Projection – 2nd Round 

Preview for USC

Shenault has yet to be slowed, much less stopped, by any of Colorado’s opponents at this point in the season. I thought ASU’s aggressive D might have had a chance to keep up with the Buffs playmaker, but he just seems to elevate his play based on the level of competition. 

That trend will have to continue in a big way Saturday, as USC will field the most talented defense Colorado has faced so far in 2018. I can see the men of Troy having at least some level of success against Shenault, but I do see the star wideout finding the end zone yet again.  More than once?  Well……

HB Travon McMillian

The senior’s level of success Saturday surprised me as I thought the playmaking front of Arizona State might slow him down. McMillian’s day was an impressive, workman-like effort with 30 carries for 136 yards. Being able to rely on the veteran back down the stretch during the clock-killing drive proved crucial for Colorado.

Grade – A-

Draft Projection – 5th round

Preview for USC

The Trojans D features a bruising linebacking corps led by 3rd team All-American Cameron Smith. The senior ILB has recorded 47 total tackles, including 5 for loss. Gustin has added 7 ½ tackles for loss. 

With Montez dealing with the heat of Gustin and Co. as well as the talented back end of the SC defense, a huge burden could fall on McMillian to keep up and maybe even expand his workload on the ground this week. The Trojan run defense will have a lot to say about that. Like Montez, this could be a very interesting game for the HB.

LB Rick Gamboa

The Arizona State game was another seemingly subpar day for the senior. His stat line included 4 tackles. That will have to change on Saturday.  

Grade – D

Draft projection – UFA

Preview for USC

The Trojan offense features three running backs who average 5-plus yards per carry. SC will certainly be looking to pound the ball at the Buffs with the run game until they’re given a good reason to stop. Gamboa and his LB cohorts need to show up this weekend in a big way or the USC offense could have a field day on the ground.

SS Evan Worthington

Worthington may have had his best game of 2018 against Arizona State. The veteran safety recorded seven tackles (five solos) as well as a defended pass in Saturday’s win. It just might have been the coming out party for this season for Worthington.

Grade – B

Draft projection – 6th-7th round

Preview for USC

True freshman QB JT Daniels has been inconsistent at best thus far for the Trojans. But the Trojans have been able to mask some of his issues with their RB trio effectively controlling things on offense. If last week’s game is any indication, things are trending in the right direction for Worthington. 

He could be key in forcing USC away from the ground game and into trusting their young QB’s arm. I look for Worthington to have his most productive game yet.

Mike Clark

Author Mike Clark

Founder of the sports blog Redbloodedsports.com Member, Football Writers Association of America

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