BOULDER, Colo. (AP) — Travon McMillian raised his fist as he ran to the sidelines with the UCLA defense in futile pursuit. The Bruins thought they were chasing after the ball, but the Colorado running back sold the fake handoff and was celebrating as Steven Montez ran untouched for a clinching touchdown.
“Montez has been doing a great job with his reads,” McMillian said. “He made a great read.”
There wasn’t a lot Montez and the Buffaloes didn’t do well Friday night. Montez was 22-of-26 passing for 237 yards and a touchdown and ran for two more scores to lead Colorado over UCLA 38-16.
Montez rushed for 81 yards and Laviska Shenault Jr. caught a career-best 12 passes for 126 yards and a touchdown and ran for another score for Colorado (4-0, 1-0 Pac-12).
Montez has completed 75.8 percent of his passes through the first four games.
“He’s seeing everything now,” Colorado coach Mike MacIntyre said. “He’s always been extremely accurate. He’s stepping up in the pocket and throwing the ball instead of moving out and trying to make a big play every time.”
Joshua Kelley ran for 124 yards and Dorian Thompson-Robinson had a touchdown pass for UCLA (0-4, 0-1), which is looking for its first win in the Chip Kelly era. The Bruins have lost their first four games for the first time since 1971.
“No one feels bad for you. We’re going to get up and we’re going to get ready to play again,” Kelly said. “I don’t think our next opponent is going to say, ‘Oh, they lost so let’s take it easy on them.’”
UCLA went ahead 10-7 on an 11-yard pass from Thompson-Robinson to Michael Ezeike and a short field goal. JJ Molson hit from 50 yards at the end of the first half, and then gave UCLA a 16-14 lead with a 40-yard field goal early in the third.
But it was all Colorado after that. Shenault, who scored the Buffaloes’ first touchdown on a 57-yard reception, scored on a 1-yard touchdown run to make it 21-16.
McMillian, who had 102 yards rushing, scored from 6 yards out for a 28-16 lead and then helped Montez put it away with a 35-yard rushing touchdown in the fourth with the fake handoff.
“We only ran that play one time so they didn’t really know what it was,” Montez said. “The end has been chasing the running back down all night and trying to catch him from behind. We read it and Chris Bounds made an incredible block, he sealed the guy inside.”
Colorado linebacker Drew Lewis sacked Thompson-Robinson on UCLA’s first two drives to set the tone defensively. The Buffaloes finished with three sacks but it could have been four had Thompson-Robinson not escaped from Lewis’ grasp a third time.
“He’s mad at himself because should have had a third sack,” MacIntyre said. “He should have had three in a row; the quarterback got outside of him one time.”
Both teams had some costly penalties that ended drives or kept ones alive. Colorado’s Evan Washington hit Thompson-Robinson late on a first-down run that turned a 17-yard gain into 32 yards. UCLA scored a few plays later to go up 7-0.
In the second quarter UCLA defensive lineman Nate Meadors was called for a personal foul on a takedown of Montez, which turned a 6-yard loss into a first down. Five plays later Montez scored his first touchdown to make it 14-10.
The score and stats were tight in the first half, but the second half was a different story. Colorado outgained the Bruins 196-191 at the intermission but the Buffaloes finished with 477 yards to UCLA’s 289.
“They made adjustments on defense,” Kelley said of Colorado. “I feel like we executed great throughout the game but you can only control what you can control.”
UCLA: The Bruins have lost 12 straight true road games and 11 conference road games. Their last road win was 17-14 at BYU on Sept. 17, 2016. The last time they won a conference road game was 17-9 at Utah on Nov. 21, 2015.
Colorado: The Buffaloes are 4-0 for the first time since 1998. They started 3-0 last season before losing seven of their last nine.
UCLA hosts No. 11 Washington on Oct. 6.
Colorado will host Arizona State on Oct. 6.