By Pat Graham, AP Sports Writer
The Colorado Buffaloes were greeted by a swarm of fans upon their early morning return last weekend.
That sort of welcoming brigade hasn’t happened often in recent memory. Neither have wins of this magnitude.
The new and improved Buffaloes (3-1, 1-0 Pac-12) stunned Oregon 41-38 in Eugene behind the performance of freshman quarterback Steven Montez. They try to follow it up Saturday as an 18 1/2-point favorite against Oregon State (1-2).
As for a possible hangover effect, well, Colorado insisted the page has been turned. This is a team on the cusp of appearing in the AP Top 25 poll and trying to make a bowl appearance for the first time since 2007.
“Our goal every week is to go 1-0, and our ultimate goal is to be Pac-12 champions,” cornerback Chidobe Awuzie said. “In the grand scheme of things, it definitely helps that and we were happy after the win. But now we’re just trying to focus in on Oregon State and keep this train rolling.”
Everyone around campus appears on board, because the looks are way friendlier these days. The conversations, too.
“We sense a lot more trust among people and they trust us to come out with wins this time around,” receiver Bryce Bobo said.
The schedule certainly doesn’t get any easier with the remaining teams after Saturday a combined 17-9. There’s also this: Colorado hasn’t exactly followed up big wins with a string of more big wins.
The Buffaloes knocked off a ranked West Virginia squad in 2008, only to go 2-7 the rest of the way. They beat Georgia in 2010, but followed it up by going 2-6 during a season in which then-coach Dan Hawkins lost his job.
“Being in all those close games has definitely helped us build to where we are now,” Awuzie said. “We’ve gone through so much adversity that I feel as though, whatever comes at us, we’ll be ready.”
Beavers coach Gary Andersen appreciates what the Buffaloes have accomplished under coach Mike MacIntyre, who’s in his fourth season at Colorado. Andersen is trying to revitalize the program in Corvallis.
“They’ve continued to recruit and battle like crazy and fight in games and get better and better,” Andersen said. “And now they’re starting to see those W’s come their way.”