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Colorado holds off Oregon in Steven Montez's first career start

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Unbelievable, twisting one-handed catch for Colorado TD (0:44)

Colorado QB Steven Montez heaves it to WR Bryce Bobo, who makes the unbelievable, twisting one-handed catch that is originally ruled incomplete but is reviewed and ruled a touchdown. (0:44)

EUGENE, Ore. -- Steven Montez threw for 333 yards and three touchdowns in his first career start and Colorado held off Oregon 41-38 on Saturday, the Buffaloes' first victory over the Ducks since joining the Pac-12 in 2011.

Ahkello Witherspoon intercepted Dakota Prukop's pass to Darren Carrington in the end zone on Oregon's final drive to preserve the win for Colorado (3-1).

The Buffaloes had retaken the lead following a controversial 31-yard touchdown from Montez to Bryce Bobo. After review, the officials ruled Bobo had control of the ball in his right hand when his right foot came down in the end zone -- but the crowd at Autzen Stadium booed in disagreement.

The Buffaloes led from the start and went up 33-17 following Montez's 48-yard TD pass to Devin Ross to open the second half.

But Kani Benoit scored on a 3-yard touchdown to pull Oregon (2-2) within 33-31. Troy Dye's interception on Colorado's subsequent possession led to Prukup's 18-yard go-ahead TD pass to Carrington late in the third quarter.

The Buffaloes led 21-7 against Michigan last weekend but also fell behind to lose 45-28. Oregon was coming off a 35-32 loss at Nebraska last weekend.

Both teams were without key playmakers.

Oregon running back Royce Freeman, who left the game against the Huskers after five carries with a leg injury, watched from sidelines although he warmed up in pads with the team. Kani Benoit made his first career start in Freeman's place.

The Buffaloes didn't have senior quarterback Sefo Liufau, who left the game at the Big House with an ankle injury after throwing for 246 yards and three touchdowns.

THE TAKEAWAY

Colorado: The Buffaloes showed surprising toughness on defense despite missing one of their top defensive players, linebacker Derek McCartney, who tore his right ACL and is out for the season. They also were resilient on offense in the absence of Liufau. Ross finished with seven catches for 153 yards.

Afterward Colorado coach Mike MacIntyre had tears in his eyes as he embraced his son, receiver Jay MacIntyre.

Oregon: It was anticipated that the Ducks would come out with zeal following the disappointing loss to the Huskers but they sputtered from the start, allowing Colorado to jump out to an early 22-7 lead in the opening half. The Ducks appeared to gain some momentum when Danny Mattingly ran 29 yards on a fake punt and Oregon went on to score on a 25-yard touchdown pass from Prukop to Carrington but still struggled against the Buffaloes.

ABOUT THOSE TWO-POINT CONVERSIONS: After Colorado took a 10-0 lead early, Taj Griffin scored on a 1-yard run for Oregon. The Ducks looked as though they were lining up for a two-point conversion, drawing strident boos from the crowd at Autzen. But Aidan Schneider ran out to kick the PAT.

Last weekend against Nebraska the Ducks went for the two-point conversion five times, and were successful just once. The tactic was questioned in the aftermath of the loss.

UP NEXT

Colorado: After two straight on the road, the Buffaloes return home to host Oregon State. The Beavers (1-2) hold a 5-3 advantage in the all-time series, but Colorado won the last one, 17-13. Oregon State fell 38-24 at home to Boise State earlier Saturday.

Oregon: The Ducks head north for a game against Washington State in Pullman. The Cougars (1-2) have a bye this weekend. While Oregon has a 47-34-6 advantage in the all-time series, Washington State pulled off an 45-38 upset in double overtime last year in Eugene.