Colorado coach Mike MacIntyre immediately knew where the ball was going when the Buffaloes lined up on the Nebraska 40-yard line, trailing 28-27 with just over a minute left in the game.
“As soon as they walked up and pressed Viska (wide receiver Laviska Shenault), that was built into that play,” MacIntyre said. “I saw him there and I thought, ‘Oh, my gosh, go Viska.’ He caught it. It was a heck of a throw.”
That throw came from quarterback Steven Montez, who read the Nebraska defense and took his best shot.
“'I hope the safety doesn’t get to it,' that’s what I was thinking,” Montez said. “I knew it was single high. It was press. I tried to look him off for a split second. I was just praying that safety didn’t get to it. He didn’t. Laviska made a great catch, a great play, got in the end zone. That’s what he’s on the field for. He’s a playmaker.”
For Shenault, the play that gave Colorado a 33-28 lead and eventually the win over Nebraska was cut and dried.
“It was man-on-man. I saw my route. I just took advantage of it. I went up and got the ball and had to get into the end zone,” he said.
When Shenault caught the touchdown, MacIntyre immediately knew the Buffs would go for two. That try failed. Colorado kicked off to Nebraska, squibbing it down the field to prevent a Husker return.
“Then it was just hold on and get some things done,” MacIntyre said. “Coach (D.J) Eliot made a great call at the end of the game, on the last play, to blitz them and not give him time. I thought that was a great call. Some people would have been more conservative. He wanted to be more aggressive, and I agree with that.”
The game-winning pass came one play after Nebraska safety Antonio Reed hit Colorado wide receiver Jay MacIntyre as he went up for a Montez pass on a crossing route on a third-and-24 play.
“I saw him coming down. I got drilled," Jay MacIntyre said. “I kind of made eye contact with him before he hit me. We got a 15-yarder (personal foul penalty) on it. So I’m glad he hit me.”
Jay MacIntyre’s dad, who happens to be his coach, wasn’t all that worried when he saw his son get hit hard and knocked to the turf.
“I knew he’d pop up,” Mike MacIntyre said. “He’s a tough young man. He popped right up, which was good.”
Jay MacIntyre caught two touchdown passes Saturday, a 3-yarder in the first quarter that put Colorado up 7-0 and an 8-yarder late in the third quarter that cut Nebraska's lead to 28-27.
“That was one of the best times of my life,” Jay McIntyre said. “The atmosphere is awesome. The rivalry is awesome. Just being out there and scoring two touchdowns is a dream come true, honestly. To help my team win … it’s really exciting to walk out of here with a ‘W.'”
To a man, the Colorado players who spoke with media said the win was a special victory, all citing a rivalry that most of them weren’t aware of until this week when tapes of old NU-CU games were shown in the team’s training center.
Beating Nebraska also was big for the coach, who sought out his son for a special hug after the game.
“I got to live kind of two dreams as the head coach of Colorado today,” MacIntyre said. “I got to live the dream of beating Nebraska, which hasn’t been done in a long time. That was exceptional. That’s a big deal for the University of Colorado and our staff and our team. And I got to watch my son play and he made some plays. I enjoyed that moment. To get to see him play in college and do what he did today, that was special.”