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Sanford Says Shrout Will Start At QB Saturday For Buffs

Oct 20, 2022

BOULDER — Colorado coach Mike Sanford said on his weekly radio show Thursday that junior quarterback J.T. Shrout will get the start Saturday when the Buffaloes play at Oregon State.

Colorado (1-5 overall, 1-2 Pac-12) and OSU (5-2, 2-2) will square off in a 6 p.m. game at Reser Stadium. The game will be broadcast by KOA Radio and televised by the Pac-12 Network.

Shrout came on in relief of starter Owen McCown last weekend to lead CU to a 20-13 overtime victory against Cal at Folsom Field. Shrout guided the Buffs to a touchdown and field goal in the fourth quarter, then threw what proved to be the game-winning 22-yard touchdown pass to Montana Lemonious-Craig in the first overtime.

After the game, Sanford said he made the change because McCown had been banged up after taking some big hits earlier in the game.

While McCown did return to practice this week, Sanford announced Thursday that the Buffs will go with Shrout at the helm this week.

"We're going to start J.T. and he's ready to play," Sanford told Voice of the Buffs Mark Johnson at The Post. "He's earned the confidence of his teammates. He's standing a little taller because of the throws that he made … I've seen a lot of growth from J.T. and he's a guy that I have a lot of belief in."

Sanford said 6-foot-2, 175-pound McCown took a physical beating in his three starts (UCLA, Arizona and Cal). He was sacked nine times in those games, along with absorbing several other big hits just after he threw.

"He came out because he was banged up and I think it was an accumulation of playing as a true freshman," Sanford said. "He didn't progress quickly enough for us to feel like he's ready to play. So we're going to start J.T."

After Brendon Lewis got the nod to open the season this year, Shrout started in Weeks 2 and 3 against Air Force and Minnesota. But neither outing went well, as he fumbled on CU's first possession in both games, leading to opponent touchdowns. 

He was replaced by McCown in Week 4 against UCLA, and did not play again until last week, when he entered the game late in the third quarter and engineered Colorado's come-from-behind win. 

He finished the game 8-for-12 for 69 yards, and along with the touchdown in overtime, had a key third-down completion to Lemonious-Craig late in the game that helped keep a Colorado scoring drive alive.

"His teammates have a lot of belief in him and I think he's got broad shoulders to shoulder the challenge of us getting our first real road win since 2019," Sanford said. "I'm really excited to watch J.T. go lead us as a football team."

The Buffs technically last won a road game in the 2020 season finale at Arizona, but that was played in front of a basically empty stadium because of covid restrictions. CU's last road win in front of a hostile crowd came early in the 2019 season when Colorado took a 34-31 victory at Arizona State.

Sanford said Shrout and McCown have had a great relationship since McCown arrived on campus last June.

"When Owen came in June, J.T. really took a mentorship-type role," Sanford said. "Obviously that's disappointing when the mentee ends up taking over the role, but the way that J.T. has prepared like he's the starter throughout the course of the last three, four weeks … When I looked at Owen dinged up on the sideline and then I saw J.T, standing there tall, holding his helmet in hand, like, 'Hey, I'm ready to go,' I knew it. I knew he was ready to go because of how he had prepared over the course of the last four weeks."