DENVER (AP) -Scotty McKnight became Colorado's career receptions leader with a 27-yard touchdown grab that sparked the Buffaloes to a 24-3 season-opening win over archrival Colorado State in the annual Rocky Mountain Showdown on Saturday.
McKnight's 168th career catch broke the mark set by Michael Westbrook from 1991-94. The senior finished with six catches for 78 yards.
The Buffaloes got off to a good start in what will be a crucial year for coach Dan Hawkins, who has yet to post a winning season since arriving in Boulder from Boise State in 2006.
With three interceptions, freshman quarterback Pete Thomas had a rough debut for the Rams, who lost their last nine games of last season to finish 3-9, same as the Buffaloes.
Thomas finished 24 of 32 for 196 yards.
Tyler Hansen was 17 of 25 for 192 yards, two TDs and an interception. He scored on a 1-yard keeper in the third quarter to make it 24-0.
McKnight has caught a pass in a school-record and NCAA-active-best 38 straight games, counting the 2007 Independence Bowl.
After he hauled in his record-breaking catch on a route in which he got wide open, the Buffaloes made it 17-0 on Aric Goodman's 28-yard field goal that was set up by Travis Sanderfeld's interception at midfield.
Goodman also displayed newfound leg strength with three kickoffs out of the end zone.
The first half came to a close when Colorado's Will Pericak blocked Ben DeLine's 37-yard field goal attempt.
DeLine finally put the Rams on the board with a 43-yarder with 9:36 left.
Travon Patterson, a senior transfer from Southern Cal, opened the scoring with an 18-yard touchdown catch from Hansen. Patterson's first TD catch since his senior year in high school in 2005 was set up when Jon Major stuffed CSU's T.J. Borcky for no gain on fourth-and-1 at the Rams' 44.