The Colorado Buffaloes had a bad showing in week one as they lost 22-17 to rival Colorado State. It was a game that many expected the Buffs to win easily but that was not the case.
Now Colorado has to bounce back in week two to try and get back on track to their goal of playing in a bowl game. In this past week’s press conference Jon Embree stated that the Buffs still expect to go to a bowl game but they have some work to do.
In order for Colorado to beat FCS opponent Sacramento State today they have to do these three things:
1) Colorado has to run the ball
The Buffs finished last week’s game with 58 net rushing yards as the offensive line had a hard time getting any type of push up front. The bigger CU line was pushed around by CSU’s smaller defensive line and that needs to change if the Buffs want to win this season. Colorado’s line was not happy with their performance and vowed to get better this week. In order to do that they need to dominate the point of attack and get a strong push up front in order to free up some space for Tony Jones. They should be able to do that today against Sac. St. If not then it will be a very long season in Boulder.
2) The freshmen corners will have to step up
In wake of Greg Henderson’s ankle injury last week freshmen corner Yuri Wright will start in his place. On the other side of him will be fellow freshmen Kenneth Crawley who is gearing up for his second start this season and both guys will be tested today. The Hornets quarterback Garrett Saffron played well last week going 23-35 for 308 yards and 2 TDs. They will pass and pass often so the young guys will have to be ready from the get go. I was impressed with Crawley last week against CSU as he consistently made plays and finished with seven tackles. Wright got into the game later in nickel packages and also played well in the secondary. Both guys are very talented and they will need that talent to make plays against the Hornets today.
3) Focus on limiting their mistakes
Colorado was very sloppy last week committing six penalties for 70 yards as well as turning the ball over twice. On top of that they muffed two punts with the second one changing the momentum of the game against CSU. The Buffs are young and mistakes will happen but they need to limit them in order to have a chance. I expect CU to come out with a renewed focus this week and play much better than they did against the Rams.
My prediction for today’s game is 31-14 Colorado. I think that it’s a new week for the Buffs, it’s their home opener and it’s against a weak FCS opponent. The Buffs will get their ground game going and their new no-huddle offense will wear out the Hornets as the game winds down.
David LaRose is one of the featured College Football writers for Rant Sports and is also a member of the Football Writers Association of America. He covers the Pac 12 and the University of Colorado.