BOULDER - After a convincing win over Colorado State last week, the Colorado Buffaloes turn their attention to the first of three consecutive home games at Folsom Field. This Saturday, the Buffs host the Texas State Bobcats, a matchup that should allow them to develop offensive and defensive momentum that they can carry into week four against last season's Pac-12 champs, the Washington Huskies.
The Buffs need to get their offense going
And I mean all of it. Last week, running back Phil Lindsay and receiver Shay Fields both made big plays and found the end zone, but the rest of CU's offense was largely quiet. Receivers Bryce Bobo, Devin Ross, and Juwann Winfree all need to be more involved in this week's attack, and opening up the offense should give CU a shot at racking up more points than they did against CSU.
Quarterback Steven Montez struggled at times in the season opener, but it was his first game as 'the guy.' Week two will give him another opportunity to take control of the game and demonstrate exactly what this Buffs offense is capable of. He has to show that he can lead CU's plethora of offensive weapons if the Buffs have any hope of beating the top teams on their schedule.
The defense has to duplicate their week one success
I've been high on this Buffs defense all offseason, but I've been pretty alone there. Last week, the Buffs secondary shut down a very talented receiver in Michael Gallup (largely thanks to the play of Isaiah Oliver), forced and recovered a fumble (Afolabi Laguda on that one) and grabbed two interceptions (one each by Evan Worthington and Trey Udoffia). The defensive line was also impressive, keeping the pressure on the Rams' quarterback thanks to stellar play from Drew Lewis, Chris Malumba, Jacob Callier, Javier Edwards and others.
This Saturday, the defense will have a chance to prove that week one was no fluke. They will have a bit of a challenge in Bobcats dual-threat quarterback Damian Williams, who transferred from Mississippi State, but if the Buffs can replicate the dominance displayed against CSU, they should confirm they are more than capable of helping to carry CU to another Pac-12 championship or beyond.
The Buffs have to keep exploring their depth
If CU can take a decent lead into halftime, it would give them the opportunity to share snaps with some of their younger players. The Buffs have done a great job in the last year of restocking areas of significant loss (like replenishing their secondary after losing several starters to the NFL or replacing projected starter Anthony Julmisse after his recent dismissal), and that next man up mentality will be equally important next year when much of their starting offense graduates.
A large margin would allow the Buffs to rest Lindsay and test some of their younger backs like Beau Bisharat, and to get some targets to their next wave of receivers, like Winfree, K.D. Nixon, and others.
The Buffs have all of the tools in place to pull out a big victory against Texas State this Saturday. I'm not advocating that they should completely overlook the Bobcats, but to me, the most important factors in this matchup will be building confidence and momentum the Buffs can carry into Washington, UCLA and the rest of their schedule.