The Colorado Buffaloes are favored by a whopping 36 points over the visiting Texas State Bobcats this weekend, but they have plenty of work to do as they prepare for their Pac-12 opener on Sept. 23 against Washington.
Yogi Roth of Pac-12 Network saw plenty of positives in Colorado’s Week 1 win over the Colorado State Rams and expects the Buffs to build on those against an inferior opponent this week.
“I think a big takeaway from Week 1 as they beat Colorado State – their rival – for the third straight time last week on the Pac-12 Network, is that their secondary is real,” Roth said in his game preview. “We know about (defensive back) Isaiah Oliver; he’s probably the top corner, not only in the Pac-12 Conference, but in the entire nation. He shut down (CSU wide receiver) Michael Gallup, but I love the other side of it – (defensive back) Trey Udoffia. The first time playing major college football on a huge stage, he proved he can play and fill the void left my multiple players who departed for the National Football League. So, I like this defense and their back end.”
Roth was referring to the losses of Chidobe Awuzie (Dallas Cowboys) and Ahkello Witherspoon (San Francisco 49ers), Colorado’s starting defensive backs last season. Oliver and Udoffia were stellar against Colorado State. Although the Rams logged 309 yards passing in the game, they never found the end zone and the Buffs picked off CSU quarterback Nick Stevens twice. Udoffia produced one of those interceptions.
While Colorado was strong on the back end against Colorado State, Roth was just as impressed by the defensive front.
“(Defensive end) Chris Mulumba, (nose tackle) Javier Edwards – they got after it on the defensive front,” Roth said. “They’re going to have to continue to do that as they prepare for Pac-12 Conference play.”
CU also lost defensive tackle Jordan Carrell to the NFL Draft (although he did not latch on with the Cowboys after being drafted in the seventh round).
The Buffs were dominant on the defensive front, holding the Rams to 88 yards rushing on 33 attempts for just a 2.7-yard average.
Texas State put up 155 yards rushing and scored both touchdowns on the ground in their 20-11 win over the Houston Baptist Huskies in their opener, but the Buffs will be a whole different animal.
The same will be true on the offensive side of the ball, where Roth wants to see some big improvements from CU quarterback Steven Montez.
“Now, on the offensive side, the numbers for Steven Montez were impressive,” Roth said.
Montez passed for 202 yards on 21-of-29 passing with a touchdown and two interceptions.
“The consistency of his reads, where the ball is going, the spot throws needs to improve,” Roth continued. “I’m looking forward to Week 2 for him as they get going here with three straight at home. We know that final one is against Washington, a rematch of the Pac-12 Championship Game.”
That’s when the Buffs must be performing at their best, facing a Washington team picked to win the Pac-12 North for a second consecutive season. The Buffs will have the Bobcats this week, followed by Northern Colorado next week, to prepare.
“So, all in all, some work to do for the Colorado Buffaloes after a Week 1 win, but they’re going to be able to test out their skill set on both sides of the ball,” Roth said.