Colorado’s first ranked opponent and first home game of the season: No. 25 Nebraska

Oct 6, 2018; Boulder, CO, USA; Members of the Colorado Buffaloes run on to Folsom Field before the game against the Arizona State Sun Devils. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Week One, Colorado defeated Colorado State to begin the season with a win. Now, the No. 25 ranked Nebraska Cornhuskers hope to redeem last year’s loss to the Buffaloes by winning in Boulder. The rivals play Saturday, September 7 at Folsom Field and the game will be broadcast on Fox at 1:30 PM (MT).

In last year’s game in Lincoln, the Buffaloes scored on a Steven Montez to Laviska Shenault touchdown with just about a minute left in the fourth to seal the 33-28 victory.

Montez completed 33-of-50 pass attempts for 351 yards and 3 touchdowns. Laviska Shenault Jr. had one rushing and one receiving touchdown and 10 catches for 177 yards.

Last year, Nebraska quarterback Adrian Martinez rushed for 177 yards and 2 touchdowns and passed for 187 yards, a touchdown, and an interception as a freshman. Last week, however, against South Alabama, Martinez and his offense were held largely in check. Both Nebraska’s defense and special teams put points on the board, accounting for three of the five Nebraska touchdowns. Martinez threw for 178 yards and rushed for only 6 yards.

One high point last week for the Buffaloes defense against Colorado State was the takeaways. Capitalizing on any Nebraska mistakes will be a key to gaining leverage in Saturday’s game. Nebraska took advantage of five South Alabama turnovers to get their week one victory so on the other hand ball security and good decision making for Colorado are also of significant importance.

The tight end position proved crucial to the Jay Johnson offense last week against the Rams, so keep an eye out for Jalen Harris and Brady Russell in the passing game. And Scott Frost knows what kind of weapon Shenault is, which may mean more opportunities for Tony Brown and K.D. Nixon.

Creative play calling to put the ball in the hands of Shenault and continued commitment to the rushing attack with Alex Fontenot will allow Colorado to score enough points to compete with No. 25 Nebraska. Will the defense be able to step up and defend their home field, though?

Adjustments made at halftime during the Rocky Mountain Showdown drove the Buffaloes to get more pressure and force turnovers. Mel Tucker and the rest of the Colorado coaching staff have had a week to continue to make adjustments and prepare for the challenge of Scott Frost’s team.

Some may have been scratching their heads when Nebraska was ranked in the preseason Top 25 after finishing last season 4-8 in Frost’s first year. This game is a chance for the Buffaloes to beat rivals in consecutive weeks, in consecutive years. Sending the Huskers home with a loss will also send them out of the rankings.

Last week’s rivalry game was huge for the state of Colorado, but this one goes beyond the borders of our great state. Former coach Bill McCartney sums it up best for the Colorado faithful: “We’d rather be dead than red.”

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