The University of Colorado football team has started out 3-0 for the second straight year. This year feels different from last season because the team blew out their first two opponents and beat a tough Nebraska team. The Buffaloes started their season off by demolishing the Colorado State Rams 45-13. They rode the momentum into Lincoln, Nebraska the next week to challenge their oldest rival, the Nebraska Cornhuskers. Again, Colorado took care of business, beating the Huskers 33-28. Their most recent win came in the home opener against New Hampshire. The Buffs won that game 45-14 and have set themselves up as the only undefeated team in the PAC-12 South. USC and Arizona State are the only south teams to be ranked this season, but now they have both fallen out of the top 25. Colorado received 49 votes after last weeks win, and they look good enough to get back into the top 25 and contend for the south title.
Week 1: Colorado 45 vs Colorado State 14
Against Colorado State Steven Montez looked great throwing for 338 yards and four touchdowns. Montez has a full season as the starter under his belt and looks ready to lead this team to the PAC-12 title game. Now it is early, and the team started out with the same record last year, only to fizzle out at the end. Laviska Shenault Jr. wasn’t playing as well for the Buffs last year as he is now. Shenault started his year off phenomenally catching 11 passes for 211 yards and a touchdown. Shenault broke out in a big way for the Buffaloes when they needed him the most. Entering this season, the big question was who the lead wide receiver would be, and Shenault answered in the first game of the season. The run defense looked a little questionable and should be a point of emphasis for the coaching staff during their bye week. The breakout star on that side of the ball though has been Nate Landman. At inside linebacker Landman has done it all for the Buffs. He and Rick Gamboa have been the key players on defense, but Landman had 16 tackles and an interception against the Rams. That game set him up as the star on defense, and along with Gamboa, they will be crucial in Colorado’s quest for a championship. The win against the Rams came as no surprise, but the dominating victory had fans giddy with excitement about the match up against Nebraska.
Week 2: Colorado 33 vs Nebraska 28
I will be honest, I was not very impressed with how Colorado beat Colorado State the week before. I thought the defense was going to be a huge issue against Nebraska and the run game would be hard to initiate as well. I knew Montez was going to play to the best of his ability, but I had no idea that CU would walk into Lincoln, Nebraska and win. In probably the most exciting game of the week, Colorado and Nebraska went back and forth in an extremely entertaining battle that was exciting till the end. Montez again had a phenomenal performance against the schools oldest rival. He went 33/50 for 351 yards and three touchdowns. Montez was the heart and soul of that team. The offense stalled for a couple of plays, going three and out on consecutive possessions. After the series it looked like Montez was hurt, but he still went out and led the team. The Buffaloes last play came down to Montez throwing deep to Shenault for the 40 yard game winning touchdown. Shenault finished with 177 yards and a critical touchdown that sealed the game for the Buffs. He also had two carries for 5 yards and a touchdown. The run game looked absolutely dreadful with CU’s leading rusher having only 25 yards. On defense Nate Landman came out hot. He had 13 total tackles and a huge interception in the fourth quarter. He also stopped Nebraska running back Greg Bell on fourth-and-one in the fourth quarter. He continues to establish himself as one of Colorado’s most important defensive players. The team’s performance against a rival on the road was a huge statement that surprised many.
Week 3: Colorado 45 vs New Hampshire 14
CU played New Hampshire in a game that was Colorado’s to lose. The Buffaloes had no intention to do so and went on to demolish the Wildcats. Montez and Shenault didn’t have huge games. Montez threw for 166 yards, a touchdown and an interception, while Shenault had 67 yards and caught Montez’s touchdown pass. For the most part this game was a test for the back ups. Sam Noyer got the nod at backup quarterback and had an underwhelming performance with 14 yards and an interception. The Star on offense was Travon McMillian who rushed for 162 yards and two touchdowns. Beau Bisharat was the team’s second leading rusher with 92 yards. On defense the starters looked good, but the backups have some work to do. Gamboa finished with his first interception of the season, and Landman got his first sack. Once the backups entered the game, the defense allowed the Wildcats to score twice in the third quarter. This isn’t a huge deal now, but hopefully these guys will be ready if they are ever needed. This win finished off an impressive three game stretch for the Buffs. New Hampshire allows them the opportunity to see their second and third string players while getting some extra rest before they start playing against the PAC-12 teams.
Overall things are looking up for the Buffaloes who will have two weeks before they meet UCLA in Boulder for their first PAC-12 game of the season. UCLA has started 0-3 and will be desperate for a big win against the Buffaloes. If the three games the Buffs have played says anything, it’s that they can win games if they play to their full potential. If they play down to UCLA then they could be upset at home. This will be a statement game, that if they win big, they will probably be ranked the next week. If they skate by the Bruins then there will be some skepticism. Colorado has a wide receiver on Heisman watch, a veteran quarterback and stellar linebackers. They have the players needed to make a run in the PAC-12 and the next game against UCLA will be the first test for them.