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Colorado football vs. Northern Colorado: Time, TV schedule, game preview, score

Buffaloes host in-state FCS foe Northern Colorado

Quarterback Steven Montez #12 of the Colorado Buffaloes passes against the Colorado State Rams in the first half at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on September 1, 2017 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images)
Quarterback Steven Montez #12 of the Colorado Buffaloes passes against the Colorado State Rams in the first half at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on September 1, 2017 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images)

So far, so stout for the new-look Colorado defense, which entered the season with a new coordinator and eight new starters but has yielded only a pair of field goals so far in a 2-0 start. Saturday’s home game against Northern Colorado of the FCS Big Sky Conference provides one last tune-up before top-10-ranked defending Pac-12 champion Washington visits the following weekend.

A 17-3 win over Colorado State and a 37-3 rout of Texas State mark the first time since 1958 that the Buffaloes have not surrendered a touchdown in the opening two games of the season.

TV: 2 p.m. ET, Pac-12 Network. LINE: None

 

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The Colorado defense has been especially tough in the red zone, limiting the opposition to a minus-2 yards on nine plays. “We’re happy with where we are right now, but we’re not getting comfortable,” defensive end Leo Jackson told the media earlier this week. “We know we have a long way to go.”

The Buffaloes had a similar start a year ago, allowing 14 total points in its first two contests before surrendering 83 points in back-to-back weeks as the competition level increased.

ABOUT NORTHERN COLORADO (1-0)

Saturday’s game was supposed to be the back end of a rugged consecutive-week set against FBS Power Five foes, but last week’s contest at Florida was canceled due to the approach of Hurricane Irma. Coming off back-to-back 6-5 seasons, Northern Colorado opened Sept. 2 with a 41-14 win over the College of Idaho, using five rushing touchdowns, two interceptions and 238 passing yards from quarterback Jacob Knipp to roll to the home victory. Running back Trae Riek accounted for three of the rushing scores and led the team with 74 yards on 18 carries.

ABOUT COLORADO (2-0)

New sophomore starter Steven Montez has completed 40-of-60 passes for 501 yards but has thrown as many interceptions (two) as scoring tosses and has been sacked seven times. His top targets are wideouts Shay Fields (11 catches, 188 yards) and Bryce Bobo (15-124), while Phillip Lindsay has accounted for 227 of the team’s 305 rushing yards on 45 attempts. Defensively, linebackers Drew Lewis (25) and Rick Gamboa (20) are the leading tacklers, while Jackson has notched four sacks.

EXTRA POINTS

1. The two schools are separated by only 60 miles but haven’t met since a 13-7 Northern Colorado win in 1934. Colorado has won nine of the 11 meetings.

2. The Buffaloes expect to get back three regulars Saturday in RB Kyle Evans (hip) and S Nick Fisher (hamstring), who are returning from injury absences, and OT Jeromy Irwin, who will be reinstated after serving a two-game disciplinary suspension.

3. Lindsay’s brother, Zachary, is a backup RB for the Bears who gained 22 yards on four carries in the opener.

PREDICTION: Colorado 52, Northern Colorado 10