The Nicholls State Colonels (0-2, 0-1 Southland) make the trip to Colorado for the second consecutive year, after being defeated by the Air Force Falcons last season 44-16. It will mark the first ever meeting between the Colonels and the Colorado Buffaloes (2-1, 0-0 Pac-12) and will be the second game this season at Folsom Field. The Buffs enter the last game of their non-conference schedule riding a wave of momentum after defeating CSU last week in overtime 27-24. The Rocky Mountain Showdown victory equaled the win total from last season for the Buffs, who will be looking to one up that mark this week. A third consecutive win would be a first for CU since 2008.
Saturday will also be the third meeting for Nicholls with a Pac-12 opponent since 2012 (Oregon State and Oregon) as they look to snap a 20-game losing streak dating back to October 12, 2013. First-year head coach Tim Rebowe is looking for a turnaround after Nicholls has a winless (0-12) season in 2014. His main focus is changing the culture with positive surroundings and developing in-state talent from Louisiana. Eighty-six percent of the Colonels' roster is made up with players from the Cajan state. Boulder being more than a mile above sea level could present a challenge considering most of the Colonel players haven't experienced many games at elevation.
Rebowe definitely has his work cut out for him and is excited to help rebuild the the program. There's no clear indication who will be Nicholls' starting quarterback against the Buffs. Tuskani Figaro started the first two games of the season but was pulled last week after throwing two interceptions in the 20-10 loss to Incarnate Word. He was replaced by Landry Klann, who saw the field as a QB for the first time since 2012 after playing linebacker last season. The two quarterbacks have combined for 237 yards, one touchdown and four interceptions so far this season.
The Buffs should dominant this game on both sides of the ball and will look to take advantage of Nicholls' struggles on offense. CU's defense is ranked 14th in the nation in interceptions with five and will need to improve on that total against an inferior opponent. One aspect of the Buffs' game that needs improvement is getting pressure on the quarterback. No sacks were allowed by either team in the Rocky Mountain Showdown and CU is averaging one per game so far this season.
Quarterback Sefo Liufau and the offense should utilize this game to connect with Nelson Spruce more than he has been. The star wideout is averaging just 6 catches and 65 yards per game. With injuries to running backs Phillip Lindsay and Patrick Carr last week, Coach Mike MacIntyre should allow Liufau to air it out against Nicholls' inexperienced secondary.
The Colonels might have an uphill battle against the Buffs, who come into this game favored by some huge numbers at the offshore books (Vegas does not have a line). Don't be fooled or overlook Nicholls because of their record. The Buffaloes have welcomed in teams that were thought to be a lesser opponent, only to come away with a close win or shocking loss. Sacramento State was one of those teams CU thought would be a guaranteed win back in 2012. After a hard fought back and forth contest that year, the Buffs lost to Hornets 30-28. History shouldn't repeat itself for this match up, but strangers things have happened.
Colorado will host Nicholls at Folsom Field on Saturday Sept . 26 with kickoff scheduled for 11:30 a.m. The game will be nationally televised on the Pac-12 network and a crowd of close to 36,000 in expected in Boulder.