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Colorado Buffaloes vs. Northern Colorado Bears: Keys to the Game

The Buffaloes really need to kick it into gear

NCAA Football: Texas State at Colorado Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

Last week, I laid out three keys to victory for CU. Given that they were facing a team that was heavy underdogs (on paper), they went beyond what was needed to win the game into what was needed in order to have a better season. They were as follows:

Establish offensive rhythm

Shore up the line

Earn reps for the young guns

Well, CU only accomplished about .5 out of those three goals. It was about as frustrating of a 31 point game as you could draw up. So, because they didn’t get anything done and Washington is now a week closer, guess what the keys to the game against UNC are?

Establish Offensive Rhythm

The Texas State game did nothing to ease my worry on this side of the field. While the defense was excellent once again, the offense lacked explosive plays or, most importantly, rhythm. There was only one drive, at the start of the third quarter, that CU moved unrequited to the end zone. Other than that, drives stalled when they shouldn't have or got bailed out by amazing individual skill position plays (Bryce Bobo). The Buffs need to show that they can move the ball and finish drives consistently. Specifically, I’d love to see Steven Montez stay in the pocket a bit more. In the second half against the Bobcats, he was on fire through the air, largely because he waited and hung in the pocket. We know he’s magic on the move, but he needs to learn how to take a good sack or throw the ball away. I’d also like to see the run game have successful pulling plays. It seems as if the slower run plays have been unsuccessful so far this year, and I’d like to see them run over someone once. To do that, you need good line play. Speaking of which...

Shore up the line

The offensive line did nothing to ease my concerns going into conference play. CU was held to less than 100 yards rushing and Montez was under more pressure than he should have been. Texas State has legitimate linebacker talent, but there is no excuse for the offensive line to struggle with a front that was transitioning from a 4-3 to a 3-4. Coach Klayton Adams pulled Josh Kaiser early and replaced him with Isaac Miller, who showed potential, but he was a little loose. With Jeromy Irwin back this week, there is no excuse (though that was flimsy at best). Establish the run, push the line of scrimmage, and play mean.

Defensively, they accomplished the goal and then some. Leo Jackson is a star and I have loved what I have seen from the rotational pieces like Jase Franke and Lyle Tuiloma

Earn reps for the young guns

Once again, this did not happen to the degree that it should have. Sam Noyer only got about two series against Texas State, and the second string defense was trotted out for three short drives. KD Nixon got more run, and Laviska Shenault was one of the stars of the game, but they are expected to play regardless. CU really needs to get the redshirt freshmen and sophomores who are developing some play. For example, Terriek Roberts was out there for a few series. He looked gigantic and fast in limited action. It’s great for the fans and for the coaches to see what he has over a full half of football with no consequences (if the game is out of hand). This is how you build good depth.