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Colorado Buffaloes vs. Northern Colorado Bears: Game Preview

One-time in-state rivals meet again at Folsom Field on Saturday, Sept. 16.

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

It’s been a long time since the Colorado Buffaloes (2-0, 0-0) and Northern Colorado Bears (1-0, 0-0) met on the gridiron— 83 years to be exact. Oct. 12, 1934 was the last meeting, resulting in a 13-7 win for the Colorado Teachers College, currently known as UNC.

Since that time both schools have gone in opposite directions. Known as Colorado ‘U’, the team wasn’t nicknamed the Buffaloes at the time, but, evolved into the ‘Power 5’ team we now know over the years. Northern Colorado was given the status of a university in 1970, about the same time the football program started finding success. The program would later win back-to-back Division II National Championships in 1996-97.

Bears coach Earnest Collins Jr. sees an opportunity to return to the FCS playoffs for the first time since 2002. The Bears are still searching for their first postseason appearance in Division I as a member of the Big Sky. They finished with a 6-5 record in each of the past two seasons under Collins, despite losing out on a playoff berth in the season-finale against Cal Poly.

After winning their home opener against College of Idaho, UNC had last week’s visit to Florida canceled due to Hurricane Irma. The remaining schedule weakens with Colorado as the Bears’ only FBS opponent, and they missed out on the $650,000 payout they would have gotten from Florida. Northern Colorado hasn’t defeated a FBS opponent in the last nine tries dating back to 2007.

For the first time since 1958, Colorado hasn’t allowed a touchdown through the first two games and is currently ranked second in the nation for points allowed behind Air Force. The Falcons had an early season bye week and are expected to give up more than a couple scores this weekend on the road against No. 7 Michigan.

This will be the final non-conference game for Steven Montez to get his rhythm down, as the Buffs prepare for next week’s Pac-12 opener with No. 6 Washington. CU’s quarterback is due for a breakout game. So far he’s thrown for a total of 501 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions. The story for CU’s offense continues to be Phillip Lindsay out of the backfield. He’s seen a heavy workload that nearly doubled from the first two games last season with 45 carries, 227 yards and two touchdowns.

The University of Colorado is paying UNC $350,000 for Saturday’s game in Boulder. It’s the twelfth meeting between the schools with CU holding a commanding 9-2 advantage over Northern Colorado.

TV: PAC12N, Streaming: Pac-12 Now app & Pac-12.com, Radio: 850 KOA