September 16, 2017 / 9:58 PM / 4 days ago

Preview: Northern Colorado at Colorado

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

A 17-3 win over Colorado State and a 37-3 routof Texas State mark the first time since 1958 that the Buffaloes have notsurrendered a touchdown in the opening two games of the season. The Coloradodefense has been especially tough in the red zone, limiting the opposition to aminus-2 yards on nine plays. “We’re happy with where we are right now, butwe’re not getting comfortable,” defensive end Leo Jackson told the mediaearlier this week. “We know we have a long way to go.” The Buffaloes had asimilar start a year ago, allowing 14 total points in its first two contestsbefore surrendering 83 points in back-to-back weeks as the competition levelincreased.

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

ABOUT NORTHERN COLORADO (1-0): Saturday’s gamewas supposed to be the back end of a rugged consecutive-week set against FBS PowerFive foes, but last week’s contest at Florida was canceled due to the approachof Hurricane Irma. Coming off back-to-back 6-5 seasons, Northern Coloradoopened Sept. 2 with a 41-14 win over the College of Idaho, using five rushingtouchdowns, two interceptions and 238 passing yards from quarterback JacobKnipp to roll to the home victory. Running back Trae Riek accounted for threeof the rushing scores and led the team with 74 yards on 18 carries.

ABOUT COLORADO (2-0): New sophomore starterSteven Montez has completed 40-of-60 passes for 501 yards but has thrown asmany interceptions (two) as scoring tosses and has been sacked seven times. Histop 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 rushingyards 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 milesbut haven’t met since a 13-7 Northern Colorado win in 1934. Colorado has wonnine of the 11 meetings.

2. The Buffaloes expect to get back threeregulars 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

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