During head coach Mike MacIntyre's tenure at Colorado, the Buffaloes have been fairly good at holding onto the football.

In four seasons under MacIntyre, the Buffs have lost just 33 fumbles (an average of 8.25 per year).

While the overall numbers have been solid, keep an eye on CU's ball control in Friday's opener against Colorado State.

A week ago, the Rams forced five turnovers in a 58-27 win against Oregon State. Three of those came on interceptions and two were fumbles. Both fumbles were produced by either a hard hit by the Rams or stripping the ball.

"Ball security is what we do all the time," MacIntyre said this week. "We work on it extremely hard. Hopefully we'll take care of the ball. We've fumbled a few times, but I think since I've been here we have had the least amount of fumbles in the school's history. We have to keep that up."

For the most part the fumble totals have been low for CU, but the season opener presents a different challenge. During the past two years, the Buffs have lost four fumbles in their season openers (two each year) and just 14 in the other 25 games they've played.

"That's one thing you're concerned about as a head coach going into the first game," MacIntyre said. "We've hit our backs (in practice), we've hit them some, but in a game situation, (CSU has) already had one game where they're getting used to it. It's a little bit different, but hopefully we've enforced it enough and the kids take enough pride in it to hold it high and tight.


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Getting hit hard throughout the night will be something the Buffs have to get used to early on. Meanwhile, the Rams are likely to come in aggressive after last week.

Forcing five turnovers in one game was huge for the Rams, who had just 14 takeaways in 13 games a year ago.

Ready to roll

As one of the leaders of the defense - and, really, the whole team - CU senior safety Afolabi Laguda has expressed his confidence in the Buffs all offseason.

Part of that is his belief in the players and coaches around him. Part is the determination to make his final year in college a special one.

"I'm excited," he said recently. "At the end of the day, stats looks good, whoever comes back looks good, but 11 guys doing their job can't be beat. Eleven physical, smart guys can't be beat. We're ready to put a good show on for the fans, for the NCAA football nation. I think Colorado is back and I think we're booming still. We keep rising, and we're never going to stop rising."

Notables

  • CU receiver Shay Fields has had some memorable games against the Rams. In collegiate debut in 2014, Fields caught eight passes for 46 yards against the Rams. In 2015, he caught three passes for 79 yards, including a 65-yard touchdown. Last year, he also caught three passes for 79 yards, including a 60-yard reception.
  • Receiver Devin Ross has 10 catches for 133 yards and two touchdowns in two games against the Rams.
  • CSU comes into this game at 1-0. The last 12 times that the CU game wasn't CSU's opener, the Rams are 2-10. Both of those wins came under coach Sonny Lubick, in 2002 and 2006.
  • The Buffs come into this game - and this season - with a streak of eight consecutive coin toss victories. The last time the Buffs lost the toss was on Oct. 8 at USC. Overall, CU was a remarkable 13-1 on the coin toss last year.
  • In their history, the Buffs are 78-44-5 in season openers.
  • If the Buffs can score first against the Rams, their chances of winning are very good. Since 1967, CU is 25-2 when scoring first in the opener. The only losses came in 2006 against Montana State and in 2014 against CSU.
  • Trying to guess what the first play will be tonight? In each of the last five years, CU's first play of the season was a handoff to a running back.
  • MacIntyre has a 5-1 career record against CSU - the only team he's defeated more than twice. CSU head coach Mike Bobo is 0-2 against the Buffs.

Contact staff writer Brian Howell at howellb@dailycamera.com or twitter.com/BrianHowell33.