CU opponent glance

Opponent: No. 4 Michigan Wolverines

Game time: Saturday, 1:30 p.m. MDT, at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor, Mich.

Coach: Jim Harbaugh, 2nd season (12-3; 41-24 career)

Record: 2-0

Last week: Beat Central Florida, 51-14

Key players: QB Wilton Speight, Jr. (35 of 50, 457 yards, 7 TD, 1 INT); RB Chris Evans, Fr. (17 carries, 147 yards, 2 TD); WR Amara Darboh, Sr. (8 catches, 153 yards, 3 TD); TE Jake Butt, Sr. (8 catches, 105 yards, 3 TD); LB/PR Jabrill Peppers, So. (16 tackles, 13 solo, 4 TFL, 1 sack; 18.5-yard average on four punt returns); DE Chris Wormley, Sr. (6 tackles, 1 sack)

Notable: This will be CU's first game against a Harbaugh-coached team. ... During Harbaugh's four seasons as the head coach of the NFL's San Francisco 49ers (2011-14), current CU defensive coordinator Jim Leavitt was the 49ers' linebackers coach. ... The Wolverines have outscored their opponents 114-17, including 69-7 in the first half. ... Michigan's two opponents (Hawaii and Central Florida) have converted just 12 percent of their third-down opportunities (3 of 25). ... Under Harbaugh, Michigan has held eight of 15 opponents under 100 rushing yards.

It's hard to argue with Colorado football players when they talk about giving every opponent equal attention.


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The results through two games show that CU has been focused from week to week, but it's clear that facing fourth-ranked Michigan, and having the opportunity to play in historic Michigan Stadium on Saturday, has a different feeling for the Buffaloes (2-0).

"It's just another team, so we're just going to go play our game, but I'm definitely excited to play Michigan, for sure," receiver Devin Ross said after CU's 56-7 win against Idaho State on Saturday. "I can't lie about that."

CU has take care of business against Colorado State and Idaho State to this point, but the players have had this game against the Wolverines (2-0) circled for a while.

"When we first got that schedule last year, this was going to be the first big game," defensive tackle Jordan Carrell said. "They're all going to be big games, but this is a dream come true for a college athlete like me, first time stepping in that kind of atmosphere. I think it's like 110,000 people."

More than likely, Saturday's game in Ann Arbor, Mich., will be played in front of the largest crowd in CU football history. To date, the largest crowd is the 106,474 fans that attended the CU at Michigan game on Sept. 13, 1997, but Michigan Stadium has expanded since then.

The Wolverines averaged 110,168 fans in seven home games last year and 109,758 through two home games this season.

Making his mark

Sophomore receiver/punt returner Jay MacIntyre has enjoyed an expanded role for the Buffs this season, becoming an integral part of the offense. On Saturday, he had career highs in catches (six) and receiving yards (76). He also had five punt returns for 30 yards.

"It feels good just to be in the flow of things," he said. "Once you get in the game you get going and you don't think about anything. You just starting playing and that's been good for me. I've had a larger role this season and hopefully I'll keep it and keep doing good."

Through two games, he has eight catches for 84 yards - the exact numbers he had all of last year. He also has 49 yards on seven punt returns.

MacIntyre has been on the field most the majority of the first-team snaps on offense and has also been a key downfield blocker.

Leading the nation

It's only been two weeks, but the Buffs are leading the country in total defense, allowing just 160.5 yards per game.

CU also ranks second nationally in pass efficiency defense (opponent QB rating is just 55.31) and tied for seventh in scoring defense, giving up just 7.0 points per game.

In recent years, CU has ranked near the bottom of the country in most defensive statistics.

Offensively, CU ranks seventh nationally in total offense (587.5 yards per game) and tied for 11th in scoring (50.0 points per game. Quarterback Sefo Liufau ranks 13th in pass efficiency (179.9).

On the mend

Junior running back Michael Adkins II might return to the field on Saturday.

Adkins was the Buffs' leading rusher through two games last year and then injured his hamstring on his first carry of game No. 3 and missed the rest of the season. He then missed some time during camp last month because of the injury.

Adkins has been in uniform for CU's first two games, but has yet to play as he continues to nurse the injury.

"Michael was a little bit better at the beginning of (last week), and hopefully he'll be ready to go this next week (at Michigan)," head coach Mike MacIntyre said.

Notable

CU has lost 22 consecutive games against ranked opponents, dating back to a 34-30 upset of No. 17 Kansas in 2009. The Buffs have lost five in a row against Top 5 teams since knocking off No. 3 Oklahoma in 2007. ... The last time CU beat a Top 5 team on the road was Sept. 24, 1994, at No. 4 Michigan. The Buffs came into that game ranked No. 7.

Brian Howell: howellb@dailycamera.com, on Twitter: @BrianHowell33.