From the cheap seats it sure looked like little brother was pushing big brother around.

Colorado State's small defensive line clearly got the best of Colorado's large offensive line in the Rocky Mountain Showdown. The Buffs finished with 58 net yards rushing and allowed Jordan Webb to be sacked five times during the humbling 22-17 loss at Sports Authority Field.

Jon Embree said his offensive line's struggles had more to do with "technique issues and assignment" than getting manhandled.

After meeting with the big boys up front on Monday, CU's head coach believes a more agreeable performance is in store when the Buffs return to action on Saturday against Sacramento State.

"They were hurt," Embree said. "I expect them to bounce back and rebound and play like they're capable of playing."

The Buffs will attempt to establish the running game fans have been waiting a year to see against the Hornets from the Big Sky.

During a 49-19 loss at New Mexico State last week, Sacramento State only gave up 101 yards rushing (2.5 per attempt), but yielded 367 yards through the air.

"We've just got to take it upon ourselves to be more physical and more assignments correct," CU center Gus Handler said. "A lot of it is attitude. I know I have to get better at my assignments and identifying the right guy and getting the backs in order and the quarterback in order as well."


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CU defensive end Chidera Uzo-Diribe, who had three sacks against CSU, said the offensive line he went against in fall camp was not the one exposed by the Rams.

"I see those guys work every day and I know that's something that's not going to last all season long," Uzo-Diribe said. "Those guys are the strength of our offense, and I know come Sacramento State those guys are going to be right."

Secondary to be tested

Sacramento State is 1-11 against FBS teams. The lone triumph was a 29-28 overtime win at Oregon State last season.

Garrett Safron completed 23-of-35 passes for 308 yards and two touchdowns against New Mexico State last week.

CU will likely have three true freshmen -- Kenneth Crawley, Marques Mosley and Yuri Wright -- in the secondary with Ray Polk (ankle) ruled out and Greg Henderson (ankle) listed as questionable and seeing limited action in practice.

The Buffs are expecting Safron to see if his receivers can take advantage of a young defensive backfield.

"The quarterback does a good job of getting them in the right place; they do a no-huddle, so he will be communicating the plays," Embree said. "They will push the ball down the field."

Quotable

"I think he has a big-time leg and he has a chance to be a guy that has All-American potential if he will continue to work at it and get better," Embree on sophomore punter Darragh O'Neill, who averaged 47.3 yards on six attempts in the opener.

Notable

Matt Smith (play-by-play) and former CU wide receiver Jeremy Bloom (color) will be on the call for the Pac-12 Network's telecast of Saturday's Folsom Field opener. ... Scouts from the Dallas Cowboys and Arizona Cardinals attended Wednesday's practice.