Much maligned throughout the 2012 season, the Colorado offensive line received high praise for how well it played Sunday in a 41-27 win against Colorado State.
Officially, the Buffaloes allowed just one sack, although that came on a play where quarterback Connor Wood threw the ball down and was flagged for intentional grounding. Other than that, Wood stayed relatively clean.
"I was pretty impressed with their offensive line," CSU head coach Jim McElwain said. "We did not get home at all. I felt that would be a big part of our game, but give their offensive line credit. They stoned us pretty good at the line of scrimmage and we didn't get much done."
Center Gus Handler said CU's performance can be at least partially attributed to that fact that the group has been on the field together so much in the past few months.
"We took a lot of reps in camp and I think that, along with a lot of film work and the coaches, they really got us in the right spot at the right time," Handler said. "It didn't really surprise me (to see the line play well). It encouraged me, but like I said there are some things that we have to fix and get corrected for this week."
Four linemen -- Handler, Jack Harris, Daniel Munyer and Stephane Nembot -- played all 83 offensive snaps. Guard Kaiwi Crabb played 82 of the 83 snaps.
"I don't think that anyone really can deny us of having really good effort at all times," Handler said. "We ran about (83) plays and no one subbed out and we played pretty hard through those (83) plays."
On Saturday, the Buffs face Central Arkansas, which should provide another challenge for the CU line. A year ago, UCA ranked 26th in the Football Championship Subdivision with 2.5 sacks per game. The Bears got two in their season opening win against Incarnate Word last week.
Ends Jonathan Woodard and Markeith Gaines figure to give the Buffs fits, meaning that Harris and Nembot will have be at their best at tackle.
"It's a really big test for Stephane and Jack, I think," CU head coach Mike MacIntyre said. "Really big.
"I thought they did really well in the pass protection, but we've got to do it again, because Central Arkansas watched some things that we messed up on that (CSU) didn't take advantage of. When you watch the film, you can see the mistakes you made, so the opponent will take advantage of that."