Howard and Liberty were perhaps the most surprising winners in college football last weekend.

Both Football Championship Subdivision teams pulled off stunning upsets of heavy Football Bowl Subdivision favorites, with Howard's win — as a 45-point underdog — against UNLV going down as the biggest upset in college football history.

Colorado (1-0) is mindful of those games this week, as it hosts Texas State (1-0). The Buffaloes are favored by 34 ½ points for their home opener.

"You take it one day at a time and try not to overlook anyone," CU defensive lineman Leo Jackson III said. "That's the biggest thing that allows teams to get beat."

It's been rare lately for the Buffs to be such heavy favorites, but last year they rolled past Idaho State, 56-7, as a 41-point favorite. In 2015, they were a 46-point favorite against Nicholls and won that game, 48-0.

"Just play ball, don't worry about who you're playing," running back Phillip Lindsay said. "We learned that a long time ago. You don't look at a decal on the helmet. Everybody at the end of the day, we're all capable of making plays. We just have to play football and we have to do what we do best."

Head coach Mike MacIntyre said the Buffs need to not only start fast, but keep the foot on the gas.


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"Once you get up, you have to put a team away," he said. "That's something we didn't do last week (in a 17-3 win against Colorado State). We had our chances to and let them keep hanging around and that credit goes to them. CSU kept fighting.

"This week, if we get up we have to be able to put them away, and that's hard to do."

Settling in

Inside linebacker Drew Lewis was one of the most impressive players on the field for CU in the opener.

In his first start, the junior had six tackles, including one for a loss, and two quarterback hurries. He was active throughout the game and a big reason for the Buffs' success that night.

"It was exciting," he said. "A lot of nervous energy at first and trying to get a feel for things and get my feet wet a little bit. I started off pretty well and kind of tweaked some things at the end, but overall I feel like I played pretty well."

During preseason camp, Lewis and his coaches felt he was relying too much on fellow junior Rick Gamboa, a third-year starter, but that got better as camp went along.

Throughout the game, Lewis said, "I relied on him a little bit, but a lot less than what I anticipated."

Several times throughout the game against the Rams, Lewis was sent on a blitz up the middle, much like the Buffs did with Addison Gillam a year ago.

MacIntyre and defensive coordinator D.J. Eliot both said they were impressed with Lewis' performance.

"Fundamentally he needed to get better throughout spring and training camp and he was able to do that, and I thought he played well in the first game," Eliot said.

Receiving votes

Unranked to start the season, the Buffs came up short of the top 25 again on Tuesday.

CU did, however, move up six spots in The Associated Press poll. On Tuesday, they were fourth among "others receiving votes," essentially putting them at 29th. They were 35th in the preseason poll.

In the Amway Coaches' poll, the Buffs were second among the others receiving votes, which is where they were to start the season. Two teams - Notre Dame and TCU - that received fewer votes in the preseason, jumped ahead of the Buffs in this week's poll.

Notable

MacIntyre said freshman kicker James Stefanou was "nicked up" last week and didn't kick at all until game day. He then went 1-for-2 on field goals and made his only extra point attempt. "James is our kicker right now," he said. "Hopefully he stays healthy and everything goes like it should." ... The Buffs have won 12 games in a row as the favored team, with their last loss coming in the 2015 opener at Hawaii. ... Friday's win against CSU marked just the second time in their last 28 games that the Buffs used the same five linemen for every offensive snap.

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