Texas State at CU Buffs
When: Noon, Saturday
Where: Folsom Field
Radio:94.1 FM and 850 AM
There was a time when opposing teams simply couldn't come into Folsom Field and beat the Colorado Buffaloes.
When CU was a national power, the opposition suffered lopsided losses in Boulder.
For much of the past decade, Folsom hasn't been too intimidating, but two years ago, defensive lineman Leo Jackson III got a glimpse of what it could be.
"When I first came in my first year (in 2015), we had four wins and we had a taste of it that year of getting the stadium rocking and getting fans in there," Jackson said this week.
At that time, he really had no idea how special Folsom can be. That year, CU's only wins at home came against Massachusetts and Nicholls. There were nearly 15,000 empty seats for both games.
Last year, however, the Buffaloes rediscovered their home dominance, going 6-0, including a 27-22 win over Utah in front of a sellout crowd.
"Last year was very surreal," said Jackson, now a senior. "It was one of the best things I've felt in my athletic career, as far as having pride when you step onto the field, knowing you have your fans backing you up and your community backing you up as well. It's a big deal for us to keep that going this year."
On Saturday, the Buffs (1-0) will host Texas State (1-0) in their home opener. It may not be a marquee opponent, but the game offers the Buffs a chance to get off on the right foot at home.
"You don't want to lose in Folsom," senior running back Phillip Lindsay said. "Last year, that was our thing: we just weren't going to lose. This year, we have the same mindset."
In its history, CU has had consecutive perfect seasons at home just once, in 1989 and 1990. They were 12-0 during those years, part of a school-record 15 consecutive home victories.
Even when the Buffs weren't perfect at home in the ensuing years, they were often 5-1 or 4-1. Even in the dismal year of 2010, the Buffs were 4-2 at home.
Then, in 2011 and 2012, the Buffs were one of the worst teams in the country, so it's no surprise they weren't very good at home. Combined they were 1-10 at Folsom Field in those years. That included going 0-6 in 2012 — the only time in program history they failed to win a game at Folsom.
Hired after that 2012 season, head coach Mike MacIntyre has made it a point to protect the home turf.
"Coach (Bill McCartney), coach (Gary) Barnett, coach Darian Hagan, they would tell me all the time about the magic of Folsom Field," MacIntyre said. "I felt a little bit of it, but last year to me it had to be back."
CU was dominant at home last year, crushing Idaho State, Oregon State and Arizona State by a combined score of 143-29.
Then, they secured the Pac-12 South title with wins against UCLA, Washington State and Utah — the last one in front of the first packed house since 2008.
"It was so loud in there, it was so exciting," MacIntyre said. "It was definitely a home field advantage.
"The kids say it's like being in a basketball arena when it's completely full with the mountains behind it and the way our stadium sits so tight on you. It's a special place and we need to keep playing well to make it special."
Lindsay is one of several current Buffs who know the feeling of walking off the Folsom Field turf with a crushing or humbling defeat. Because of that, going 6-0 at Folsom last year meant a lot to the Denver native.
"Once you start winning, you don't want to start losing again," he said. "For us, it's about knowing we have a great fan base that's going to be there and we have to show out in front of them. That helps our defense and our offense. When they start getting loud and they start getting excited, it gets us going."
Of course, the Buffs hope to win wherever they play, but there's a special feeling to winning at home.
"We take pride in the state of Colorado and not getting beat in the state of Colorado," MacIntyre said. "We haven't (lost in-state) in over a year, so we want to keep that going."