In the end the final score at least resembled the rout expected from the Colorado Buffaloes on Saturday.
Scores can be deceiving though. This one certainly was.
The Buffs eventually got rolling enough to put a 37-3 hurting on Texas State in their 2017 Folsom Field debut. It hardly was a celebratory homecoming for the defending Pac-12 Conference South Division champions.
Through two games we know this about the 2017 Buffs. They are 2-0, and once again should cruise to a victory and a 3-0 nonconference mark next week against Northern Colorado. We know that from early in the second quarter of last week's opening win against Colorado State through halftime on Saturday, the Buffs' offense accounted for seven points and nine punts. We know that if not for a fortuitous bounce on a wild play toward the end of the first quarter, the visiting Bobcats might have been on the prowl for an upset.
And we know, as it stands now, the Buffs are nowhere near ready for a visit from No. 7 Washington in two weeks for a rematch of last December's Pac-12 title game.
Most concerning for the Buffs is the lack of fireworks so far from what was expected to be an explosive offense. Once again the reasonable final numbers — such as 430 yards of total offense — fail to tell the entire story. CU didn't put up its first offensive points until more than five minutes had passed in the second quarter. Twice prior to that quarterback Steven Montez was sacked on third-down plays — once when he could have thrown the ball away and preserved at least an attempt at a long field goal, and another when a double-team from 300-pound guard Gerrad Kough and running back Phillip Lindsay (usually a reliable backfield blocker) failed to slow Texas State's Frankie Griffin, a 6-foot, 205-pound linebacker. Despite a distinct size advantage up front, the Buffs averaged just 2.2 yards per rushing attempt.
The defense certainly wasn't without its hiccups as well, which admittedly is an unusual claim to extend toward a unit that registered six sacks and still hasn't allowed its opponents to reach the end zone through two games. While CU's defense was able to flex its physical superiority a little more assertively, holding the Bobcats to just 283 yards and an 8-for-18 effort through the air, the big plays Texas State stung the Buffs with are cause for alarm.
On the game's first play, Texas State running back Anthony Taylor gashed the middle of CU's defense for a 55-yard gain before getting caught from behind. On the Bobcats' first drive after halftime Thurman Morbley hauled in a 45-yard pass but lost his balance with nothing but grass between him and the south end zone. The athletes for Pac-12 opponents probably turn both plays into touchdowns.
If the ball bounces the other way on Isaiah Oliver's fumbled punt return late in the first quarter, Texas State would have had a momentum-changing turnover, with possession inside midfield in a surprisingly scoreless game. Instead Laviska Shenault scooped up the loose and put the Buffs on the board with a 55-yard return.
Fortunately for CU, these problems are far more palatable when you own a 2-0 mark with an FCS-level team coming to town next week. CU was able to pad the score late while Texas State shifted into let's-take-our-$900,000-and-get-the-heck-out-of-here-mode. The Buffs likely will be able to survive similar inconsistencies next week, but time is running out for the Buffs' offense to deliver on its lofty preseason promise.
Washington arrives in two weeks.