Buffaloes at a glance
Last week: Defeated Texas State, 37-3
Steven Montez, So.: 40-for-60, 501 yards, 2 TD, 2 INT
Phillip Lindsay, Sr.: 45 att., 227 yards, 2 TD
Michael Adkins II, Sr.: 8 att., 26 yards
KD Nixon, Fr.: 1 att., 5 yards
Bryce Bobo, Sr.: 15 catches, 124 yards, 1 TD
Shay Fields, Sr.: 11 catches, 188 yards, 1 TD
Devin Ross, Sr.: 6 catches, 88 yards
LB Drew Lewis, Jr.: 25 tackles (5 solo)
LB Rick Gamboa, Jr.: 20 tackles (3 solo)
DL Leo Jackson III, Sr.: 16 tackles (13 solo)
Where they rank
How the Buffs rank nationally after Week 2:
Scoring: 85th (27.0)
Rushing: 101st (117.0)
Passing: 40th (270.5)
Total: 77th (387.5)
3rd downs: 76th (37.9%)
Red zone: 74th (83.3%)
Scoring: 2nd (3.0)
Rushing: 53rd (122.0)
Passing: 70th (218.0)
Total: 55th (340.0)
3rd downs: 51st (33.3%)
Red zone: 9th (50.0%)
Penalties: 60th (6.0)
Turnover margin: 16th (plus-1.5)
3 questions facing CU
1. Who will step up on the offensive line?
One of the biggest surprises of the season so far has been CU's lackluster play up front. The Buffs thought this would be the best offensive line they've had in years, and so far it hasn't been. Senior left tackle Jeromy Irwin will make his season debut after a two-game suspension, and perhaps that provides a spark, but there's a good chance the Buffs will play around with some line combinations in this game.
2. When will the defense give up a touchdown?
CU is one of just three teams in the country that has yet to yield a touchdown (along with Air Force and Clemson). It will certainly be the goal to keep that going. The Buffs haven't even allowed a team to get to the 10-yard line, and the opposition has been inside the red zone just three times (getting two field goals).
3. Can the offense finally look like it's supposed to look?
All offseason, we've been hearing about how explosive the CU offense will be this year. Two games in, we haven't seen it. The offense has managed just five touchdowns in 27 possessions and hasn't been in sync yet. When the group is clicking, it could put up some big numbers.
Bottom line: This is CU's final tune-up for Pac-12 play and it needs to be sharper than the previous two have been. Obviously, getting a win is the first priority, but for CU and its fans to feel good about this team going into conference play, the Buffs need to look more impressive than they've looked to this point.
Bears at a glance
Last week: Bye, game at Florida canceled
Jacob Knipp, Jr.: 17-for-27, 238 yards, 0 TD, 0 INT
Trae Riek, Jr.: 18 att., 71 yards, 3 TD
Frank Stephens, Sr.: 1 att., 41 yards
Anthony Davis, Sr.: 9 att.., 24 yards, 1 TD
Alex Wesley, Jr.: 7 catches, 95 yards
Hakeem Deggs, Sr.: 4 catches, 65 yards
Ellis Onic II, Sr.: 2 catches, 25 yards
LB James Riddle, Sr.: 6 tackles (5 solo)
LB Luke Nelson, So.: 5 tackles (2 solo)
LB Noel Reid, So.: 5 tackles (4 solo)
Where they rank
How the Bears rank nationally in the FCS:
Rushing: 42nd (159.0)
Passing: 30th (249.0)
Total: 35th (408.0)
3rd downs: 11th (53.3%)
Red zone: T-1st (100.0%)
Scoring: 14th (14.0)
Rushing: 92nd (215.0)
Passing: 9th (121.0)
Total: 37th (336.0)
3rd downs: 6th (21.4%)
Red zone: T-17th (66.7%)
Penalties: T-52nd (7.0)
Turnover margin: T-8th (plus-2.0)
3 questions facing the Northern Colorado
1. Are the Bears capable of pulling the upset?
It's certainly not out of the question for UNC to come into Boulder to steal a win. While the odds are against the Bears, CU has lost to FCS teams twice before. Come in confident, get off to a fast start, and UNC can make this game interesting early — and perhaps turn it into a close second half. The longer the Bears hang around, the better chance they have of winning.
2. Can Trae Riek have a big day?
Head coach Earnest Collins Jr., said Riek is the best running back he's been around during his coaching career. He's one of the main keys to the offense, and if he can find some running room against the Buffs, the Bears can move the chains, control the clock and put some points on the board.
3. How will the Bears defend the pass?
CU has yet to see its passing game get in a rhythm, and it's sure to be a point of emphasis this week. UNC has to find a way to contain CU's talented receivers. If the Bears can do that, they'll have a shot. If they can't, CU could have a big day through the air.
Bottom line: Winning this game would be a great boost for the Bears, but more than anything, they are eyeing the upcoming Big Sky Conference schedule. Outside of a win, the best thing for UNC is to come out of this game healthy, and play well enough to gain some confidence going forward.