CU opponent glance
Opponent: No. 7 Washington Huskies
Game time: Saturday, 8 p.m., at Folsom Field in Boulder
Coach: Chris Petersen, 4th season (30-14; 122-26 career)
Last week: Beat Fresno State, 48-16, at home
Key players: RB Myles Gaskin, Jr. (24 att., 153 yards, 3 TD); QB Jake Browning, Jr. (58-of-78, 798 yards, 8 TD, 1 INT); WR/PR Dante Pettis, Sr. (12 catches, 209 yards, 3 TD); S Taylor Rapp, So. (12 tackles); DL Vita Vea, Jr. (9 tackles, 1 sack); LB Ben Burr-Kirven, Jr. (27 tackles, 1 sack); LB Azeem Victor, Sr. (6 tackles).
Notable: Pettis has returned just six punts in three games, but he's taken three of them - one in each game - to the end zone for touchdowns. ... By comparison, CU has just two touchdowns on 252 punt returns since the start of 2006, with one of those being the 55-yard fumble return by Buffs' freshman Laviska Shenault against Texas State on Sept. 9. ... Washington will be playing on the road for the second time this season, having won at Rutgers, 30-14, in the opener. ... This is the fourth time in four games that CU will play an undefeated team. ... Washington has a 10-5-1 advantage against CU, including seven wins in a row. The Huskies are 5-0 against the Buffs since CU joined the Pac-12.
Colorado's football team has made it clear that this is a new year, a new team.
It's not the same squad that won the Pac-12 South title a year ago.
Nevertheless, there are a lot of players back, and they haven't completely put last year out of their heads. Their 41-10 loss to Washington in the 2016 Pac-12 title game will be fresh on the Buffs' minds on Saturday when the Huskies come to Boulder for the rematch.
"You can't forget it," head coach Mike MacIntyre said of the humbling loss to Washington a year ago. "Our young men will use it as motivation. I won't have to say much about it all."
After Saturday's 41-21 win against Northern Colorado, a game in which the Buffs (3-0) proved they have plenty of work to do, it was natural to wonder if they were looking past the Bears of the Football Championship Subdivision. The Buffs said they weren't, but they are clearly eager to see Washington (3-0), which is ranked No. 7 in the Associated Press poll and No. 6 in the Amway Coaches' poll.
"There's a lot of built up stuff for some of our guys," left tackle Jeromy Irwin said of playing Washington.
Like last year, Washington comes in as the favorite - as of Sunday, the spread was 9.5 points in favor of the Huskies. Unlike last year, the Buffs aren't coming in as a top 10 team riding a lot of momentum.
Still, they have no doubt they'll be ready.
"We just have to be physical and we have to have that same mindset," running back Phillip Lindsay said. "They have a lot of talented players, and they're going to play ball, but you know what? We were in the Pac-12 championship too and we have to go out there show what we have, too.
"We're going to go out there and we're going to play Colorado football. Now you guys are going to start seeing an all-around team."
Despite being 3-0, the Buffs haven't done enough to impress all the voters yet.
CU remains outside of the top 25 — just barely — in both national polls. The Buffs received the 27th-most points in the Associated Press poll and finished 28th in the voting for this week's Amway Coaches' poll.
The Buffs have pretty much been in the same spots for a couple of weeks, while there's been plenty of activity around them. Mississippi State, San Diego State and Oregon all jumped over the Buffs and into the top 25 in both polls this week.
CU's inconsistent offense was a concern for many after the first two games of the season. Even after Saturday's win, the Buffs were asked about their offense not being all the way in sync.
Lindsay seems to be tired of those questions, especially after the Buffs had season highs in points and total yards (569) and scored on seven different possessions.
"Every team in the nation is going to have sputters," Lindsay said. "Not every drive is going to be perfect.
"I guess no matter how many points you put up, you guys aren't going to be satisfied, but to us, we don't care. At the end of the day, we're going to go out there and play ball and we're going to score when we need to and we're going to move the ball. (Quarterback Steven) Montez is doing a good job."
Montez had career highs in passing yards (357) and touchdowns (four) against the Bears, while Lindsay had the second-best rushing total (151 yards) of his career.
Late in Saturday's game, Montez seemed to favor his left hip, but after the game said he was just fine.
"I finished this game," he said. "It's football. Grown men are running into each other and hitting each other real hard, so bumps and bruises are going to happen. I'm fine."