Since the start of preseason camp in August, the Colorado football team has gone with the manta of "nothing to say, a lot to prove."

Even now, as the 21st-ranked Buffaloes have entered the national polls for the first time since 2016, they aren't changing their approach.

"Shhhh ... you've got to keep that real quiet," quarterback Steven Montez joked Tuesday when asked about being ranked. "Only people in this room know that we're ranked. We have no idea. We don't know. We're going to play it just like that. We're going to act like we're not ranked and just keep putting in the same work we've been putting in.

"Right now, there's no point in getting complacent from a ranking with the (Associated Press) poll. It doesn't matter. It doesn't get us to our end goal."

Winning the next game does help the Buffs (4-0, 1-0 Pac-12), however, and their focus is squarely on Saturday's matchup with Arizona State (3-2, 1-1). The Sun Devils will visit Folsom Field for a 2 p.m. kickoff.

ASU features reigning Pac-12 offensive player of the week Eno Benjamin, who rushed for a school-record 314 yards last week against Oregon State; Manny Wilkins, who is one of the most experienced quarterbacks in the conference; and N'Keal Harry, who is one of the most dangerous receivers in the country.

The Sun Devils also have an active, aggressive defense that will put pressure on Montez.

While CU's got the better record and the national ranking, the Buffs are well aware that it means nothing if they don't take care of business on Saturday.


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Last year in Tempe, Ariz., the Buffs had a 10-point in the fourth quarter before losing 41-30. It was a loss that put a major dent in CU's bowl hopes.

"We're absolutely going to remember what happened last year down there in Arizona," linebacker Drew Lewis said. "We were up (10) points in the fourth quarter last year and we gave that up. That's something that's going to stick with me. I'm taking that to heart.

"We can't let that happen again. We have to stay strong throughout all four quarters."

Altitude no issue for ASU

ASU head coach Herm Edwards said he has no worries about bringing his team to Boulder's high altitude this week. While that's often been cited as advantage for Colorado teams over the years, Edwards disagrees.

"I don't talk about it. I've never talked about it," he said during a press conference with ASU media on Monday. "You just go play football. Nothing different. We're going to play football. That's how it's always been. I played up there numerous times, I've coached teams up there. It never was an issue. Everybody else makes an issue.

"We're just going to play the Buffaloes; they're 4-0."

Two of the best

Saturday's game will feature two of the most talented receivers in the country; Colorado's Laviska Shenault and ASU's Harry.

Shenault leads the country in receiving (38 catches, 581 yards, 3 TD), while also hurting teams as a wildcat quarterback and lining up in various positions.

"He's big, strong, physical," Edwards said. "He does everything. He plays with a lot of energy too. I like the way he plays. He's hard to tackle. He's a really good football player."

Harry has caught 31 passes for 419 yards and five scores, and he also has a rushing touchdown. Like Shenault, Harry will line up in various spots.

"We've got to know where he is," CU head coach Mike MacIntyre said. "The thing N'Keal does really well is his run after catch. Our ability to get to him when he catches the screens and the quick throws is to get to him quick and get him down and get him corralled. If you let him get running, he's hard to bring down."

Notable

CU is looking at a potential sell-out at Folsom this week. As of Tuesday morning, more than 47,000 tickets had been sold, with capacity at 50,183. CU has had just one sell-out in MacIntyre's six years — in the 2016 finale against Utah. ... Harry has at least one catch in each of his 29 career games. ... James Stefanou needs just two points to move into 10th in CU history in scoring for kickers. He has 121 points (55-for-55 extra points, 22 field goals).

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