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Colorado receiver Devin Ross caught eight passes for 95 yards against Colorado State.
Cliff Grassmick / Staff Photographer
Colorado receiver Devin Ross caught eight passes for 95 yards against Colorado State.

Buffaloes at a glance

Record: 1-0

Statistical leaders

Passing – Sefo Liufau, Sr.: 23-for-33, 318 yards, 1 TD, 0 INT

Rushing – Phillip Lindsay, Jr.: 20 carries, 95 yards, 2 TD

Receiving – Devin Ross, Jr.: 8 catches, 97 yards, 1 TD

Tackles – Chidobe Awuzie, Sr.: 9 tackles (8 solo)

3 questions facing CU

1. Will the Buffs be focused and take care of business?

This should be an easy win for the Buffs. CU has better talent, more depth and will be playing at home. If the Buffs show maturity in how they go about executing their game plan, it should be a good day. Of course, recent college football history has featured plenty of upsets by FCS teams over Power 5 conference teams. If the Buffs aren’t careful, the game could be tougher than expected.

2. Can CU control the line of scrimmage?

Last week, CU routed Colorado State by pushing around the Rams in the trenches. That will be a key against the Bengals, too. Offensively, the Buffs need to open holes for the running backs and keep Idaho State away from quarterback Sefo Liufau. Defensively, the Buffs need a strong game up front to make life difficult for ISU quarterback Tanner Gueller.

3. Will Steven Montez throw the first pass of his career?

CU had plenty of time to play its backup, redshirt freshman quarterback last week in a 44-7 win against Colorado, and stuck with starter Sefo Liufau until the final three minutes. Montez played four plays — his first plays as a Buff – but handed off each time. If this game goes as expected. Montez could be on the field more.

Bottom line: A year ago, the Buffaloes routed FCS foe Nicholls State, 48-0, and they are 3-0 against FCS teams under coach Mike MacIntyre. Idaho State is better than Nicholls was a year ago, but the Buffs need the same type of result, where they can build a big lead, secure the win and rest some starters during the second half.

Bengals at a glance

Record: 1-0

Statistical leaders

Passing – Tanner Gueller, So.: 24-for-36, 338 yards, 3 TD, 0 INT

Rushing – Jakori Ford, Sr.: 12 carries, 68 yards, 1 TD

Receiving – KW Williams, Sr.: 4 catches, 121 yards, 2 TD

Tackles – Joe Martin, So.: 9 tackles (3 solo)

3 questions facing the ISU

1. Can the Bengals use their tempo to their advantage?

While CU has a new, up-tempo offense, it’s nothing new to ISU. Head coach Mike Kramer said, “Nobody is more up tempo than we are.” Last week, the Bengals ran a play every 19.83 seconds, compared to 23.33 seconds per play for CU. Maintaining that type of pace could be essential for the Bengals to have a chance at success offensively.

2. Will ISU compete?

The Bengals have never defeated a team from a Power 5 conference and they haven’t done well against FBS teams in recent years. Last year, they lost 52-0 at Boise State and 80-8 at UNLV, and they’ve been blown out by Utah, Washington, Washington State, BYU, etc. in the past few years. The Bengals need to find a way to keep this game close into the second half.

3. Can QB Tanner Gueller find success through the air?

Gueller is not a running threat, but has been very good at times with his arm. Having a big game against Division II Simon Fraser is a lot different than facing a CU secondary that ranks among the best in the Pac-12, however. ISU needs Gueller to be as good as he’s ever been to this point.

Bottom line: Idaho State really has nothing to lose in this game. They are expected to come out of Boulder with a loss. If the Bengals play loose and confident, they could find a way to stay in this game. For ISU, though, a win is not necessary. Playing well in defeat can be a boost for a team that won just twice all of last season.

Brian Howell:, on Twitter: @BrianHowell33.

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