CU offensive line vs. UNC front seven
After two disappointing performances to start the season, the Buffs’ line needs a good day. UNC’s front seven is smaller than what the Buffs will see most of the year, and the Bears have several young players among the group, so this could be a good opportunity for CU’s line to get some confidence. If CU can control the line of scrimmage, Phillip Lindsay and the running backs can move the chains on the ground, and Steven Montez will have time to hit his receivers.
CU’s pass rushers vs. UNC QB Jacob Knipp
Although he’s never played in a game like this, Knipp has experience and the ability to hurt the Buffs with his arm. If he’s under pressure all day, however, that’ll make his job more difficult. Given CU’s talent in the secondary, the Buffs might be able to turn their pass rushers — including Leo Jackson III, Derek McCartney, Jacob Callier and Dante Sparaco — loose.
CU’s players vs. their attention span
Are the Buffs focused on this game, or are they looking ahead to a big matchup with Washington next week? If the Buffs aren’t focused on the Bears, it could turn into a long day, or at least a more challenging day than it needs to be. Focus on the task at hand, like they did a year ago against Idaho State, and it could be smooth sailing.