Cliff Grassmick / Staff Photographer
Mike Brohard / Loveland Reporter-Herald
Buffaloes at a glance
Record: 0-0; Went 5-7, 2-7 Pac-12 in 2017
Statistical leaders (top returners from 2017)
Steven Montez, Jr.: 228-for-377, 2,975 yards, 18 TD, 9 INT
Sam Noyer, So.: 13-for-27, 119 yards, 0 TD, 0 INT
Steven Montez, Jr.: 132 att., 338 yards, 3 TD
Beau Bisharat, Jr.: 21 att., 61 yards, 0 TD
K.D. Nixon, So.: 3 att., 20 yards, 0 TD
Jay MacIntyre, Sr.: 28 catches, 396 yards, 2 TD
Juwann Winfree, Sr.: 21 catches, 325 yards, 2 TD
Laviska Shenault, So.: 7 catches, 168 yards, 0 TD
LB Drew Lewis, Sr.: 119 tackles, 2 sacks, 8 QB pressures
LB Rick Gamboa, Sr.: 117 tackles, 10 3rd-down stops, 7 PBU
S Evan Worthington, Sr.: 86 tackles, 3 INT, 7 PBU
5 Buffs to watch vs. CSU
NT Javier Edwards: Up front, newcomers Israel Antwine and Mustafa Johnson and redshirt freshman Terrance Lang have all great camps. As the big (6-3, 335) man in the middle, though, Edwards is the key to the defensive line.
LT Josh Kaiser: The lone senior on the offensive line, Kaiser is in a crucial spot up front. He gave up two sacks against the Rams last year, but has had a really good offseason and believes he’s better than a year ago.
QB Steven Montez: All offseason, the Buffs have talked about Montez taking a giant leap forward in his knowledge of the game and his preparation. This is the first chance for Montez to put that offseason work to the test.
BUFF Davion Taylor: The Buffs have several veterans back on defense, but Taylor is one of the most intriguing newcomers on the team. The junior college transfer steps into a role played by Ryan Moeller the past two years.
WR Juwann Winfree: Really, there’s about six receivers to watch, but Winfree is the leader of the group. If he’s healthy after sitting out a good chunk of preseason camp, he could have a big night and be a key to the Buffs’ offense.
Bottom line for CU
After months of preparation, and several weeks of fall camp where the positivity was overflowing, the Buffs finally get to show what they’ve got. Although they beat CSU a year ago, the Buffs were sluggish in doing it, and it set the tone for what was a disappointing season. How the Buffs play against the Rams will be a strong indicator for what type of team they are and what type of season they can have in 2018.
Rams at a glance
Record: 0-1, 0-1 Mountain West
Last week: Lost to Hawaii, 43-34
Statistical leaders (statistics from Week 1)
K.J. Carta-Samuels, Sr.: 34-for-50, 537 yards, 5 TD, 1 INT
Izzy Matthews, Sr.: 14 att., 63 yards, 0 TD
Marcus McElroy, So.: 4 att., 28 yards, 0 TD
K.J. Carta-Samuels, Sr.: 6 att., 25 yards, 0 TD
Preston Williams, Jr.: 9 catches, 188 yards, 2 TD
Olabisi Johnson, Sr.: 6 catches, 157 yards, 2 TD
Izzy Matthews, Sr.: 6 catches, 58 yards, 1 TD
LB Josh Watson, Sr.: 13 tackles, 1 pass breakup
S Jordan Fogal, Sr.: 12 tackles, 1 pass breakup
DB Braylin Scott, Jr.: 10 tackles, 1 forced fumble
5 Rams to watch vs. CU
QB K.J. Carta-Samuels: The graduate transfer from Washington is set to make his second career start. All he did in his first one last week was set a single-game CSU passing record. With talented receivers, he’ll look to sling the ball around again this week.
DE Emmanuel Jones: The sophomore is a key to the defensive line and the Rams’ ability to get pressure on the quarterback. He had a pair of sacks as a freshman last year and recorded 1.5 tackles for loss a week ago.
RB Izzy Matthews: Suspensions have limited the Rams’ depth at running back, so Matthews figures to carry a heavy load. He had a good season in 2017 as the top backup (613 yards, 8 TD) and had a solid opener against Hawaii.
LB Josh Watson: One of the top overall players on the team, Watson led the team with 109 tackles last year and then had a team-high 13 against Hawaii. He will be around the ball a lot against the Buffs.
WR Preston Williams: The Rams have a trio of big receivers, but Williams is the best of the group. At 6-foot-4, 210 pounds, the Tennessee transfer will be a handful for cornerbacks all season.
Bottom line for CSU
After the disappointing and surprising loss to Hawaii last week, the Rams face the prospect of an 0-4 start. After this game, the Rams face Arkansas and visit Florida. To get on the right track, the Rams have to be dramatically better against the Buffs than they were last week against Hawaii. It was a disastrous start against Hawaii, and if the Rams start slow again, they could get buried. A quick start could give them confidence to make this a game and give them a chance at a victory.