Colorado v. Texas State Preview: “T.I.P.S.” for CU’s 2017 home opener


Some questions for which Buff fans want answers as Colorado takes on Texas State this Saturday:

— Will Colorado’s offense get its act together against one of the worst teams in the FBS?

— Will Colorado’s defense be able to keep a second straight opponent from scoring a touchdown?

— Will there still be over 30,000 fans in the stands as the end of the game nears, with the Buffs comfortably ahead of the Bobcats?

Guess we’ll have to show up this Saturday to find out …

This week’s “T.I.P.S.” for CU v. Texas State … Saturday, noon MT, Pac-12 Networks


T – Talent 

There ain’t none.

Okay, so it’s not that bad. Texas State does have some players, including a senior transfer quarterback who used to play for Mississippi State.

Damien Williams appeared in 17 games while in Starkville, including two starts. The former three-star recruit brings athleticism to the position, and is good at throwing on the run. In Texas State’s 20-11 win over Houston Baptist to open the season, Williams wen 18-for-28 for 135 yards. He also had 13 carries for 43 yards and a touchdown.

The rushing attack – such as it is at Texas State – is by committee. Against the Huskies, Anthony Smith led the way with seven carries for 71 yards, including a 48-yard scamper for a touchdown. Another freshman, Robert Brown, Jr., had 11 carries for 32 yards.

Texas State features an option running attack that they try to balance with a passing game. “We have to be very disciplined because they play option football and they have a mobile quarterback, that’s the biggest thing,” linebacker Leo Jackson III said. “When you’re working with athletes, anything can happen because they can make things happen out of nothing. That’s what it comes down to, fundamentals and discipline.”

The best receiver on the Bobcat squad is senior Elijah King, who had 28 receptions for 453 yards last season. Last weekend, King had four catches for 85 yards.

All that being said, this is a Texas State team which 126th in the nation in total offense last season, and 124th in scoring offense. Against the Houston Baptist Huskies in the opener, the Bobcats generated only 290 yards of total offense (in case you are wondering, Houston Baptist is an FCS team which went 4-7 as a member of the Southland Conference last season).

The defense? Well, not much going on there, either. In 2016, when the Bobcats went 2-10, the defense gave up 41.1 points per game (125th in the nation) and 471.1 yards per game (117th in the nation) … and returns only five starters. Texas State will come to Boulder, though, with the reigning Sun Belt Conference Defensive Player-of-the-Week. Senior linebacker Easy Anyama (No. 14 in your program) had five solo tackles, two quarterback sacks, a forced fumble and a blocked extra-point attempt last weekend against Houston Baptist.

There is some reason for optimism about the future of Texas State football in San Marcos (which lies between Austin and San Antonio, about 165 miles away from Houston and the majority of the flooding from Hurricane Harvey). “We are light years ahead of where we were last year,” said second-year head coach Everett Williams.

But the Bobcats are also still light years away from being competitive against a Power-Five conference school.


I – Intangibles

You have to feel a little bit sorry for the Bobcats.

Had Colorado defeated Colorado State 44-7 last weekend, as the Buffs did in 2016, there might have been the temptation for the Buffs to take the foot off the gas a little bit the next two games. The offense would have proven its value, and the Buffs could have gone vanilla in anticipation of taking on Washington on September 23rd.

Instead, after a lackluster 17-point output from the offense against the CSU Rams, there will be pressure on the Buff offense to show that they can sustain success for more than a quarter.

“We moved the ball well, we just made some small mistakes down there,” MacIntyre said of the effort of the CU offense against Colorado State. “We either missed a block, didn’t call it out correctly, didn’t sit in the pocket and throw it to the right guy, dropped a ball, that type of thing. When they watch it on film, they’re like ‘Oh, you’ve got to be kidding me.’ They’ll learn from that. … We’ll make a difference and we’ll keep going. We’ll play better in those situations and have more plays made which will turn into more points.”

In the first 17 minutes against Colorado State, the Buff offense scored 17 points … then nothing for the next 43 minutes.

In the first 17 minutes against Texas State, look for the Buff offense to score at least 17 points … and then keep going.

The first team may only play a little over a half (recall last year, when Steven Montez got in late in the second quarter against Idaho State in relief of Sefo Liufau? Look for red-shirt freshman quarterback Sam Noyer to get some quality playing time the next two weekends), but look for the first team to try and make the most of their time.


P – Preparation / Schedule

I spent an entire extra essay on not apologizing for the Buffs’ win over the Rams (“No Apologies“).

If you are a Buff fan who lives among the non-believers (read: CSU fans), expect more of the same this week. Not for “winning ugly”, but for CU’s less-than-stellar non-conference schedule this fall.

Except … here’s the thing: Don’t apologize.

The 2017 schedule is a direct result of Colorado joining the Pac-12 in 2011.

The Buffs have been rearranging their schedule for most of the decade. From playing Cal as a “non-conference” opponent in 2011, to the Mike Bohn play-for-pay games at Ohio State and Michigan (and, God help us, at Toledo), the 2010’s have been a series of redrafted schedules.

The 2017 season proved more difficult than most.

The original schedule for 2017 … Colorado State (Denver) … at Arizona State (Tempe) … Oregon (Boulder).

No apologies required for that non-conference schedule.

Arizona State was originally replaced by a home-and-home with San Jose State, which begged out of the series in 2015, replaced by Texas State. The home-and-home with Oregon was replaced by a road game at Michigan … and a home game against Northern Colorado.

In the very near future, CU has a four-game series with Nebraska, plus home-and-home series with teams like Texas A&M, Minnesota, Georgia Tech, Northwestern, Air Force, and Kansas State.

In 2017, the non-conference schedule is not of CU’s making … haters will just have to deal with that.


S – Statistics

D.J. Eliot is CU’s new defensive coordinator. The entire off-season the Buffs and their fans heard about how much Colorado would miss Jim Leavitt.

So, how did the Buffs fare in Week One? D.J. Eliot tied a school record for the fewest points allowed by the team in the first game under a new defensive coordinator. The record book:

3   Mike Hankwitz, 1988 vs. Fresno State (CU, 45-3)
3   D.J. Eliot, 2017 vs. Colorado State in Denver (CU, 17-3)
7   Don James, 1968 vs. Oregon (CU, 28-7)
7   A.J. Christoff, 1995 at Wisconsin (CU, 43-7)
10   Dan Radakovich, 1972 vs. California (CU, 20-10)

Oh, and in case you forgot: In CU’s first game with Jim Leavitt as the defensive coordinator, the Buffs laid an egg in a 28-20 loss to Hawai’i … just sayin’ …

In the NCAA statistical rankings, the Buffs, as you might expect, are not doing all that well after Week One. The Buffs are ranked No. 9 in the nation in scoring defense, having given up only a field goal to CSU (eight FBS teams posted shutouts in Week One, including Washington State’s 31-0 win over Montana State).

Otherwise, CU is 79th in rushing offense; 83rd in passing offense; 94th in total offense; and 104th in scoring offense.

On the defensive side of the ball, the Buffs are 46th in rushing defense; 103rd in passing defense; and 77th in total defense.

Look for all of those numbers to improve this weekend.

Prediction … Colorado is a 36 1/2-point favorite against Texas State.

That seems like a very big spread, especially for a Colorado offense which has generated 10, 8, and 17 points in its last three games.

Can the Buff offense erupt for 40 or 50 points after scoring only 35 points in their past three opportunities?

I believe so.

Last week, we talked about how it was a good thing that the Buffs were heading down to Sports Authority disrespected, and with a chip on their shoulder.

This week, the Buffs still have something to prove. At Tuesday’s press conference, Mike MacIntyre was asked about being a prohibitive favorite, and whether he was worried about an upset.

“They know all of that, but we’ll definitely mention different things”, said MacIntyre. “I thought the practice (Tuesday) was excellent, I didn’t have to get on anybody or get them going, they were ready to roll. That’s always a tell tale sign to me. They know you only get so many times to play, too. That’s what I always preach, you’re blessed to have the opportunity to play and you never know when your last play is going to be. Our game is such a physical game, so you better go give all you’ve got every time you have the chance.”

The backups know that when (hopefully not “if”) the first-team has the game well in hand, that they will be called upon to perform. I believe they will be ready.

Colorado is 3-0 all-time against members of the Sun Belt Conference, winning those three games by a combined score of 153-27. That works out to an average scored of 51-9. That sounds about right, but the numbers look funny.

Let’s go with …

Colorado 48, Texas State 10


8 Replies to “CU v. Texas State – A Preview”

  1. If the Buff’s Defense makes the ‘2nd Game’ jump that all teams are supposed to make then Bobcat’s get their already short tail trimmed to a 0.

    If the Buff’s Offense will just make the corrections & improvement they need to over the next 2 weeks I’ll be a Happy Buff & We will be 3-0 when the ‘W dogs’ come to Folsom on the 23rd.

    Anytime I see a 36 1/2 point spread, I’m not excited [CORRECTION when it is a FINAL SCORE against nebraska, ALL IS GOOD] for that kind of mismatch.

    So, I’m sorry Texas State but this is a CU 41-0 Victory and I hope you end up with a winning season for 2017.

  2. This is a team the BUFFS should destroy. Do not let them hang around pound em keep improving that offense and get ready for the mighty UNC Bears.

    Hopefully all the folks in Florida and surrounding areas will be ok !!!!!!

    CU 64 – TEXAS STATE 13

    GO BUFFS !!!!!

  3. Yo Stuart,

    You’re right, Texas State has no chance in this game. Look for the Buffs to score lots of points and probably be pretty stifling on defense.

    The concern still remains until it is proven wrong in that the high powered Buffaloes offense has been largely negated by the better teams on their schedule. The O hasn’t explosive against a good team since the Michigan game last season.

    They only scored 17 against USC, 10 against Stanford, 20 against UCLA, 10 against Washington, 8 against Oklahoma State and 17 against CSU this year. They lost 3 of those last six games against good teams by only averaging 13.6 points per game.

    Averaging less than two touchdowns a game against good teams is not exactly high powered. The Buffs play lots of good teams, so they need to step it up offensively. And not just against the weak teams. They need to be able to score on everybody.

    And lastly, I’m encouraged by the first game of the D under D.J. Eliot, but let’s remember that Jim Leavitt took over the DC job when the Buffaloes were one of the worst defensive teams in the country, and started the day before spring practices. Eliot took over one of the Top 20 defenses in the country, courtesy of Leavitt. Let’s hope he can keep that D riding high so we can play well against Washington in a few weeks.


  4. All I hope for is this not to be a Montana State debacle. The offense needs to find themselves and get it done according to the playbook! No mental lapses and 4 qtrs of controlling the line of scrimmage.

  5. Maybe Chiaverini calls the plays for the first AND second quarter this game?? I thought I heard somebody say, maybe it was Stuart, that he only called plays for the first quarter, then Lindgren the rest of the game vs. CSU… is that really true?

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