The Colorado Buffaloes did what they were supposed to do against Northern Colorado, winning easily and starting the season on a good note.
Now they go from playing an FCS team to one of the top squads in the FBS when they face No. 5 Texas A&M on Saturday in Denver.
The Buffaloes (1-0) have an opportunity to knock off a highly ranked team and possibly break into the Top 25. It would be a boost to the program and the foundation second-year head coach Karl Dorrell is laying.
It won’t be easy. The Aggies (1-0) dispatched Kent State 41-10 in the first week of the season. One advantage Colorado could use against Texas A&M is playing at altitude at Empower Field at Mile High, the home of the NFL’s Denver Broncos.
But Aggies coach Jimbo Fisher said he doesn’t think it’s a problem for his players.
“I’ve taken teams to altitude a number of times and never had an issue,” he said at his Monday press conference. “We’ll have oxygen if guys need some air. Sometimes players will have a condition that affects them, but most of the time, it’s not a factor.”
It helps to have depth, and Texas A&M is getting that with the return of senior defensive lineman Michael Clemons.
Clemons and defensive tackle McKinnley Jackson sat out the game against Kent State because of legal problems. Clemons was arrested last month and charged with several crimes, including unlawful carrying of a weapon.
Jackson in August was charged with felony possession of a controlled substance and misdemeanor marijuana possession. He won’t be at Saturday’s game, Fisher said.
The Buffaloes will enjoy an extra day of rest before taking on their former Big 12 rivals. Colorado played Friday night, beating Northern Colorado 35-7, with freshman quarterback Brendan Lewis leading the way. Lewis was thrust into the starting role after J.T. Shrout suffered an injury during a scrimmage in preseason camp.
Lewis threw for only 102 yards against Northern Colorado but had a TD pass and didn’t throw an interception. The Buffaloes had four running backs record a rushing touchdown, and the team ran for 281 yards, taking the pressure off the freshman QB.
Lewis will be tested by an Aggies defense that had two interceptions last week.
One area Colorado needs to clean up is penalties. The Buffaloes were flagged 12 times for 118 yards against the Bears, including several unsportsmanlike conduct penalties. A repeat of that could lead to a big loss against the No. 5 team in the country.
“We’re going to be playing in bigger games, and that stuff can’t happen in bigger games,” senior linebacker Nate Landman said. “That’s how you lose games. We can’t give any advantage to that team or any team we’re playing.
“Maybe that extra energy may cause those penalties, but we’ve got to be better, and we’ve got to be mature about playing defense and offense the right way and not causing those penalties.”
This is Colorado’s first game against a top-10 team since losing at No. 6 Utah 45-15 on Nov. 30, 2019.
–Field Level Media