Written by Paul Fritz
Denver, CO – The Colorado Buffs take on the CSU Rams this Friday in the classic Rocky Mountain Showdown in Denver, Colorado. With a game already under their belt, CSU is more than capable of taking on this hungry Buffs squad.
The Buffs won this match-up in 2017 by a score of 17-3, but it’s widely expected that this year will be a much more offensive battle. CU quarterback Steven Montez has been waiting all summer to show that he has improved with his progressions which will allow him to get the most out of his receivers. Projected as the 21st best QB in the country by Phil Steele College Football, Montez will surely provide a difficult scheme against the Rams defense.
Montez has truly matured as a quarterback and needs to be a vital part of the Buffs offense for them to see success in the Pac-12. Look out for his performance to see just how much Head Coach Mike MacIntyre will employ the passing game in their offense.
CSU Quarterback K.J. Carta-Samuels will look to maintain the momentum that the Rams found in last week’s game, where he threw for more than 400 yards in the 2nd half.
The key for the Buffs is to start firing early and their biggest weapon for that is #2 Wide Receiver Laviska Shenault. If Montez can find Shenault in space throughout the game, there should be no reason why they don’t come away from this one with the victory. #9 Juwann Winfree is another physical receiver who can make all the difference in this game.
When asked about Winfree’s work ethic, QB Montez said: “Juwann’s got paw, he’s got four legs and a tail. There were days where we couldn’t get into the Champions Center. He was texting me ‘Hey let’s just got throw routes in the street.’ So, sure enough, we went out and threw routes in the street. And we ended up doing that a lot more as the off-season went on just because we live close to each other. But he’s doing work 24/7. He doesn’t have an off-button.”
On Shenault’s impact, Co-Offensive Coordinator Darrin Chaverini said, “He’s one of our strongest players on the football team and he’s also one of our brightest kids. When I talk about Xs and Os and put something on the board, he can go out there and he can run it the first time without making a mistake. It’s pretty impressive.”
On the Rams side, there is another transfer to keep an eye out for in Wide Receiver Preston Williams. Williams connected with Carta-Samuels for 9 catches for 188 yards and 2 touchdowns. If the Buffs can’t find a way to contain him, this will be there biggest opportunity to score.
If everything goes right for the Buffs, they are likely to pull this one out with a victory based on their talent alone. I predict a strong offensive showing from both sides but ultimately a score of 41-27 in CU’s favor.
The game will start at 7:30 p.m MT at the Broncos Stadium at Mile High and can be viewed on CBS Sports.