The Colorado Buffaloes are calling this a must win game against the Massachusetts Minutemen, which goes to show you that this is actually a winnable contest for the Minutemen. We sat down with the Ralphie Report's Jack Barsch to find out just what makes the Buffaloes tick, figure out if the best chance the Minutemen have to win this game, and to share some horrible horrible puns.
Hustle Belt: What is the Colorado Buffaloes biggest threat on offense?
Jack Barsch: Despite being rated as the biggest question mark on an offense full of question marks, the receiving corps was a much-needed bright spot in CU's first game. Nelson Spruce solidified his status as a high level starter and Shay Fields did enough to move up to starting on the depth chart.
This is a deep, talented group who are all a year away (at least) from their prime, but they are impressing now. If our offensive coordinator calls less WR screens and Sefo Liufau doesn't throw a duck to Spruce in the end zone, it's likely that you're looking at a 1-0 team. But alas, we are the Buffaloes, and mediocrity is saved for another year.
HB: How can the Minutemen beat the Buffaloes?
JB: Run the damn ball. If J.T. Blyden carries (ha) his 4th quarter play into this game, the Buffs could be in some trouble. Our secondary is still a team strength, and our offense, God willing, will move the ball, but the Minutemen's bread will be won in the trenches. It seems like any sort of blocking scheme throws run contain out the window for us, so if Whipple is smart, he'll just put on BC's tape and say "Do this." More than likely it will work to some extent.
HB: How's the fan base reacting to a road game in Massachusetts?
JB: The fan base is and should be worried about any game away from Folsom, and most of the ones in Folsom too. We have won two "real" road games since 2011, that should say something about our ability to show up away from home. On a more fun level, the oft-ignored Buffs of the East finally have a game to go too, and a competitive one at that. Overall, the whole fan base is on a cliff, and a loss here would just about push them off.
HB: Who is the X-factor in this game? What name should the Minutemen be wary of?
JB: I would say the X-factor is Spruce, but he is more of a consistent threat than someone who will swing the game in our favor. I'll have to go with Michael Adkins on offense and Josh Tupou on defense. Adkins is the more biased pick. I've loved him ever since he came here, I think he has the all-around game to have a big one here. I can't help but think (hope) that he breaks a big one with his explosion and his ability to shrug off tacklers (at times).
If he, and the whole team, can play less stiff, it will work wonders. On the other side of the ball, Tupou has the ability to dominate, as he showed last year. However, he was handled by a redshirt freshman on a MWC team last game, and that does not paint the picture of "potential all-PAC 12 player, badass". If Tupou turns out a monster performance that we know he is capable of, I think it's game over to UMass.
HB: How do you see this game playing out, and what's your score prediction?
JB: I wish with every fiber of my being that CU comes out and rolls over the Minutemen from the first whistle. I do. But I don't think it happens. I think CU starts off strong, very strong, and I think they throw everything and the kitchen sink at UMass, and I think they go up by at least two touchdowns. After halftime, the Minutemen Whip into shape (man, my puns are on point today) and run it down CU's throats. In the end, the Buffaloes prevail, 24-14.