On paper, the University of Massachusetts Minutemen are not very good. They’ve mustered only two wins since joining the FBS in 2012. Last week they fell to in-state rival Boston College, 30-7.
But that’s not stopping Colorado football coach Mike MacIntyre from taking Saturday’s UMass matchup (1 p.m. MST, ESPN 3) seriously. After all, the Buffs didn’t look all that impressive in their first game, either.
“We can’t overlook anyone by any stretch of the imagination,” MacIntyre said during a press conference Tuesday.
After giving up an embarrassing 266 rushing yards to Colorado State last Friday, the Buffs must find a way to slow down Massachusetts’s running game.
“There are a lot of problems with gap control,” said redshirt freshman defensive end Derek McCartney at the conference. “And personally, my footwork isn’t where it needs to be…a lot of us just need to work on technical things.”
The Minutemen might be an easier opponent than the Rams, as they garnered just 55 yards on the ground last week. They gave up even more rushing yards than the Buffs did in their season opener — a whopping 338. Saturday should give Colorado a good chance to improve on their most glaring flaw.
The Buffs need to finish their drives and take advantage of scoring opportunities when they have them. Against the Rams last week, CU failed to score a touchdown on a first-and-goal from the two-yard line and missed a field goal from makeable range.
“We moved the ball up and down the field, in our opinion,” said quarterback Sefo Liufau on Tuesday. “It’s just the fact that we couldn’t punch the ball into the end zone or even get field goals. That’s just what it comes down to, is putting up points.”
For the second straight week, the Buffaloes will be playing in an NFL stadium. Colorado will travel to Foxboro, Massachusetts, to play in Gillette Stadium, home of the New England Patriots. Because of the long trip — this will be CU’s longest-ever continental road trip — Colorado will leave on Thursday instead of its normal travel day,
As the year goes on, Colorado’s schedule gets more difficult. Pac-12 powers Arizona State, UCLA and Oregon await. If the Buffs want any hope of playing in a bowl game, Saturday’s game is a must-win.