Fresno State (2-0) at Colorado (2-0) (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Folsom Field (53,613) -- Boulder, Colorado. Television: Pac-12 Network. Home Record: FSU 2-0, Colorado 1-0. Away Record: FSU 0-0, Colorado 0-0. Neutral Record: FSU 0-0, Colorado 1-0. Conference Record: FSU 0-0, Colorado 0-0. Series Record: Colorado leads, 4-2.
GAME NOTES: A couple of teams that have remained perfect through the first two games of the season get together in Boulder on Saturday afternoon, as the Colorado Buffaloes play host to the Fresno State Bulldogs.
The Bulldogs are on the road for the first time in 2013 after defeating Rutgers in overtime (52-51) to kick off the campaign, and then following that up with a more comfortable 41-25 triumph versus Cal Poly last Saturday night.
The strong start for FSU is not all that surprising, given that the team was 9-4 a season ago and had a Mountain West Conference record of 7-1 as well.
However, the 2-0 ledger for Colorado is a different story, considering the Buffs won a total of just a single game a year ago and that was by just one point versus Washington State (35-34). Colorado began the new season with a 41-27 win over in-state rival Colorado State in Denver on Sept. 1, and then added a 38-24 victory against Central Arkansas just six days later at home.
Colorado has not been 2-0 since 2008 when the team won three straight decisions against Colorado State, Eastern Washington and West Virginia. Unfortunately, the Buffs finished only 5-7 that year.
These two teams met last season in California and FSU devastated the visitors in a lopsided 69-14 final in the third game of the campaign. Despite the crushing win by the Bulldogs, they still trail in the all-time series by a count of 4-2.
This meeting sets up the Bulldogs against Colorado head coach Mike McIntyre who, before taking the reigns in Boulder, was in charge of the San Jose State Spartans whom FSU competed against when both programs were part of the Western Athletic Conference. Like Fresno, SJSU has also made the transition to the Mountain West Conference.
Isaiah Burse starred for Fresno State last Saturday night as he became just the second player in school history to return a pair of punts for touchdowns in one game, finding the end zone on returns of 61 and 58 yards in the first and second quarters, respectively. Burse, who also registered a 15-yard TD catch in the second quarter and was named the Mountain West Conference Special Teams Player of the Week, was a huge reason why the Bulldogs led 34-0 at the break and were able to take their foot off the gas in the second half. Derek Carr didn't finish the game, but he did play long enough to complete 22-of-31 for 205 yards and three touchdowns.
Burse may have been the standout performer this past weekend, but the one to watch on offense for the Bulldogs is Carr who is expected to be one of the top overall performers in the MWC again this season. Already the signal-caller has completed 71.2 percent of his passes for eight touchdowns and just a single interception on 104 attempts.
Burse is second on the unit with 17 catches, leading to 161 yards and a score, but above him in the pecking order is Adams who has turned his 19 receptions into 179 yards and three TDs.
However, as powerful as Carr and the passing attack might be, the fact remains that the Bulldogs need to find a replacement for Robbie Rouse at running back, and that will be no easy task. After two outings the group is averaging under four yards per rushing attempt and has gotten into the end zone only once.
Against Central Arkansas, the defense for the Buffaloes was almost as nearly as productive as the offense, thanks to interceptions returned for touchdowns by Greg Henderson (46 yards) and Jered Bell (79) in the second and fourth quarters, respectively. However, the visitors were still allowed to generate 340 yards of total offense during the meeting.
Quarterback Connor Wood might be ranked fourth in the nation in passing yards with 370.5 ypg, but his performance last weekend was far from overwhelmingly positive. In fact, while completing 23-of-36 passes for 341 yards and three scores, Wood was also sacked four times and had a pair of attempts picked off.
Nevertheless, having an outstanding game for the Buffs was receiver Paul Richardson who turned his 11 receptions into 209 yards and a pair of scores for the hosts. Richardson, who leads the nation with 208.5 ypg in receptions, now has a total of 21 catches on the season, leading four touchdowns. Perhaps most impressive is the fact that he has seven grabs that have led to 20 yards or more and there have been only two other such receptions by a Colorado player through two games.
The Buffs own the 13th-ranked run defense in the country right now, giving up only 77.0 ypg, but that may not even come up in this particular meeting since Fresno State relies so much on Carr and the aerial attack anymore. However, expect Colorado to still put up a good fight since coach MacIntyre has some familiarity with FSU.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Fresno State 38, Colorado 23Game Date and Time
Saturday, September 14, 2 p.m. (et).