Opponent Preview: Montana State

Inside, a look at Colorado's first opponent, the Montana State Bobcats

Montana State Bobcats
at Folsom Field • Sept. 2 • 1:30 p.m.
Head Coach: Mike Kramer (7th season)
2006 Record: 7-4/5-2 Big Sky
Series Record: 1-2

What To Know: For the first time in program history, the Buffs will play a Division I-AA team when the Montana State Bobcats come to Boulder in September. While CU is new to playing 1-AA foes, the Bobcats have faced at least one Division 1-A team each of the past several seasons. CU fans can hope Dan Hawkins' debut in Boulder goes better than Mike Gundy's in Stillwater did last fall when Montana State nearly beat Oklahoma State before the Cowboys pulled out a 15-10 victory. Led by first-time starter junior quarterback Cory Carpenter, the Bobcats like to throw the ball, but have to replace the team's top three receivers from 2005. While not as undersized up front as you might think for a D-I-AA team, MSU relies on its linebackers and safeties for lots of help defending the run. Montana State has a rich history of football. Among the Bobcat alumni are coaches Dennis Erickson and Joe Tiller, and NFL players Ken Amato, Jan Stenerud and Joey Thomas.

Colorado Connection: When CU defensive line coach Romeo Bandison accepted the CU job in the offseason, former MSU defensive coordinator Pete Kwiatkowski took Bandison's spot at Boise State. That opened the door for former Colorado GA Rob Christoff to move from linebackers coach to defensive coordinator at Montana State. Also, CU strength and conditioning coach Jeff Pitman served in that capacity at Montana State early in his career.

Players To Watch: Junior Epikopo King is an active linebacker. Carpenter is replacing three-year starter Travis Lulay as signal-caller.

Returning Leaders: PASS: Carpenter 3-2-51; RUSH: Evan Groves 94-435/4.6, 6 TD; REC: Elliot Barnhart 19-190/10.0; TCKLS: Ryan Force 82; SACKS: Bobby Daly 3.

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