GAME DAY: Colorado State Rams

DENVER -- You've been waiting nine long months, and it's finally here. A new season kicks off today with a lot of fresh faces on the Colorado roster, including some exciting talent added in the past two recruiting classes scheduled to debut against in-state rival Colorado State.

The Buffs take on the Rams for the 80th time today at 5:30 p.m. in Denver at Invesco Field at Mile High. CU owns a commanding 58-19-2 lead in the series.

The Buffs unveil their new no-huddle approach to offense with second-year starter Cody Hawkins taking most snaps in the shotgun formation. New starting tailback Demetrius Sumler ran 16 times for 85 yards and a score in this game last year, but he is sure to share the workload this year with three other backs in junior Kevin Moyd and true freshman Rodney Stewart and Darrell Scott.

The Buffs have won four of the past five in the series and this could be the last time the teams play in Denver for awhile. If you're a fan of the game in the big city instead of on campus, you ought to live it up today.

Today could be the start of a big season for sophomore wide receiver Josh Smith, who has been electric at times in training camp. Smith is adding punt and kickoff return duties this season, which could lead to some big plays.

The CU defense will face plenty of unknowns from a new CSU coaching staff led by Steve Fairchild, a new offensive coordinator and senior quarterback Billy Farris, who will be making his first start.

Cornerbacks Cha'pelle Brown and Gardner McKay take over the starting roles out on the island this year with redshirt freshman Jalil Brown becoming the nickel back in a secondary that also includes senior safeties D.J. Dykes and Ryan Walters.

Junior college transfer Shaun Mohler could make the first start of his CU career today if the Buffs open in the 4-3 defense after which the depth chart is modeled. Mohler earned the starting nod over Marcus Burton in training camp.

The other starters at linebacker for CU are Jeff Smart and Brad Jones, who will likely be asked to try to cover CSU tight end Kory Sperry once again. Sperry has proved difficult for the Buffs to handle the past two years.

Other will see plenty of playing time at linebacker, including Michael Sipili, who is returning after missing a season because of suspension. Burton and B.J. Beatty also figure to see plenty of playing time.

One of the strengths of the CU team could be its defensive line featuring three senior starters in Maurice LUcas, Brandon Nicolas and George Hypolite. They will be relied on to slow down a bruising CSU running game behind a veteran offensive line.

Ralphie V was schedule to make her first run today, but because she has been unable to practice on a regular basis in a big stadium environment, CU officials chose to use Ralphie IV instead.

Hey, football is back. Does it really matter which Buffalo leads the team on the field?


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