Work in Sports
The Buffaloes play the nation's toughest schedule. Will they live to tell about it?
By Mark Beech
This season Johnson and the rest of the offense should benefit from the addition of Parade All-America Marcus Houston, the nation's top high school running back. The 6'2", 205-pound Houston rushed for 1,743 yards and 23 touchdowns last year at Denver's Thomas Jefferson High, was an honor student and participated in more extracurricular activities than Max Fischer in Rushmore. This summer he delivered books and farm tools to villages in Ghana. He also has an imaginary friend, Chucky, against whom he competes in everything he does. Houston may find himself wishing Chucky could block for him because the Buffaloes lost three senior starters on the line.
The quarterback situation is also murky. Mike Moschetti, who had 2,693 passing yards last season, is gone. His successor will be either junior Bobby Pesavento, a 6'5", 230-pound junior college transfer, or 6'4", 215-pound Zac Colvin, a sophomore who played in six games last season. To Barnett's relief, both were impressive in spring ball, and they will be throwing to a bevy of talented wideouts, including all-conference senior Javon Green.
Colorado is loaded on the defense, led by junior linebacker Jashon Sykes, a Butkus Award candidate. The secondary lost three starters, so Barnett will look to hard-hitting junior safety Michael Lewis to provide leadership.
Despite their strong finish last year, the Buffaloes, who haven't beaten a Top 10 team since 1996, won't be able to let their guard down early -- they play the nation's toughest schedule, and their first six games are murder. "Fortunately," says Barnett, "we don't have to play all six at the same time."
Issue date: August 14, 2000