The University of Colorado football team (3-3) take on the Arizona Wildcats (4-2) this Saturday at Folsom Field in this year’s homecoming game. The Buffs are coming off of a 48-23 loss last week at Arizona State.
Colorado’s rough play against Arizona State seemed to be a continuation of the second half of their previous game against Oregon. The team’s play was concerning enough to garner a players-only meeting, which took place the Sunday night after the Arizona State game.
“We’re very frustrated with ourselves,” sophomore defensive end Derek McCartney said. “We just kicked ourselves in the foot way too many times.”
Again, not everything was bad against Arizona State. For example, junior quarterback Sefo Liufau did throw for 389 yards with a score, although he threw an interception deep in Colorado territory.
“I think that I missed too many throws and I just think offensively, we need to be clicking and in a rhythm, in both running and passing,” Liufau said. “I think we need to be a good, balanced team.”
The run game has been quiet these last two weeks, which should be worrisome for the Buffs. The game plan during Colorado’s three-game winning streak relied heavily on the run game. It took the ball away from the other team by running down clock and opened up the passing game.
When the run game doesn’t work, Colorado’s play suffers. In somewhat good news, Arizona ranks 88th in rush defense this season, allowing 185.7 yards a game. The Buffs will hopefully take advantage of this.
But Arizona has racked up the third-most rushing yards in the nation this season, and the Buffs are ranked 100th in rush defense, giving up almost 200 yards a game.
“Every week we come in, we know as a defense we need to stop the run if we want to win,” McCartney said.
This is easier said than done, though. This matchup is coming after a particularly impressive Arizona win over Oregon State. In 44-7 win, Arizona racked up 644 total yards and had no turnovers.
Arizona gained 368 yards on the ground last week. Colorado’s defense will be without junior linebacker Kenneth Olugbode, who’s out with a leg injury. He didn’t play against Arizona State, and the team gave up 491 yards — 231 on the ground — and 48 points.
In addition to missing Olugbode, the Buffs will be missing their next two top linebackers. They’re down to three freshmen and a sophomore as their linebacking crew. Expect Arizona to take advantage of that.
Arizona’s quarterbacks have combined for 1390 yards, 13 touchdowns, and only one interception. But Colorado has only allowed 193 passing yards a game and has nine interceptions, including one every game this season.
The Buffs haven’t won against a Pac-12 team since a win against California in 2013. Now, they’re on a thirteen game skid against the division.
“The Pac-12 football game for us is a big game, and with it being homecoming,” MacIntyre said. “We sit at three and three; we’d love to be better than three and three, but we still can reach our aspirations.”
Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. (MST) at Folsom Field, and the game will be broadcast on Fox Sports 1.
Contact CU Independent sports staff writer Jake Mauff at email@example.com.