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bsn BSN: Keys to the CU Buffs Duck Hunt

Discussion in 'CU Buffs Newsroom' started by RSSBot, Sep 23, 2016.

  1. RSSBot

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    BOULDER – The Colorado Buffaloes and Oregon Ducks both go into Saturday’s matchup in Eugene with records of 2-1. Each team is attempting to avoid losing for a second straight week. The Buffs have lost the last six meetings against the Ducks but the last time the two matched up in Oregon with the home team being unranked was 1986. Can they snap the streak this weekend with Mark Helfrich’s gang unranked?

    Even though the conference season is just starting it’s key to remember that the Buffs will be without some of their most significant starters. OLB Derek McCartney and kicker Diego Gonzalez both suffered season-ending injuries in last Saturday’s bout with Michigan. Meanwhile, starting QB Quarterback Sefo Liufau is struggling with an ankle injury.

    Liufau is a game-time decision despite his limited practice time this week. On Wednesday, Coach Mike MacIntyre described Liufau’s injury as “kind of in-between” a regular and a high ankle sprain, and added that “he practiced a little bit today, he moved around a little more.”

    Unfortunately, that’s the last the media gets to hear from MacIntyre so there is an unknown answer to the question of Liufau’s availability. If Liufau can’t take snaps for the Buffs on Saturday, it will be redshirt freshman Steven Montez’s squad to lead. MacIntyre has repeatedly voiced confidence in his young backup QB and did so again on Tuesday.

    “I definitely think Steven [Montez] is capable of making plays and moving our offense,” MacIntyre said. “He has a good arm and can run. He can do well when he gets a chance to get in there.”

    Montez will have plenty of offensive weapons at his disposal when he faces the improved Oregon defense on Saturday. RB Phillip Lindsay has registered 176 yards and four TDs on 39 attempts so far this season. Granted, he was better against Colorado’s first two, more inferior opponents.

    Colorado also boasts a stable of exceptional receivers, as Coach MacIntyre said on Wednesday.

    “We’ve got good receivers, as good as anybody in the country.”

    The stats certainly support his statement. Junior wideout Shay Fields has already hauled in nine receptions for 256 yards and a touchdown, and junior Devin Ross has 18 receptions for 202 yards and four TDs through three games.

    Part of this success can be attributed to the revamped and upbeat offense that Colorado has been running under Darrin Chiaverini.

    “I can definitely see defenses on their heels reacting to us,” Jay MacIntyre said. “I think our tempo is key, and once we get a first down we need to just keep going and going. Once we do that we’re able to put up points in a hurry.”

    Colorado’s fast-paced offense will need a solid performance from their defense this weekend to truly be successful. The Buffs’ defense needs to hold an explosive and uptempo offense in Oregon to a manageable point margin if they want to pull off a win on the road. If Chidobe Awuzie and company can prevent their ground game and the Ducks from racking up too many points, it will give the Buffs’ fast-paced offense an opportunity to keep up.

    The Ducks might be without star RB Royce Freeman, who is day-to-day, but they have a bevy of other backs. Last year, Kani Benoit rushed seven times for 31 yards as the third-string running back at Folsom Field. Last week against Nebraska, he went over the century mark in spelling Freeman.

    The Ducks will also head into the game without wideout Devon Allen and lineman Tyrell Crosby. Allen, a track star that finished fifth in the 100m hurdles at the 2016 Olympics, was injured last week. The injuries, coupled with the loss to Nebraska last week have the Ducks on high alert.

    “I’m very impressed,” offensive line coach Steve Greenwood told OregonLive.com. “This is not the old Colorado team that we’re used to seeing the past 6-7 years. This is a team coming in here believing they can win and it’s going to be a dogfight.”

    “I think they’re significantly different and better both offensively and on special teams,” Helfrich added. “Defensively, they’ve been outstanding.”

    One more key piece of Saturday’s matchup will be Autzen Stadium itself, which as noted on BSNDenver.com is a tough place to play.

    Colorado’s matchup with Oregon this Saturday will be a battle of uptempo offenses, with respectable defenses to match. This game will be won by the defensive unit that contains the opponent’s arsenal of weapons. If the Buffs’ defense can keep up with Oregon, and the offense can continue its stellar uptempo attack, they may have a real shot at a win.

    Samantha Weaver
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