Buffaloes try to bounce back from Cardinal implosion against No. 23 Bruins' stingy defense

Thu, Oct 26, 2023
NCAAF News (AP)

Buffaloes try to bounce back from Cardinal implosion against No. 23 Bruins' stingy defense

Colorado (4-3, 1-3 Pac-12) at No. 23 UCLA (5-2, 2-2), Saturday, 7 p.m. ET (ABC)

Line: UCLA by 17 1/2, according to FanDuel Sportsbook.

Series record: UCLA leads 13-5.

WHAT'S AT STAKE?

Other news No. 18 Louisville, No. 20 Duke look to overcome losses and stay in the ACC championship picture No. 25 James Madison's perch atop the Sun Belt's East Division on the line against Old Dominion No. 8 Oregon clashes with no. 13 Utah in game with heavy Pac-12 title implications

The Bruins would secure bowl eligibility for the third straight season with a win, while the Buffaloes would take a major step towards reaching the postseason if they can pull off the upset. Colorado had a week to stew after its 46-43 double overtime loss to Stanford where it squandered a 29-point halftime lead. UCLA comfortably smashed the same Cardinal 42-7 on Saturday after handing the reigns back to Ethan Garbers at quarterback because freshman Dante Moore was dealing with an injury early in the week.

KEY MATCHUP

Colorado's offensive line vs. UCLA edge rusher Laiatu Latu. While all of the flashy skill players the Buffaloes brought in over the spring and summer dominated the headlines, concerns about the offensive line have proven to be correct after allowing 19 sacks in four conference games. Now they have to deal with the disruptive Latu, who ranks second in the Pac-12 with 6 1/2 sacks. As much as offensive coordinator Sean Lewis will try to protect his front five with screens and quick throws, there will be instances where they need to give QB Shedeur Sanders time to throw if Colorado is going to have a chance to win.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Colorado: WR Xavier Weaver. The South Florida graduate transfer got going again with seven receptions for 124 yards and two touchdowns against Stanford after a sluggish start to conference play. Weaver and his fellow pass catchers will have to challenge a UCLA defense allowing a Pac-12 low 214 yards through the air per game.

UCLA: RB Carson Steele was the engine of an efficient Bruins offense for their visit to the Bay Area, carrying the ball 20 times for 76 yards and three touchdowns. The Ball State transfer should like his chances for another productive outing against a Colorado defense that has allowed 516 yards and eight scores on the ground in four conference games.

FACTS & FIGURES

The Bruins are 6-0 at the Rose Bowl in conference games against the Buffaloes and 8-1 at home overall in the series. ... Colorado has scored 35 points or more in five of its first seven games under coach Deion Sanders. They failed to score 35 points in any game in 2022. ... Garbers threw for 240 yards and two touchdowns without an interception against Stanford. It was his first game in three seasons at UCLA throwing multiple touchdowns without an interception. Garbers also rushed for a career-high 51 yards. ... Shedeur Sanders has already thrown the third-most touchdowns (21) in a season in Colorado history. Sefo Liufau holds the school record with 28 touchdown passes in 2014. ... In addition to having the stingiest pass defense in the Pac-12, the Bruins also pace the conference in run defense (68.6 yards per game), tackles for loss (8 per game) and takeaways (16).

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