When Colorado hosts the Baylor Bears Saturday at 2:00 p.m. CDT, it will be a game of strength vs. strength - Colorado's rushing offense against Baylor's rushing defense. The key to Colorado's rushing game is junior running back, Chris Brown, who leads the nation in rushing right now, due in large to his 307-yard total against Kansas last week. "Team Colorado" does not lead the nation in rushing - that honor goes to the Air Force Academy, but they are #14. Baylor ranks #22 in stopping the run.
Chris Brown has carried the ball 141 times this season and gotten 987 yards for his efforts. The record at Colorado
for least number of carries to obtain 1,000 yards rushing is 149. Mr. Brown needs only 13 yards in his next 7 carries to break the record. He is averaging 7.0 yards per carry, and 164.5 yards per game. One of the more interesting aspects of all this is that he is only one-third of the rushing attack. The Colorado offense features three tailbacks rotated in and out of the game. If Chris Brown was a "featured" back, there is no telling what kind of numbers he would be putting up. However, one might also observe that this system works to the extent that he leads the country in rushing, so don't fix something that doesn't appear to be broken. As the #14 rushing team in the country, Colorado has rushed the ball 272 times for 1,418 yards, averaging 236.3 yards per game.
The Baylor defense on the other side of the line of scrimmage, has done very well against the run this season. Teams have rushed the Bears on 201 attempts this season netting 684 yards, an average of only 114.0 per game. That average is ironic since it represents the rank Baylor possessed in total defense four seasons ago - 114th in the country. Right now, they are ranked #49 in the country in total defense.
Some will scoff and say that Baylor's high ranking in rush defense is only representative of the schedule so far, however, after this weekend, we'll all know, one way or the other.
Baylor's major problem this season hasn't been an inability to stop teams, but rather, turning the ball over. The Bears rank last in turnovers. The turnovers haven't been without unfavorable results either. In fact, 16 times, that's 40% of the points scored against the Baylor defense this season have been after a turnover where the opposing team's offense took their first snap from inside the 20-yard line. In order for Baylor to have a chance against Colorado, they will have to do two things.
First, they will have to stop the turnovers that have plagued them all season long. Second, they'll have to do something no one else has seemed to be able to do - they'll have to find a way to stop, or at least slow down Chris Brown.