Colorado vs. Oregon preview

Riding a four-game losing streak, Colorado will take on Oregon.

When riding a four-game losing streak, it's always nice to come home.

Unfortunately for the Colorado Buffaloes, they'll have to beat one of the most explosive teams in the country to snap the skid.

Ninth-ranked Oregon (5-1) comes to Boulder today for a Pac-12 matchup with Colorado (1-6).

The Buffaloes are still seeking their first Pac-12 Conference win, while Oregon has been the class of the league for the past three seasons.

A look at today's game ...

NO. 9 OREGON (5-1, 3-0) at COLORADO (1-6, 0-3)

When/Where: Today, 1:30 p.m. MDT, at Folsom Field in Boulder, Colo.

The series: Colorado leads 8-7, but the teams have not met since the 2002 Fiesta Bowl, which Oregon won 38-16. The last meeting in Boulder came on Sept. 12, 1987, when Oregon won 10-7.

Last week: CU lost at Washington, 52-24. Oregon beat Arizona State at home, 41-27.

Last year: CU was 5-7. Oregon was 12-1 and lost to Auburn in the BCS National Championship game.

Pac-12 dominance: Since taking over Oregon head coach in 2009, Chip Kelly has led the Ducks to a 20-1 record in conference play. The only loss came at Stanford on Nov. 7, 2009 - a 51-42 defeat.

Will they play?: Oregon running back LaMichael James and quarterback Darron Thomas are two of the most explosive players in the country. Both are banged up, however, and could miss the game against the Buffs. James dislocated his elbow and sat out the Ducks' win last week. Thomas sprained his knee against ASU, but said this week he expects to play.

Missing in action: CU will be without standout running back Rodney Stewart and star receiver Paul Richardson because of injuries. Together, Stewart (908 yards) and Richardson (483) have accounted for 58.8 percent of CU's offensive yards.

Duck to keep an eye on: RB De'Anthony Thomas. James gets the most attention, and Kenjon Barner can dominate, as well. Then, there's Thomas. He leads the team in receiving (21 catches for 310 yards, 4 TD) and also has 264 rushing yards and another four scores. He also averages 20.4 yards per kickoff return and returns punts.

Buff to keep an eye on: RB Tony Jones. With Rodney Stewart out with an injury, Jones gets his first career start. He had a nice game against Washington, with 49 yards and two touchdowns on 14 carries, but will likely need to double that production today.

Did you know?: Right guard Ryan Miller is the only player on CU's team to have played in every snap from scrimmage (445) on his side of the ball. Miller and left guard Ethan Adkins are the only linemen to start every game. On defense, safety Anthony Perkins leads the way by playing in 453 of 465 snaps.

This and that: This is CU's homecoming game. The Buffs are 61-30-5 all-time on homecoming. A year ago, they lost their homecoming to Texas Tech, 27-24. ... Under Kelly, the Ducks have scored at least 42 points in 17 of 21 Pac-12 games and they've scored at least 31 points in 26 of 30 regular season games. ... Oregon RB Kenjon Barner ran for 171 yards in James' absence last week, and has 331 yards in the Ducks' last three games. ... CU has turned the ball over just six times this season. Only five teams in the country -- LSU (3), Wisconsin (3), Buffalo (5), Stanford (5) and Wake Forest (5) -- have fewer turnovers than the Buffs. ... So far, CU has lost 12.0 percent of game time due to injuries to its two-deep roster. In the past 25 years, only one season has been worse (12.4 percent in 2002). ... CU ranks 92nd nationally in scoring (21.9 points per game, while Oregon is third (48.7).

How the Ducks can win: Arrive safely. Oregon has more firepower on offense than just about any team in the country. The Ducks have averaged 42.9 points per game in Kelly's tenure. CU, meanwhile, has hit the 42-point mark just twice in the past 44 games. Even if running back LaMichael James and quarterback Darron Thomas are held out because of injuries, as long as Oregon keeps the train rolling, this ought to be an easy Ducks win.

How the Buffs can win: It'll take an unbelievable performance by CU and a collapse by Oregon. The Buffs have to play the best game they've played in a couple of years. Even with that, CU will probably need multiple turnovers and other mistakes by Oregon to even have a chance.

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