After three agonizing weeks following the Buffs win over Central Arkansas the football team is finally back in action this weekend against Oregon State.
September 7th seems like a lifetime ago in Boulder as a once in a century flood passed through town and disrupted just about everything for a few weeks. As Boulder slowly returns to normalcy the Buffs will head to Corvallis, Oregon for a Pac-12 matchup against the Beavers.
Oregon State is the first real test for this Colorado squad and it will be very telling to see how they preform when Saturday rolls around.
For starters it's the first true road game along with the first matchup of the season against a team with a winning record last year. The challenge does not stop there for the Buffs as Oregon State has proved to be a force on offense this year. They are ranked third in the country in passing yards and their top receiver, Brandin Cooks, is first in the country in receiving yards and touchdowns. It is going to be a true challenge for the young defensive backfield to keep up with Oregon State's fast paced offense.
Coach MacIntyre had some strong words for the Beaver's head coach this Tuesday saying that,
"Mike Reilly is an exceptional coach, very well respected in our business, not only as a coach but also as a person, his team's play with unbelievable energy and resiliency, they should be 4-0."
Below are three possible outcomes of Saturday's game and what they would mean to the Buffs.
Buffaloes lose a hard fought game
In this scenario the Buffaloes lose but show they are not going to be pushed around anymore. The game is physical and the score is kept close, within a touchdown or two throughout, therefore Oregon State never feels comfortable. This would be a huge moral victory for the coaching staff. Many say there are no moral victories in football but when you have spent the last two years getting blown out by Pac-12 opponents it is important to remind them that you still can play ball. In this scenario Connor Wood stays accurate and doesn't turn the ball over but in the end just doesn't make enough plays to win the game. The Buffs end up 2-1 (0-1) and come home to face the #2 team in the country, the Oregon Ducks.
Buffaloes get blown out
The team looks sloppy and sluggish and doesn't ever put themselves in position to win the game. Wood turns the ball over multiple times and Paul Richardson never gets open. The defense cannot contain the high-powered offense and the Buffs are licking their wounds after a laughable game for everyone but the players, coaches, and fans. This would be a disaster for a team that has looked much better this season. The question on everyone's mind is can they keep it up verses superior competition and a blowout would certainly be a reality check. After this beat down Colorado would head home 2-1 (0-1) to face an almost certain loss next week against an even better Oregon team.
Well this would be the biggest win for the program in four years, a true statement for the young football team. If the Buffaloes win this challenging road game the fans would be euphoric with joy. In order for this to happen the defense is going to have to step up in a big way. The young defensive backfield will have to play their hearts out and the defensive line must force pressure and get a few sacks. Also they will have to win the turnover battle, dominate time of possession, and make a few explosive plays on offense. The Buffs would be 3-0 (1-0) for the first time in five years and hope would be restored in the program.
Players To Watch
Paul Richardson: After two weeks off the #1 receiver for Colorado is no longer atop the leaderboard in receiving yards but he still has a lot to bring to the table. As he goes up against the talented Oregon State backfield it will be important for him to get open. However his ability to draw the safeties attention away from the rest of the Colorado receivers so that Connor Wood can spread the ball around will be equally important for Paul. Running the deep route will also open up the holes in the run game.
Christian Powell: Speaking of the run game, it has been a minimal part of the offense thus far and if the Buffs want to win this game that cannot be the case on Saturday. Therefore starting running back Christian Powell will have to improve on his subpar 3.0 yards a carry. Powell will have to get a few "Next level" runs where he forces the safeties to make a play. This will open up the deep ball for Richardson and keep the defense attentive to the run game.
Chidera Uzo-Diribe, Kenneth Crawley, Greg Henderson, and Addison Gillam: The stars of the Colorado defense will have to step up in a big way if the Buffaloes have any chance of winning this game. The corners cannot be beat deep by Brandin Cooks and the run game will have to be contained by Uzo-Diribe and Gillam. This game is a huge opportunity for the defense to show how far they have come and it will be very telling to see how they respond to such a prolific offense on Saturday.
|Matchup Preview | September 28, 2013|
(2-0, 1-0 Away)
|Oregon State Beavers|
(3-1, 2-1 Home)