Ground Control

While they haven't faced a Darren Sproles, Cedric Benson or Adrian Peterson this fall, it's significant that Colorado has not allowed a 100-yard rusher through its first nine games. Colorado linebacker Jordon Dizon says ISU's Stevie Hicks will provide a test for the Buffs.

Through nine games, the Colorado defense has not allowed a 100-yard rusher. The last time CU went an entire season without allowing a triple-digit rusher was 1967, and it's happened just three times since 1949.

That season-long string could be put to the test Saturday when CU faces Iowa State and Cyclone tailback Stevie Hicks. Hicks was named the Big 12 Offensive Player of the Week Monday after he gained 149 yards in ISU's win over Kansas State Saturday, his third 100-plus game of the fall. The senior has battled through injuries in 2005, but has gained over 500 yards in six games.

"He's awesome," CU starting inside linebacker Jordon Dizon said on Monday. "He's probably up there with the best we've faced this year."

Colorado, which has kept opposing teams under 100 total yards on the ground a program-best seven times this fall, has played solid run defense despite emphasizing getting better at pass defense last spring and this past August. Dizon and fellow inside linebackers Akarika Dawn (42 tackles) and Thaddaeus Washington (83) have combined for 169 tackles. Dizon credits the defensive linemen.

"The main job of the defensive line is to eat up blocks for us," Dizon said. "We make the tackles because they do their jobs. Vak (Manupuna) and James (Garee), they haven't had big stat years. But if they don't eat up blocks, we can't make tackles."

Dawn agrees.

"Vaka and James and those guys, they all take care of us," Dawn said. "I couldn't take on an offensive lineman every play."

Dawn didn't realize Monday Colorado hadn't allowed a 100-yard rusher this season. Maybe that's because defensive coordinator Mike Hankwitz spends more time talking about how to correct mistakes than handing out accolades for what's going right, according to Dizon.

"We try to strive on excellence," Dizon said. "That's a good thing Coach Hankwitz does — he doesn't really inform us what we do right, it's most what we do wrong. That's a good thing about him."

Notable Rushers CU has Faced in 2005
Kyle Bell, Colorado State, 14-66 vs. CU.
Tyrone Moss, Miami, 13-39.
Mike Hamilton, Oklahoma State, 14-52, averaging 88 yards a game, most among running backs in Big 12.
Reggie McNeal, Texas A&M, 5 for –14, averaging 74 yards per game.
Vince Young, Texas, 10-58, averaging 86 yards per game.
Thomas Clayton, Kansas State, 8-21, averaging 64 yards per game.
Brad Smith, Missouri, 13 for-16, averaging Big 12 best 102 yards per game.

Mason Crosby was named Big 12 Special Teams Player of the Week for his effort against Missouri. Crosby went 2-3 on field goals, including a 56-yarder. He added five PATS, giving him 11 points on the day. It is Crosby's seventh such award, and fourth of the 2005 season.

Crosby was also named one of 20 semifinalists for the Lou Groza Award Monday. Three finalists for the award given to the nation's top collegiate kicker will be announced Nov. 21. The 2005 Lou Groza Collegiate Place-Kicker Award winner will be announced on Dec. 8.

Defensive end Alex Ligon said Monday he felt like he could've played against Missouri, and was a last-minute scratch from the lineup. He's been out with a knee injury. Ligon said he is feeling good and that he expects to play this weekend at Iowa State…Running back Hugh Charles also said he thinks he will play in Ames. He was set to play last Saturday, but he aggravated his sprained ankle in warm-ups.

Colorado moved up four spots to No. 18 in the current Bowl Championship Series poll, which was released today. The Buffs are ranked No. 22 (AP and Coaches) and 21 (Harris), as well. The BCS uses a combination of six computer polls in its rankings, and CU is currently No. 11 in the computer rankings.

Week 4 BCS Rankings (pdf)

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