The stars will be out in Boulder both on and off the field as the Colorado Buffaloes welcome the No. 16 Oregon State Beavers and a host of blue-chip prospects to Folsom Field on Saturday.
This series has become a back-and-forth affair with the Beavers holding a one-game advantage, 7-6. The two teams have alternated wins ever since the series was tied up at five-a-piece. So after losing to OSU last season, it’s the Buffs’ turn to take home a win.
CU will have its work cut out on Saturday night, but here are my five keys to upsetting the Oregon State Beavers:
Get things going again on offense
Oregon State’s defense was dominant in nonconference play, allowing 11 points per contest. As one would expect seeing those numbers, OSU started the season 3-0. But during Pac-12 play, there have been more points to be had against the Beavers. Pac-12 teams have scored an average of 27.2 points against the Beavers, who allowed Cal to score 40 just weeks ago. The Buffs’ offense has to score touchdowns — not field goals — when given the opportunity.
Make DJ Uiagalelei beat you with his arm
The Beavers want to run the ball. Colorado needs to do everything it can to put the game on the arm of OSU quarterback DJ Uiagalelei. If Colorado can get a lead and force the Beavers to throw, then errors can come from a QB who’s only completing 59.2% of his passes.
Attack the outside of the Beavers' defense
In most of their losses this year, the Beavers have allowed opponents to throw the ball. Cam Ward put up more than 400 passing yards in Washington State’s win over OSU, and Noah Fifita led Arizona to a W with 275 yards through the air.
This could be a significant bounce-back game for Shedeur Sanders, but only if…
The offensive line has to dominate
Fans and coaches have challenged Colorado’s offensive line to step up; if it does, CU can pull off the upset. Coaches have to empower this group to move forward and to maul consistently in the run game while keeping Shedeur Sanders’ jersey clean.
Continue to get the ball back on defense
Colorado’s defense has been good about prying the ball loose from opposing offenses. The Buffs even managed four first-half turnovers in the UCLA game. It won’t be easy to pry the ball away from Oregon State, but CU has to create those momentum plays to steal the win.