After starting the season with two straight home wins, the Colorado Buffaloes have since dropped their last three at Folsom ahead of Saturday’s home finale against Arizona.
For as good of a season as the Wildcats have had, they’ve flown under the radar. With a record of 6-3, Arizona has turned the corner in the last season of the Pac-12 and could be a thorn in the side of the Buffaloes in the new-look Big 12. Still, I am confident that the Buffs can steal one from the Cats.
Here are five keys to Colorado closing its 2023 home slate with a senior day victory:
Don't wait until the fourth quarter to get going offensively
Colorado broke through the Beavers’ defense on back-to-back drives in the fourth quarter last week but before that, could only muster a field goal. The Buffaloes must put up points early to have a shot at the upset.
Run the ball
A Colorado running back hasn’t had more than 10 carries in a game since Anthony Hankerson got that amount against Arizona State in the Buffs’ last win. The running game has not been a big part of what CU has done on offense this year, but the Buffs need to take pressure off its battered quarterback.
Keep up the good work, defense
The Buffaloes’ defense has gotten on track in the back half of the season by holding two ranked teams below their scoring average, making game-changing plays in the pass rush and forcing fumbles. Jordan Domineck and Travis Hunter have stepped up and must continue to lead this defense against Arizona.
Same goes for the special teams unit
After a shaky start to the season, the special teams unit has gotten good production lately. Alejandro Mata has been perfect on field goals and extra point attempts, and Mark Vassett is limiting returns in the punting game, save for one solid return the Beavers had last week. Jace Feely is also now blasting the ball out of the end zone on kickoffs.
No more clock management mistakes
I still can’t get over how bad the Buffs’ clock management was at the end of the first half against the Beavers. The Buffaloes could have gone into the half down by just a single score, but because they tried to move the ball in a challenging situation backed up deep in their own territory, CU ended up allowing an OSU touchdown. That can’t happen. Look for the clock management to be much cleaner against Arizona.