CUSportsNation.com staff writers Scott Hood, Jack Stern, and Mike Singer give their game predictions for Colorado's Pac-12 tilt in the Rose Bowl against UCLA.
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Scott Hood: Colorado 37, UCLA 27
This game will answer a key question: Is the shaky UCLA defense just what the Colorado offense needs to turn in their first complete game of the season or is the inconsistent Colorado offense exactly what the Bruins defense needs to turn things around after a subpar start to the season?
The answer to that question will likely tell us the winner. Colorado QB Steven Montez is still learning the nuances of being the starting quarterback of a Power 5 conference school. He's had a lot of good moments in the first four games, but some he'll like to have back as well. The Buffs must exploit UCLA's major weakness defensively and that's stopping the run. The Bruins haven't come close to doing that at any point this season. Phillip Lindsay needs to have a big game.
So far this season UCLA QB Josh Rosen has proven worthy of his nickname, 'The Rosen One' and leads all Pac-12 quarterbacks in passing yards per game. Unfortunately for the Bruins, Rosen's passing stats aren't the decisive factor in winning and losing games. They have a lot of offensive weapons. But every time you talk about UCLA, the discussion always returns to the defense. Yep, it's a sieve. -Hood
Jack Stern: Colorado 31, UCLA 41
It's no secret that both teams playing in this game are desperate for a win. The Colorado Buffaloes are coming off blowout by the Washington Huskies, while the Bruins are coming off a embarrassing defeat at the hands of a divisional rival - the Stanford Cardinals.
The Bruins defense has struggled mightily thus far, ranking dead last in the Pac-12 in total defense. If the Buffs are going to get their offensive attack going at full strength, this is most definitely the week to do it. There's no reason they shouldn't be able to execute and move the ball down the field at a consistent rate, while establishing a multi-dimensional attack.
On UCLA's sideline, the Josh Rosen led Bruins offense has looked great thus far, putting up bundles of points at a time. Having a quarterback of Rosen's caliber in a sport that is notoriously deprived of talent at the position, automatically gives a team a great chance to win any game. Aside from lockdown corner Isaiah Oliver, the Buffs secondary has looked somewhat shaky thus far, getting beat on the deep ball on several occasions.
Running back Sosa Jamabo finally looks in midseason form after his first 100 yard effort of the season last week. With the Buffs consistent inability to stop the run, UCLA should try to pound the ball and establish a balanced offensive attack which keeps the defense guessing. Overall, I see this being a high scoring, shootout, type game that the Bruins win due to their high throttle offense. -Stern
Mike Singer: Colorado 27, UCLA 30
We're going to learn a ton about the Colorado Buffaloes as leave the state of Colorado and play in Los Angeles on Saturday. I've gone back and forth on my prediction, but I do give the edge to UCLA's explosive offense to lead the Bruins to victory. I had all of the confidence in the world in Steven Montez and Co. coming into the season, but my confidence has waned.
Montez will have a pretty good game as UCLA's pass rush isn't that good, but I think the Buffs' signal caller will make a mistake or two that will change the outcome of the game.
Colorado's secondary is still pretty good after losing an incredible group to the NFL Draft, but Trey Udoffia will get picked on by Rosen and it could prove to be costly for CU. I like CU to slow UCLA down at some points, but I think the Bruins reach 30, and the Buffs don't quite get there. -Singer