Ever since Mike MacIntyre became the head coach of the Colorado football team he's been able to lean on a tough, gritty kid in a No. 13 jersey.
On Saturday, MacIntyre won't have quarterback Sefo Liufau by his side.
Liufau, who suffered a Lisfranc injury to his left foot during the Buffs' 27-24 loss to Southern California on Friday, is out for the season and is set to have surgery in the next few days. Liufau will not travel with the Buffs (4-7, 1-6 Pac-12) to their game at Washington State (7-3, 5-2) on Saturday.
"I thought about that this morning," MacIntyre said. "I said, 'It's going to be kind of weird without Sefo there because he's been at every game I've ever coached at here.' It'll be different for me, for sure."
MacIntyre said he doesn't know if Liufau will be able to travel to the finale at Utah on Nov. 28 either. The NCAA limits the number of players that can travel, and that alone could prevent Liufau from making the trip.
Regardless, MacIntyre said Liufau has been in good spirits since his injury and has been engaged in team activities every day, especially with quarterbacks Cade Apsay and Jordan Gehrke.
"He's been at every practice, he's been at all the meetings," MacIntyre said. "He wants to be a part of everything. He's a great leader and he's helping Cade and Jordan all he can."
Tailback Michael Adkins II continues to be sidelined, and his chances of playing the rest of this season seem remote.
On Tuesday MacIntyre said Adkins will not play on Saturday. The junior was injured on his first carry against Colorado State on Sept. 19 and has missed the last seven games.
Asked of Adkins will play again this season, MacIntyre said, "I don't know."
However, with CU's bowl hopes on life support, it's hard to imagine Adkins playing again. If he sits the rest of the season, he can use this season as a redshirt year and gain an extra season of eligibility.
In addition to Liufau and Adkins, the Buffs will play Saturday without safety Ryan Moeller (neck). Guard Gerrad Kough (concussion) is expected to return.
In eight previous meetings, Washington State has averaged just 69.7 rushing yards per game against CU. The Cougars are averaging 77.9 this year. ... WSU coach Mike Leach is 1-4 in his career against Colorado. ... The Cougars have had 58 pass plays of 20 yards or more. CU has 30 such plays.
Brian Howell: firstname.lastname@example.org, on Twitter: @BrianHowell33.