Running the football is often a key to success in football, and it has been especially important in the Colorado-Utah series.

Since joining the Pac-12 together in 2011, Colorado and Utah have met four times, and in each game the team that ran for the most yards won.

Going into Saturday's matchup at Rice-Eccles Stadium in Salt Lake City, that doesn't bode well for the Buffaloes.

Utah averages 185.2 yards per game on the ground. Much of that damage was done by Devontae Booker, who gained 1,261 yards through the first 10 games.

Booker is out for the season with a knee injury, but his backup, Joe Williams, had 121 yards last week against UCLA. The Buffs also have to worry about Utes quarterback Travis Wilson, who averages 43.4 rushing yards per game.

CU has been one of the country's worst run defenses this year, allowing 197.3 yards per game.

Colorado, meanwhile, has a stable of backs who are capable of racking up yards, but few teams find much success on the ground against Utah. The Utes rank 14th nationally against the run, giving up just 117.5 yards per game.

Utah has not allowed a single back to reach the 100-yard mark this season.

During the past four seasons, CU has averaged just 3.16 yards per carry against the Utes. Senior Christian Powell did have a great game against the Utes a year ago, though, posting 75 yards and three touchdowns on 10 carries.



• Buffs tailback Phillip Lindsay enters the final game with a team-high 605 rushing yards. He's looking to become the first Buff to hit the 700-yard mark since Rodney Stewart led the team with 854 yards in 2011.

• Lindsay could become the first player in CU history to hit the 1,000-yard mark for career rushing yards and kickoff return yards. Entering the finale, Lindsay has 996 career rushing yards and 969 yards on kickoff returns.

• CU has not had a punt or kickoff return for touchdown since Nelson Spruce returned an onside kick for a score against California on Nov. 16, 2013, and the Buffs have just four return TDs in the last 10 seasons. By comparison, Utah has three return TDs this season (two punt returns, one kickoff return).

• Spruce ranks seventh in CU history with 3,484 all-purpose yards, but could vault to third if he gets at least 139 yards against Utah. Hugh Charles is third (3,622), followed by Byron White (3,577), Herchell Troutman (3,543) and Bobby Purify (3,524). Spruce is the only receiver among the top 10.

• Spruce needs 11 catches to reach 300 for his career. In NCAA history, only 11 players have tallied 300 career catches.

• If CU keeps Utah below 53 points, the Buffs will finish the season allowing fewer than 30 points per game for the first time since 2009.

• Utah's Tom Hackett, the reigning Ray Guy Award winner, leads the country with a 43.4-yard average on punts.

• CU kicker Diego Gonzalez has made 18 field goals. In CU history, only Mason Crosby has topped that. Crosby had 21 in 2005, 19 in 2004 and 19 in 2006. Gonzalez's 28 attempts ties for the second-most in CU history (Fred Lima had 34 attempts in 1972).

Brian Howell:, on Twitter: @BrianHowell33.