Buffaloes at a glance
Passing — Sefo Liufau, Sr.: 38-for-51, 522 yards, 3 TD, 0 INT
Rushing — Phillip Lindsay, Jr.: 27 carries, 125 yards, 4 TD
Receiving — Devin Ross, Jr.: 11 catches, 124 yards, 2 TD
Tackles — Chidobe Awuzie, Sr.: 11 tackles (10 solo)
3 questions facing CU
1. How will the Buffs handle adversity?
So far, this season has been a breeze for the Buffs. The first team offense has scored on 14 of 19 possessions (11 touchdowns). The defense has forced more punts (17) than points allowed (14). Life won't be that easy at Michigan. The Buffs need to keep their poise when the offense sputters for a few drives, and the defense needs to find a way to brush off a good drive or two by the Wolverines. How the Buffs handle adversity will be huge in this game.
2. Will CU's secondary flex its muscle?
Colorado believes its secondary — led by seniors Chidobe Awuzie, Tedric Thompson and Ahkello Witherspoon — is its strength on defense. Michigan counters with a talented stable of receivers. CU has the ability to win this battle and get the best of the Wolverines through the air.
3. Can Sefo Liufau and the offense play well on a big stage?
CU's revamped offense has been explosive to this point in the season, but now the Buffs face a talented defense. This game will go a long way to proving if this offense can compete with quality teams. Liufau needs to be sharp in running the offense, on target with his throws and composed for four quarters.
Bottom line: This is a big game against a marquee opponent, and it's an opportunity for Colorado to make some waves nationally. The reality, however, is that the Buffs don't need to win this game to prove they are a team to be reckoned with in the Pac-12. If the Buffs can show their maturity and make this is a game all afternoon, they'll raise eyebrows and take some confidence into the conference schedule.
Wolverines at a glance
Passing — Wilton Speight, Jr.: 35-for-50, 457 yards, 7 TD, 1 INT
Rushing — Chris Evans, Fr.: 17 carries, 147 yards, 2 TD
Receiving — Amara Darboh, Sr.: 8 catches, 153 yards, 3 TD
Tackles — Jabrill Peppers, Jr.: 16 tackles (13 solo)
3 questions facing Michigan
1. Will the ground game get on track?
Last week, Central Florida was intent on stopping the Michigan run game and did. The Wolverines finished with just 119 yards on 41 carries (2.9 yards per carry). Between senior De'Veon Smith and freshman Chris Evans, the talent is there in the backfield. Now, the Wolverines need the line to open holes.
2. Can the defense slow down the Colorado offense?
Colorado has averaged 88.5 offensive snaps, 587.5 yards and 50.0 points against inferior opponents. Michigan's defense is considered one of the best in the country, but this will be the Wolverines' toughest test of the season to this point. They can't let the Buffs get in rhythm offensively.
3. How focused will the Wolverines be on the Buffs?
Given CU's struggles in recent years, it would be easy for the Wolverines to think this game will be easy as their first two — a 63-3 win against Hawaii and a 51-14 win against Central Florida. Coming up is the start of Big Ten play and back-to-back games against Penn State and Wisconsin.
Bottom line: There's more at stake for Michigan than there is for Colorado. Sitting at No. 4 in the Associated Press poll, the Wolverines are a legitimate national title contender and can't afford a loss at home to an unranked opponent. A win against the Buffs doesn't do much for Michigan, but a loss would severely damage the Wolverines' title chances.
Brian Howell: firstname.lastname@example.org, on Twitter: @BrianHowell33.