Buffaloes at a glance

Record: 4-2, 2-1 Pac-12

Statistical leaders

Passing — Steven Montez, Fr.: 73-for-116, 940 yards, 9 TD, 3 INT; Sefo Liufau, Sr.: 56-for-79, 779 yards, 6 TD, 0 INT

Rushing — Phillip Lindsay, Jr.: 81 carries, 395 yards, 6 TD

Receiving — Devin Ross, Jr.: 32 catches, 412 yards, 5 TD

Tackles — Kenneth Olugbode, Sr.: 58 tackles (41 solo)

3 questions facing CU

1. Who will start at quarterback?

Yet again, that's the big question going into a game. Senior Sefo Liufau continues to progress, and all indications are that when he's fully healthy, he'll return to the starting lineup. But is he healthy? If not, freshman Steven Montez will get his fourth consecutive start.

2. How will the Buffs bounce back?

Losing at USC last week was disappointing for the Buffs, who didn't play well offensively. After their first loss, at Michigan, the Buffs responded with a huge win at Oregon. They need the same kind of rebound effort here. CU has been great all year at putting the last game in the rearview. That's never been more important than now.

3. Can the defense slow down the ASU offense?

CU has one of the best defenses in the Pac-12, but will face one its toughest challenges against an ASU offense that averages 39.7 points and 434.8 yards per game. So far this season, the Buffs have been great defensively at Folsom Field. They'll need to bring their A game to keep the Sun Devils' offense in check.


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Bottom line: All season, the Buffs have stated their goal of winning the Pac-12 championship. If they are going to do that, this is almost a must-win. CU and ASU are tied atop the South division and CU can't afford to lose a home game to one of its main competitors for the division title.

Sun Devils at a glance

Record: 5-1, 2-1 Pac-12

Statistical leaders

Passing — Manny Wilkins, So.: 97-for-149, 1,233 yards, 5 TD, 4 INT

Rushing — Demario Richard, Jr.: 112 carries, 436 yards, 2 TD; Kalen Ballage, Jr.: 61 carries, 310 yards, 9 TD

Receiving — Tim White, Sr.: 39 catches, 428 yards, 0 TD

Tackles — Armand Perry, So.: 37 tackles (32 solo)

3 questions facing ASU

1. Who will start at quarterback?

Much like the Buffaloes, ASU's starter (Manny Wilkins) is dealing with an ankle injury. If he's healthy and ready to go, the Sun Devils will be in much better shape offensively. If Wilkins can't play, true freshman Dillon Sterling-Cole would likely make his first career start. He's thrown one pass - last week against UCLA - and had it intercepted.

2. Can the defense keep the Sun Devils in the game?

This season, the Sun Devils have given up a lot of yards and a lot of points. They've especially been burned through the air, where teams are racking up a whopping 404.3 yards per game. Last week against UCLA, the defense stepped up and played a key role in a 23-20 win.

3. Will ASU dominate the run game again?

Throughout the CU-ASU series, the Sun Devils have controlled the game on the ground. In the five meetings since CU joined the Pac-12, ASU has out-rushed the Buffs by an average of 239.6 to 107.6. That's played a key role in ASU winning each matchup by at least two touchdowns, and it'll be a key again if the Sun Devils want to win again.

Bottom line: Although projected as a team in rebuilding mode this season, the Sun Devils are already just a win shy of bowl eligibility and very much in the mix for the Pac-12 South title. With plenty to play for, it's a good bet they'll be ready to play. Like CU, this is a big game for a team with high hopes.

Brian Howell: howellb@dailycamera.com, on Twitter: @BrianHowell33.