Key matchup

CU passing game vs. UCLA passing defense

While UCLA has struggled, the Bruins have played exceptional against the pass this season, ranking seventh nationally in pass efficiency defense (CU ranks fifth). If the Bruins can slow down CU's passing offense, which ranks 15th nationally, the Bruins have a chance. When CU gets rolling through the air, the Buffs are tough to beat. CU struggled to throw the ball against USC and Stanford and those were the Buffs' two lowest-scoring games.

Buffaloes at a glance

Record: 6-2, 4-1 Pac-12

Statistical leaders

Passing — Sefo Liufau, Sr.: 91-of-135, 1,179 yards, 7 TD, 0 INT

Rushing — Phillip Lindsay, Jr.: 119 carries, 745 yards, 9 TD

Receiving — Devin Ross, Jr.: 42 catches, 491 yards, 5 TD

Tackles — Kenneth Olugbode, Sr.: 86 tackles (58 solo)

3 questions facing CU

1. Can the Buffs continue their dominance at home?

The Buffs have played four games in the state of Colorado this year (three at Folsom Field) and they've dominated each one. The key has been a fast start and keeping the foot on the gas. UCLA is riding a three-game losing streak, so if CU can get off to a fast start, it could bury the Bruins mentally early.

2. Will Sefo Liufau make impact plays?


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The senior has had a great season, but he was bottled up against Stanford two weeks ago. UCLA has a great passing defense, but Liufau needs to find a way to beat the Bruins through the air. In general, the Buffs need Liufau to play well and make big plays as a runner and thrower.

3. Can the Buffs rise to the occasion on a big stage?

This game is on national TV, and the Buffs are garnering national attention for how they are playing this season. Now with a No. 15 spot in the College Football Playoff rankings, the Buffs have a target on their back. It'll be imperative that they push all of that aside and do what they've done all year by focusing on the task at hand.

Bottom line: CU enters November as one of the favorites to win the Pac-12 South, and the Buffs need to play like it. With this game at Folsom Field and UCLA coming in as a wounded and struggling opponent, the Buffs need to take advantage of the opportunity and run away with victory No. 7.

Bruins at a glance

Record: 3-5, 1-4 Pac-12

Statistical leaders

Passing — Mike Fafaul, Sr.: 68-of-122, 779 yards, 8 TD, 8 INT*

Rushing — Soso Jamabo, So.: 53 carries, 206 yards, 3 TD

Receiving — Darren Andrews, Jr.: 37 catches, 485 yards, 3 TD

Tackles — Jayon Brown, Sr.: 72 tackles (45 solo)

* Josh Rosen leads the team in passing but he won't play because of injury.

3 questions facing UCLA

1. How will Mike Fafaul respond to pressure and adversity?

The fifth-year senior is making his third straight start in place of injured Josh Rosen, and he appears to be settling in a bit at the position. He has thrown eight interceptions, however, including four during a loss to Utah two weeks ago. Colorado has been able to put pressure on opposing quarterbacks and make life difficult on them. If that happens in this game, Fafaul's ability to handle pressure and avoid mistakes will be critical.

2. Will the Bruins be able to run the ball?

The UCLA run game has been fairly non-existent the past three weeks. During their three-game losing streak, they've managed a total of 88 rushing yards on 64 attempts. Five times, they've been held under 80 yards. Getting something going on the ground will help Fafaul and allow the Bruins to get some momentum offensively.

3. Can UCLA avoid playing catch-up?

CU has buried opponents early at home, and UCLA has to find a way to avoid that large early deficit. If the Bruins are able to go into halftime within arms' length of the Buffs, the second half could be interesting.

Bottom line: Although it's been a disappointing season, UCLA still has a chance to get to a bowl game for the sixth consecutive season. The Bruins have to win three out of their last four to get there, which is a tough task, but getting this one against the Buffs would be huge.

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