In recent weeks, the Colorado run defense has been exceptional.

To come away from Arizona Stadium with a victory on Saturday night, the Buffaloes are going to need another stellar effort against the run.

The 16th-ranked Buffs (7-2, 5-1 Pac-12) are an overwhelming favorite against Arizona (2-7, 0-6) - the line was around 16 points on Saturday morning - but they need to keep the Wildcats from busting loose on the ground if they are to win.

When Colorado defeated Arizona on Nov. 12, 2011 - exactly five years ago - in Boulder, the Buffs held the Wildcats to 60 rushing yards on 23 attempts.

In four meetings since then, the Wildcats have run all over the Buffs, racking up 1,422 yards and 13 touchdowns - an average of 355.5 yards and 3.3 touchdowns per game.

Last season, Arizona's run game was crucial in handing the Buffs a 38-31 loss in Boulder.

"They ran the ball well on us at the end of the game there and took over the game running the football," CU head coach MacIntyre said. "We cannot have that happen."

Although struggling overall this season, Arizona ranks 37th in the country with 210 rushing yards per game.

Quarterback Brandon Dawkins leads Arizona with 597 rushing yards. He may not start (Anu Solomon could get the nod), but the Buffs are sure to see Dawkins at some point.

"Rich Rod's offenses have always had a running quarterback, all the way back to West Virginia," MacIntyre said of Arizona head coach Rich Rodriguez.


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"When he has one, he's able to do a lot of things in his offense and get that going."

With Nick Wilson dealing with an ankle injury, converted receiver Samajie Grant is likely to start at running back. He has 141 yards on 27 carries over the last two games.

CU has allowed a total of just 168 rushing yards the last three games (56.0 per game).

Focused

While the spotlight continues to shine brighter on the Buffs, junior running back Phillip Lindsay said the players continue to fight for each other.

"At the end of the day, we're in it for each other and that's all that matters," he said. "If we keep it inside with each other and keep this bond that we have, this brotherhood that we have, it's going to be hard to be unfocused because we're going to keep each other focused."

On a roll

Speaking of Lindsay, he's in the midst of a great stretch, having topped 100 yards in total offense in each Pac-12 game this season.

Sept. 24 at Oregon: 103 yards (72 rushing, 31 receiving), 1 TD
Oct. 1 vs. Oregon State: 118 yards (90 rushing, 28 receiving), 1 TD
Oct. 8 at USC: 162 yards (57 rushing, 105 receiving), 1 TD
Oct. 15 vs. Arizona State: 239 yards (219 rushing, 20 receiving), 3 TD
Oct. 22 at Stanford: 142 yards (131 rushing, 11 receiving), 0 TD
Nov. 3 vs. UCLA: 149 yards (73 rushing, 76 receiving), 1 TD

Lindsay is averaging 152.2 yards of offense during Pac-12 play, with seven total TDs.

Homecoming

CU has five players on the roster from Arizona, but only one - cornerback/punt returner Isaiah Oliver - is likely to see the field against the Wildcats. Oliver is from Goodyear, Ariz.

"For me personally it's going to be a lot of fun being able to see my entire family and everyone come out to the game and be able to play in front of my home crowd, basically," he said.

Other Buffs from Arizona: walk-on receiver Xavier Cochrane, backup quarterback Jordan Gehrke, receiver Justin Jan and defensive end Brett Tonz.

Notable

  • The Buffs come into the game riding a three-game winning streak. They have not won four in a row since a five-game winning streak from Sept. 21-Oct. 26, 2002. That was also the last time the Buffs won four consecutive conference games.
  • If CU can win tonight, it would finish the season 3-1 in conference road games. Coming into this year, the Buffs were 3-20 in conference road games since joining the Pac-12 in 2011.
  • CU had held three consecutive opponents below 300 yards (all three under 265, actually). Since 1985, the Buffs are 100-20-1 when holding the opposition below 300 yards, including 10-0 under MacIntyre (6-0 this year).
  • Overall this season, CU has held five FBS teams below 300 yards, one of just six Power-5 teams to do that. The leaders: Alabama - 7; Louisville & Ohio State - 6; Colorado, Florida & Michigan - 5.

Career chart watch

Several Buffs could move up on the team's all-time lists today. Here's a few to keep an eye on:

Passing TDs - Sefo Liufau, 2nd with 56 (Record: 60, Cody Hawkins)
Rushing yards - Lindsay needs 138 rushing yards to become the 19th player in CU history with 2,000 for his career. He currently has 1,862 yards. At the very least, he should pass Byron White (1,864) and Bob Stransky (1,868) and move up to 22nd.
Receptions - Shay Fields ranks 10th in CU history with 126 catches and needs just two to pass Charles E. Johnson for 9th.
Receiving yards - Bryce Bobo needs 103 yards to become the 27th player in CU history with 1,000. Devin Ross is just 137 yards away from 1,000.

Contact staff writer Brian Howell at howellb@dailycamera.com or twitter.com/BrianHowell33.