Buffaloes at a glance

Record: 10-3, 8-1 Pac-12

Statistical leaders

Passing — Sefo Liufau, Sr.: 182-of-290, 2,171 yards, 11 TD, 6 INT

Rushing — Phillip Lindsay, Jr.: 230 carries, 1,189 yards, 16 TD

Receiving — Devin Ross, Jr.: 66 catches, 765 yards, 5 TD

Tackles — Kenneth Olugbode, Sr.: 130 tackles (90 solo), 6.5 TFL

3 questions facing CU

1. Can the Buffs get past all the pageantry associated with the game and just go play?

This is a new experience for the Buffs, playing in a bowl game and taking part in all the festivities leading up to it. The players have been level-headed throughout the week, however, and appear to be focused and ready to go, as they've been all year. If they are focused, the Buffs can have a good game and play well.

2. How will the offensive and defensive lines hold up?

During the Pac-12 championship game, which CU lost 41-10 to Washington, the Buffs were pushed around on both lines. That was a big reason they lost that game by such a wide margin. OSU is not as strong up front as Washington, and that will help, but the Buffs have to establish control of the line of scrimmage.

3. Will CU be able to generate enough offense to win?

Oklahoma State can score — a lot. CU is hoping the defense can hold the Cowboys well below the 38.7 points per game they average, but CU's offense has to be prepared for a shootout. The Buffs have scored 32.8 points per game, but have been held well below that against the better teams on their schedule. It may take 30-plus points to win this game.


Advertisement

Bottom line: Regardless of the outcome, this has been a great season for the Buffs. They want to finish this season off the right way, however, and that's with a win. Do so, and this will always be remembered as a special season, and one of the best in CU history. There's a chance to become just the fourth CU team to reach the 11-win mark, joining the teams from 1989, 1990 and 1994.

Cowboys at a glance

Record: 9-3, 7-2 Big 12

Statistical leaders

Passing — Mason Rudolph, Jr.: 262-of-416, 3,777 yards, 25 TD, 4 INT

Rushing — Justice Hill, Fr.: 187 carries, 1,042 yards, 5 TD

Receiving — Jalen McCleskey, So.: 69 catches, 762 yards, 7 TD

Tackles — Jordan Sterns, Sr.: 96 tackles (62 solo), 5 TFL

3 questions facing Oklahoma State

1. How will the Cowboys bounce back?

In the regular season finale, OSU was thumped by rival Oklahoma, 38-20, to miss out on the Big 12 title and a trip to the Sugar Bowl. The loss snapped a seven-game winning streak. There's been plenty of time since then to move past that loss. If the Cowboys have moved on and bring their usual intensity to the field, they can walk away with win No. 10 on the season.

2. Can QB Mason Rudolph find success against the Buffs?

CU has one of the best pass defenses in the country and they've made some really good quarterbacks — including Washington's Jake Browning, Washington State's Luke Falk — look pedestrian. If Rudolph can solve the Buffs' defense and find open receivers down field, the Cowboys can have a good day offensively.

3. Is the defense up to the task?

OSU ranks 108th nationally in yards allowed, giving up 457.0 per game. However, the Cowboys give up just 28.1 points per game (64th), and they've been one of the best teams in the country in the red zone. Limiting CU's production on offense is essential for the Cowboys.

Bottom line: The opportunity is there for the Cowboys to have a 10-win season for the fifth time in the last seven years, and for the second year in a row. That should serve as motivation for a team that has lofty goals every season.

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