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Jordan Carrell

Position: Defensive end

Height: 6-3

Weight: 300

Year: Senior

Numbers: Carrell has started every game this year and compiled 51 tackles, 5.5 sacks and a fumble recovery. He's been very good against the run, while also providing some inside pressure on the quarterback.

Potential impact vs. Oklahoma State: Carrell - along with line mates Samson Kafovalu and Josh Tupou - will look to rebound from a tough outing in the Pac-12 championship game. If that trio can be stout, as they've been most of the year, the Buffs can have success against the Cowboys' offense.

He said it: "I think we've got a great game plan going in. We just have to stop the run and force them to pass."

SAN ANTONIO — Playing in the Pac-12, the Colorado Buffaloes are used to facing quality quarterbacks.

On Thursday night, they'll face another one, as they go against Mason Rudolph and Oklahoma State in the Valero Alamo Bowl.

"He's the guy that makes the engine go, in a sense," said Buffs safeties coach/acting defensive coordinator Joe Tumpkin said. "He puts them in the right place, he makes very good decisions in there."

Rudolph, who announced on Tuesday that he will return to OSU for his senior season, has thrown for 3,777 yards, 25 touchdowns and only four interceptions this season.


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As a starter, Rudolph is 21-6 and he's third in OSU history in passing yards.

CU has had one of the nation's best passing defenses this season, but the Buffs know they have to be on their game against Rudolph, who loves trying to connect with receivers — especially Jalen McCleskey and James Washington — for big plays. OSU ranks fifth in the country with pass plays of at least 30 yards (34) and 11th with pass plays of at least 20 yards (57).

The helmet decal honoring Rashaan Salaam that the CU players will wear in their bowl game Thursday. Salaam, 42, died Dec. 5 in Boulder.
The helmet decal honoring Rashaan Salaam that the CU players will wear in their bowl game Thursday. Salaam, 42, died Dec. 5 in Boulder. (/ University of Colorado)

"He throws the best deep ball I've seen all year," CU cornerback Ahkello Witherspoon said. "Very consistent with it and puts it on the right line to where only the receiver has a chance at it."

Honoring Salaam

During Thursday's game, the Buffs will wear a decal on their helmet honoring former Buffs great Rashaan Salaam, the 1994 Heisman Trophy winner who died earlier this month.

The decal is a black circle with a white "RS" and the number "19" — Salaam's uniform number at CU.

"We're going to wear a decal on our helmet for him, honor him that way," head coach Mike MacIntyre said.

MacIntyre added that in Boulder, the team walks about Salaam's Heisman every day and that Salaam will always mean a lot to CU.

"I really appreciate Rashaan and what he did for the CU program," he said.

Something new?

By now, most people who watch the Buffs know how the offense looks, for the most part.

Don't be surprised if the Buffs show off something new during the Alamo Bowl, however.

"I think any time you have three or four weeks to prepare for something, both sides are going to have some wrinkles and some things you haven't seen," CU co-offensive coordinator Brian Lindgren said. "You also want to have some fun things in there just for the players, because they're going to be practicing for three weeks without playing a game and it can get kind of monotonous."

Notable

• Thursday will mark just the fifth time CU has played in a domed stadium. They played the 1971 and 1975 Bluebonnet Bowls in the Houston Astrodome, a 1992 regular season at the Metrodome in Minneapolis and the 2002 Alamo Bowl at the Alamodome. The Buffs are 2-2 all-time in domes.

• This will be CU's ninth bowl appearance in the state of Texas, more than any other state for the Buffs (they've played eight bowls in California). So far, the Buffs are 4-4 in Texas bowl games.

• The Buffs have two wins against ranked teams this season, but have not defeated a Top 15 team since upsetting No. 3 Oklahoma in 2007 in Boulder. The Buffs have lost 16 in a row to top-15 teams. OSU comes in ranked No. 13 by the Associated Press.

• CU is looking for its first December win since beating UTEP in the Houston Bowl on Dec. 29, 2004. The Buffs have lost four straight December games.

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