CU cornerback Isaiah Oliver vs. Washington WR Dante Pettis
This could be a very entertaining matchup all night, with Oliver trying to establish himself as an elite corner, while Pettis is already among the best receivers in the country. They went up against each other in last year's Pac-12 title game, but only for six plays. In those six plays, Pettis was targeted just once, catching the pass for nine yards. There should be a lot more action with this matchup this time around. After watching Oliver get beat deep for touchdowns twice last week, it would be no surprise if Washington targeted Pettis deep a time or two.
CU offensive line vs. Washington defensive line
Going in, we don't really know which five linemen will be on the field for CU. The Buffs have been tinkering with their line all season and haven't had great play up front. Washington dominated this matchup in the Pac-12 title game. Washington's Greg Gaines (6-foot-2, 322 pounds) and Vita Vea (6-5, 340) are two of the best in the country and will look to control CU's run game. CU's line needs to play well for the Buffs to have a shot.
CU front seven vs. Washington offensive line
Just as important as strong play on the offensive line is CU's play in the trenches on defense. Washington controlled this part of the game in last year's matchup, as well. The Huskies are off to a slow start with their run game (ranking 95th nationally). CU's ability to slow down the run and get some pressure on quarterback Jake Browning is crucial.
CU punter Alex Kinney vs. Washington PR Dante Pettis
The Oliver vs. Pettis battle will be ongoing throughout the night, but all eyes will be on Pettis when the Buffs are forced to punt. Pettis has returned a punt for a touchdown in each of the Huskies' three games so far, and he's tied the NCAA career record with eight. His first one came at Folsom Field in 2014. CU head coach Mike MacIntyre denied to say whether the Buffs would kick away from Pettis. If this matchup is boring, that's a good thing for CU.
CU quarterback Steven Montez vs. Washington secondary
Entering his seventh career start, Montez has to be as sharp as ever in his decision making against the Huskies, who are very good at making teams pay for mistakes. Montez has displayed some growth as the season has gone along, and he has to take another step forward in this one.