CU opponent glance
Opponent: Oregon State Beavers
Game time: 2 p.m. Saturday, at Reser Stadium in Corvallis, Ore.
Coach: Gary Andersen, 3rd season (7-23; 56-61 career)
Record: 1-5, 0-3 Pac-12
Last week: Lost at USC, 38-10
Key players: WR Seth Collins, Jr. (12 catches, 130 yards, 1 TD); QB Darell Garretson, Sr. (29-of-53, 291 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT); WR Isaiah Hodgins, Fr. (19 catches, 183 yards, 1 TD); LB Manase Hungalu, Sr. (48 tackles, 3.5 TFL, 1.5 sacks, 2 INT); S Davis Morris, Fr. (42 tackles, 1 INT); RB Ryan Nall, Jr. (62 att., 341 yards, 4 TD); RB Artavis Pierce, So. (38 att., 197 yards, 1 TD).
Notable: Nall missed Saturday's game against USC with a sprained ankle. ... QB Jake Luton, who started the first four games, has been out with a thoracic spine fracture. ... Oregon State's lone win came against FCS Portland State, 35-32, on Sept. 2 in Corvallis. ... During their current four-game losing streak, the Beavers have averaged just 13.5 points per game. ... OSU has allowed at least 32 points in every game this season.
For the first time all year, the Colorado football team didn't mention the Pac-12 championship Saturday.
After a 45-42 loss to Arizona at Folsom Field, reality has set in for the Buffaloes that this is not a championship team. The Pac-12 has agreements with seven bowl games, and the Buffs (3-3, 0-3 Pac-12) just hope to be in one of those.
"I definitely believe we'll be in a bowl game," head coach Mike MacIntyre said. "That's what we need to do and better do. That's what we can hope we can do."
Not long ago, the Buffs' top goal was to get a win in December in Santa Clara, Calif., and claim the conference title. Now, goal No. 1 is to win this Saturday in Corvallis, Ore.
The desperate Buffs, last place in the South division, will visit Oregon State (1-5, 0-3), last place in the North.
"We go back to square one, get my team going and go out there and get ready to win in Corvallis," running back Phillip Lindsay said. "It comes down to Colorado. It's all about Colorado. For us, we have to go back to the drawing board, and we have to go and tweak little things and get a win. That's what we're going to do."
Those little things include tackling the opposition. Arizona quarterback Khalil Tate gashed the Buffs for an NCAA-record 327 rushing yards and four touchdowns.
Limiting penalties will be on the agenda, as well. The Buffs had 12 for 110 yards against the Wildcats.
Protecting quarterback Steven Montez has been an issue all year, and was again Saturday. Montez was sacked four times by an Arizona team that had just six sacks all year coming in. He was under pressure on several other plays, as well.
There's a long list of items the Buffs have to fix moving forward, but perhaps the top priority is sticking together.
"The key now is you don't point fingers," MacIntyre said. "You bond together. With the stuff we've got going on offense, and we won't play like that on defense again, we'll be able to make some hay here. That's what we need to do. If you start pointing fingers and griping and moaning, you won't be able to."
After Saturday's loss, against a team projected to be the worst in the South, many CU fans are wondering if the Buffs can win another game. Players are sure to hear or read the negativity, but quarterback Steven Montez said the Buffs can't pay attention to it.
"I think there's still a whole lot of season left. I think we still have a good team," he said. "We have great guys in there that are still hungry, so we just have to stay together as a unit and not let the outside factors break us apart, and I think we'll be fine."
MacIntyre said he wouldn't characterize his players as "demoralized" after the loss to Arizona, but the Buffs have to re-learn how to win close games.
"They're really dejected," he said. "We've lost two heartbreakers in a row, really, down to the wire. That's the way Pac-12 games go. Last year we won five of them like that, and we'll eventually win some more. Hopefully we can do that this week."
Two years ago, the Buffs went 1-4 in Pac-12 games decided by one score. Last year, they were 3-1 in those games. So far this season, they are 0-2.
"It just comes down to you need to get breaks," Lindsay said. "It's whoever is going to get the most breaks, whether it's a fumble, a kick return to the house for us. It's the little things that matter and the little things that are hurting us.
"We're going to be OK. Whether you guys believe it or not is irrelevant. As long as we believe it, that's all that matters."
For the Buffs to reach the postseason, at some point that belief has to turn into victories. Despite the disappointment that hung in the air at Folsom Field on Saturday night, the Buffs expressed hope that the tide will turn.
"Our rallying cry will be we've got to keep ourselves up, keep being positive and keep motivated and go on the road," MacIntyre said. "We've got to win some games here. The kids want to do that and they will."