Colorado's football season has come down to one game.

Win it, and the Buffaloes will play in December. Lose it, and they'll go home.

With so much on the line in that Nov. 25 trip to Salt Lake City, it may wind up being beneficial for the Buffs to have two weeks to get ready.

"It will because it's going to help us heal our bodies, it's going to help us get a good look at Utah, get ahead of them," running back Phillip Lindsay said. "They have to go and play next week while we're on our bye week. I feel like it's going to be in our favor for us and we just have to go in there and execute."

Given the choice, most of the Buffs would have preferred to have a bye in the middle of the season. Yet, considering how this season has played out, this could be the perfect time for the bye.

Following Saturday's 38-24 loss to No. 12 Southern California, the Buffs (5-6, 2-6 Pac-12) need to beat Utah (5-5, 2-5) in the regular-season finale to achieve bowl eligibility for the second year in a row.

The Buffs are not only reeling after consecutive losses, but they're banged up, too.

Junior cornerback Isaiah Oliver returned to action on Saturday after missing two games with a leg injury, but he clearly wasn't himself, and didn't play in the second half.

Senior receiver Shay Fields left Saturday's game with concussion symptoms. Safety Ryan Moeller missed the game with a leg injury — and head coach Mike MacIntyre said last week he was hopeful Moeller could return this season.


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Beyond that group, the entire team could use a break to heal bumps and bruises, especially Lindsay, who put another 20 rushing attempts on his body Saturday.

Lindsay is up to 283 carries this season — 41 more than any other player in the country and just 16 away from setting a new school record for one season.

"Hopefully we'll get a couple guys back (for the Utah game)," MacIntyre said. "Hopefully Isaiah can recover completely, hopefully Shay can come back from the concussion protocol. We hopefully get back some legitimate big-time players for us for that last game because we're going to need everybody."

Utah, which travels to No. 16 Washington this week, might be in the same situation as CU, needing the win to get into a bowl. That could add some intensity to the game and to this budding rivalry.

As Lindsay said, having that extra week to prepare for the Utes could give the Buffs a slight edge.

More than anything, though, the Buffs could probably use the extra week to iron out some of the mistakes that have cost them against USC and in other games this season.

"We just have to come together and look at the film and see where we can get better specifically," senior outside linebacker Derek McCartney said. "I think it's going to be good for our guys to get a week of recovery and feeling good going into the last game."

While there is no game for the Buffs this week, it'll hardly be a week off.

"I anticipate this bye week to be a whole lot of work," quarterback Steven Montez said. "We're going to come in and work every day and try to get Utah schemed up, get our game plan ready for them and hopefully we'll be ready to go in and take it to Utah and hopefully get a win."

Perhaps nobody wants that win more than the seniors, who missed an opportunity on Saturday.

"Just knowing that this could possibly be my last college game, I'm going to wear myself out," senior safety Afolabi Laguda said. "Just have to go out there and enjoy these next two weeks and enjoy every practice. When we play Utah, that's the last time this team will have a regular season game again. That's our last guaranteed one."

That alone should be enough to keep the Buffs focused and motivated over the next two weeks.

"A late open date like this is sometimes rough because it's so late in the season," MacIntyre said. "I don't think it will be (tough) with these guys. They've always come to practice hard and play hard and I think they showed that with the way they came back out in the second half (against USC) and fought after the first half and didn't go good. It was good to see them fight."

Notable

This is the latest bye week for the Buffs since 2008. ... Montez had 416 yards of total offense (376 passing, 40 rushing) against the Trojans. He's the first player in CU history with three 400-yard games. ... Receiver Bryce Bobo is up to a career-high 58 catches this season, the ninth-best single-season total in CU history.

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