Buffaloes at a glance

Record: 5-6, 2-6 Pac-12

Last week: Bye (lost 38-24 vs. USC on Nov. 11)

Statistical leaders

Passing

Steven Montez, So.: 214-for-349, 2,780 yards, 18 TD, 9 INT

Sam Noyer, Fr.: 13-for-27, 119 yards, 0 TD, 0 INT

Rushing

Phillip Lindsay, Sr.: 283 att., 1,402 yards, 13 TD

Steven Montez, So.: 118 att., 307 yards, 2 TD

Beau Bisharat, So.: 21 att., 61 yards

Receiving

Bryce Bobo, Sr.: 58 catches, 640 yards, 5 TD

Shay Fields, Sr.: 46 catches, 623 yards, 4 TD

Devin Ross, Sr.: 43 catches, 508 yards, 2 TD

Tackles

LB Rick Gamboa, Jr.: 110 tackles (40 solo)

LB Drew Lewis, Jr.: 106 tackles (40 solo)

S Evan Worthington, Jr.: 74 tackles (60 solo)

Where they rank

How the Buffs rank nationally:

Offense

Scoring: 72nd (27.6)

Rushing: 72nd (160.2)

Passing: 36th (266.4)

Total: 43rd (426.5)

3rd downs: 55th (41.4%)

Red zone: 59th (85.4%)

Defense

Scoring: 72nd (27.6)

Rushing: 102nd (198.7)

Passing: 98th (248.2)

Total: 109th (446.9)

3rd downs: 85th (41.6%)

Red zone: 78th (85.4%)

Team

Penalties: 75th (6.27)

Turnover margin: 48th (plus-0.09)


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3 questions facing CU

1. Did the bye week help the Buffs?

All week, CU has believed that having last week off was a benefit for them to get healthy and also give them extra time to prepare for the Utes. If it did help, the Buffs should be able to get off to a strong start and build some early momentum.

2. Can the Buffs win the battle on the ground?

CU's last two opponents - Arizona State and Southern Cal - have limited the Buffs to just 109 and 110 rushing yards, respectively. That's two of CU's lowest rushing totals in conference play. Utah, meanwhile, has been held below 120 yards six times. The Utes are 1-5 when the opponent has more rushing yards, and the Buffs are 2-5 when they are outgained on the ground.

3. How will the defense contain Tyler Huntley?

The Utes' sophomore quarterback is among the nation's leaders in total offense per game, and CU has had trouble containing dual-threat quarterbacks. The Buffs will need to limit Huntley's effectiveness.

Bottom line: It's pretty simple for CU — win and go to a bowl game, lose and go home. Even at 6-6, reaching a bowl game is big for this program, as it's been 12 years since CU last went bowling on consecutive seasons.

Utes at a glance

Record: 5-6, 2-6 Pac-12

Last week: Lost at Washington, 33-30

Statistical leaders

Passing

Tyler Huntley, So.: 187-for-286, 2,246 yards, 15 TD, 10 INT

Troy Williams, Sr.: 45-for-86, 631 yards, 2 TD, 4 INT

Rushing

Zack Moss, So: 168 att., 827 yards, 7 TD

Tyler Huntley, So.: 143 att., 470 yards, 4 TD

Devonta'e Henry-Cole, So.: 44 att., 187 yards, 2 TD

Receiving

Darren Carrington II, Sr.: 60 catches, 854 yards, 6 TD

Raelon Singleton, Jr.: 32 catches, 425 yards, 4 TD

Samson Nacua, Fr.: 27 catches, 261 yards, 1 TD

Tackles

LB Kavika Luafatasaga, Sr.: 72 tackles (35 solo)

LB Sunia Tauteoli, Sr.: 62 tackles (27 solo)

DB Marquise Blair, Jr.: 48 tackles (35 solo)

Where they rank

How the Utes rank nationally:

Offense

Scoring: 64th (29.1)

Rushing: 85th (147.7)

Passing: 40th (263.3)

Total: 54th (411.0)

3rd downs: 102nd (34.5%)

Red zone: 50th (86.5%)

Defense

Scoring: 46th (24.9)

Rushing: 38th (141.3)

Passing: 56th (215.7)

Total: 33rd (357.0)

3rd downs: 68th (39.0%)

Red zone: 92nd (86.8%)

Team

Penalties: 110th (7.36)

Turnover margin: 78th (minus-0.18)

3 questions facing Utah

1. Are the Utes able to bounce back from a heartbreaker?

A week ago, Utah had Washington beat going into the final minutes, and gave up 10 points in the final 58 seconds. It was Utah's fourth one-score loss of the season. If that loss lingers, the Utes could struggle out of the gate. If they've moved on, their chances of a win are better.

2. Will special teams be a difference maker?

Utah has one of the nation's top kickers (Matt Gay) and one of the nation's top punters (Mitch Wishnowsky). They've got a head coach with a track record of running fakes in the kicking game. If the game is close, Utah's special teams could tip the scales in the Utes' favor.

3. Can the defense limit CU's passing game?

Buffs' quarterback Steven Montez has been clicking lately and putting up big numbers. He's also been on target with the deep ball of late. The Utes, meanwhile, rank third in the Pac-12 in pass efficiency defense. If they're able to play well in the secondary, they can limit CU's effectiveness on offense.

Bottom line: Exactly the same as CU. Win and get to a bowl game, lose and go home. The Utes are seeking their fourth consecutive bowl appearance and seeking their 11th bowl in 13 years with Whittingham.

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