Colorado defensive lineman Leo Jackson III didn’t hesitate this week when asked what the Buffaloes needed to do against UCLA quarterback Josh Rosen.
“Pressure,” Jackson said. “He’s a serious quarterback when you let him stay in the pocket.”
Like most quarterbacks, Rosen, a true freshmen, has been flustered at times this season when he’s under attack from the defense.
The problem for Bruins opponents is that applying that pressure isn’t easy.
UCLA has allowed a conference-low eight sacks this season. Five of those came in the Bruins’ back-to-back losses to Arizona and Stanford.
The Buffs have generated 19 sacks this season (fifth in the Pac-12) and will do their best to try to make life difficult for Rosen.
“We’re going to try to put 13 guys out there and really confuse him on the coverages,” CU head coach Mike MacIntyre joked this week.
“We will do some things to try to confuse him. We definitely have to confuse him, we definitely have to make him feel uncomfortable. If he’s comfortable and he knows right where he’s going, he’ll make a lot of plays.”
• CU and UCLA combined for 1,009 yards of offense (509 for UCLA, 500 for CU) in the Bruins’ 40-37 double-OT win in Boulder last year.
• CU generally doesn’t get big plays on punt returns and likely won’t this week either. The Buffs rank 107th nationally with just 4.2 yards per punt return, while UCLA is second in the country, holding opponents to an average of a half-yard loss on each return.
• Kick returns could be a different story. The Buffs are 29th with a 23.6 average, and UCLA ranks 124th, allowing 28.5 yards per return.
• The next time CU quarterback Sefo Liufau and receiver Nelson Spruce hook up for a pass, it’ll be their 200th together. Spruce has caught 195 passes from Liufau, and Liufau has caught four from Spruce.
• Spruce ranks third in Pac-12 history with 256 catches and needs just four more to become the all-time leader. Mike Thomas (259 at Arizona, 2005-08) holds the record.
• CU has lost 19 in a row against ranked opponents.
• In UCLA’s last four games, receivers Jordan Payton and Thomas Duarte have combined for 50 catches for 744 yards and eight touchdowns.
• UCLA has 147 career starts among its offensive linemen while CU has 83.