Cliff Grassmick / Staff Photographer
Cliff Grassmick / Staff Photographer
Buffaloes at a glance
Record: 3-3, 0-3 Pac-12
Last week: Lost to Arizona 45-42
Steven Montez, So.: 126-for-196, 1,523 yards, 10 TD, 6 INT
Phillip Lindsay, Sr.: 150 att., 810 yards, 8 TD
Steven Montez, So.: 65 att., 198 yards, 1 TD
Beau Bisharat, So.: 16 att., 44 yards
Bryce Bobo, Sr.: 31 catches, 306 yards, 3 TD
Shay Fields, Sr.: 28 catches, 336 yards, 2 TD
Devin Ross, Sr.: 23 catches, 327 yards, 1 TD
LB Rick Gamboa, Jr.: 61 tackles (20 solo)
LB Drew Lewis, Jr.: 60 tackles (17 solo)
DL Leo Jackson III, Sr.: 37 tackles (28 solo)
Where they rank
How the Buffs rank nationally:
Scoring: 74th (28.3)
Rushing: 57th (176.2)
Passing: 42nd (263.8)
Total: 45th (440.0)
3rd downs: 38th (44.2%)
Red zone: 46th (87.0%)
Scoring: 44th (22.7)
Rushing: 88th (181.5)
Passing: 55th (218.7)
Total: 76th (400.2)
3rd downs: 77th (39.0%)
Red zone: 19th (72.2%)
Penalties: 111th (7.83)
Turnover margin: 48th (plus-0.33)
3 questions facing CU
1. Can this team get on the winning track?
After three consecutive losses — two of which the Buffs could have won — this team is reeling and in desperate need of a victory. Winning on the road is never easy, but this might the ideal road trip for CU. The opportunity is there to get a win and start the second half of the season on the right note.
2. How will the defense bounce back?
Arizona quarterback Khalil Tate made the Buffs’ defense look like a JV squad last week. He had no trouble burning them with his legs and arm. Oregon State doesn’t have an athlete like Tate, but it does have some weapons that can hurt CU. The Buffs can’t let Oregon State’s run game get going, and they need to build some confidence early in the game.
3. Will someone other than Phillip Lindsay make plays on offense?
CU’s talented receivers have been quiet lately. Slot Jay MacIntyre has been the most productive receiver the last two weeks and he’s averaging just 64 yards in those games. Getting their senior receivers — Bryce Bobo, Shay Fields and Devin Ross — going would be big for this offense. Some unexpected production, from players such as Beau Bisharat, Laviska Shenault or Chris Bounds, would help, too.
Bottom line: CU’s season is essentially on the line in this game. Finding three wins to get to bowl eligibility will be tough, and this is the easiest game left on the schedule. If the Buffs can’t win this one, it’s going to be a tough second half of the season. Winning this game could regain the team confidence and be a spark for the second half.
Beavers at a glance
Record: 1-5, 0-3 Pac-12
Last week: Lost at USC, 38-10
*Jake Luton, Jr.: 83-for-135, 853 yards, 4 TD, 4 INT
Darell Garretson, Sr.: 29-for-53, 291 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT
Ryan Nall, Jr.: 62 att., 341 yards, 4 TD
Artavis Pierce, So.: 38 att., 197 yards, 1 TD
Thomas Tyner, Sr.: 22 att., 95 yards, 1 TD
Isaiah Hodgins, Fr.: 19 catches, 183 yards, 1 TD
Noah Togiai, So.: 18 catches, 201 yards, 1 TD
Jordan Villamin, Sr.: 18 catches, 196 yards, 1 TD
LB Manase Hungalu, Sr.: 48 tackles (26 solo)
S David Morris, Fr.: 42 tackles (29 solo)
S Jalen Moore, So.: 35 tackles (24 solo)
* — Luton will not play against CU
Where they rank
How the Beavers rank nationally:
Scoring: 114th (19.3)
Rushing: 101st (128.8)
Passing: 94th (192.3)
Total: 116th (321.2)
3rd downs: 75th (38.3%)
Red zone: 83rd (80.0%)
Scoring: 127th (45.0)
Rushing: 94th (199.2)
Passing: 120th (294.7)
Total: 121st (493.8)
3rd downs: 128th (53.2%)
Red zone: 76th (85.7%)
Penalties: 66th (6.33)
Turnover margin: 115th (minus-1.17)
3 questions facing Oregon State
1. What is the mental state of the Beavers this week?
Going 1-5 and getting beat by four-plus touchdowns nearly every week is tough enough on a team. Having head coach Gary Andersen abruptly resign on Monday was another hit to OSU. Players and interim head coach Cory Hall said they’ll use this as a chance to bond as a team. Whether that’s enough for them for put together an inspired performance remains to be seen.
2. How productive can the offense be against CU?
OSU ranks near the bottom of the country in almost all the major offensive categories, including the most important one. They are 114th in scoring, at 19.3 points per game. Although the Beavers have three quality running backs (led by Ryan Nall), the run game hasn’t been strong. Quarterback play has also been spotty. Getting the run game going will be critical for the Beavers. A whopping 17 turnovers have killed this offense, too. Nationally, only San Jose State (24) has had more.
3. Can the defense stop CU?
As bad as the OSU offense has been, the defense has been worse. No Power 5 conference team has given up more points than OSU (45.0 per game). They haven’t stopped the run. They haven’t stopped the pass. It’s going to take an inspired effort from this group to give them a chance.
Bottom line: Although the Beavers are mathematically alive for reaching a bowl game, pride is really the only thing left to play for. This has been a lost season, but for the long-term health of the program, they need to gain some confidence and play better in the second half of the season. This is arguably OSU’s best chance at a win.