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Key matchups for Saturday’s game between the CU Buffs and Utah Utes

Colorado kicker James Stefanou has been strong on field goals all season.
Cliff Grassmick / Staff Photographer
Colorado kicker James Stefanou has been strong on field goals all season.

CU running back Phillip Lindsay vs. Utah’s front seven

Lindsay has had a sensational year for the Buffaloes, but he’s been held to just 148 yards on 43 carries the past two games combined (although he has scored three touchdowns in those games). Getting him going will be huge for the Buffs. Utah ranks fourth in the Pac-12 in run defense, allowing just 141.3 yards per game.

CU’s defense vs. Utah QB Tyler Huntley

The Buffs have had trouble defending dual threat quarterbacks, such as Arizona’s Khalil Tate, Arizona State’s Manny Wilkins and USC’s Sam Darnold. Huntley can be just as dangerous and the Buffs have to keep track of him all night.

CU corner Isaiah Oliver vs. Utah receiver Darren Carrington

Both players have been hobbled by injuries lately, so it’ll be interesting to see if they play, or how much. But, if they’re both ready to go, it’ll be a fun battle. Oliver is one of the best corners in the conference, while Carrington is one of the top receivers.

CU’s kickers vs. Utah’s kickers

This has been the best season CU’s had in a while from its kicking game. James Stefanou has been exceptional on field goals, while punter Alex Kinney has had his best season. As good as they’ve been, Utah’s kickers are the best in the Pac-12. Kicker Matt Gay leads the country in field goals (25) and punter Mitch Wishnowsky is among the top 10 nationally. Both are finalists for postseason awards. This game could come down to which team is better in the kicking game.

Contact staff writer Brian Howell at or

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