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Buffaloes at a glance
Record: 5-5, 2-5 Pac-12
Last week: Lost to Washington State, 31-7
Steven Montez, Jr.: 229-for-344, 2,595 yards, 17 TD, 5 INT
Sam Noyer, So.: 4-for-8, 37 yards, 0 TD, 2 INT
Jay MacIntyre, Sr.: 1-for-1, 31 yards
Travon McMillian, Sr.: 167 att., 910 yards, 6 TD
Steven Montez, Jr.: 77 att., 187 yards, 4 TD
Kyle Evans, Sr.: 55 att., 166 yards, 2 TD
Laviska Shenault, So.: 70 catches, 882 yards, 6 TD
KD Nixon, So.: 47 catches, 569 yards, 3 TD
Tony Brown, Jr.: 31 catches, 333 yards, 1 TD
LB Nate Landman, So.: 97 tackles, 12 TFL, 3 sacks, 2 INT
LB Rick Gamboa, Sr.: 79 tackles, 1 INT
DE Mustafa Johnson, So.: 62 tackles, 7.5 sacks, 14.5 TFL
5 Buffs to watch vs. Utah
S Nick Fisher: Injuries have taken a toll on the secondary, with Fisher being the only healthy original starter. Buffs will lean on him to solidify the back end of the defense with so much inexperience around him.
DL Mustafa Johnson: Utah has allowed 63 tackles for loss and 25 sacks (both ranking near the bottom of the Pac-12). Johnson leads the Buffs with 14.5 TFLs and 7.5 sacks, but has just two in the last four games (both against Oregon State).
LB Nate Landman: The sophomore has been CU’s best defensive player all season. He’s also been ejected twice for targeting (including last week). Will that second ejection cause him to play with more caution, or will he as aggressive as usual?
Offensive line: They’re supposed to play as one unit, so we’ll list them as one “player” to watch. The group has obviously had some rough times this season, but if they can play like they did against Arizona State in Week 5, the Buffs’ offense can have a successful day.
WR Laviska Shenault: CU’s best all-around player, Shenault returned from a toe injury last week and had ups (10 catches, 120 total yards) and downs (two drops, one fumble). The downs were uncharacteristic. If he has shaken off the rust, he could be a different maker against the Utes.
Bottom line for CU
Even through a 5-0 start, the Buffs had a slim margin for error. Now at 5-5, the Buffs have almost no margin for error, as they attempt, for the sixth straight week, to achieve bowl eligibility. They’ve been undisciplined and sloppy throughout their five-game losing streak and have to figure out how to play a sharp game from start to finish.
Utes at a glance
Record: 7-3, 5-3 Pac-12
Last week: Defeated Oregon, 32-25
*Tyler Huntley, Jr.,: 150-for 234, 1,788 yards, 12 TD, 6 INT
Jason Shelley, Fr.: 24-for-45, 361 yards, 0 TD, 1 INT
Britain Covey, So.: 3-for-3, 71 yards, 2 TD, 0 INT
*Zack Moss, Jr.: 179 att., 1,092 yards, 11 TD
Armand Shyne, Jr.: 63 att., 340 yards, 2 TD
*Tyler Huntley, Jr.: 108 att., 304 yards, 4 TD
Britain Covey, So.: 54 catches, 603 yards, 1 TD
Samson Nacua, So.: 26 catches, 325 yards, 3 TD
Demari Simpkins, Jr.: 18 catches, 251 yards, 2 TD
LB Chase Hansen, Sr.: 88 tackles, 19 TFL, 5 sacks, 2 INT
LB Cody Barton, Sr.: 83 tackles, 7 TFL, 2.5 sacks, 1 INT
DE Bradlee Anae, Jr.: 30 tackles, 9 TFL, 6 sacks
*Injured and will not play
5 Utes to watch vs. CU
DE Bradlee Anae: Among the Pac-12’s best pass rushers, he’s got six sacks and will test the CU offensive line all day.
WR Britain Covey: An all-around talent, Covey is the leading receiver, but also returns punts and kicks, has run the ball 13 times and has thrown two touchdown passes.
LB Chase Hansen: One of the biggest playmakers in the Pac-12, Hansen seemingly spends half of his time making plays in the backfield, but he can also make plays in pass coverage.
QB Jason Shelley: Replacing the injured Tyler Huntley, the freshman made his first career start last week in a win against Oregon. He will make his first career road start against the Buffs.
RB Armand Shyne: He replaced the injured Zack Moss last week and ran for 170 yards against Oregon. He’s an experienced player with 713 career rushing yards and runs with the same type of power as Moss.
Bottom line for Utah
The Pac-12 South title is on the line for the Utes, who are the only team in the division to never win it. The Utes have come up short in these important games before (including in 2012 against the Buffs), but know that beating the Buffs gives them a shot to finally take the top spot.