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BOULDER,CO-September 24: University of Colorado Boulder's ...
Colorado wide receiver Daniel Arias catches a long pass against UCLA on Sept. 24. (Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer)

Colorado Buffaloes scouting report

Head coach: Mike Sanford (interim), 1st season (1-5; 10-21 career)

This season: 1-10, 1-7 Pac-12

Last week: Lost at No. 13 Washington, 54-7

5 Players to Watch

• WR Daniel Arias: Hasn’t played much on offense in the last few games, but perhaps he’ll get an opportunity in his final game. Either way, he will be a key player on special teams. He’s caught 19 passes for 309 yards this season.

• RG Tommy Brown: Has another year of eligibility, but is planning to go through senior day festivities. He’s been a rock in the middle of the line for the Buffs this season.

• LB Josh Chandler-Semedo: A transfer from West Virginia, he’s been great for the Buffs this season. Leads the team with tackles (91), tackles for loss (13) and sacks (3).

• DE Terrance Lang: Sixth-year senior is looking to cap his career with a great performance. This season, he’s had 38 tackles, six tackles for loss and one sack. He also has three pass breakups.

• OLB Jamar Montgomery: He’s played the best football of his career in recent weeks. On the year, he has 21 tackles, four tackles for loss and a sack, as well as a team-high six quarterback pressures.

Colorado offense

In a lot of ways, the Buffs were showing some progress, but that progress was halted last week. They were held to 202 yards and seven points in a blowout loss to Washington. CU has some talented players, but no identity on offense and it’s been a struggle to score all season. Quarterback JT Shrout has been up and down, but he has capable weapons with Montana Lemonious-Craig, RJ Sneed, Brady Russell and others. The major question is whether that group can finally put it together. If they can, the talented running back crew, led by Alex Fontenot and Deion Smith, could be more impactful.

Colorado defense

Like the offense, the Buffs have some talented individuals, but haven’t been able to put together a strong unit. Linebacker Josh Chandler-Semedo, safety Trevor Woods and defensive linemen Jalen Sami and Terrance Lang are among the players who are capable of making big plays. The Buffs, however, simply haven’t been able to stop the opposition this season. They are last in the country in points allowed (42.6 per game) and next-to-last in yards allowed (495.9).

Colorado special teams

Kicker Cole Becker has been about the only consistently good player on the team this season. He’s 11-for-13 on field goals (6-for-6 inside 40 yards) and 17-of-18 on extra points. The Buffs also have some game-breaking potential in the return game with Nikko Reed. They’ve had issues on special teams, though. Walk-on punter Trent Carrizosa is averaging just 40.8 yards per punt and 35.8 net yards per punt.

How Colorado can win

As was the case in the last three games – also against top-15 teams – CU’s formula for a win includes a near-perfect performance on both sides of the ball and forcing the opposition into mistakes. CU likely needs to play its best game of the season just to have a shot. Forcing turnovers would help.

Buffs notables

• This game caps a stretch in which the Buffs are playing four consecutive games against teams ranked in the top 15 of the Associated Press poll for the first time ever. In fact, there are only two other times in which CU has played four in a row against top-25 teams (1973, 2016).

• CU has lost 28 consecutive games against opponents ranked in the top 15 of the Associated Press poll. The last time CU beat a top-15 team was a 27-24 upset of No. 3 Oklahoma on Sept. 29, 2007, in Boulder.

• Going into this weekend, CU’s opponents have a combined winning percentage of .645 (71-39). The only Buffs team that played a tougher schedule was the 1997 squad that faced opponents with a percentage of .669 (81-40). Seven of CU’s 12 opponents are currently ranked in the College Football Playoff top 25 rankings (all of them in the top 21).

• Senior receiver Daniel Arias is set to play in his 53rd career game, which would be the second-highest total in program history. Punter Alex Kinney (2015-19) has the record, with 54 career games. Arias is currently tied with Quinn Sypniewski (2000-05) for second with 52 games.

• A school-record 20 different players have caught at least one pass for the Buffs this season. In the Football Bowl Subdivision this season, only Michigan has had more players with at least one catch, with 21.