COLUMBUS, OH - SEPTEMBER 24: Chidera Uzo-Diribe #9 of the Colorado Buffaloes throws down quarterback Braxton Miller #5 of the Ohio State Buckeyes after Miller made a completion in the second half at Ohio Stadium on September 24, 2011 in Columbus, Ohio. Uzo-Diribe was assessed a roughing the quarterback penalty on the play. (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)
NR (Coaches Poll)
NR (Coaches Poll)
Uh, Lets Improve Special Teams Play
I probably don't need to write any more keys after this one. The Buffs were awful on special teams last week against Ohio State. Five special teams plays allowed the Buckeyes to start in Colorado territory whether it was muffed punts, poor punts, kick off returns or bad punt coverage. Jon Embree said he has no choice to put his top players on special teams because the backups were getting it done. Washington State has a much more potent offense than Ohio State did so allowing the Cougs a short field could lead to a rout.
Show Up at the Beginning of the Game
Starting slow continues to be a major problem for this Colorado offense. CU has yet to score a touchdown in the first quarter and have only scored two touchdowns in the first half over the first four games. In the three games the Buffs lost, they were down 17-0, 16-6 and 20-7 respectively at halftime.On the flip side, Washington St. scores points in bunches in the first half. QB Marshall Lobbestael has been very strong at the start of games. Wazzu has outscored its first three opponents 92-14 in the first half.
Against Ohio State, Colorado went three-and-out four times to start the game which put the defense in a precarious spot. The offense needs to at least establish some drives against a Washington State defense that allowed 500 yards to San Diego State, 227 of which came on the ground.
If you listened to our podcast, we believe the Buffs have some opportunities to have success against this Wazzu defense.
Get Pressure on Lobbestael
San Diego State sacked Lobbestael six times two weeks ago in the only Cougars loss this year. San Diego State only has three other sacks over the other three games it has played so it isn't like the Aztecs are stellar pass rushers. Colorado should have some opportunities to get to Lobbestael who isn't a very mobile quarterback. More important, with injuries to cornerbacks Parker Orms and Travis Sandersfeld, the Buffs are very thin at the position. The less time Lobbestael has to throw to WR Marquess Wilson, one of the premier receivers in college football, the better.
Limit the Big Play
Washington State has two playmakers in WR Marquess Wilson and RB Rickey Galvin. Galvin is the most explosive of the Cougar running backs averaging 8.4 yards per carry. He only has 23 carries this year but when he does get the ball watch out.
Wilson is one of the best wide receivers in the Pac-12. He currently leads the nation in yards per game at 143. He exploded against San Diego State, catching six passes for 236 yards and two touchdowns. His two touchdowns went 80 and 78 yards. For his career, Wilson has seven games of 100-plus receiving yards in his 15 career games.
Stop the Penalties
Colorado ranks 118th (out of 120) in penalties per game at 9.5 and 120th in penalty yards with 88.25 per game.