Colorado Buffaloes Vs. Stanford Cardinal: Key Match-Ups

Ezra Shaw

Colorado, in the midst of a seriously rough stretch of their schedule, get a break when they face the... oh, never mind. BUT, the Stanford Cardinal have been playing down to their opponents at times this year. Is this the week it bites them in the tush?

Apparently, the Buffaloes showed some "fight" against Oregon's reserves in the second half last week. Is that something we can build on? I certainly hope so. Because this is the one game in this stretch of truly difficult games in 2012 where we can hope to push a team down the stretch. I know, you are probably laughing at me right now, but Stanford has been letting less talented team keep games close(ish) all year. They are very good (they ain't ranked that high for nothing...or, well, maybe they are, but that's an argument against the rankings), but they have shown a propensity for playing down to their opponents. Let's take a look at where we can hope to do some damage.

Offense:

  • Feeding The Young Man The Ball vs. Stanford's Defense - They're good, but they can be run on. Christian Powell needs to run angry and stay on his feet. This is less about the Cardinal and more about one of the few effective facets of our offense. Our line may have issues in a number of areas, but they've done enough at times for Powell to find a hole and to pick up yards. They need to give the rock to the kid as often as he's able, to wear down Stanford's defense and open up some opportunities for match-up #2
  • CU's Tight Ends vs. Stanford's Talented Linebackers - Stanford has a very nice crew of LBs, but we're finding that we actually do have some talent at tight end. The blocking is still coming along, but the receiving is there (as long as Vincent Hobbs can hang on to the passes thrown his way and Nick Kasa can keep from taking too many big hits), and they can make some things happen. Whoever is at quarterback (see Match Up #3) needs to target these guys as often as possible, as they are some of the only playmakers on offense.
  • Whoever CU Starts at QB vs. Playing QB - We need better play out of our quarterback. Simple as that. It's been stated that it might be someone besides Jordan Webb, and that might help, but who knows. I have a feeling it will be Nick Hirschman after all, but I'm less concerned with who it is and more with how they play.

Defense:

  • CU's Front Seven vs. A Running Team - We haven't faced many teams that line up like Stanford will on offense, so we'll see how our defenders react to a change of pace. The Cardinal will run, line up with heavy sets and target the tight ends. Theoretically they've spent a bunch of time practicing against a squad that does this (our offense), but who knows if that will pay off. We have to hope that it does.
  • Colorado Defensive Backs vs. More Shuffling - The young guys are going to have to continue to be counted on if Parker Orms is indeed going to miss extended time (or if he's done altogether after consecutive concussions), and they're going to need to tackle. At times they have, but not with enough consistency, and they need to be ready for teams to continue to target them in all phases of the game. There is no solution to this except for them to improve.
  • Greg Brown vs. Running a Defense - We're playing about as poorly overall on defense as a team can play. There are a myriad of reasons for this, but someone has to stop the bleeding and in the end, it's up to the man in charge. Stanford is a team that can let its foot off the gas pedal and they may be shuffling quarterbacks, so if we had a shot at surprising folks in any game this year, this game may be it. Can Brown get his unit figured out in time? I guess we'll see.

Special Teams Note:

  • Really? A fumble on a kickoff return? And that was from the 'veteran' back there. Just let the new kids go out there and give it a go. Maybe one of them will surprise us.
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