Colorado Buffaloes vs. Washington Huskies: Key match-ups

Ron Chenoy-US PRESSWIRE

Off the heels of a solid performance at the Rose Bowl, Colorado looks to score an upset in Seattle

Buff fans are probably tired of hearing it, but Saturday night's effort against No. 16 UCLA was brimming with encouraging moments, moments which Colorado must build upon in order to capture their first Pac-12 win of the season. Next up for the Buffaloes is a trip to Seattle to take on Steve Sarkisian's Washington Huskies, who snapped a three-game losing streak last weekend by knocking off California, 41-17.

Offense:

  • Sefo Liufau vs. Homecoming Nerves - Liufau played what he called his best game as a Buff against the Bruins. Now, the true freshman signal caller from Tacoma returns to his home state. However, Mike MacIntyre isn't too worried about Liufau's homecoming affecting his performance on the field. "He's so even-keeled that I don't really think it'll bother him. And I don't think he has a girlfriend either so, I think we're okay there," said MacIntyre.
  • Offensive Line vs. Dead-Ball Penalties - Nothing takes the wind out of a drive's sails like unnecessary dead-ball penalties. The Buffs committed three dead-ball penalties deep in UCLA territory that almost certainly cost them points. Needless to say, CU's paper-thin margin of error doesn't afford them the luxury of giving up easy points, especially on the road.
  • Christian Powell and Michael Adkins II vs. Washington's Run Defense - The Huskies give up 177.1 yards of rushing offense per game, which ranks 78th nationally. If the Buffs have the services of Adkins (who is still listed as day-to-day with a concussion) look for them to take advantage of Washington's weak run defense, rather than challenge their much stiffer secondary.

Defense

  • Colorado Run Defense vs. Bishop Sankey - For the second time in three weeks, Colorado faces the daunting task of shutting down one of the nation's top running backs. Arizona's Ka'Deem Carey, who came in to the Wildcats' matchup with Colorado as the NCAA's leading rusher, was held to a modest 121 yards - not chump change, but nowhere near the 370 yards he racked up last year against CU. Now, the Buffs must keep the nation's third leading rusher in check. Sankey tallied 241 rushing yards against California last Saturday - hopefully that serves as a warning and not as a sign of things to come for the Buffs' defense
  • Colorado Secondary vs. Austin Seferian-Jenkins -While Seferian-Jenkins hasn't been having his most stellar season in Seattle thus far, he still remains a huge (literally, at 6-foot-6 and 276 pounds) threat in the red zone. With 17 career touchdowns, by far the most ever from a UW tight end, Seferian-Jenkins is a favorite of quarterback Keith Price's inside the 20.
  • Colorado Defense vs. Finishing Plays - One struggle that MacIntyre highlighted from his defense's performance against UCLA was an inability to finish plays. Whether it's taking a wrong angle and giving up 20 yards instead of three, or diving to break up a pass, only to miss and allow the receiver to run 50 yards after the catch for a touchdown, CU must finish their plays and do the little things correctly on the defensive side of the ball.

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