NR (Coaches Poll)
November 19th, 2011
NR (Coaches Poll)
Today, the Colorado Buffaloes try to get the monkey off the back against a UCLA team that is still fighting for a Pac-12 South title. The Buffs have lost 22 straight on the road dating back to 2007 but coming off a senior day blowout win against Arizona last week, Colorado is healthier and look to be playing at a higher level than they have all year. Yes, Arizona isn't Oregon or Stanford but we saw plenty of signs last week to hope they can bring down the streak at the Rose Bowl. Colorado vaulted itself last week on the backs of their seniors, UCLA will try to do the same today as it is their senior day. A win today will be a huge step forward and give Colorado a chance to finish the year and go into 2012 on a three game winning streak.
The Keys for today are simple. We have had 22 games in a row to think about what the Buffs need to do to get a win on the road, today it feels like a possibility. We may be putting too much into last week's win but I gotta feeling:
Perform To The Level Of Expectations
For the first time in a long time this year, Colorado has some expectations to live up to. People are giving the Buffs a shot, the team believes they can win, something we haven't been able to say in a long time. But talk is cheap, guaranteeing victories and claiming the Rose Bowl is where the streak will end is just words. We know all too well that words have done nothing for this program the past five years. It's time to perform to some level of expectations and if possible, exceed them. Winning today would be performing to expectations, taking a step in the right direction.
No Excuses For A Slow Start
Part of the problem on the road for the Colorado Buffaloes is they start slow, incredibly slow. They have looked like they didn't want to be there, scared to make mistakes and lethargic. I would be surprised if Jon Embree doesn't have this team believing today. We will know very early if this is a new team or if this is the same old team who will get behind away from Folsom field and lose their 23rd straight on the road.
Seniors, An Encore Would Be Nice
Seniors stepped up last week and led their team to victory. Tyler Hansen, Rodney Stewart, Toney Clemons, Ryan Miller, Travis Sandersfeld, Jason Espinoza, the list could go on. This group of guys were incredible against Arizona. For Colorado to come out victorious today, the seniors will once again need to be the catalyst. The embattled class could leave their lasting mark on the program by turning the page on the past and stepping forward to the future. This streak is a bad nightmare of what we have been the past few years and moving on from this is important.
Once Again, Stop the Penalties, Limit the Turnovers, Win the Special Teams Battle
If you had to name three things that have continually prevented the Buffs from winning on the road, it would be penalties, special teams and turnovers. You saw it at Stanford this year with a block kick returned for a score and multiple 10+ penalty games. A sign of a team growing up is doing the little things right and executing.
UCLA ranks last in the Pac-12 in rush defense, giving up over 190 yards a contest. The last two weeks, UCLA has allowed over 200 yards on the ground. Rodney Stewart sparked the Buffs last week against Arizona, going for 181 yards and three scores. Control the clock, win the line of scrimmage and take the air out of the Rose Bowl