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Colorado Buffaloes Vs. Oregon Ducks: Key Match-Ups

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CU opens as huge underdogs to the Ducks from Oregon, which means that we can all expect an UPSET! Okay, probably not, but let's take a look at the key match-ups anyway

Kirby Lee-US PRESSWIRE

I know I'm supposed to be The Ralphie Report's eternal optimist, but I think I've OD'ed on it this year. This game will be tough to watch (unless you like to watch how exciting and ridiculously fast Oregon's offense is), and it will only highlight our lack of speed on offense. Let's look at both sides of the ball, though, to see where we need to see our Buffaloes shine.

Offense:

  • Colorado's Running Game vs. Oregon's Preposterous Speed - We won't be able to get to the edge against the Ducks. Their linebackers are far too good and fast. So our best bet to move the ball against them will be a power game in between the numbers. We may have the ability to do this, but it's going to take a heavy dose of Christian Powell and some strong running from the rest of the tailbacks to get it done, as well as some great efforts from Alex Wood at fullback and the tight ends.
  • Colorado's Passing Game in the middle of the field vs Duck-speed - Sensing a trend here? Speaking of the tight ends, we need Nick Kasa, DaVaughn Thornton, Vincent Hobbs and the rest to really be productive and effective on Saturday. While our wide receivers are at a huge speed disadvantage to the Oregon DBs, our TEs are actually pretty athletic and may be able to challenge the defenders in the middle of the field. At least, I hope so.
  • Jordan Webb vs. Good Decisions - There is no margin for error against these guys. Mistakes will lead to quick TDs just about every time. No turnovers, no forcing throws, no holding the ball way too long. We need him to have a very smart game to be able to keep up with Chip Kelly and the boys.

Defense:

  • CU's Safeties vs. Getting Fooled - Simply put: don't get fooled. Oregon uses a lot of misdirection up front, so our guys need to be extra-aware of where the ball is going. Just about every player on the Oregon offense is faster than anyone we have on defense, so if they get a step ahead of anyone, they're going to score. We can limit them and force them to string out their drives, hoping to create turnovers or mistakes, but we can't let them score quickly on each drive. That's a recipe for giving up 100+ points.
  • The CU Defensive Line vs. Oregon's Precision Up Front - Contrary to popular belief, a defense can slow down the Ducks. It takes defensive penetration and a stout front seven. I don't know if we're going to get the kind of penetration we need, but we do have some talent up front. If guys can win their matchups in the trenches, that will go a long way towards disrupting the Oregon flow.
  • CU vs. Tackling - If we're able to get to the ball carriers, we need to wrap them up. Too many times you'll see a defender actually get to an Oregon back or receiver but miss on the tackle. That's disheartening to a defense, and we know how quickly our defense can fall apart when things start to pile up against them.

Special Teams Note:

  • Just kick it away from all Oregon returners. Please. They're as dangerous as anyone in the nation here and we need to prevent anything