It’s senior day in Boulder, and your Colorado Buffaloes face a familiar foe. Utah lost their starting QB and RB (Zack Moss, who destroyed CU), and they still beat Oregon last Saturday. We talked to AJ Woods to see how they did that and what to expect today.
1. Utah has dealt with some rotten injury luck at QB and RB this year. Who is stepping up at those positions and what can CU fans experience expect out of them?
AJ Woods: We have a redshirt freshman in Jason Shelley that had his first real meaningful snaps last week against Oregon, so its hard to say for sure he’s as good as our previous starter (Tyler Huntley) but he looked really good in that week’s win. The game plan doesn’t change too much, as he is a dual threat quarterback but his arm is still a major weapon. Arman Shyne, Utah’s second string running back is a different story. He was more or less a co-starter two seasons ago along with Zack Moss, but was injured before the season, leading to Moss taking over full-time. He’s just as capable as Moss, though maybe not as aggressive. With the Utes o-line as good as it is, almost anyone is going to be successful running the ball.
2. The defensive line at Utah always has studs. Have they held up to expectations this year?
The defensive line is as good as advertised. Utah’s rush defense has been one of the best in the nation this season Bradlee Anae and Maxs Tupai have been dominant at defensive end and Leki Fotu is a force at right tackle. Considering Montez has been sacked as much as he has this season, I’m afraid for him this weekend against that line.
3. How can CU beat Utah on Saturday?
With this only being his second start, a strong pass rush against Shelley might rattle him enough to make some mistakes that will benefit the Buffs, especially if the weather is a factor.
4. Who are the players to know on offense? Defense?
Wide receiver Brittain Covey is the heartbeat of the Utah offense. He’s dangerous in the slot, deep down field and in the middle for a dump pass. He’s undersized, but his speed and field vision make him absolutely deadly. Defensively, Chase Hanson and Cody Barton are probably the best linebacking duo in the conference. One of those two is in on almost every defensive play.
5. What is your prediction for the game?
I’m predicting a low scoring affair. Utah really struggled to find the end zone last week, and it if wasn’t for a career day from kicker Matt Gay, Oregon would have left Rice-Eccles with a big win. Unfortunately, Colorado doesn’t appear to be playing very inspired football right now, but I’m expecting a better showing after the dramatic week that you’ve had out there. If Utah’s red zone struggles continue this week, a 17-14 Utah victory is very possible.