In three games for Colorado this year, the undefeated Buffaloes are averaging 41 points and 494 yards per game. The passing game is averaging 289.3 yards per game and the running game is averaging 204.3 yards per game. While we were expecting an uptempo, fast paced UCLA offense this year, 10 of CU’s 19 offensive scoring drives this year have taken less than two minutes off the clock. The only way you get stats like that is if you have a fast paced offense and explosive plays. The Colorado Buffaloes have both.
While CU coaches are still mixing and matching combinations on the offensive line. The group that has received the most snaps on Colorado's offensive line includes starting center Colby Pursell, guards Kary Kutsch and Jacob Moretti, team captain and right tackle Aaron Haigler, and left tackle William Sherman who has quickly received more snaps each game and might get his first start this Friday against the UCLA Bruins. This is a group that offensive line coach Klayton Adams is still toying with. UCLA will hopefully be able to take advantage of this group and put some much-needed pressure on Buffs’ quarterback Steven Montez.
Montez is definitely playing at a high level after three games. Big and athletic are the words that UCLA’s coach Chip Kelly used to describe Montez earlier this week. Montez is eighth in the nation and first in the Pac-12 in completion percentage before last weekend’s games, having connected on 69 of his 94 attempts (73.4 percent) for eight touchdowns and two interceptions. UCLA’s DBs are definitely going to be tested this Friday night.
Colorado has three running backs that get most of the carries and that group is headed by Travon McMillian. McMillian is second in the Pac-12 in rushing with 290 yards despite carrying the ball just 33 times. He is also leading the conference in yards per carry with 8.8.
Beau Bisharat is Colorado’s “do everything” back. Buffs’ co-offensive coordinator Darrin Chiaverini said, “Beau is one of those guys who’s a complete back. He can catch, he knows protections and he’s a physical guy.”
Kyle Evans is another CU back that has received 29 carries for 112 yards.
Colorado has an explosive group of wide receivers. They are currently tied for second in the Pac-12 with 11 plays of 30 yards or longer. Laviska Shenault Jr., K.D. Nixon, and Tony Brown are the main group that account for the explosive plays this offense is becoming known for.
Shenault is currently leading the Pac-12 and the nation in receiving yards per game with 151.7. He is the receiver that they use to line up all over the field. He even lines up as the wildcat quarterback on some goal-line packages. Shenault is a big, physical receiver that could give UCLA match-up problems on Friday. Nixon pulled in a huge 46-yard TD reception against Nebraska and currently has 17 receptions for 181 yards. Last week against New Hampshire, Brown pulled down a 53-yard catch.
There’s this thing at CU called, “Folsom Fast”. CU’s practice pace is fast because they know that whoever comes into Folsom will struggle with the altitude and they want to be able to gas opposing defenses. This game is shaping up to be a really tough task for the Bruins.
UCLA will have to get pressure on Montez and try to slow down the pace of this offense. So, our group of freshmen defensive linemen have a tall task playing at Folsom Field for the first time. Hopefully, Jaelan Phillips is 100% and ready to go, and Keisean Lucier-South also plays well. UCLA’s DBs are also going to be put to the test and, without pressure on Montez, it could be a long night on Folsom Field this Friday night.