The fact that with a healthy Sefo Liufau, the Buffaloes were once up two touchdowns at Michigan should cause a brief moment of concern for the Ducks. However, Liufau’s injury status remaining on the questionable side can allow Oregon a moment of relief.
Without Liufau in the game against Michigan, the Buffaloes had just 15 yards of passing. After going up 28-24, Liufau went out with a “foot-lower leg injury” that has him listed on the day-to-day side of things.
Regardless of his health, this is a Colorado offense that has made strides in the offseason and looks much more poised to make plays this go around. We’re not going to see much new from the Buffs than in years past, as they go with the same spread type style and allow the quarterback to make many run-pass options. Said and done, I expect Liufau to play, this is a huge game for the program and if the latest reports of his practice time in full pads are true he seems good to go.
Two different guys hold the title of “co-offensive coordinator” in Boulder. The first of the two is Darrin Chiaverini who is in his first year in the position. Chiaverini is also the wide receiver coach, which is the same position that he held at Texas Tech for the previous two seasons. After serving in the coordinator position by himself for the past three seasons, it is Brian Lindgren who is the other co-coordinator. Previously he was a part of the staff at San Jose State that averaged 446 yards per game. He is a strong passing game mind and has helped to revamp the passing game in Boulder.
So far this year the Colorado offense is off to a solid start, putting up 42,7 points per game. The best outing came against FCS opponent Idaho State where they put up 56 points. In the early going, the running game has been very solid, as the team has averaged close to 195 yards per game on the ground. The passing game has been very good as well as led by Liufau the team is averaging 305 yards per game through the air.
Okay, so now that we know what happens with Liufau, what happens if he’s unable to go? As things were to stand it would be redshirt freshman Steven Montez who would get the start at quarterback. Although going 0-7 passing against Michigan, on the season so far he has totaled 6-17 on passing attempts for two touchdowns. He is more of a pocket presence as Liufau and doesn’t give quite the same running ability. The latest word is that Liufau is practicing in full pads so it might be safe to assume that he is playing.
Looking at the last two seasons, the Ducks have held Colorado to a combined 34 points. Overall the defense has been good against the Buffaloes, allowing 301 yards last season and 226 yards the season before.
Three players to watch:
Sefo Liufau. #13, senior quarterback, 6’ 4”, 230 lbs.
After recovering from a foot injury, the dual-threat Liufau is set to return as the starting quarterback for Colorado. Liufau had a decent game last year against the Ducks, throwing for 231 yards on 25/42 passing with one touchdown and one interception. He has not thrown an interception yet this season to go along with his six touchdown passes. Also is the team’s second leading rusher in yardage and has one touchdown.
Phillip Lindsay, #23, junior running back, 5' 8", 190 lbs.
Only started in six of 13 games last season, but returns as the team’s leading rusher thanks to his 653 total yards. Oregon held him well last year, only allowing 37 yards on 12 carries. He is a threat to watch in the kick return game; in 2014 he put up 849 total kick return yards. So far he is the team workhorse this season as he has already put up four touchdowns, although his 4.5 yards per carry average isn’t ideal.
Devin Ross, #2, junior wide receiver, 5' 9", 180 lbs.
Wide receiver Shay Fields has been the big play threat for Colorado has he has more yards, but with double the catches and more touchdowns it’s Ross who is the player to watch. His best game so far this season came last week against the Wolverines with his two touchdowns. Last year Oregon held him for two catches and 13 yards.
Depth chart takeaways:
· The depth chart does not list Liufau as the starter
· Two redshirt freshmen starting on the right side of the line
· Plenty of experience at the wide receiver and running back positions.