Colorado plays host to No. 16 Oregon State on Saturday at Folsom Field in a crucial Pac-12 matchup. Both teams are hoping to rekindle some early-season momentum after deflating losses last weekend. Oregon State was eyeing a Pac-12 title game berth before suffering its second conference loss to Arizona, while Colorado remains two wins short of bowl eligibility after coming up short against UCLA.
The Buffaloes started the season 3-0 in Year 1 of the Deion Sanders era, but have since dropped four of their last five games, including the 28-16 loss to the Bruins last week. Colorado got off to a hot start against UCLA and forced four first-half turnovers before the home team put their foot on the gas in the second half to pull away.
As for Oregon State, they’re coming off a 27-24 loss in Tucson that puts them behind Washington, USC and Oregon in the Pac-12 standings. With games on the horizon against Washington and Oregon during the final month of the season, the Beavers likely need to run the table and get some help to reach the Pac-12 title game.
Colorado vs. Oregon State: Need to know
Colorado’s defense is showing improvement: The Colorado defense has been an easy punching bag this season because when you look at the raw numbers, the Buffaloes have been one of the worst performing statical units in the Pac-12. Last weekend against UCLA, the defense stepped up and gave them a chance to knock off a ranked opponent. The Colorado offense couldn’t take advantage of great field position on numerous different occasions and finished with one of its lowest statical performances of the season. If the defense plays up to the level they did last weekend and the offense shows up, the Buffaloes will have a chance of pulling off a home upset.
Damien Martinez is Oregon State’s X-factor: The Beavers offense starts with the run game. They should have an opportunity to take advantage of a lackluster Colorado run defense that ranks No. 10 in the conference, giving up 165 yards per game on the ground. Oregon State’s ground attack starts with Martinez, who enters the weekend as the No. 2 rusher in the conference. With Colorado’s explosive offense on the other side, controlling the time of possession and keeping Shedeur Sanders off the field will be critical.
Protecting Sanders: The biggest key to the game for Colorado is protecting its star quarterback. Sanders has been sacked more than any quarterback in the country and was brought down seven times against UCLA. Oregon State ranks No. 3 in the Pac-12 in sacks (26) and it could lead to another long night for Sanders in the pocket if his offensive line doesn’t offer proper protection. The elder Sanders criticized his offensive line last weekend and said Colorado would need to “get new lineman.” For now, the Buffaloes will have to hope their current group meets the moment.
How to watch Colorado vs. Oregon State live
Date: Saturday, Nov. 4 | Time: 10 p.m. ET
Location: Folsom Field — Boulder, Colorado
TV: ESPN | Live stream: fubo (Try for free)
Colorado vs. Oregon State prediction, picks
Odds via SportsLine consensus
It goes without saying that this is a must-win for both teams for different reasons. If Oregon State can run the table during the final four games of the season, it has a legit chance of reaching the Pac-12 title game for the first time ever. On the Colorado side, an upset win over the Beavers gives them a clear path toward bowl eligibility with two of the final three games coming against unranked teams. With so much on the line, this game should be close and low scoring. Colorado with the points seems like the safe bet. Pick: Colorado +13.5
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