With a 3-1 start that included a drubbing of rival Colorado State and a thrilling victory over the big bad Bulldogs from the SEC (Georgia, not Mississippi State) a decent bowl game seemed like an almost certainty for the Colorado Buffalos. Four weeks later and the Buffs (3-5, 0-4) have lost four straight conference games , with a trip to Lincoln looming on the horizon, CU desperately needs a win against the Kansas Jayhawks (2-6, 0-4) to even have a chance at a bowl game.
The Jayhawks and the Buffalos have a ton in common. Both teams have lost four in a row and neither team has been able to notch a win in conference. Both teams have suffered from inconsistent quarterback play and a general lack of identity on offense. Neither team is very good on offense or defense. Kansas is averaging a miniscule 16.1 points a games (112th nationally) and giving up a whopping 33.1 ppg (100th nationally). The Buffs haven’t fared that much better but are averaging 18.8 points a game and giving up 27.8 ppg.
It all adds up to the fact that this is a matchup between two teams that aren’t very good. The Buffs have better talent but that hasn’t translated to the field on the road this season as the Buffalos have been beaten down outside the state of Colorado. True, they were blown out by teams that were much better than Kansas (Oklahoma, Missouri, etc.) but they haven’t proved they can beat anyone on the road this year and they certainly can’t afford to take Kansas lightly.
Keys to Victory:
#1) Run the ball!
Iowa State victimized the Jayhawks defense for 232 rushing yards last week. In fact everybody except North Dakota State and the 2-6 New Mexico State has run for over 200 yards against KU’s defense. Get the picture? CU needs to run the heck out of the ball. The Buffs running game led by Rodney “Speedy” Stewart needs to get its mojo back and have a big day.
#2) Jump on the Jayhawks early
The Jayhawks big win of the season came against Georgia Tech. The Yellow Jackets ran all over Kansas but KU hung around and won it in the end. Texas A&M, K-State and Baylor all jumped on the Jayhawks earlier and ended up blowing them out. If the Buffs can score a couple of touchdowns early, KU will fold like an old t-shirt.
#3) Show up on the road
Colorado has lost 14 straight road games and 11 straight conference road games. They have played teams tuff at home and been blown out on the road this year. They need to figure out how to take their toughness and attitude at home and use it in Lawrence this Saturday. If they play like they did against Baylor and Texas Tech, they will win. If they play like they did against Missouri and Cal, Dan Hawkins better find a good moving company.
The X Factor: This is Kansas’ last truly winnable game. After this game they play three teams ranked in the top 25, they travel to Nebraska (#7), host Oklahoma State (#17) and play Missouri (#12) in Kansas City. Meaning, they will throw everything they have at CU in order to get one last win. They also remember last year’s stinging 34-30 defeat in Boulder. The Jayhawks came into that game undefeated but, went into a tailspin after the loss and couldn’t muster another victory that season. The Jayhawks will certainly be out for revenge.
The Buffalos must rediscover their dormant running game they will beat Kansas. Fall behind early, give Kansas easy scores and CU will lose this game. The Buffs should beat the Jayhawks because they are a better team. Are they a better team on the road against a highly motivated Kansas team that will be looking for payback? I believe they are but it’s going to be a close one.
CU 27 KU 24
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Written by Matthew Stiles