How the world can change. Last season Colorado (6-2, 4-1 Pac 12) was experiencing a season that is similar to the one UCLA (3-5, 1-4) is experiencing in 2016. The Buffalos were competitive in some of their games in 2015 but fell short in heartbreaking fashion. The losses kept climbing, but the Buffs played hard and never quit. The hard knocks of 2015 set up 2016, where CU is already bowl bound and playing their best football in years.
CU is currently nationally ranked 21 (AP) and 20 (USA Today), highest the Buffs have been in the rankings since 2003. Balance is Colorado’s calling card. The Buffs are one of only six teams to be ranked in the top 25, in both, offense and defense.
For the first time since entering the Pac 12 the Buffs have scored victories against ASU, Oregon and Stanford. Before this season the Buffs had a cumulative 0-13 record.
Lifetime, the Bruins have dominated the series earning 9-2 record against CU. UCLA is 5-0 against the Buffs since CU joined the Pac 12. The Bruins will hope to keep their streak alive against the Buffalos.
The Buffs are coached Mike MacIntyre, who is entering his fourth season. He was named the 25th head football coach in the school’s history on December 10, 2012, after leading San Jose State to its first 10-win season in 25 years.
Though wins have come hard for MacIntyre, his record as Colorado’s head coach is 10-27, but the improvement of play has shown since the day he took over the helm. His second Buffalo team set over 100 offensive records. MacIntyre has the Buffs playing in all phases of the game.
Offensively the Buffalos are led by senior quarterback, Sefo Liufau (6-4, 230), who was a legitimate Heisman candidate before missing three games due to an ankle injury suffered against Michigan.
Before Liufau was hurt, the Buffs were up on the undefeated Wolverines 28-24 in the third quarter.
Liufau has talented weapons to work with. Junior wide receiver, Devin Ross (5-9, 185) leads the team with 42 receptions and is a chain mover. Junior Bryce Bobo (6-2, 190) is a human highlight clip and has been featured on Sports Center twice this season. Bobo has 25 receptions for 488 yards. Senior Shay Fields (5-11, 180) is explosive and a big play threat. Fields is averaging 18.2 yards per catch.
UCLA’s talented defensive backfield will have their hands full trying to coral these three talented receivers.
Junior tailback, Phillip Lindsay (5-8, 190) creates a lot of offense for the Buffalos. Lindsay is CU’s leading rusher with 745 yards and is just shy of 1,000 all-purpose yards with 998.
Defensively the Buffs all solid on all three levels. Senior linebacker Kenneth Olubole (6-1, 220) leads the Buffs in tackles with 86. Senior linebacker Jimmie Gilbert (6-5, 230) is a menace to opposing offenses and leads the nation in forced fumbles. Senior strong safety Tedric Thompson (6-1, 205) leads the Buffs with four interceptions.
Like everything is football it all starts up front and the Buffs have size experience and talent up front. Seniors Josh Tupou (6-3, 325), Samson Kafovalu (6-4, 295) and Jordan Carroll (6-3, 300) will present UCLA’s offensive line with a massive challenge.
The Buffs present a difficult task for the Bruins and making it harder still, UCLA will be without the services of their star quarterback, Josh Rosen. His replacement, senior Mike Fafaul, had brilliant moments a week ago against Utah, but his five turnovers overshadowed his overall performance and played a huge part in the Bruin defeat.
Fafaul, against a very tough Buffalo defense, has to take care of the football. It would also help the Bruin cause if they were able to summon up a semblance of a running game, which thus far this season has been missing in action.
The Bruins can ill afford losing anymore games this season if they want to participate in a bowl game.
The contest will be televised by Fox Sports One and announcing the game will be Joe Davis (play-by-play), Brady Quinn (color) and Jenny Taft (sideline). The Bruin IMG Radio Network (Josh Lewin, Matt Stevens, Wayne Cook) will radio broadcast the contest on am570 or 1150am. The contest will also be aired over Sirius 81/XM 81 (internet 965), uclabruins.com and tunein.com, and the TuneIn App.