Five things to know about Colorado
1. Freshman orientation
With junior quarterback Connor Wood struggling, CU head coach Mike MacIntyre called upon freshman Sefo Liufau to beat Charleston Southern last week. In his first career start, Liufau successfully led the Buffaloes (3-3, 0-3 Pac-12 Conference) to a decisive 43-10 victory. The true freshman threw for 198 yards, one touchdown and zero interceptions in his debut.
Liufau received a lot of help from freshman running back Michael Adkins II, who also made his first career start last Saturday and set the school’s freshman touchdown record with four rushing touchdowns.
Though Liufau had negative eight yards rushing against Charleston Southern, he is a dual-threat quarterback and a capable pocket passer. As an 18-year-old, Liufau is a young, raw talent. Arizona head coach Rich Rodriguez said he was impressed by the freshman’s start last week.
2. Better hang on tight
CU senior defensive end Chidera Uzo-Diribe has been a turnover machine. Through the Buffaloes’ six games this season, Uzo-Diribe has forced five fumbles. The 6-foot-3 starting right defensive end had just five in his career coming into the season.
The Wildcats can expect Uzo-Diribe to be focused on punching the ball out of their arms. The UA has fumbled the ball 12 times so far this season but has recovered it eight times.
Uzo-Diribe is just one forced fumble away from tying the career school record and needs just two forced fumbles to tie the single-season school record set by former linebacker Jashon Sykes in 1999.
3. Bowl Bound?
The Buffs haven’t reached a bowl game in five years. With three wins already — two more than it had in all of last season — CU only needs three more to become bowl-eligible. The NCAA has allowed CU to count its two victories over FCS teams (instead of the usual one) toward the six-victory bowl eligibility measure because of its postponed Sept. 14 game versus Fresno State. The game was rescheduled with last week’s FCS opponent, Charleston Southern. The Buffaloes only have four games remaining against schools that they have a legitimate chance of defeating, including Arizona. Therefore, the Wildcats can expect a strong effort from CU this Saturday, as well as from its fans.
4. Bad at making a first impression
1990 seems so long ago to CU fans. The one-time national champion has slowly faded from relevance since claiming its first and only NCAA football championship.
The move to the Pac-12 in 2011 was supposed to reverse its fortunes, but so far it hasn’t. Three seasons into the new conference and Colorado has posed a Pac-12 record of 3-18. Its inaugural season has so far been its most successful, as the Buffaloes posted a 2-7 record with wins over Utah and Arizona.
Currently, Colorado is only breaking bad team records. CU has lost 11 straight conference games, dating back to 2012, and was 0-of-15 on third down against Oregon on Oct. 5.
Despite all of that, CU and its fans truly believe it can win Saturday, and it would love to do nothing more than end its current losing streak and beat the Wildcats for a second time in three seasons.
5. Black and Pink Out
Saturday is homecoming for CU and is its annual “Back to Boulder” Homecoming Game. This time, CU fans have been encouraged to wear not just the typical black but also pink, in honor of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
The Buffaloes are 61-32-5 in 98 previous homecoming games, but have only won four of their last 13 on homecoming.
—Follow Luke Della @LukeDella