CU Buffs (1-7, 1-4 Pac-12) vs. No. 8 Oregon (7-1, 5-0)
When/where: 1:30 p.m. Saturday/Folsom Field
TV/Radio: ESPN/630 AM, 94.1 FM
Line: Oregon -31.5, 63 over/under
Weather: 57 degrees, mostly cloudy
What to know
Welcome back: With Oregon and USC coming up back-to-back, that means the Ex-Buffs Reunion Tour is back, too — starting with Ducks defensive back Christian Gonzalez, who started all of CU’s games at cornerback in ’20 and ’21 before entering the transfer portal after last season. The 6-foot-2 defender has been missed, to say the least, as he ranks second in the Pac-12 in passes defended (seven).
RB returns: Veteran tailback Alex Fontenot and freshman counterpart Anthony Hankerson are both expected to be cleared to play against the Ducks. Fontenot, who opened the season as the Buffs’ No. 1 ball-carrier, hasn’t played since the Air Force game on Sept. 10. Hankerson missed the Arizona State game last weekend after sustaining an injury at Oregon State.
Enough balls to go around?: Meanwhile, in the absence of both Fontenot and Hankerson, junior Deion Smith ran for a collegiate-best 111 yards and a score against the Sun Devils. Smith, Hankerson, Fontenot, Charlie Offerdahl and Jayle Stacks have all rushed for at least 50 yards in a game this season.
Duck soup: CU is 2-6 all-time against Oregon when the Ducks are ranked and have yet to beat a top-10 Oregon team in six tries. The Buffs haven’t beaten a top10 team, home or away, since a 27-24 victory over then-No. 3 Oklahoma in 2007.
CU S Trevor Woods vs. Oregon QB Bo Nix: Can the CU D get one of the best Power 5 offenses in the country off the field? Since August 2021, the Buffs are 3-1 when limiting an opponent to a 30% third-down conversion rate or lower. They’re 2-14 in the other 16 games.
CU WR Daniel Arias vs. Oregon CB Trikweze Bridges: Can Arias, one of the Buffs’ better deep threats, consistently catch the ball while being pursued by Bridges, who leads the Ducks in picks (three)?
Sean Keeler, sports columnist: Oregon 49, CU 20
Remember how much fun the UCLA game was? On paper, this one feels like a sure-fire sequel. Oregon leads the Pac-12 in first downs per game (28.4). CU tops the league in most first downs given up per tilt (25.0). I mean, what can go wrong? Take the over and enjoy Jordyn Tyson running wild in garbage time.
Matt Schubert, deputy sports editor: Oregon 45, CU 21
The Buffs’ only hope? That the Oregon team that showed up in Georgia in Week 1 is the one that arrives in Boulder. Or that the Ducks fall into a trap looking ahead to next week’s grudge match against hated Washington. Even in the latter happens, it’s not hard to envision Oregon sleep-walking to an easy win.
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