Preview: Colorado at Stanford

When: 3:00 PM ET, Saturday, October 22, 2016
Where: Stanford Stadium, Stanford, California

Two teams in the midst of vastly different seasons meet Saturday as struggling Stanford hosts up-and-coming Colorado. After a 3-0 start, the Cardinal squeaked out a win last week at Notre Dame to avoid a three-game skid while the Buffaloes have won three of their last four and are tied for the Pac-12 South Division lead after spending their first five seasons in the basement.

Stanford is dealing with a rash of key injuries, none bigger than the reported knee ailment which sidelined Pac-12 leading rusher/total-offense leader Christian McCaffrey last week in South Bend, and it could come down to game-time decision Saturday. “He feels a lot better,” Stanford coach David Shaw told the media on Tuesday. “We’ll have him back on the field doing some things, and hopefully we can get him into some practices later in the week.” Colorado, meanwhile, is coming off a 40-16 rout of Arizona State and is on the verge of becoming bowl-eligible for the first time since 2007. “I do motivate (the players), but I don’t have to do as much,” Buffaloes coach Mike MacIntyre said in his weekly Tuesday news conference. “When they come to practice, watch film and they realize there’s something on the line that hasn’t ever been there before for them, that’s exciting.”

TV: 3 p.m. ET, Pac-12 Network. LINE: Stanford -2.5

ABOUT COLORADO (5-2, 3-1 Pac-12): The Buffaloes are second in the Pac-12 and 14th nationally with an average of 515.3 yards of total offense per game after rolling up 580 against the Sun Devils, including 219 rushing yards and three touchdowns for tailback Phillip Lindsay, the Pac-12’s Offensive Player of the Week. Senior quarterback Sefo Liufau also returned to the starting lineup after missing three starts with a sprained ankle and he added 303 yards of total offense and a rushing score. Defensive lineman Jimmie Gilbert, who leads the conference in sacks (6.5) and forced fumbles (five), is one of several standouts for the Pac-12’s top-ranked total defense (314.1 yards allowed per game), but special teams remains a sore spot after two muffed punt returns and a missed field goal and extra point kept Arizona State in last Saturday’s game longer than it should’ve been.

ABOUT STANFORD (4-2, 2-2): Without McCaffrey last week, sophomore tailback Bryce Love filled in nicely with 129 rushing yards and the game-deciding fourth-quarter TD and two-point conversion in his first start. The Cardinal’s passing game with senior quarterback Ryan Burns, meanwhile, is still shaky as they rank second-to-last in the conference with 158.5 yards per game and five TD passes, and the offense likely will be without versatile offensive lineman David Bright and starting fullback Daniel Marx due to injuries. Defensive lineman Solomon Thomas (12 tackles, 1.5 sacks), the Pac-12’s Defensive Player of the Week, and cornerback Quenton Meeks (50-yard interception return for a TD) stood out last week for the Stanford defense, which ranks fourth in Pac-12 scoring defense (22 points per game) and fifth in total defense (367 yards).


1. Stanford has won five straight in the series, including a 42-10 road romp last Nov. 7 as McCaffrey rolled up 220 all-purpose yards and also threw a 28-yard TD pass.

2. Averaging only 19 points per game, Stanford is the only Pac-12 team scoring fewer than 25 points per contest, and that average ranks them 120th out of 128 FBS teams.

3. Lindsay’s 200-yard rushing game was the first by a Colorado back since Chris Brown ran for 211 against Missouri on Nov. 9, 2002.

PREDICTION:   Colorado 27, Stanford 21

Stats and Records

Team Comparison

  W/L Strk PF PA Home Away Grass Turf Conf
Colorado 5-2 W1 39.0 20.0 4-0 1-2 4-1 0-0 3-1
Stanford 4-2 W1 19.0 22.0 2-1 2-1 4-1 0-0 2-2

Last Meeting

Colorado Stanford
Date Away Home Tot Rus Pas Tot Rus Pas
11/7/15 STAN 42 COLO 10 231 83 148 472 275 197

Player Stats

Previous Matchup
Passing Player COMP% YDS TD INT
COLO S. Liufau 55.6 125 0 1
STAN K. Hogan 73.9 169 2 1
Rushing Player CAR YDS AVG TD
COLO S. Liufau 7 43 6.1 0
STAN C. McCaffrey 23 147 6.4 0
Receiving Player REC YDS AVG TD
COLO N. Spruce 5 75 15.0 0
STAN M. Rector 4 66 16.5 1
TDs Player TD
COLO D. Lee 1
STAN K. Hogan 1
Passing Player COMP% YDS TD INT
COLO S. Liufau 71.8 1044 6 0
STAN R. Burns 64.5 895 5 4
Rushing Player CAR YDS AVG TD
COLO P. Lindsay 107 614 5.7 9
STAN C. McCaffrey 98 513 5.2 3
Receiving Player REC YDS AVG TD
COLO S. Fields 27 512 19.0 5
STAN T. Irwin 19 234 12.3 0
TDs Player TD
COLO P. Lindsay 10
STAN C. McCaffrey 4

Quickchart Matchup

Colorado Off vs  Stanford Def
515.3 yards
367 yards
4.5 yards/rush
3.8 yards/rush
8.9 yards/attempt
7.5 yards/attempt
Stanford Off vs  Colorado Def
305.2 yards
312.9 yards
4.2 yards/rush
3.9 yards/rush
6.7 yards/attempt
5.3 yards/attempt

Matchup Stats - Full Matchup

Colorado Overall Stanford
5-2-0 W/L 4-2-0
7-0-0 ATS 4-2-0
3-4-0 O/U 2-4-0
39.0 Pts For 19.0
20.0 Pts Against 22.0
Colorado A/H Stanford
1-2 W/L 2-1
3-0-0 ATS 2-1-0
2-1-0 O/U 1-2-0
28.7 Pts For 23.0
34.7 Pts Against 21.7