The Cardinal (4-0, 2-0) will face the Colorado Buffaloes (1-4, 0-2). Colorado is having another slow season. They will be facing an uphill battle as they try to knock off #7 Stanford and quarterback Andrew Luck. If facing one of the best teams in the country was not enough, Colorado is currently on a 20 game losing streak in games played outside the state of Colorado.
Colorado Secondary – Coach Jon Embree suspended five players earlier this week for violating team rules. Four of those players are defensive backs, meaning the Buffaloes are currently extremely thin in their secondary. Embree has promised to clean up the program and he is doing just that. Though these decisions will likely help in the long run, Colorado will be hard pressed to defend against Luck and the Stanford passing attack without their veteran players.
Colorado Pass Rush – Colorado actually ranks 6th in the country in sacks. The Buffaloes’ ability to generate pressure from their front is very underrated. Stanford will have a variety of ways of alleviating the pass rush but they will likely establish a solid running game to prevent Colorado from simply blitzing whenever they want to.
Wearing Down a Defense – As has been the game plan in the past, Stanford will establish their running game early. Though the Colorado secondary will be reeling, Stanford will not simply abandon their fundamental offensive philosophy. When Shaw does decide to go with play action, however, expect those passes to go for more yards on fewer attempts. Eventually, Colorado will have to start stacking the box. When they do, Luck will take full advantage of his favorable match ups in the secondary.
The Cardinal Defense – The defense should also have a favorable match up this week. But they might still have their hands full covering Colorado receiver Paul Richardson. Richardson has not showed up big in every game this season but he did manage to gash Cal for 284 yards and two touchdowns in week 2. Stanford will show Richardson some respect with how they choose to cover him. That being said, Colorado still does not have enough firepower to keep up with the Cardinal.
Stanford will wear down Colorado like they have all their opponents this season. Expect Colorado to still be in the fight in the first half. But once the second half starts, Stanford will pull away, abusing a tired Colorado defense.