Six Picks: Colorado at Oregon State

The CU offense lines up during Buffs’ 47-6 win over the Oregon State Beavers at Folsom Field Saturday, Oct. 1, 2016. (Robert Hylton/CU Independent)

Kyle Rini, assistant sports editor: It’s been almost a week and I’m still at a loss for words regarding the Buffs’ loss to Arizona on Saturday. Any optimism I would have about the offense putting up 42 points and Phillip Lindsay breaking out is utterly destroyed by rewatching Khalil Tate slice through the Colorado defense like a hot knife through already-melted butter.

The 2017 season is starting to get darker and darker for the Buffs, but there’s still time to get things back on track. Who better to play this week than the Oregon State Beavers, the Pac-12’s perennial cellar dwellers who just recently fired their head coach?

The Beavers are lacking in talent on both sides of the ball, with only one real star in running back Ryan Nall. Nall will pose the greatest threat to the Buffs defense, but beyond him, there isn’t much to be scared of. I know the Colorado D was bad to a record-setting degree last week, but OSU’s style of offense just isn’t the same as Arizona’s and it isn’t going to catch the Buffs off guard like the Wildcats did.

I expect CU’s offense to continue figuring itself out, but until the offensive line and receivers start helping out quarterback Steven Montez, it’s pretty much up to Lindsay to carry the load. Lindsay can’t put the team on his back forever, but he should have an easier time this week against a porous Oregon State defense.

I said last week that if this team lost to Arizona, this Oregon State game might be the last time I favored the Buffs. I can’t speak on the rest of the schedule yet, but I still believe Colorado is just simply better than the Beavers, even on the road. I’ll take the Buffs in this one despite how bad they performed last week.

Final Score: Colorado 30, Oregon State 21

Jack Stern, sports staff writer: Both teams playing in Saturday’s contest are desperate for a win after dropping to 0-3 in Pac-12 play. The Beavers rank toward, or at, the bottom of the conference in every major statistical category. Oregon State’s struggles were put on full display in their last game against the USC Trojans, as they struggled to capitalize off turnovers and execute at critical junctures of the game.

In the locker room, their is also unrest as fiery head coach Gary Anderson shockingly resigned earlier this week. Their major bright spot is running back Ryan Nall, but behind a shaky offensive line, he’s struggled to be the major impact player the team needs. Quarterback Jake Luton also had a tough time with turnovers, even when healthy.

On the opposing sideline, the Buffaloes are trying to salvage the season and squeeze their way into a bowl game after losing another hard-fought divisional matchup to the Arizona Wildcats.

Tailback Phillip Lindsay is coming off a career performance last weekend. Although he can’t carry the ball 40 times a game on a regular basis, there’s no reason he shouldn’t get 30-35 carries against a struggling rush defense. The Tasmanian Devil’s ability to move the chains, control the time of possession and keep the defense honest should open up a multitude of passing lanes for quarterback Steven Montez. The added pass-catching ability of tight end Chris Bounds should create mismatches and plenty of room over the middle for Montez to capitalize on.

Overall, there’s no reason the Buffs shouldn’t win this game by a comfortable margin. The Beavers are arguably the worst team in the entire Power Five and are reeling badly right now. The lethal combination of inconsistent, poor play on offense and defense, costly penalties and turnovers should allow the Buffs to have their most complete game on both sides of the ball.

Final Score: Colorado 34, Oregon State 17

Alex Pepper, sports staff writer: What could have been the first conference win for the Buffaloes turned in to the Khalil Tate show, as the Arizona quarterback burst on to the scene with 327 yards on the ground and five total touchdowns. It was a 45-42 loss for Colorado. Tate had touchdown runs of 58, 28, 47 and 75 yards, as his elusiveness combined with the Buffaloes’ lackluster tackling for an incredibly potent running game for the Wildcats. Tate set the NCAA record for rushing yards by a quarterback in his impressive showing.

CU’s defense forced the game to devolve into a shootout, but the offense was able to answer time and time again. In a game that was as back and forth as it gets, the offense was firing on all cylinders — Steven Montez didn’t turn the ball over and threw for three touchdowns. If not for Tate, Phillip Lindsay would’ve been the story of the game. He carried the ball 41 times, tallied 281 yards on the ground and added three scores of his own.

Looking forward to Oregon State, the Buffs should be thirsty for a win. Still seeking their first conference victory, the Buffaloes should be looking to pounce on the Beavers’ defense, which is allowing a generous 45 points a game.

Oregon State is also going through some turmoil on the coaching staff, as head coach Gary Andersen and OSU mutually parted ways a couple days ago.

Quarterback Jake Luton doesn’t have the mobility that Khalil Tate has, so the CU defense should fare better against a relatively standard pocket passer. Running back Ryan Nall is the lone bright spot for this Beavers team, as he has just as many rushing touchdowns as Luton does passing touchdowns — four. Nall has a large 237-pound, 6-foot-2 frame, runs hard and has sneaky speed. He’ll be the premier threat to this CU defense.

This is a must win for the Buffs. Oregon State is a 1-5 team with a cloudy coaching situation, no conference wins and a defense that allows over 40 points a game. I have the Buffs winning big in what should be their first in conference victory this weekend.

Final Score: Colorado 38, Oregon State 21

Yama Radtke, sports staff writer: After a horrendous loss to the Arizona Wildcats last week, in which the backup quarterback had 327 yards rushing and five total touchdowns, people might be ready to throw in the towel for the Buffs.

Not so fast, my friends! The Buffs still have a lot to play for, but now it will all be on the entire team to succeed. Sophomore quarterback Steven Montez did his part by putting up points, but the defense needs to lock it down. Giving up 327 yards to any player is ridiculous, but giving an FBS record for rushing yards by a quarterback is just embarrassing.

However, the Buffs are about to take on the Oregon State Beavers, who are currently 1-5 with their only win coming over Portland State, an FCS team that they narrowly beat 35-32. I am confident that the Buffs will obliterate this team, especially since Oregon State was blown out by a Mountain West team in Colorado State. As long as the defense and Montez play decently, Colorado should win this game.

Final Score: Colorado 35, Oregon State 21

Zoe Rath, sports staff writer: After last weekend’s tough — but close — loss to the Arizona Wildcats, the Buffs travel to face a 1-5 Oregon State team. It should be easy right?

Philip Lindsay had a big weekend with 320 total yards. Arizona couldn’t stop him and considering he powered up the Buffs offense, he should have a similarly strong outing in Corvallis. Sophomore quarterback Stephen Montez should assist and his passing will likely improve this game.

Montez had good, deep looks to his wide receivers Shay Fields and Bryce Bobo, but he couldn’t connect on Saturday. Hopefully, the connection will be there to spark something in the Buffs to help shift the momentum of the season.

But this isn’t a week for the offense to show what they can do, it’s a week for the defense to recover from their awful performance against the Wildcats. With the exception of the Portland State game, the Beavers’ offense hasn’t been able to get anything started and they have been suffocated so far by Pac-12 defenses.

Do the Beaver have some talent on offense? Sure, but Ryan Nall alone hasn’t been enough to win a game since September. Their offense doesn’t seem to be getting better and the Buffs defensive line should have an easier time.

Final Score: Colorado 30, Oregon State 10

Jake Mauff, editor-in-chief: The Buffs should win this game. Pretty much every aspect of this game shows that they should run away with it. But there are a few things that keep Oregon State closer than they should.

The Beavers’ head coach leaving has already been discussed. While that often leaves teams reeling and in a state of panic, this Oregon State team might be better without him. Andersen allegedly had a toxic environment around him.

A name that has failed to gain traction is wide receiver Seth Collins. He’s fourth on the team in yards, so he doesn’t jump out. But he may end up being Colorado’s downfall.

Collins started out as a quarterback his freshman year. He even saw some time behind center the last the Buffs traveled to Corvallis. Collins played well, so that fact that he wasn’t used more in that matchup is surprising in hindsight.

The fact that Collins is playing wide receiver shows how athletic he is, so there’s been speculation on how he’ll be used this week. Considering that Khalil Tate is probably still running from Saturday, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see Collins used in a similar way.

Colorado beat Colorado State. Colorado State beat Oregon State. By the transitive property, Colorado should have this in the bag. But if the Buffs overlook these possibilities, this could turn into a rock-paper-scissors situation real quick.

Final Score: Colorado 30, Oregon State 24

Contact Assistant Sports Editor Kyle Rini at kyle.rini@colorado.edu.

Contact Sports Writer Jack Stern at jack.stern@colorado.edu.

Contact Sports Writer Zoe Rath at zoe.rath@colorado.edu.

Contact Sports Writer Alex Pepper at alex.pepper@colorado.edu.

Contact Sports Writer Yama Radtke at yama.radtke@colorado.edu.

Contact CU Independent Editor-in-Chief Jake Mauff at jacob.mauff@colorado.edu.

CU Independent

The CU Independent, or CUI for short, is the student news outlet for the University of Colorado at Boulder. We cover news, sports, politics, opinion, arts and entertainment and more. Our mission is to provide news and commentary that's for students and by students — about the things we care about.

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