CU vs. Stanford scouting report: Who has the edge, predictions and 3 things to watch

Game Plan

When the Buffs run

With Alex Fontenot sidelined, freshman RB Jaren Mangham (17 carries, 77 yards) was solid if unspectacular as the featured back against the Bruins. Of course, with the Buffs going down 17-0 early, game flow was against them almost from the start. If CU can stay within striking distance and remain patient, Stanford’s 56th-ranked rush defense can be exploited. Edge: Even

When the Buffs pass

It’s anyone’s guess which version of Steven Montez shows up at Folsom Field on Saturday. The same goes for a potentially hobbled Laviska Shenault. If those two are right, they will get plenty of opportunities against a Stanford defense allowing 263.5 passing yards per game (112th in the country). Just try to steer clear of junior CB Paulson Adebo, who leads the Pac-12 with four interceptions this season. Edge: Buffs

When the Cardinal run

A rash of early season injuries has the Cardinal starting three freshmen on the offensive line. While that unit has shown signs of coalescing, most notably in a 23-13 upset of Washington, it’s clear the “intellectual brutality” that has defined Stanford football during its recent run of success is a work in progress. For a CU defense that was just shredded for 200 rush yards by UCLA, stopping the Cardinal remains a challenge. Edge: Cardinal

When the Cardinal pass

Senior quarterback K.J. Costello’s return from injury couldn’t have gone much better against Arizona’s 128th-ranked pass defense — 31-of-44 passing for 322 yards and three TDs. Can the 6-foot-5 pocket passer, regarded as a mid-to-late-round NFL draft prospect, find similar success against a banged-up secondary that’s performed even worse (129th)? Yeah, probably. Edge: Cardinal

Special teams

Kicker James Stefanou has now missed five kicks combined in CU’s last four games, and was even pulled from extra-point duty after the Buffs’ second and final touchedown at UCLA. On the other side of the field: Jet Toner, a senior who has missed five kicks combined the last two seasons. Meanwhile, punt returner Brycen Tremayne (one TD) is a weapon for Stanford. Edge: Cardinal

Three things to watch

1. Viska

While Laviska Shenault did not sit out last week’s loss at the Rose Bowl, he certainly did not appear to be operating at 100 percent. Employed as a decoy for much of the game, and seemingly missing his trademark burst, the junior wideout’s impact was sorely missed. Will he be healthy enough to turn on the jets Saturday?

2. Cardinal Coloradans

Mel Tucker need only look across the field to see a couple of in-state OL recruits that got away — former Colorado prep stars Barrett Miller (Eaglecrest) and Drake Nugent (Highlands Ranch). The former is one of three freshmen starting on the Stanford offensive line, while the latter is one injury away from being pressed into action as well.

3. Recruiting trip

The Buffs already scored a big win earlier this week with news five-star defensive lineman Antonio Alfano planned to transfer from Alabama to Boulder. With a handful of recruits expected to visit Folsom Field on Saturday, Mel Tucker could score a few more off-the-field …read more

Source:: The Denver Post – Sports


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