The Colorado Buffaloes wanted to go into their matchup with Washington undefeated and prepared to get a signature win. The Huskies were hoping to bring momentum into their Saturday game against the Buffaloes.
Both schools instead looking for a bounce-back game, but only one will accomplish the feat.
Colorado (5-1, 2-1 Pac-12) was rolling before a 31-20 loss at Southern California last Saturday. The 15th-ranked Huskies (5-2, 3-1) are kicking themselves for, well, missing a kick at the end of regulation in a 30-27 overtime defeat at Oregon on the same day.
As quickly as those losses went into the books, the teams switched their focus to each other. Colorado, second in the Pac-12 South, needs a win to keep its conference title game hopes alive, which is why right after the loss to the Trojans they were thinking about the Huskies.
“Guys in (the locker room) are down, but also their heads up,” sophomore linebacker Nate Landman told reporters after the USC setback. “This game is over we’re now looking on to Washington. We’re going to watch the film and learn from our mistakes.”
The Buffaloes will have to earn the win without defensive lineman Jase Franke and possibly their biggest playmaker, wide receiver Laviska Shenault Jr.
Franke is done for the season after tearing his right anterior cruciate ligament. Shenault was wearing a walking boot early in the week to protect his injured toe, and if he can’t go, it takes away quarterback Steven Montez’s biggest weapon. Shenault leads the country in catches and receiving yards per game and was just named to the AP midseason All-America team.
Colorado coach Mike MacIntyre said the team can’t dwell on who can’t play.
“No excuses, no regrets,” MacIntyre told reporters. “Nobody cares. They just expect you to show up and win on Saturday, so that’s what we have to do.”
Washington will be without defensive lineman Jaylen Johnson for the first half against Colorado. Johnson was ejected for targeting in the fourth quarter at Oregon on a helmet-to-helmet hit. By rule, he has to sit out the first half of the next game.
“I think that play was really critical to that whole game, I really do,” Huskies coach Chris Petersen told reporters. “We had them and then we gave them a first down. With all that being said, I do want that called. I think that’s good for the game of football. There’s no messing around in college football. And it’s painful. With Jaylen, there was no intent. We all know that. It was just bang-bang. It just happened.”
Not having Johnson will make stopping Colorado’s diverse offense harder. Montez can find receivers and tuck it and run, while running back Travon McMillian had three consecutive 100-yard rushing games before the Trojans held him to 32 yards on the ground.
Washington counters with strong skill players, too. Quarterback Jake Browning has passed for 1,751 yards and 10 touchdowns, and running back Myles Gaskin has rushed for 623 yards and is averaging 4.5 yards per carry. However, Gaskin (shoulder) and fellow running back Salvon Ahmed (hyperextended right knee) are banged up. Petersen said they were week-to-week.
Both players were lobbying to get back into the Oregon game after sustaining their injuries.
“Well, they’re tough guys,” Petersen said. “It’s that fine line between you can really go and help us and just the guy standing next you can help us more. They were both doing what they can do.”
The Huskies will also be without junior wide receiver Quinten Pounds, who was lost for the season due to a knee injury.
—Field Level Media