Two weeks ago, Colorado was undefeated, ranked 18th nationally, and in control of its quest to win the Pac 12 South Division for the second time in three seasons. Two double-digit road losses later, the Buffaloes are looking to get back on the winning track, starting with Saturday afternoon’s homecoming game against struggling Oregon State.
Colorado has lost at USC (31-20) and No. 13 Washington (27-13) the past two Saturdays and finds itself a half-game back of South co-leaders Utah and USC at 2-2 in conference play. The Buffaloes averaged 37.8 points in their 5-0 start but have hit back-to-back season lows in points and total yards (265 and 263) in the losses to the Trojans and Huskies. “It’s kind of like being backed into a corner,” Colorado quarterback Steven Montez said at Tuesday’s weekly news conference. “The only way you are getting out of there is come out swinging. That’s what we plan on doing Saturday.” Oregon State, meanwhile, has dropped five straight since opening 1-1, including a 0-4 Pac-12 start to extend its conference losing streak to 13 games. ABOUT OREGON STATE (1-6, 0-4 Pac-12) The Beavers lost more than a home game in Saturday’s 49-7 loss to California as starting quarterback Conor Blount took a hit to the helmet on a targeting infraction late in the second quarter and suffered a concussion. Third-string quarterback Jack Colletto finished up for Blount, who is in the concussion protocol this week, and the junior-college transfer could be called upon to make his first FBS start. Senior quarterback Jake Luton started the first two games of the season for the Beavers but has been sidelined since suffering a high-ankle sprain Sept. 15 against Nevada and his status remains iffy for Saturday. ABOUT COLORADO (5-2, 2-2). The Buffaloes are dealing with some key injury issues of their own as sophomore wide receiver Laviska Shenault didn’t make the trip to Seattle after suffering a toe injury in the second half of the loss to USC. Shenault, who remains the FBS leader in receptions (10.0) and receiving yards (130.0) per game, was limited in practice early in the week and his status is still considered “day-to-day,” according to head coach Mike MacIntyre. Meanwhile, top cornerback Delrick Abrams Jr., will return Saturday after missing the Washington game with a calf injury while wide receiver Jay MacIntyre (concussion) and kicker James Stefano (hip) are considered questionable and starting cornerback Chris Miller is out for the remainder of the season with a hand injury. EXTRA POINTS
1. Colorado has won three straight and three of the five meetings vs. Oregon State since joining the Pac-12 in 2011. 2. The Beavers have lost their last 17 Pac-12 road games since a 2014 win at Colorado. 3. Oregon State freshman RB Jermar Jefferson, the Pac-12’s leading rusher (128.4 yards per game), missed the start of the Cal game with a “mild” hamstring injury but entered the contest in the second quarter and finished with a season-low 34 yards on two carries. Head coach Jonathan Smith was “optimistic” early in the week that Jefferson would be able to play and handle a larger workload Saturday.