CU v. Oregon State: “T.I.P.S.” for CU’s First Home Game in Three Weeks

… Related … If you prefer your predictions verbally, “CU at the Game Podcast: “T.I.P.S.” for CU v. Oregon State / Oregon Recap can be found at Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, or pretty much wherever you download your favorites. Or, if you would prefer, you can find the podcast here or here.

The CU/Oregon game played out pretty much as predicted (24-26 point spread predicted by Las Vegas; a 52-29 final).

At the same time, the CU/Oregon game played out much differently than expected.

The Colorado defense, which had been at least decent for most of the season, was tissue paper. Oregon had nine possessions, with seven touchdowns, one field goal (at the end of the first half, with Oregon inside CU’s ten-yard line), and an interception on the one drive the second-string quarterback was allowed to play. Oregon had over 550 yards of total offense, and it would have scored much more than 52 points, except …

The Colorado offense, which had been an embarrassment for most of the season, actually played pretty well. The future NFL stars on the Oregon defense were largely held in check, the much-maligned offensive line opened holes and protected the quarterback, and Brendon Lewis had his best game of the season. The Buff offense posted 29 points, the highest total the offense has generated this season against an FBS opponent.

So, what to expect against the Oregon State Beavers?

Will the Buff defense put up a fight? Wil the Buff offense continue to improve?

Let’s find out …


This Week’s “T.I.P.S” for CU v. Oregon State – Saturday, 5:00 p.m., MT, Pac-12 Networks

T – Talent

The divorce hasn’t worked out all that well for either party.

A year ago, Sam Noyer was the surprise pick to start at quarterback for Colorado, beating out incumbent Tyler Lytle and freshman Brendon Lewis. All Noyer did was lead the Buffs to a 4-0 start, a national ranking, and a second-team All-Pac-12 selection for himself (the first Buff quarterback to earn 1st- or 2nd-team conference honors since Koy Detmer in 1996).

But … Noyer was injured late in the season. He underwent off-season surgery, and watched from the sidelines as transfer J.T. Shrout and Brendon Lewis battled to see who would be Noyer’s challenger in Fall Camp. Instead, Noyer decided to transfer back to his home state, signing to play his final season at Oregon State.

The woes at quarterback for Colorado since Noyer left are well understood by the Buff Nation, but the move hasn’t worked out as well as Noyer might have hoped, either. Named the starter for the opener against Purdue, Noyer completed 10-of-21 passes for 94 yards and an interception as the Beavers fell on the road to the Boilermakers, 30-21. Since the opener, Noyer has only seen mop-up duty in one game, a 42-0 rout of Idaho, completing one-of-three passes for seven yards and an interception.

Noyer’s replacement has been Chance Nolan (No. 10), who has completed 107-of-168 passes for 1,504 yards, with 13 touchdowns and seven interceptions. Nolan has only been sacked eight times, and has over 200 yards rushing on the season (Brendon Lewis’ numbers: 1,016 yards passing; seven touchdowns and three interceptions; 23 sacks; 131 yards rushing).

When Oregon State is successful on offense, they do it on the ground. The Beavers are 11th in the nation in rushing, led by junior running back B.J. Baylor (No. 4), who has 872 yards rushing so far this season (CU’s leading rusher, Jarek Broussard, has 359 yards). Baylor has four 100-yard rushing games in the Beavers’ last five games, including a Pac-12 Offensive Player-of-the-Week honor for his 152-yard effort in Oregon State’s 42-34 upset win over Utah two weeks ago.

Senior wide receiver Trevon Bradford (No. 8) has more than double the receptions of any other receiver, with 27 receptions for 402 yards and three touchdowns. With the rushing attack not working against Cal last weekend (a 39-25 defeat), quarterback Chance Nolan turned to Bradford, who had six receptions for 124 yards and two touchdowns.

If you want to beat the Oregon State defense, you do it through the air. The Beavers have been fairly successful in stopping the run, giving up only 133.9 yards per game (43rd nationally), but are giving it up through the air (273.5 yards/game; 114th nationally).

Oregon State may be 3-2 in Pac-12 games, but the success has come through out-scoring the opposition. The Beavers have given up at least 24 points to every Pac-12 opponent … and have surrendered over 30 points in each of the last three games. In Oregon State’s last two road games, the Beavers have given up 70 points, and over 1,000 yards of total offense.

A good ol’ fashioned shootout looming?


I – Intangibles

Oregon State, after stumbling in the opener against Purdue, was on a roll.

The Beavers had won four in a row, including an impressive 45-27 win over USC, Oregon State’s first win in Los Angeles against the Trojans … since 1960. The Beavers followed up their win over USC with a 27-24 win over Washington, scoring the game’s final ten points, including a game-winning field goal on the game’s final play.

The 4-1 Beavers were just outside the polls, ranked 28th overall in the Associated Press poll. With Oregon’s upset loss to Stanford, the only team in the Pac-12 North which was undefeated in the Pac-12 North division was … Oregon State.

It was a good time to be a Beaver.

Since then, Oregon State has been on a roller coaster. A 31-24 road loss to 2-3 Washington State was a surprise, as was the upset 42-34 win over Utah.

Back on track … until the Beavers traveled to Berkeley last weekend, and came away with another disappointing loss, a 39-25 final with the Bears finishing the game at the Oregon State one-yard line. Oregon State not only gave up 39 points, the previously decent defense surrendered 517 yards of total offense … 262 passing; 255 rushing.

There is still a path for Oregon State to make it to the Pac-12 championship game, and have a chance at the Rose Bowl, but that would require Washington State losing at least one more game … and the Beavers defeating Stanford and Arizona State at home and Oregon on the road.

Still possible, but not as tantalizing as was the case just a few short weeks ago

Also wishing they had the past few weeks back are the CU Buffs.

Looking at the schedule back in August, there were some likely losses – road trips against Arizona State and Oregon, as well as the home game against USC. The contests against Minnesota and Cal, however, were looked at as good chances at victories. As it turned out, the Buffs were destroyed by the Golden Gophers and the Golden Bears, and missed chances against the other three. Arizona State is 5-3, but has lost the last two games in embarrassing fashion; USC is 4-4 and is looking for a new coach. Minnesota followed up its mauling of Colorado … with a loss at home to Bowling Green.

The Buffs have managed to make their opponents look good, instead of being the team to catch their opponent on a down day.

This is the seventh season Karl Dorrell has been a head coach at the Power Five conference level.

In his first six seasons, Dorrell has led his teams to bowl bids.

For that to happen in Year Seven, the 2-6 Buffs will have to win out … and no one is predicting that will happen.

How Dorrell – and his team – deal with this reality will be the story of November.


P – Preparation/Schedule

Playing back-to-back road games in conference play is never easy.

Just ask the Buffs.

In CU’s 11 seasons in the Pac-12, the Buffs have had 11 opportunities to go on the road for back-to-back conference games. In eight of those series, the Buffs have gone winless (including this year), with three splits. That works out to a 3-11 overall record, with no back-to-back wins.

The Buffs are returning home for their first game at Folsom in three weeks, while the Beavers are fresh off a road game against Cal.

Advantage: Colorado.

Meanwhile, in CU locker room … 

The Buffs are likely to be without Butkus Award semi-finalist Nate Landman, who was deemed “doubtful” by coach Dorrell.

The numbers are frightening … since the start of the 2020 season, Karl Dorrell’s Buffs are 6-8:

  • With Nate Landman playing the entire game, the Buffs are 6-5, with the defense giving up 20.8 points per game. Not the ’85 Chicago Bears, mind you, but good enough to win games;
  • With Nate Landman on the sidelines, the Buffs are 0-3, giving up 48.5 points per game.

That’s a pretty significant difference, no?

“There’s some things that we obviously have to do better from an alignment standpoint,” defensive coordinator Chris Wilson said after the Oregon game. “They lined up in multiple formations that we saw. We (as coaches) have got to do a better job of getting them prepared for it and we didn’t. We’ll just keep progressing.

“Obviously, it’s one of the most disappointing outings of the year. … What we’ve got to do is we’ve got to go back in and we’ve got to fix our issues. They’re correctable and they have been (correctable this season).”

Correctable? Against the Pac-12’s best rushing team? We’ll see …


S – Statistics 

Fair warning: The below section may not be suitable for younger readers … or those who have a short fuse when it comes to the current state of CU program.

Stats to make you smile … Every team at this time of year has warts, and the 5-3 (3-2) Oregon State Beavers are no exception:

  • On offense … Nothing in the 100s, though the Beavers are 94th in passing offense, but that is more than made up for by the Beavers being 11th nationally in rushing … 122nd in fourth down conversions …
  • On defense … 114th in passing defense … 127th in third down percentage defense … 103rd in first downs allowed …
  • Other … 101st in penalty yards per game …

Stats to make you cringe … You can feel free to skip this one, if you are squeamish … Categories wherein the Buffs are ranked 100th in the nation or lower include:

  • On offense … 130th (last in the nation) in total offense (251.0 yards/game) … 127th in passing offense (130.4 yards/game) … 123rd in scoring offense (16.9 points/game) … 118th in third down conversions (.323) … 130th in first downs (115) …
  • On defense … none … CU’s beleaguered defense has fallen from 36th in scoring defense (20.7 points/game) to 61st (24.6 points/game) … and has fallen from 63rd in total defense (376.6 yards/game) to 80th (400.6 yards/game) …
  • Other … 118th in third down conversions, offense (.323) …121st in time of possession (26.57) …

Stats to watch (i.e, stats which will decide the game)Creating Opportunities … Colorado and Oregon State are both dead even in turnovers. The team which wins the turnover battle will likely win. The Buffs’ offense is doing better, but still can’t be trusted. A few short fields will not only help the Buffs score, but will keep the OSU offense from being effective in controlling the game and the clock … Winning third downs … The Buffs have been terrible at converting third downs on offense (118th), while the Beavers have been terrible at stopping the opposition (127th). Taking advantage of the OSU’s difficulty in stopping the opposition should be priority one. Again, the Buffs this will have the effect of controlling the game and the clock …

Prediction … 

If you listened to the CU at the Game podcast for this weekend’s game, you know that, for the first time this season, Brad and Neil disagreed on their prediction for the Buffs’ game.

There are reasons for optimism … The Buffs are at home … The Beavers are on the road for the second game in a row … The Oregon State defense is susceptible to the pass, while the CU passing game is showing signs of life … Brendon Lewis is improving … La’Vontae Shenault is back … Brenden Rice is breaking out …

And yet, there are reasons for pessimism … The Buffs’ offense can’t be trusted, with all of one game of better play … The Buffs’ defense is a mess, not being able to force a single punt out of Oregon offense … Oregon State has the nation’s 11th-best rushing attack, while the Buffs will likely be without Nate Landman …

I’d like to think that the Buffs will have the edge at home, with the crowd behind them (though it won’t be anywhere close to the near sellout CU had against Arizona – there are plenty of tickets available). The offense has a new found confidence, and the Beavers – at least after an unimpressive loss at Cal last weekend – has to at least have some questions about how their season has gone the past few weeks.

If Nate Landman was a “probable” instead of a “doubtful”, I might be willing to give the Buffs the nod.

Without Landman, I’m afraid that the Oregon State rushing attack will be too much for the Buffs. I just can’t see the Colorado offense, with all of its flaws, keeping up.

I hope I’m wrong …

Prediction … Oregon State 27, Colorado 20

Previous predictions …

  • Colorado 38, Northern Colorado 17 … Actual: Colorado 35, Northern Colorado 7
  • No. 5 Texas A&M 38, Colorado 17 … Actual: No. 5 Texas A&M 10, Colorado 7
  • Colorado 21, Minnesota 20 … Actual: Minnesota 30, Colorado 0
  • Arizona State 27, Colorado 13 … Actual: Arizona State 35, Colorado 13
  • USC 27, Colorado 17 … Actual: USC 37, Colorado 14
  • Colorado 24, Arizona 17 … Actual: Colorado 34, Arizona 0
  • Colorado 24, California 17 .. Actual: California 26, Colorado 3
  • No. 7 Oregon 48, Colorado 3 … Actual: No. 7 Oregon 52, Colorado 29


11 Replies to ““T.I.P.S.” for Colorado v. Oregon State”

  1. This game will come down to how well the Buffs defense can stop the run, and if they can get turnovers. The offense looked much better last week, actually had some good play calling to get the ball out quickly. Should score some points, but how many will the defense give up? I see a high scoring game. While my heart would like to see a Buff win, my head disagrees. Beavers 42, Buffs 31.

  2. Until CU can be more consistent on offense I expect the same outcome as 6 other times this Fall…Beavers 24 CU 16

    Go BUFFS!

  3. Our defense without Landman has been porous at best. Our offense has been spotty. I can’t see a win unless we have a miracle. Still going to the game. Got my hammer shirt. Might try and see if I can get Land,an to sign it before the game….

  4. Going with Buffs straight up. CU 28 OSU 27. I feel that much of winning comes down to belief. If the players feel the confidence from Ducks game (TDs, 4 for 4 on 4th), then the carryover may be the difference. I know Landman is awesome but Wilson, like Chev has to use his chess pieces (Wells, Barnes, Lamb) and just cut it loose. On thing I have been disappointed by on D is the lack of blitzing. Let’s go! Also, Beavs have some recent bad losses on the road. Regardless of outcome, glad to go to game. Go Buffs!!

    1. I liked Tyson’s creative blitzes. I haven’t looked – and probably won’t – at whether the goal of reducing explosive plays w/ the change in defensive philosophy and simplified scheme helped, or not. And, nice work on the optimism!

      Should be a fun game.

      Go Buffs

  5. Still trying to figure out the D’s crash between the A&M game and last week. One theory I have is that Jimbo is way overrated as a coach. He can recruit for sure and has always been at programs attractive to recruits but after that it seems like he really doesn’t get their full potential out of them…..especially at the beginning of the season.
    And the AZ game? cant figure that one out either.
    anyhew….OSU is a running team and Nate aint playing………making it whenever the beavs do pass the D will be caught off balance.
    The Buffs bi polar D is more depressive than manic but maybe the manic portion will emerge for this game. That and the O opening up as much more than it did last week with Lewis being allowed to chuck he ball more than 30 times with a 65% completion percentage the Buffs could win.
    Sorry but I dont see it happening. OSU wins by a minimum of 14.

  6. I’ve seen WA play 2 times this year the OT win against Cal and the last second loss to the Beavers. They don’t look good, but overall (eyeball test) seemed to have the better talent, than their opponent. How this relates to this weeks OSU game: The Beaver’s did not and do not have the better talent than most of their opponents. They do know how to execute within their system and take advantage of opponent lack of execution and errors (coaching). I believe the Buffs have a, ever-so-slight, edge in talent, now if they just play solid D and actually put together more than 2 sustained drives they have a chance. I’m putting my money on that chance !!! CU 27 – OSU 24. BONUS: Ifffffff …… the Buff’s WIN against OSU they will beat the Huskies on Nov. 20th !!!

  7. Courtesy of …

    QB Brendon Lewis
    QB Drew Carter
    FB Jayle Stacks
    WR Montana Lemonious-Craig
    WR Brenden Rice
    WR Chase Penry

    WR Ty Robinson

    OL Gerad Christian-Lichtenhan
    OL Carson Lee
    CB Christian Gonzalez
    CB Nikko Reed
    CB Kaylin Moore

    NB Tyrin Taylor

    S Toren Pittman
    S Trevor Woods
    PK Cole Becker

    Now isn’t that interesting. Carter gets no redshirt

  8. Painful again
    Beavs-38 Out coached predictable Buffs-17
    An offensive explosion but a regression from last week…..

    1. Painful. Hopefully, the continued expansion of the Pro-set offense with more and varied excellent plays (along with the play calls at the correct time) can minimize if not eliminate predictability.


      Note: Could a “V” be in the Flatirons for the Mighty Buffs.

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