Colorado isn't going to wow you with their defensive stats but they do rank better in scoring defense than future Oklahoma opponents Oklahoma State and Texas Tech. The Buffaloes are allowing opponents score an average of 25.6 points per game which places them seventh in the Big 12 Conference. Against both the run and pass they're also middle of the pack in the conference which should equate to success for Oklahoma's offense, assuming they can take care of the football.
DE 9 Tkls/3 Sks DT Wil Pericak 19 Tkls/1 Sk DT 11 Tkls DE 2 Tkls CB 22 Tkls CB 35 Tkls LB 20 Tkls/2 Sks LB 11 Tkls LB 49 Tkls S 42 Tkls S 15 Tkls/1 Sk
9 Tkls/3 Sks
19 Tkls/1 Sk
20 Tkls/2 Sks
15 Tkls/1 Sk
Colorado's defense is ranked sixth in the conference against the rush. They allow 139.3 yards per game on the ground and have had opposing running backs cross the goal line 4 times this season. Against the pass they're just a little worse in conference rankings. The Buffs come in at seventh in the conference in defending the pass, allowing 241.4 yards per game and giving up a total of 14 touchdowns through the air. Opposing running backs average 4.6 yards per carry against Colorado and opposing quarterbacks are completing 66.1% of their passes.
Oklahoma has the nation's 12th ranked passing offense with an average of 303 yards per game through the air and running backs DeMarco Murray and Roy Finch provide the balance needed to keep an opponent from making the Sooners one dimensional on offense. This spells trouble for a defense that doesn't excel in one category or the other but is middle of the road against both the pass and the run. That's where Colorado sits on defense and the understatement of the week is that they face a tall task against OU's offense.
Making matters worse for the Buffaloes is that they lost middle linebacker Jon Major to a knee injury. Major was the Travis Lewis of the Colorado defense. He was the heart an soul of who they were in both scheming and in physical play. He led the team in tackles and now they must move on without him against an Oklahoma offense that can be explosive.
This is one of those games where I see the Sooners using the same type of offensive game plan they did against Iowa State. With an replacement in the middle linebacker spot they're going to want to test the middle of the field both with their rushing attack and with short passing. Look for them to also continue to widen the field by running stretch plays and a flair passes to the sidelines in an effort to bring the Buffs up closer to the line of scrimmage. Then a down field passing attack becomes a matter of one-on-one coverage and quarterback protection.