EUGENE, Ore. – It's a short week for Oregon and Colorado as the 13th-ranked Ducks host the Buffaloes on Friday night. Both teams committed more than their usual share of mistakes last week, and it's been a point of emphasis in both camps with the quick turnaround.
TV: 10 p.m. ET, Fox Sports 1. LINE: Oregon -20.5
Oregon was flagged for eight penalties for 85 yards in a 17-7 victory over California while committing three turnovers - one more than the Ducks had total in their first four games. "I mean you sit there and you try to think, ‘well what led to this'?" Oregon coach Mario Cristobal said Monday at his weekly news conference. "I've got to stop myself from trying to find a reason. (We just have) to do it better. We've got to coach it better, and we have to emphasize (eliminating mistakes) more." Colorado, meanwhile, didn't have a turnover Saturday in a 35-30 home loss to Arizona but had several defensive communication breakdowns that resulted in big plays for the Wildcats and were penalized eight times for a season-high 85 yards. "We just have to have more attention to detail (and) continue to emphasize discipline on and off the field," Buffaloes first-year coach Mel Tucker said after practice Monday. "Each guys has to focus in just a little bit more."
ABOUT COLORADO (3-2, 1-1 Pac-12)
Steven Montez, who ranks second in the conference in passing yards per game (292.6), upped his average versus Arizona, throwing for 299 yards and a touchdown. Wide receiver Tony Brown stepped up with a career-best 10 receptions for 141 yards, but the Buffaloes still missed the explosive play-making skills of wideout Laviska Shenault, who sat out the contest with a core-muscle injury. Colorado also was without two of its top defensive players in defensive end Mustafa Johnson (ankle) and cornerback Chris Miller (knee) as its woes continued, surrendering at least 30 points and 440 total yards for the fifth time in as many games this season.
ABOUT OREGON (4-1, 2-0)
Justin Herbert, ranked third in the Pac-12 in passing efficiency with 15 touchdown passes and one interception, helped the Ducks rally from a 7-0 halftime deficit versus Cal with a win-sealing 1-yard scoring pass to Jaylon Redd in the fourth quarter that also extended his FBS-best streak to 33 straight games with a TD toss. Leading rusher C.J. Verdell (277 yards, two TDs) left the game with a first-half ankle injury and didn't return, but Verdell was back on the practice field Monday and Cristobal said he "feels good" about Verdell's chances of playing Friday. Oregon's defense surrendered a touchdown for the first time since a last-minute season-opening loss to Auburn but still boasts top-10 national ranks in scoring defense (9.8 points allowed per game), total defense (261.4 yards), yards per play (3.9), opponent pass completion percentage (51.5), sacks (19 total) and interceptions (eight).
1. Oregon has won five of the six Pac-12 games with Colorado, but the Buffaloes prevailed 41-38 on the road in their last meeting in 2016.
2. Linebacker Troy Dye leads the Ducks with 29 total tackles, including five for loss, while safety Jevon Holland has 24 tackles and a team-most three interceptions, and freshman linebacker Mase Funa has notched a team-leading three sacks and five tackles for loss.
3. Without getting into specifics, Tucker said Monday he was "encouraged" with the progress the Buffaloes' injured players were showing, but expect most of the status decisions to come down to game day.
PREDICTION: Oregon 37, Colorado 13