BOULDER, Colo. – Stanford needs two wins in its final four games to become bowl eligible for the 11th straight season. The Cardinal is favored to get one of them Saturday when it visits struggling Colorado in Boulder.
TV: 3 p.m. ET, Pac-12 Network. LINE: Stanford -3.5
Two weeks ago in its most recent game, Stanford bounced back from a 34-16 loss to UCLA by outlasting visiting Arizona 41-31. The game marked the return of senior quarterback K.J. Costello, who had missed the previous three contests with a thumb injury, but showed few signs of rust in completing 30-of-43 passes for 312 yards and three touchdowns against the Wildcats. “It doesn’t feel good – it’s awful,” Costello said of his near month-long absence. “Not playing in a few weeks, I (had) to challenge myself in terms of energy.” Colorado, meanwhile, has dropped five straight since a 3-1 start and is looking to right the ship Saturday in its annual homecoming contest.
ABOUT STANFORD (4-4, 3-3 Pac-12)
Costello connected with 12 different receivers for completions versus Arizona, including 6-foot-4 wideout Simi Fehoko, who caught three for 97 yards and a pair of TDs. Senior running back Cameron Scarlett provided balance on the ground with 102 yards and a pair of scores on 19 carries and ranks fourth in the Pac-12 with an average of 87.5 rushing yards per contest on the season. Cornerback Paulson Adebo intercepted a pair of Wildcat passes to earn Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Week honors and is tied for the conference lead with four picks on the year.
ABOUT COLORADO (3-6, 1-5)
“I’ve talked to the coaches and the players,” Buffs first-year coach Mel Tucker said Monday after practice. “We all understand what’s required. We’re going to have to do a better job coaching and a better job playing.” Quarterback Steven Montez and the Colorado offense has sputtered of late after a hot start, scoring 14 or fewer points in three of its last four outings, including two TDs last Saturday in a 17-point road loss at UCLA. Despite a strong season from linebacker Nate Landman, who ranks second in the Pac-12 with 10.2 tackles per game, the injury-addled Colorado defense has been gashed from the get-go, giving up at least 30 points in all nine contests (14 straight overall) and ranking second-to-last in the conference in points (34.4 per game) and yards (480.1) allowed.
1. Stanford has won three of the four games since Colorado joined the Pac-12 in 2011, but the Buffs prevailed 10-5 on the road in the last meeting on Oct. 22, 2016.
2. Under coach David Shaw, the Cardinal has compiled a 25-7 record in the month of November.
3. Colorado is hoping to have leading rusher Alex Fontenot (78.1 yards) back after he missed the UCLA game with an unspecified injury.
PREDICTION: Stanford 28, Colorado 27