When Colorado passes

The Denver Post - - SPORTS -

When Colorado runs

Its dis­mal per­for­mance in the Pac-12 cham­pi­onship game not­with­stand­ing, CU’s of­fense has been fu­eled by the suc­cess of its run­ning game. Phillip Lind­say, who has rushed for 1,189 yards and 16 touch­downs this sea­son, has the chance to do dam­age against an Ok­la­homa State de­fense that has given up 204.4 yards per game on the ground this sea­son. If quar­ter­back Sefo Li­u­fau (496 yards, seven touch­downs) can also find a groove on the ground, CU’s of­fense could find suc­cess. Li­u­fau is com­ing off pos­si­bly the worst per­for­mance of his ca­reer, com­plet­ing only 3-of-13 passes for 21 yards and three in­ter­cep­tions in the Pac-12 ti­tle game — miss­ing much of the first half af­ter suf­fer­ing an an­kle in­jury. CU ranked just eighth in the Pac-12 in pass­ing of­fense at 254.4 yards per game, which is nearly the same amount (252.6) given up by the Cow­boys this sea­son. The Buffs have been at their best when they’ve been able to get junior wide re­ceiver Shay Fields on track. He had just two catches against Wash­ing­ton. Edge: Ok­la­homa State

When Ok­la­homa State passes

This is the pre­mier matchup in the game. Be­hind junior QB Ma­son Ru­dolph (25 touch­down passes) and al­lBig 12 WR James Wash­ing­ton (19.5 yards per catch), the Cow­boys have ma­jor big-play po­ten­tial. That com­bi­na­tion has helped the Cow­boys rank 10th in the coun­try at 322.8 pass­ing yards per game, and CU coach Mike MacIn­tyre says the unit re­minds him of USC. The Cow­boys are fac­ing a CU de­fense that ranked 13th against the pass this sea­son, giv­ing up only 182.2 yards through the air. OSU coach Mike Gundy said CU’s sec­ondary will be the best his team has seen all sea­son. Edge: Colorado Though the Buffs have found some sta­bil­ity dur­ing the sec­ond half of the sea­son, they re­main vul­ner­a­ble in spe­cial teams. They were last in the Pac-12 in punt­ing, with a 33.8-yard aver­age, and have been prone to yield­ing big re­turns, in­clud­ing a touch­down given up against Utah in the reg­u­lar-sea­son fi­nale. The Cow­boys ranked sec­ond in the Big 12 in punt­ing and kick­off de­fense, and OSU kicker Ben Gro­gan (18-of-23 field goals) led the league with 109 points. Edge: Ok­la­homa State

Ok­la­homa State quar­ter­back Ma­son Ru­dolph, a junior, has thrown 25 touch­down passes this sea­son. Brett Deer­ing, Getty Im­ages

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