It is no secret that Deion Sanders and the Colorado Buffaloes are the biggest story in college football. As a matter of fact, they may be the biggest story in sports. The Primetime Era in Colorado kicked off in epic fashion as Colorado stunned TCU 45-42 despite being 20-point underdogs. They would follow that up with a 36-14 victory over Nebraska in their home opener. Of course, we are less than 48 hours removed from their 43-35 victory over Colorado State.
The Colorado Buffaloes have the undivided attention of the sports world. However, they face the most difficult part of the season schedule over the next two weeks. I feel their luck will run out against Oregon this Saturday. Here are three ways in which Oregon will beat Colorado on Saturday afternoon.
1. The Oregon offense will be overwhelming for the Colorado defense.
In my opinion, Saturday’s game will be an offensive shootout. However, I believe the Oregon Ducks have more of a superior advantage over the Colorado defense. After all, the Colorado D had a hard time dealing with TCU. Colorado also struggled to deal with Tory Horton and the Colorado State offense. Despite being 3-0, the Colorado defense has given up an average of 460 yards per game. Specifically, Colorado gives up 195 yards per game on the ground. This will be music to the ears of Dan Lanning. The Oregon Ducks are averaging a whopping 579.7 yards on offense. Due to the efforts of Bucky Irving, Jordan James, and Noah Whittington, the Oregon Ducks are averaging 216 running yards per game. Oregon is poised to exploit Colorado’s inability to stop the run.
This will open up the passing game and make for a very long day for Colorado’s defensive coordinator. Coach Prime must hope that the Colorado defense continues to force turnovers. They have forced 10 turnovers (6 interceptions, 4 fumbles) this season.
However, that will be a tall order. The Oregon Ducks have not committed a turnover this season. Expect Bo Nix to have a big day.
2. No Travis Hunter for Colorado.
It would be ideal for both teams to have their biggest weapons.
Unfortunately, this will not be the case. Colorado will be without the services of two-way starter Travis Hunter. Travis Hunter suffered an injury on a vicious hit during Saturday’s game against Colorado State. He was taken to the hospital immediately afterward for further evaluation. According to Coach Prime, he will be out for a few weeks.
His loss will be felt even more in the Buffaloes secondary. With the weapons that Oregon has at its disposal, I do not think this group will be able to hold up. This was a game in which the Buffaloes secondary really could not afford to miss Travis Hunter.
The loss of Travis Hunter also should make the job for the Ducks’ secondary easier. This brings us to reason #3.
3. Oregon’s secondary will make things difficult for the Colorado offense.
It is no secret that Colorado QB Shadeur Sanders has set the college football world on fire. Yet, he will face an arduous test without Travis Hunter and an emerging Oregon secondary. The Oregon secondary was an area of concern for the Oregon Ducks headed into the season. These concerns have been alleviated.
Oregon’s passing defense in the first three weeks is night and day compared to the first three weeks of the 2022 season. Heading into Week 4 last year, the Ducks were ranked 129th in the FBS in passing defense, giving up 372.0 passing yards per game.
So far this year, the Oregon Ducks are giving up 158.7 passing per game. They are ranked 15th in the FBS in passing defense.
CB Jahlil Florence is stepping up in a big way for the Ducks. He allowed only one reception for 15 yards on Saturday against Hawaii. CB Khyree Jackson allowed only two receptions on five targets. He also recorded an interception for the second week in a row. Without Travis Hunter, the Oregon secondary can pay closer attention to WR Xavier Weaver and Jimmy Horn Jr. Also, the Oregon secondary will be able to key in on emerging walk-on tight end Michael Harrison.
The Oregon Ducks will be victorious due to the Oregon offense having their way with Colorado’s secondary on Saturday. However, this victory will not come without a fight from Coach Prime, Shadeur Sanders, and the Buffaloes.