How UCLA matches up against the Colorado Buffaloes this weekend

Colorado tailback Phillip Lindsay carries the ball against the Washington Huskies on Saturday.
(Matthew Stockman / Getty Images)

Colorado (3-1, 0-1) at UCLA (2-2, 0-1)

Saturday, 7:30 p.m., Rose Bowl, TV: ESPN2. Radio: 570.

Marquee matchup

Colorado’s “Blackout Boyz” receiving corps vs. UCLA’s secondary. The Buffaloes’ Bryce Bobo, Shay Fields, Devin Ross and Jay MacIntyre have combined to catch 71 passes for 891 yards and six touchdowns, diversifying an offense that also features prolific tailback Phillip Lindsay. They’ll face a group of defensive backs that has given up eight touchdown passes in its last two games. MacIntyre is listed as day to day after being sidelined against Washington last week with a sprained foot.


Getting offensive

UCLA (571.8 ypg/45 ppg): The Bruins will probably try to establish a more equitable run-pass balance after relying heavily on quarterback Josh Rosen’s right arm the last few weeks. Soso Jamabo appears to have solidified his role as the primary tailback after his 100-yard performance against Stanford made him the first UCLA ballcarrier to reach triple digits in rushing yardage since 2015.

Colorado (413 ypg/26.2 ppg): Steven Montez is a dual-threat quarterback and Lindsay is a dual-threat tailback who is bidding to become the first player in school history with 1,000 yards rushing and receiving in the same season. Montez has completed 70.3% of his passes, but his six interceptions equal his number of touchdown passes and he’s already been sacked 12 times.

Getting defensive

UCLA (524.8 ypg/43.3 ppg): It can’t get much worse for the Bruins, at least statistically. Their run defense ranks last among 129 major college teams, giving up 307.5 rushing yards per game, and their secondary has also been a primary problem. The team reinstalled tackling drills in practice this week in hopes of improving its ability to bring down ballcarriers in the open field.

Colorado (341.8 ypg/16 ppg): The Buffaloes have remained fairly stingy against the run and the pass despite losing eight starters on defense in addition to defensive coordinator Jim Leavitt. But their defense wilted against Washington last week, allowing 27 points in the second half.

Something special

UCLA’s Darnay Holmes pledged to make some improvements returning kickoffs, which has been an issue for a team that has averaged 19.3 yards per return. … Colorado’s James Stefanou, 30, is the second-oldest player in major college football. He has also been one of its most accurate kickers, making seven of eight field goals, including both of his tries between 40-49 yards.

Of note

Each of the last three meetings in the series has been won in the fourth quarter or overtime; those games were decided by a total of 17 points. … Colorado’s games have averaged a zippy 3 hours 8 minutes this season.

Local ties

Colorado’s Fields was a teammate of Rosen’s at Bellfower St. John Bosco High and is one of 26 Buffaloes players with ties to Southern California. … UCLA coach Jim Mora’s father, also named Jim, was an assistant coach for six years at Colorado under the late Eddie Crowder, from 1968-73, before joining Dick Vermeil’s staff at UCLA. The younger Mora attended grade school in Boulder while his father coached the Buffaloes.

Follow Ben Bolch on Twitter @latbbolch