4 things to know, key matchups and predictions


CU Buffs (0-4, 0-1 Pac-12) at Arizona (2-2, 0-1); 7:30 p.m., Saturday, Arizona Stadium, Tucson

TV/Radio: Pac-12 Network / 630 AM, 94.1 FM

Line: Arizona -17.5, 57.5 over/under

Weather: 81 degrees, partly cloudy

What to know

Yay, history! The Buffs will be trying to prevent the program’s first 0-5 start to a football season since 2006 — Dan Hawkins’ debut campaign as coach. CU opened 0-6 that autumn and wound up 2-10, 2-6 in Big 12 play in the Hawk’s inaugural season.

Ground to gain? The Wildcats’ offense has turned a corner under second-year coach Jedd Fisch, but the defense remains a work on progress — especially in the box. Cal shredded the Wildcats for 354 rushing yards a week ago and put up 49 points in the process. Arizona ranks 11th in the Pac-12 in run defense, so you’d think that to be exploitable on the road. The problem? CU ranks dead last in the league in the same category and is giving up almost 100 yards more per game (323) than the Wildcats’ 228. UA’s tackling issues won’t help you if you’re down double-digits on the road with a true freshman at quarterback.

Negative superlatives. The largest margin of defeat for the Buffs against UA (25 points) and most points surrendered (56) in the history of the series happened in the same game, at Tucson in November 2012, a 56-31 setback. Can CU avoid a repeat wreck as nearly 18-point underdogs in the desert?

Family ties. Isaiah Taylor, son of NFL Hall-of-Fame pass-rusher — and Broncos star Pat Surtain II family friend — Jason Taylor is expected to make his starting debut at safety for the Cats. The redshirt freshman came off the bench to record seven stops against Cal last weekend.

Key matchups

CU CB Nikko Reed vs. Arizona WR Jacob Cowing. Should the Buffs actually force UA to throw, they’re gonna throw to No. 2. Cowing, a transfer from UTEP, leads the Cats with six receiving scores and 28 catches — 21 of which, or 75%, have turned into first downs.


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