The last six weeks for Colorado have not been kind. They played five games and came away with five losses. With six losses on the year, Colorado can not afford another loss if they want to be bowl eligible. Stanford likely can’t afford a loss either. At 4-4, they must win two of their next four to keep their 10-game postseason streak alive. With Notre Dame, Cal, and Washington State all slated in the Cardinal’s future, this game feels like a must-win.
KJ Costello will start for Stanford. After weeks of uncertainty, this statement alone feels like the right step to a win Saturday at Folsom Field. Costello was excellent in his last game, completing 31 of 43 passes and throwing for 322 yards in the team’s win against Arizona. He sparked a struggling offense, and suddenly, the Cardinal offense looked near unstoppable. Yes, it was Arizona, but the Colorado defense is no better. KJ Costello will have a good chance to top his performance versus the Buffaloes defense.
The Buffaloes stand last in the PAC-12 in passing yards allowed per game. Quarterbacks feast off Colorado, averaging 316 passing yards per contest, and a healthy Costello should find plenty of success.
Running the ball should be easy for Stanford as well. Cameron Scarlett has found running room recently, and Colorado can’t necessarily stop the run well either. Frankly, the Colorado defense might be one of the worst in the country, allowing 30 or more points in 14 consecutive games. With the Cardinal coming off a bye, they should be plenty ready to put up a lot of points in Colorado, which leaves the question: will Stanford be able to stop their opponent from scoring?
Colorado has been a different team offensively when playing in front of a home crowd. They’ve been able to keep up with USC and Arizona and beat Nebraska, averaging 29.5 points per game on their home turf. However, there’s not much stability for the Colorado offense right now.
Buffs quarterback Steven Montez has been playing poorly enough to merit questions about whether or not he should even start. He ranks last this year in efficiency among PAC-12 quarterbacks with more than 138 throws.
Colorado also does not know who will head the rushing attack. Last week, true freshman Jaren Mangham carried the ball 17 times for 77 yards, but regular starter, Alex Fontenot, could return this week. Only time will tell who starts in the backfield for the Buffaloes.
All signs point to Stanford winning this game. They’re coming off a bye week, meaning that they are fresher and likely better prepared. They have their answer at quarterback. And historically, David Shaw and Stanford have been very good in November.
I think Stanford wins 35-24.