It may be Senior Night, but as the Colorado Buffaloes feature just two starting seniors on offense, when the USC Trojans head to Folsom Field, the focus will be on the underclassmen.
Colorado can’t boast too much when it comes to their offensive rankings. With the nation’s 82nd scoring offense and 85th total offense, the Buffaloes don’t put up many points or gain many yards. Their passing offense does peak in the top half of the country at 48th. However, their rushing offense isn’t much to write home about at 100th.
In the backfield, true freshmen take center stage. Colorado is led by first year starter Sefo Liufau, who won the job over junior Connor Wood midway through the season. In his six games as a starter, Liufau has totaled 1350 yards and eight touchdowns with a 63.4% completion rating. Though his numbers don’t jump out, that completion percentage is comparable to Marcus Mariota and Cody Kessler. However, Liufau has also thrown six interceptions.
The star of the Buffalo offense is junior receiver Paul Richardson, who makes Liufau’s job that much easier. Richardson has reeled in nine touchdown catches and 1201 yards on 71 receptions this season. That puts him fourth in the country in yardage, tenth in touchdowns and 16th in receptions among receivers. Richardson is a bonafide big play threat. He averages 51.8 yards on his touchdown catches this year.
Richardson’s counterparts in the receiving corp are sophomore Nelson Spruce and junior D.D. Goodson. Spruce averages 53.2 yards per game while Goodson is second-best on the team with a 14.6 yard average on his receptions.
At running back, the Buffaloes are led by sophomore Christian Powell, who has tallied 509 yards and three touchdowns this season. He has not lost a fumble in 138 total touches on the season and has only two fumbles in 304 career touches, one of which came last year against the Trojans.
True freshman Michael Adkins II has made waves at running back in the second half of the year as well with 434 yards and a 5.49 yards per rush average. He has made it in the endzone a team best five times.
On the offensive line, Colorado has enjoyed consistency on the line, with the same five players starting every game. Junior Jack Harris stands out at left tackle. He has allowed just two sacks this season. In fact, the Buffalo o-line has conceded just 15 sacks and 48 tackles for loss total, which is third-best in the conference.
Projected Starting Lineup:
WR #22 Nelson Spruce
WR #6 Paul Richardson
WR #3 D.D. Goodson
LT #75 Jack Harris
LG #54 Kaiwi Crabb
C #55 Gus Handler
RG #52 Daniel Munyer
RT #77 Stephane Nembot
TE #99 Scott Fernandez
QB #13 Sefo Liufau
TB #46 Christian Powell
FB #47 Alex Wood