UCLA vs. Colorado prediction and game preview. Projecting who wins Thursday night’s matchup between the Bruins and Buffaloes.
When: Thursday, Nov. 3 – 9:00 p.m. ET
Where: Folsom Field, Boulder, Colorado
TV Broadcast: FS1
The last month has been anything but positive for UCLA (3-5), as Jim M0ra’s Bruins have dropped their last three games – at Arizona State, at Washington State, and at home versus Utah. UCLA is coming off of a bye week, which it desperately needed after falling to the Utes, 52-45. After falling behind early in the first quarter, the Bruins and Utes exchanged the lead a couple of times before Utah distanced itself in the second half.
On the other side of the spectrum, Colorado (6-2) has pieced together back-to-back wins for the third time this season. The Buffaloes took down Arizona State at home on Oct. 15 and followed it up with a tough road win at Stanford a week later. Now, Colorado is well rested off of a bye week, but it’s still riding high from that 10-5 win over the Cardinal.
The all-time series between UCLA and Colorado is clearly in the Bruins’ corner, as they hold a 9-2 advantage. UCLA has taken the last five meetings, and the Buffaloes have not won since 2003. Last year’s victory for the Bruins in Pasadena ended with a 35-31 final score.
What To Know About UCLA
Josh Rosen is still out with a nerve issue in his shoulder, and there is no telling when the talented sophomore quarterback will return for the Bruins. Mike Fafaul has been filling in for him, and his performance against Utah was definitely unique. UCLA asked Fafaul to throw 70 times against the Utes, and he completed 40 of those passes for 464 yards and five touchdowns. However, Fafaul also threw four interceptions.
Those five scoring strikes went to Nate Iese (2), Jordan Lasley (1), Bolu Olorunfunmi (1) and Austin Roberts (1). Iese led the team with eight catches for 146 yards. Lasley was right behind him with seven grabs for 117 yards. There is little reason to wonder why the Bruins took to the air so much. Their running game has been suspect all season long, and it was virtually absent against Utah as well. They rushed for a total of 46 yards on 16 carries, and Olorunfunmi provided their only rushing touchdown from seven yards out late in the first quarter.
What to Know About Colorado
The Buffaloes certainly had no problem running the ball against Stanford. Phillip Lindsay provided 131 rushing yards on 12 carries, and Kyle Evans chipped in 60 more yards on 14 carries. Sefo Liufau provided 38 yards on 17 rushes, but he also did work through the air. Liufau connected on 12-of-25 passes for 135 yards and a touchdown. Shay Field was on the receiving end of that scoring strike, as he ended up with four catches for 51 yards. Devin Ross also reeled in four passes for 33 yards.
Colorado defense was spectacular against Stanford, too. It allowed only 263 yards of total offense and only 93 yards on the ground. However, Mike MacIntyre’s team did commit six penalties for -60 yards.
Offense: C0lorado – The Buffaloes can actually run the ball — pretty easy here.
Defense: Colorado – UCLA is No. 38 in total defense (368.8 yards/game), while the Buffaloes are ranked No. 12 (307.8 yards/game)
Special Teams: UCLA – JJ Molson has connected on 9-of-14 field goals with three of those misses coming from at least 40 yards out, but Ishmael Adams is a threat in the return game.
Coaching: Colorado – Mike MacIntyre isn’t the one on the hot seat right now.
Matchup To Watch
UCLA running game vs. Colorado defense
The Bruins have had a tough time getting things going on the ground all season long, but they’ll have to try to pick up some yards with the running game against the Buffaloes. UCLA can’t hang its hat on Fafaul throwing 70 times per game. If it tries to, Colorado will come out of this with an easy win. The Buffaloes will have to defend the air attack well enough to force the Bruins’ hand. It’ll be interesting to see the play calling distribution for Mora’s team.
Spread: Colorado -12
UCLA vs. Colorado Prediction
Lindsay is going to get early touches and find himself with yet another 100-plus-yard game on the ground. He’ll find his way across the goal line once or twice to help give the Buffaloes some momentum. Liufau will gash the UCLA defense for some big running plays, too, but he’ll do just as much work with his arm. Liufau will flirt with 150 passing yards and a couple of touchdowns. Fafaul will do all he can, but he’ll be picked off a couple of times in this one. The Buffaloes will surrender the lead once to the Bruins but then recapture it and hold on for the win.
UCLA vs. Colorado Score Prediction: Colorado 31, UCLA 20