Colorado returns after long layoff to face Beavers
Neither Colorado coach Mike MacIntyre nor Oregon State coach Mike Riley are sure what they'll see on Saturday from the Buffaloes.
Colorado won its first two games under new head coach MacIntyre. But then deadly flooding around Boulder earlier this month forced the cancellation of a home game against Fresno State.
The players chipped in with the recovery efforts before a bye week off. As a result, Colorado will have had a 21-day layoff when the Buffaloes take the field against the Beavers on Saturday at Reser Stadium.
MacIntyre has done his best to keep his players focused. He's been using a lot of scrimmage-type situations `'so we could keep the speed of the game going.''
''The speed of the game is one thing I've talked about that we've tried to work really hard at. ... That's something that you get when you play in games. So, they (the Beavers) have four games and we have two so there's a little bit of an advantage on that side of it. On the other side, hopefully we're a little bit fresher than they are. I'm hoping,'' MacIntyre said.
The mystery for Riley is what to expect. Because the Buffaloes have only played two games, there's not a lot of film available to see how Colorado is implementing MacIntyre's system.
''I know we'll see some new stuff,'' Riley said.
The game is the Pac-12 opener for Colorado, which defeated Colorado State and Central Arkansas to start the season. Oregon State (3-1, 1-0 Pac-12) has rebounded after a season-opening loss to Eastern Washington and the Beavers are coming off a come-from-behind 34-30 victory last Saturday over San Diego State.
The Beavers have been boosted by the play of quarterback Sean Mannion, who is ranked second nationally with 401 yards passing. He leads the conference with 15 touchdown passes so far this season.
It's a good thing he's stepped up, because the Beavers' ground game is nearly nonexistent. The Beavers are 121st among FBS-level teams with an average of just 55 yards rushing a game. The Beavers had just 10 yards on the ground against San Diego State.
COOKIN' COOKS: Beavers receiver Brandin Cooks had a career-high 14 catches against San Diego State, bringing his total to a national-best 43. He's averaging 10.8 receptions per game. He's averaging 159.8 yards receiving per game, second nationally behind Colorado's Paul Richardson, who has averaged 208.5 in his two games.
WOODS STILL OUT: Top Beavers running back Storm Woods is expected to sit out the game because of a concussion, which also caused him to miss last weekend's game against San Diego State. Woods is the Beavers' leading rusher with 152 yards and two touchdowns. He had 940 yards rushing and 13 touchdowns last season. Riley said that even if Woods was medically cleared to play, he probably wouldn't play him.
PLAYER IMPACT: MacIntyre said a number of the players were directly impacted by the flooding, saying ''we had quite a few kids get displaced and are in different apartments now. They had to apply for money to get things back that were lost. So that was tough on them but I think now they're all back to normalcy and moving along fine.''
HISTORY: The last time Colorado was idle for two straight weeks during the season was in 1963. The Buffs were scheduled to play Air Force that Nov. 23, but the game was postponed when President John F. Kennedy was assassinated the day before. As a result, the Buffs were off both Nov. 23 and 30. The Air Force game was rescheduled.
BUFFS OUT WEST: The game is Colorado's first-ever trip to Corvallis. Both of the Buffaloes' previous trips to play Oregon State happened in Portland. The Beavers are the last Pac-12 team left for Colorado to face since it joined the Pac-12 in 2011 - although the Buffs' game against California that season was considered non-conference because it was the second of a home-and-home agreement.