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Opponent Preview: Colorado’s Defense

NCAA Football: Colorado at Arizona Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Utah seemingly solved their turnover woes last week, a glaring sore spot in a young offense that has been trying to find their footing during an unprecedented and tumultuous season. Keeping that success rolling will be key if the Utes hope to play spoiler against an undefeated Buffaloes team when they hit the field in Boulder in an early morning matchup this Saturday.

On the season, Colorado’s defense has intercepted three passes, and recovered four fumbles (though only two have been forced), with no one defender standing out as a turnover machine, which should give the Utes some reason to remain optimistic, but that’s not to say there’s potential for disaster.

Junior linebacking duo Mekhi Blackmon (6’0, 164 lbs,) and Carson Wells (6’4”, 250 lbs.) have deflected a total of seven passes between them, with Wells being one of four players to record an INT on the season, which was returned for a team-high 14 yards. Between his size and athletic ability, Wells could be poised for a breakout game on national TV.

Leading tackler Nate Landman (senior, 6’3”, 235 lbs.) will be looking to improve his NFL draft stock against a Utah team that he has only beat once. The projected fourth to fifth round draft pick has been compared to the great Bill Romanowski, and for a good reason. With ten career sacks, including four this season (tied for his career high, a mark he hit in 2018 with nearly three times the amount of games), Landman has grown into one of the most ferocious tacklers in the conference and could be the most disruptive defender on the field this Saturday.

With one game still remaining to get to .500 on the season, Utah’s offense will need to be nearly perfect, and likely more creative than they were in last week’s win if they want an outside chance of sneaking into a bowl game (though with fewer bowl games available, especially within the PAC-12, who has five teams already above .500, with only four contracted bowl games available, those odds are looking particularly slim, if not outright impossible). The good news is, whoever that remaining opponent may be has yet to be determined, so Utah has no reason to overlook a stingily Buffaloes squad while looking forward to their next opponent.