When the powers that be at Colorado named Brian Cabral the interim head football coach I don’t think expectations were too high. After all, the Buffs were sitting at 3-6, which included a five-game losing streak, winless in their final go round in the Big 12, and freshly off one of the biggest choke-job losses in school history, if not major college football history.
Cabral, who has been an assistant coach at CU since 1989, has his work cut out for him.
If last week is any indication, however, he is more than up to the task.
The Buffaloes opened the Cabral era in Boulder with a 34-14 win over Iowa State, improving the season record to 4-6, and giving them their first conference win of the 2010.
Next, the Buffs turn their attention to the Wildcats of Kansas State.
Last season, Colorado dropped a 20-6 contest to KSU, in Manhattan.
This year, the Buffs are in desperate need of a win in order to keep their bowl hopes alive.
In order to achieve this, the CU defense will need to find a way to stop senior running back Daniel Thomas, who has rushed for 1168 yards and 14 touchdowns for KSU this season. He is the major part of the Wildcat offense.
It the Buffs can manage to render Thomas ineffective, then the game will be placed on the right arms of either senior Carson Coffman or sophomore Collin Kline. Coffman is a three year lettermen who has completed 65.5 percent of his passes this season for 1485 yards, but has also thrown seven interceptions compared to his nine touchdowns. Kline is a young man who has good size and great mobility. He has a solid completion percentage (66.7 %) but that has come in limited playing time.
Shutting down the Kansas State offense would turn the outcome of the game into the responsibility of the KSU defense, which could work into the favor of the Buffaloes. The Wildcats are allowing an average of 436.1 yards per game, but only 25.7 points per game, which is a good three points more than the Colorado offense is averaging. While the ‘Cats do give up a lot of yards, but they make up for it by generating turnovers, KSU is ranked 15th in the nation it turnover margin.
The unit is led by junior DB David Garrett, who is second on the team in tackles, with 66, and leads K-State in tackles for loss, with 11.
Another player the Buffaloes will need to keep track of is senior defensive lineman, Prizell Brown. Brown has recorded 35 tackles this season, seven for loss, and leads the team with five sacks.
As I said of last year’s game, Colorado needs a win more than the Wildcats. KSU is already bowl eligble while the Buffs need to win their final two games to do the same.
This game may come down to which version of the Buffs takes the field at Folsum today. If we see the team that played the first nine games of the season, then K-State is going to get win number seven this season. If the Buffs can play like they did against Iowa State, however, then the Boulder faithful could be in for a pleasant surprise.