CU Buffs (1-9, 1-6 Pac-12) at No. 15 Washington (8-2, 5-2)
When/where: 7 p.m. Saturday/Husky Stadium
TV/Radio: Pac-12 Network/850 AM, 94.1 FM
Line: UW -30.5, 62.5 over/under
Weather: 39 degrees, mostly clear
What to know
Chasing history: The Buffs missed out on a chance at immortality when they beat Cal and avoided becoming the program’s first winless team in 121 years of CU football. Still, they have a shot at another ignominious distinction: The Buffs currently rank 120th among CU teams in SRS (Simple Rating System), according to sports-reference.com, ahead of only Jon Embree’s disastrous second season in Boulder (1-11 in 2012). With two ranked juggernauts still on the docket (UW this week, Utah next) there’s time to reach No. 121.
Scream and Shrout: For the fifth week in a row, J.T. Shrout will start at quarterback for CU. The previous four have been, well, up and down — but mostly down. There’s been more interceptions (6) than touchdown passes (3), a sub-50 completion percentage (45.7), and four straight losses. That said, UW’s pass defense is 87th in FBS in yards allowed (241.9), and far from the unit that routinely produced NFL-caliber DBs under former coach Jimmy Lake. For a QB desperate to put together good tape, Saturday night presents an opportunity.
Record-breaker: If availability is the best ability, then count Daniel Arias among CU’s all-time greats. The 6-foot-5, 215-pound pass catcher is the program’s all-time leader in games played (51) by a receiver. If he appears in CU’s final two games, he will pass tight end Quinn Sypniewski (52 in 2000-05) for most played by a scrimmage player. He will not, however, beat the top mark held by punter Alex Kinney (54 in 2015-19).
Going local: Valor Christian fans might be a tad conflicted Saturday, with former Eagles standout Roger Rosengarten set to make his 11th consecutive start at right tackle for the Huskies. The Class of 2020 grad was a four-star recruit out of Valor — and one in a long line of highly rated Centennial State O-linemen the Buffs have been unable to reel in.
UW QB Michael Penix vs. CU secondary: For the third week in a row, the CU defense will encounter a red-hot transfer QB in the thick of the Heisman Trophy race. And as good as Oregon’s Bo Nix and USC’s Caleb Williams have been, neither have thrown for as many yards as the southpaw Penix, a former Indiana Hoosier who currently leads FBS at 364 yards/game.
CU RB Alex Fontenot vs. UW DL Bralen Trice: The Buffs running back is coming off one of his best games at CU — a 20-carry, 108-yard outing against USC that stands as his second highest single-game yardage total in four seasons. While the Huskies’ run defense (49th) isn’t quite as porous as the Trojans’ (57th), there are yards to be had.
Sean Keeler, sports columnist: Washington 44, CU 13
Ordinarily, you’d say the Buffs are catching the Huskies at the perfect time — a tilt sandwiched between UW’s massive win at Oregon and a visit to Pullman for the Apple Cup on Nov. 26. But this CU defense is gassed. And Michael Penix Jr. is on a mission.
Matt Schubert, deputy sports editor: UW 49, CU 17
The only question that matters when it comes to throwing money on CU: Is the other team motivated? The Trojans weren’t last week, for about a quarter, and it still didn’t matter. Here’s doubting it will Saturday night, either.
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