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UM vs. Colorado preview: Don't repeat the past

Angelique S. Chengelis
The Detroit News
Colorado quarterback Sefo Liufau, right, ranks 13th in the nation in pass efficiency (179.9).

Angelique S. Chengelis breaks down Saturday's Michigan-Colorado game at Michigan Stadium (3:30 p.m. BTN/WWJ).

Buffaloes to watch

Sefo Liufau, QB: The senior was named Pac 12 offensive player of the week after throwing for 318 yards and one TD, and rushing for 66 yards in a 44-7 victory over Colorado State in the opener. It was his first game back after a Lisfranc (foot) injury sidelined him for nearly three full games at the end of 2015. Through two games this season he is 38-for-51 for 522 yards (74.5 percent), three TDs and no INTs. He’s 13th nationally in pass efficiency (179.9).

Chidobe Awuzie, DB: He’s working to become Colorado’s career sack leader among defensive backs. This season, Awuzie has 10 tackles, all solo, to lead the team. He also has an INT and has broken up two passes. He has one tackle for loss. During his career, he became the first Colorado defensive back to record a sack in three straight games.

Devin Ross, WR: Ross, a 5-foot-9, 180-pound junior, has 11 receptions for 124 yards and two TDs through two games. This has been a rebound year for Ross, who endured some on-field disappointment last season. He had 25 catches for 324 yards and two TDs, but was more known for his drops. In a loss to UCLA, he had two critical drops in the end zone.


Hail Mary: Anyone remember the 1994 Michigan-Colorado game? Oh, you’ve probably seen plenty of reminders during the week and undoubtedly highlights from that game — or the highlight, the Colorado Hail Mary that beat Michigan — will be shown during the broadcast. No one believes a game 22 years ago will have any effect on a one being played Saturday, but that’s not stopping the Buffaloes from wearing throwback uniforms.

Big D: Like polls, team statistical rankings don’t mean much until about the second third of the season. But two weeks in, Colorado is leading the country in total defense (160.5 yards), rank second in pass efficiency defense (55.31 QB rating) and is tied for seventh in scoring defense (seven).

Detroit News predictions: Michigan vs. Colorado

Fast, fast, fast: In the first half of the opener against Colorado State, Colorado ran a play every 19.86 seconds. The Buffaloes ranked seventh nationally in total offense (587.5 yards) and are tied for 11th in scoring (50). They have a new motto this year — “one snap and clear” — which means if a player makes a mistake on offense, it’s one snap, it’s over, time to move on.

How can this be? Michigan’s offense hasn’t been penalized through two games. That’s 141 plays total without an infraction. Playing at home has probably helped Michigan. It certainly has contributed to the Wolverines efficiency on offense.

Speaking of efficiency: While Colorado is expected to give Michigan its biggest defensive test, the Wolverines offense appears up to the challenge. The Wolverines are 13-for-14 in red-zone opportunities — 10 TDs and three FGs. The only time Michigan didn’t score was at the end of last week’s game against Central Florida. In the opener, Michigan scored six TDs on six red-zone opportunities.

Facts and figures

• Colorado has lost 22 straight against ranked opponents, dating to a 34-30 upset of No. 17 Kansas in 2009. Michigan is ranked No. 4, and Colorado has lost five in a row against top-five teams since an upset of No. 3 Oklahoma in 2007. But the last time Colorado beat a top-five team on the road? Sept. 24, 1994 at … No. 4 Michigan.

• Colorado had nearly 600 yards offense last week against Idaho State, a Football Championship Subdivision team, which gained 96, the fewest by a Buffaloes opponent in 24 years. Colorado has held its two opponents to 14 points and 597 yards.

• In its first two games, Colorado defeated Colorado State, 44-7, and Idaho State, 56-7. This marks the first time Colorado has had back-to-back wins of 35 points or more since 1994. And here’s where it gets eerie — those were the first two games before the Buffaloes traveled to Ann Arbor.

• Colorado expects to play before the biggest crowd in program history. The largest crowd before which they played was 106,474, and that happened to be at Michigan on Sept. 13, 1997. “This is a dream come true for a college athlete like me, first time stepping in that kind of atmosphere,” senior T Jordan Carrell said.

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