Montez needs to outduel Herbert:
It’s no secret to those that follow the buffs closely that last time these two teams played each other Montez made his first start. He quickly lit the folsom faithful on fire as he threw for three touchdowns over three hundred yards passing and picked up another century mark with his legs in rushing. The Buffaloes barely escaped with the best performance they’ve had arguably from a freshmen quarterback. This time might not be much different. The keys are simple. Play defense and don’t get into a shootout with Herbert. The matchups and what will win this game for Colorado is the secondary. It’s facing it’s toughest test of the season no question.
Justin Herbert is a name that is drawing national attention. Potentially a top five pick in the 2020 NFL draft. The thing you want to avoid when dealing with any Quarterback of his caliber at this level is getting into a shootout. It’s Herbert vs the secondary of Colorado. This is going to be where the game is won or lost. It doesn’t matter really what the offense of Colorado does. We all know they can score points and more into that later on. But, for now the secondary needs to be the focus. Herbert didn’t get national attention by running. He got it by shredding cover three defenses with laser throws over the middle of the field and finding holes on the outside of the field in cover 2. And… Well you get it. He can read defenses better then most. It’s no secret, he’s good. The secondary has a tall task. This will come down to disguising coverages and giving Mustafah Johnson time to get to Herbert. Flushing him and making him uncomfortable. Not only QB hurries. But QB hits and making sure he feels the rush each throw. Make him instead do three step drops knowing anything longer will result in him getting hit and hit hard. No QB likes to be touched. Herbert is no different. If he gets flustered he will start to make mistakes.
Second keys is to make sure the offense has long steady drives. Keeping Herbert on the sideline to think about how Johnson or Landman drilled him for three straight plays. Let him sit back on the bench or stand on the sideline with his hands behind his back. Watching the game like a fan. More then a player. If you score quick you face the quick passing attack of the Oregon offense and you play right into their hands. The altitude will only help so much. You need to keep the defense as fresh as possible and that means the offense needs to go longer. Even if it means shorter throws that move the chains. Anything under 7 plays through the first three quarters is a failure of a series.
The third key to the game sounds silly. But, play defense is not silly. It’s part of the game, it’s one of the main phases in the game. If the offense takes care of business and keeps the defense rested going into the fourth quarter and the game is close. That is exactly what Tucker wants. He wants to grind this game out knowing that his team is more conditioned and coming from altitude. The long going saying is they don’t play defense in the pac-12. Well with good QB play how can you. Honestly, this can be a statement game. Keeping it physical and smash mouth with good tough runs. The defense getting QB hits and hurries and adding lots of pressure. Even if it means you blitz 5 or 6. You have to play man at some point and when you do you must make sure it’s in an advantage for the defense to take that risk. Staying diciplined and making sure Herbert feels the pressure will result in a victory for the Buffaloes.
Prediction: Buffs 28 Ducks 24