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Life without wide receiver Laviska Shenault is proving to be considerably less than fulfilling. The Colorado Buffaloes have now dropped two straight games following Saturday’s loss to Washington in Seattle.

Washington was without star running back Myles Gaskin, who missed the first game of his collegiate career due to a shoulder injury. Still, the Huskies managed to gash the Colorado defense on the ground, rushing for a season-high 201 yards in their 27-13 victory.

With Shenault on the shelf with the toe injury, the Buffs still jumped out to a 7-0 lead in the first quarter on a 37-yard Steven Montez-to-Daniel Arias touchdown pass.

Unfortunately for Colorado, the fireworks pretty much ended at that point.  After two field goals in the second quarter, the Buffalo offense was shutout in the second half.

There has never been a better time to welcome Oregon State to town, which Colorado will do this weekend.

Steven Montez, Quarterback 

For the second game in a row, Montez struggled against a talent-laden defense.  Aside from the first quarter TD pass to Arias, the junior had little success throwing the ball. No doubt this was owed a great deal to the absence of Shenault.  Montez finished the day 17-of-28 for 144 yards, with an interception to go along with the touchdown.

The Buffaloes are averaging just 5.1 yards per completion without Shenault showing how much he means to Montez and the Buffalo offense.

Grade: C-

Draft Stock: 5th Round

Preview for Oregon State:  If anything can help heal the wounds the Buffs suffered over the past two weekends, it’s a visit from the 1-6, cellar-dwelling Beavers. Oregon State has lost 21 consecutive road games heading into Saturday’s matchup in Boulder.

The Beavers defense has struggled this season, having had to replace a number of starters on that side of the ball. That defense is allowing 541 yards and 47 points per game. Montez should certainly be able to get back on track, even without Shenault this Saturday.

Oregon State’s defense has been equally poor against the run to this point in the season. The Beavers will be picking their poison when it comes to matching up with the Buffs offense.  If Oregon State is dead set on stopping the run then Montez should have a huge day.

Travon McMillian, Running Back

Simply put, Travon McMillian has been the most consistent player on the Colorado roster so far this season.  Against Washington, the Buffaloes’ bell cow carried the ball 25 times for 86 yards. This against one of the best defensive fronts in the PAC-12, if not the country.

The fact that McMillian managed 86 yards on the ground against a defense that didn’t have to deal with Shenault shows the effort the Buffaloes senior puts in week in and week out.

Grade: B

Draft Stock: 5th Round

Preview for Oregon State: McMillian should surpass 100 yards and see the end zone a couple times Saturday. Assuming this game doesn’t get out of hand early and he gets pulled to rest. This game could be McMillian’s best of the year.

Laviska Shenault, Wide Receiver

The Buffs offensive star sat out the Washington game with a toe injury.  His absence proved more painful than the toe for Colorado.

Preview for Oregon State: If he plays this weekend, Shenault should have a good day.  Without an ailing toe, he could be in for a monster day.

Oregon State is struggling big time defensively and the playmaking wideout should make his share of plays. It would be a pleasant surprise if he has anywhere near the type of game he’s had so often thus far in the season.

Rick Gamboa, Linebacker

Two total tackles. Nothing else. That was the senior middle linebacker’s line for the game. For a guy who is supposed to be leading this team’s defense, Rick Gamboa continues to slide in terms of production. Some speculation has been he is fighting through an injury that hasn’t been disclosed. That would certainly explain the lack of production but is not helping him or the defense if that’s the case.

Grade: D

Draft Stock: Undrafted

Preview for Oregon State: If Gamboa can’t get it going against the Beavers, then he probably won’t be able to for the rest of this season.  Oregon State might just be the worst offensive team in the PAC-12 right now.

Junior quarterback Conor Blount and freshman running back Jermar Jefferson have put up good numbers for Oregon State. However, some of those offensive numbers may be inflated with the Beavers playing from behind so often this season. Blount is doubtful to play with a concussion and the Beavers will likely have to start Jake Luton.

Gamboa should have much more success Saturday against a team in Oregon State that has significantly less talent than the Buffaloes have faced the last two weeks.  It’s pretty much now or never for the veteran linebacker.

Evan Worthington, Strong Safety 

Evan Worthington had what might have been the most complete game of his season against Washington. The senior registered seven tackles, including one for a loss, as well as a sack against a potent Husky offense.

If the Colorado faithful were looking for leadership from someone on this defense, they’ve found it in Worthington.

Grade: B+

Draft Stock: 4th Round

Preview for Oregon State:  Despite having one of the weaker offenses in the conference, the Beavers have been putting up decent numbers, especially when they fall behind. If that ends up being the case on Saturday, then Worthington could have another solid performance for this Colorado defense. The senior safety could rack up double-digit tackles this weekend unless Oregon State decides to abandon the run entirely.

Yet the Beavers seem to like to mix the run and the pass regardless of the score. This should be a very, very good game for Worthington.

Mike Clark

Author Mike Clark

Founder of the sports blog Redbloodedsports.com Member, Football Writers Association of America

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