Head to Head: CU Independent


University of Utah freshman tight end Cole Fotheringham (89) gets brought down one yard short of the touchdown by University of Colorado corner back Trey Udoffia (8) at Folsom Field in Boulder, CO Saturday, Nov. 17, 2018. (Photo by: Justin Prather | The Utah Chronicle).

By Sammy Mora, Sports Editor

In the regular season finale, No. 6 Utah is set to host Colorado on senior day. I reached out to Max Troderman of the CU Independent to talk some football ahead of the Rumble in the Rockies.

This interview was conducted via email on Nov. 27, 2019.


Sammy Mora: What was the biggest factor that lead to the Buffs beating Washington last week?

Max Troderman: The Buffs performed well on multiple levels against UW, including the run game and special teams, but defense is what ended up putting CU on top. Colorado had allowed 30+ points to every team they had played up until two weeks ago against Stanford where they allowed just 13 points and again last week versus Washington, where they allowed only 14 points. Holding opposing offenses to a reasonable score allows the Buffs to not feel like they have to dig themselves out of a hole. Keeping the score tight will be a focus for the team heading into Utah.


SM: How do you feel Laviska Shenault Jr. will fare against a stout Utah defense?

MT: There is no argument that Shenault Jr. has talent and that he will see some targets come Saturday. However, Utah’s defense is one of the best, and the team has a No. 6 ranking for a reason. Jaylon Johnson will be hungry for the matchup, and will have plenty of help from his teammates if needed. I think Shenault Jr. will mostly be shut down by the Utah defense, but there is always a chance for him to go up and make a spectacular play.


SM: How have you seen Stephen Montez improve during his time at Colorado?

MT: I remember back in 2016 when Montez helped CU get an early season win in Oregon and a lot of people thought he was going to be the next big thing. Since then he has improved greatly, strengthening his arm and working on his downfield accuracy. Montez has set 39 school records during his time as a Buff, 28 outright and nine tied. Just in this last season, Montez has broken several school records, including moving into second all time on the Colorado passing list and second all time for total offensive yards. With one more guaranteed game as a Buff, Montez will look to break at least one more record.


SM: Who on the CU defense needs to have a big game to make it so the Buffs can go bowling?

MT: Inside linebacker Nate Landman will need to step up and lead the Buffaloes defense if they have any kind of chance of defeating Utah. Last week he came up with a huge interception that stopped a UW drive near the red zone and prevented points. Landman will need to play one of the best games of his career against this high-octane Utah offense if Colorado wants to have a shot at making a bowl game.


SM: Other than Shenault and Montez, who on the offense needs to have a big game on Saturday?

MT: Running back Alex Fontenot and receivers Tony Brown and Dimitri Stanley will have to perform exceptionally for the CU offense. Fontenot has had a great season on the ground thus far, and maintaining a solid running game on Saturday will allow for a little more room for the receivers to operate. Shenault will be covered tightly the whole game, which will leave some space for Brown and Stanley to operate. Both of those receivers have good speed and sticky hands ⁠— if the Utah defense isn’t careful with the duo, it could spell trouble.


SM: What position battle are you most looking forward to seeing on Saturday?

MT: I am looking forward to Shenault Jr. and Johnson, or whoever else covers Shenault Jr. throughout the game. Whenever Shenault Jr. is on the field, there is a chance for highlight reel play.


SM: Do you have a score prediction?

MT: The Utes should have no issue with the Buffaloes. Utah wins 45-10.


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