Colorado notebook

Colorado notebook

The Colorado football program has plenty of problems preventing it from winning more games right now. Get inside for some analysis on one of its biggest issues and why the Buffs need to get it fixed quickly.

One of the biggest problems for the Colorado defense so far this fall has been getting off the field on third downs.

A few bad weeks is one thing, but we're heading into the sixth game of the season this week and the Buffs are allowing opponents to convert on third downs nearly 50 percent of the time.

That statistic is even more foreboding with the matchup against Stanford looming. The Cardinal offense been among the nation's best at converting on third downs this season. They earn a first down on third down 50 percent of the time heading into Saturday's game with the Buffs. If CU doesn't do better this week, it will be a long night in the Bay Area for the black, silver and gold on Saturday.

When CU gets opponents in third-down-and-seven or more, it is much more likely to get off the field and force a punt. But the Buffs have allowed their first five opponents to convert 75 percent of the time when it is third-and-six or less.

Cefalo hurt

Wide receiver Kyle Cefalohasn't been a huge part of the offense this season, but he is the program's fifth leading receiver and he suffered a fractured elbow last week against Washington State.

Cefalo is wearing a sleeve this week and hopes to be able to continue playing despite the injury. But he and coaches won't know if that is possible until they see how the elbow reacts after practices.

Good news in the secondary

Sophomore cornerback Paul Vigo suffered a pulled hamstring in the win over Colorado State three weeks ago and hasn't played in either of the Buffs' two losses since.

Vigo was able to practice on Monday and though it is the lightest session of the week, it gave him confidence that he will be able to return to action this week. Vigo said his biggest concern is getting back into the kind of shape he needs to be in after not being able to run for two solid weeks. Stay tuned.

Three freebies

Colorado's penalty problem is well-documented. The Buffs are the most flagged team in the nation after five games with 48 penalties. They are on pace to set a new single-season record averaging 10 penalties a game. The record of 116 penalties was set in 2005

Here is a statistic within the statistic showing just how much damage penalties are doing. Fifteen of the Buffs' penalties have given opponents first downs. That is an average of three extra first downs a game the Buffs are giving away.

You just can't do that and win games, when you have the lack of talent, depth and speed up and down the roster like the Buffs.

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