CU vs. Stanford scouting report: Who has the edge, predictions and 3 things to watch

Game Plan

When the Buffs run

With Alex Fontenot sidelined, freshman RB Jaren Mangham (17 carries, 77 yards) was solid if unspectacular as the featured back against the Bruins. Of course, with the Buffs going down 17-0 early, game flow was against them almost from the start. If CU can stay within striking distance and remain patient, Stanford’s 56th-ranked rush defense can be exploited. Edge: Even

When the Buffs pass

It’s anyone’s guess which version of Steven Montez shows up at Folsom Field on Saturday. The same goes for a potentially hobbled Laviska Shenault. If those two are right, they will get plenty of opportunities against a Stanford defense allowing 263.5 passing yards per game (112th in the country). Just try to steer clear of junior CB Paulson Adebo, who leads the Pac-12 with four interceptions this season. Edge: Buffs

When the Cardinal run

A rash of early season injuries has the Cardinal starting three freshmen on the offensive line. While that unit has shown signs of coalescing, most notably in a 23-13 upset of Washington, it’s clear the “intellectual brutality” that has defined Stanford football during its recent run of success is a work in progress. For a CU defense that was just shredded for 200 rush yards by UCLA, stopping the Cardinal remains a challenge. Edge: Cardinal

When the Cardinal pass

Senior quarterback K.J. Costello’s return from injury couldn’t have gone much better against Arizona’s 128th-ranked pass defense — 31-of-44 passing for 322 yards and three TDs. Can the 6-foot-5 pocket passer, regarded as a mid-to-late-round NFL draft prospect, find similar success against a banged-up secondary that’s performed even worse (129th)? Yeah, probably. Edge: Cardinal

Special teams