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Stanford seeks to boost record, clinch bowl spot

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BOULDER, Colorado — The Colorado Buffaloes have crunched the numbers and it all adds up to the same thing — there’s no margin for error.

Mired in a five-game skid, the Buffaloes (3-6, 1-5 Pac-12) must close the season with three wins to become bowl eligible. It starts at Saturday’s homecoming at Folsom Field against Stanford (4-4, 3-3), which also is eyeing a bowl berth.

Both teams are already out of contention on their respective sides for Pac-12 division titles.

This is hardly the predicament the Buffaloes figured they’d be in when they started 3-1 start under first-year Colorado coach Mel Tucker. But it’s now their reality. Colorado has missed out on a bowl the past two seasons.

“Everyone has that chip on their shoulder to want to come out and do everything they can,” senior outside linebacker Nu’umotu Falo Jr. said. “It’s really important to all of us.”

The Cardinal have a little more wiggle room with four games remaining, including at Washington State, then home against Cal and Notre Dame. Stanford has gone to 10 straight bowl games, which is the longest streak in school history as well as the longest active streak in the Pac-12.

This bodes well heading down the stretch — the Cardinal are 25-7 under coach David Shaw in November. And this bodes well for their matchup against Colorado — they’ve had roughly two weeks to prepare following a 41-31 win over Arizona.

The main emphasis during that down time?

“Rest,” Shaw said. “Usually we give the younger guys a lot of reps but we have so many young guys playing it was good for us not to practice as much. We looked ahead a little bit to Colorado, but most of it was getting guys off their feet.”

Moving up the charts

Stanford senior QB K.J. Costello didn’t look the least bit rusty against Arizona after missing 3½ games with an injury. Costello threw for 322 yards and three touchdowns.

Costello has now thrown for 5,906 career yards, which is the ninth-most in school history. With 48 career TD passes, he’s five away from tying Jim Plunkett (1968-70) for fifth place on the school’s list.

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