Before the season, it was widely thought that the Colorado Buffaloes (3-2, 0-2) offense would be the unit that the Buffs would lean on to carry the team. This is why it has been surprising that their successes in 2017 have been dictated mostly by their defense.

One main contributing factor has been the return of defensive lineman, Leo Jackson III. As a sophomore in 2015, Jackson started 10 games and played the second most snaps of any down lineman on the team. However in 2016, he started just one game and played less than half the snaps he did the previous year.

Motivated and ready to “dominate”, Leo has been the lone shining star on a Buffs defensive line that has struggled to create enough push at times this season. His versatility with his hand on the ground has led to defensive coordinator DJ Eliot and staff to utilize him at both positions on the defensive line in 2017.

On a team that has struggled to pressure opposing quarterbacks, Jackson is the outlier. He leads CU with five sacks, including 11 tackles for zero or loss. His three sacks against Texas State were the most by a Buffalo in seven years. He also ranks fourth on the team in tackles but first on the team in unassisted tackles.

The Arizona Wildcats (2-2, 0-1) roll into Boulder on Saturday for ‘Family Weekend’ as Colorado tries to snap a two game losing steak. Arizona is coming off of a bye week after opening conference play at home in a loss to #20/#18 Utah Utes (4-0, 1-0), 30-24. Jackson and the defensive line will be charged with trying to slow down the Wildcats potent rushing offense. They pace the Pac-12 on the ground and rank eighth in the NCAA with 296 yards rushing per game.