Caught in the midst of a 1-4 streak in which their offense has stagnated, and their offensive line has utterly failed to protect quarterback Shedeur Sanders, the head coach Deion Sanders and the Colorado Buffaloes are set to make a change on Saturday night, handing play-calling duties to former NFL head coach Pat Shurmur and promoting him to co-offensive coordinator alongside Sean Lewis, who remains as quarterback coach. There’s no way to sugarcoat it — Lewis’ demotion is a major blow for a coach that quit his head coaching role at Kent State in order to take the coordinator job at Colorado — but the decision needed to be made. That said, it’s uncertain how it’ll impact Saturday night’s nationally televised game against the Oregon State Beavers, who are likely underrated, despite their lofty No. 16 ranking.

   The Buffaloes understand that there’s no magic wand for their beleaguered offensive line. “Overall, we just don’t have the fight and the passion to do what we want to do,” he explained. “The line has to improve. We have to have enough depth to be able to accomplish the goals that we set out to accomplish.” Don’t expect the 6-2 Beavers to have any sympathy.

When the Buffaloes have the ball

   Shedeur Sanders took seven sacks against UCLA and was knocked down 13 other times. According to Deion Sanders, his son needed an injection at halftime to deal with the pain. Sanders the Younger “leads” all of FBS football with 41 sacks; only 19 off the record with four games remaining.

   “It’s really frustrating, because I just need to get feedback just knowing what’s open and what’s not,” Shedeur said, after the UCLA loss. “I’ve just got to make my mind up faster and get the ball out of my hands quicker.”

   The Buffaloes’ offensive line, short on talent to begin with and now ravaged by injuries, isn’t going to get better in those final four games, and Lewis’ failure to compensate for it with delayed runs, draws, screens, more short and crossing routes has turned a major problem into an all-encompassing one. Shurmur, who has had more success in his career as a coordinator than as a head coach, needs to be immediately creative.

   Shedeur still ranks third in the nation in passing yardage (2,637) coming into the week, with an amazing 22-to-3 touchdown-to-interception ratio and a 71.1 completion percentage despite the unrelenting pressure. He’s smart, gritty and unquestionably tough. Oregon State head coach Jonathan Smith is a fan. “This guy is a tough, accurate, athletic, competitive quarterback that we’re facing,” he said this week.

   In receivers Travis Hunter, Xavier Weaver, Jimmy Horn, Jr. and Javon Antonio — along with reliable receiving tight end Michael Harrison — he has no shortage of quality options… if he has the time.

   Shurmur will have to call enough run plays to keep a dangerous and opportunistic Oregon State defense from sending the house at Shedeur every down. Five different Beaver defenders have three or more sacks this season.

When the Beavers have the ball

   Outside of their in-state rivals (and Buffs fans would love to forget what happened against Oregon earlier this season), no team in the Pac-12 runs like Oregon State. They’ve exceeded 200 yards on the ground in three games this season, and average 5.4 per carry as a team. Running backs Damien Martinez and Deshaun Fenwick have combined for 1,160 yards and seven touchdowns this season, and quarterback DJ Uiagalelei has five rushing touchdowns of his own. An opportunistic runner, Uiagalelei is a more-than-capable passer. He’s not a high-accuracy thrower (59.2 percent), but he’s always moving, and presents a serious problem for a Buffs pass-rush that’s been hit-or-miss this season.

   The Beavers’ O-line might be one of the nation’s top five, and they’re adept at pass blocking, run blocking and blitz pickup. The Buffs will probably have to put a shell atop the defense with safeties Shilo Sanders and Trevor Woods in order to keep Uiagalelei to make game-breaking plays on the move. Cornerback Travis Hunter should be able to keep either Silas Bolden or Anthony Gould — the Beavers’ top two receivers — in check, but they’ll need to be wary of tight end Jack Velling, who leads the nation is receiving touchdowns by a tight end with eight. He’s Uiagalelei’s top target in the red zone.

What if?

   The Beavers are heavily favored for a reason, but Oregon State’s Smith isn’t looking past them. “They’ve been competitive throughout,” the head coach said this week. “Dramatically different than, let’s face it, last year. This is a good football team… Every week in this conference, we’ve got another big-time opponent, tough place to play. This team’s playing at a high level, so we’ve got to have a great week.”

   The Buffs have lost their last five conference home games. If they’re to surprise and avoid making it six, the defense will have to play like it did in its three-turnover performance against UCLA, and the offense — under Shurmur — will have to look very different in order to mitigate the Buffs’ near-helplessness on their offensive line.