“Friday” Fast Facts – No. 9 Colorado vs. No. 21 Utah

 

Getting to Know … Utah

— Utah is one of five schools in the nation (Alabama, Clemson, Florida State and Ohio State being the others) which has appeared in all 17 College Football Rankings over the past three years. A loss to Colorado, and Utah, in at No. 22 this week, would likely drop out for the first time;

— Senior defensive end Hunter Dimick had two sacks against Oregon, setting the Utah career record for sacks in the process. Dimick leads the the nation with 14 sacks this season, and has a school-record 29 in his career at Utah;

— Sophomore linebacker Cody Barton had a career-high 20 tackles against Oregon, the most in a game by a Ute since 2010 … before having his season come to an end with a broken collarbone;

— Utah’s punter, Mitch Wishnowsky, leads the nation in punting, at 48.6 yards per punt. Wishnowsky’s average is almost four yards per punt better than any other punter in the Pac-12;

— Colorado is the second ranked team Utah has played this fall. The Utes lost at home, 31-24, on October 29th.

 

Utah players to watch:

Joe Williams/RB … With 1,088 net rushing yards in just seven games played, senior Joe Williams is the 13th player in Utah school history to rush for 1,000 yards in a season. In the five games since coming out of retirement, Williams is averaging 202.6 yards per game and has accumulated 1,013 of his 1,088 net yards. Williams is averaging 155.4 yards per game overall, which is on school-record pace.

Troy Williams/QB … Junior transfer Troy Williams has started every game. He is 8-3 this season and 8-4 in NCAA career starts (0-1 at Washington in 2014). Williams has completed 183-of-327 pass attempts (56.0%) for 2,419 yards and 14 touchdowns (five interceptions). He also has 91 carries for 227 net yards and five touchdowns (second on the team). Williams has thrown ten touchdown passes with just one interception in Utah’s eight conference games, including a career-high four touchdowns against Arizona State.

Mitch Wishnowsky/P – The sophomore has been named one of three Ray Guy Award finalists, and leads the nation in punting. Wishnowsky is two-time Ray Guy Punter of the Week (vs. Arizona and Arizona State) and has won the Pac-12 Special Teams Player of the Week twice, including last weekend against Oregon.

 

Colorado and Utah – head-to-head

This will be the 63rd meeting between the two schools, in a series which dates back to 1903. Colorado leads the all-time tally, 31-28-3, though Utah has won four of the five meetings between the two schools since the pair joined the Pac-12 together in 2011. Before joining the Pac-12, the two teams hadn’t met on the gridiron since 1962.

Colorado won the first three games played between the two teams, and won nine of the first 11 games played between the schools. Utah ran off nine straight wins between 1925 and 1933, but CU won eight of the last ten games (between 1951 and 1962 before the rivalry went dormant for 50 years.

The Buffs lead the series in games played in Boulder, 16-12-1, but have yet to beat Utah at home in Pac-12 play. Colorado won the first game between the rivals in their new conference, taking a 17-14 decision over the Utes in Salt Lake City in 2011.

The Utes have won the last four games between the two teams, but every game has been close … 42-35 (2012); 24-17 (2013); 38-34 (2014); and 20-14 (2015).

 

Colorado and Utah … historical

In the 12 statistical categories tracked by Winsipedia, Utah leads Colorado in only two of 12 categories … though they are significant.

In all-time winning percentage, the Utes have snuck past the Buffs just recently. Utah has a .591 winning percentage (660-452-31), which is 33rd on the all-time list. With the decade long drought in Boulder, Colorado has slipped to a .583 wining percentage (694-492-36), good enough for 36th on the all-time list.

The other category in which Utah has a lead is in bowl winning percentage. Colorado has a losing record in bowl games (12-16), while Utah has one of the best bowl winning percentages in the nation (15-4, 2nd-best in the country).

Otherwise, however, Colorado has significant advantages, including:

— Weeks in the Associated Press poll: CU, 299 (yes, win or lose against the Utes this weekend, CU will be posting week No. 300 come Sunday) … Utah, 111;

— Consensus All-Americans: CU, 31 … Utah, 6;

— NFL draft picks: CU, 266 … Utah, 146; and

— National championships and Heisman trophy winners: CU, 1 each … Utah, 0 for each.

 

Colorado and Utah … Notes and Numbers

— CU’s No. 9 ranking is the highest for the program since the Buffs were ranked No. 7 in the 2002 preseason poll (the Buffs lost to Colorado State, 19-14, in the opener, to drop out of the top ten. CU did go on to finish 9-5, capturing a second consecutive Big 12 North title);

— With the win over Washington State, Colorado has nine wins for the 14th time in school history, the first nine win season since 2002. The Buffs have posted six ten-win seasons in their history, the last coming in 2001;

— Colorado has allowed just 22 offensive touchdowns by the opponent this season; that is down from 43 last year and from 67 as recent as 2012. Buff opponents scored 154 offensive touchdowns in Mike MacIntyre’s first 37 games (or 4.2 per game. That number is down to 2.0 in 2016);

— Colorado is averaging 209.5 yards rushing and 268.7 yards passing this fall, as the Buffaloes are in position to average 200 or more in both for just the fourth time in their history. CU did so in 1993, 1994 and 2001. CU has rushed and passed for 200 of each in six games this season (going 6-0), a new school best as the Buffs previously did it five times in 1994 (four regular season plus the Fiesta Bowl) and in 1995 (all in the regular season);

— The Buffs are 5-0 at home this season, and are looking for their first undefeated year in Boulder since 1994. The friendly confines of Folsom Field have been just that, as CU has outscored the opponents 201-63, allowing just six touchdowns (three on short fields: 27 yards by Idaho State, 31 by Arizona State and 38 by UCLA, the first two following turnovers);

— Utah coach Kyle Whittingham is the longest tenured Pac-12 coach, as he is in his 12th season in Salt Lake City, guiding the Utes to a 103-49 record during his time there (45-29 since joining the Pac-12).

 

Pac-12 Notes … 

— When Colorado joined the top ten in the national rankings last week, the Buffs became the ninth team in the Pac-12 to have appeared in the top ten in the past three seasons;

— Washington and Washington State will be playing for the 109th time. The Huskies lead the Apple Cup series, 70-32-6, with three wins in a row, and six of the last seven;

— The 90th Territorial Cup pits the Arizona schools against one another. Arizona leads the all-time series, 48-40-1, but Arizona State has won four of the past six. The Sun Devils, who opened the season 5-1 (before heading to Boulder), have lost five in a row to fall to 5-6. Arizona State needs a win against Arizona to become bowl eligible;

— USC and Notre Dame have played 86 times leading up to this weekend, with USC leading the all-time series, 46-35-5, with the Trojans taking ten of the past 14;

— Oregon has a 63-45-10 lead over Oregon in the Civil War. The Ducks have won eight straight in the series, averaging 46.4 points per game in that span.

 

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