Friday’s Fast Facts

September 1st 

Neill Woelk’s Five Keys to the Game

From CUBuffs.com … One year ago, the Colorado Buffaloes provided their in-state rivals with their worst possible nightmare in the span of one half of football.

In the season opener for both teams, Colorado forced six consecutive three-and-outs by the Colorado State offense to open the game. By the end of the first quarter, the Rams had a paltry 10 yards total offense. CSU didn’t collect a first down until the 10:23 mark of the second quarter. By halftime, the Buffs held a comfortable 31-0 lead, a cushion they rode to a 44-7 win that served as a springboard to a 10-4, Pac-12 South championship season.

But that was last year.

Nobody — from either side — is expecting anything similar in Friday night’s matchup (6 p.m., Pac-12 Networks). The Rams bring a veteran offense to this year’s game against a CU defense that is talented but untested at a number of positions while the Buffs bring a potent offense to face off against an opportunistic CSU defense.

Perhaps even more importantly, the Rams bring a boatload of confidence and game experience into the contest, thanks to their 58-27 opening game win over Oregon State. The Buffs, meanwhile, have no such game experience under their belts.

Thus, this season’s first edition of Friday’s Fast Five Keys for the Buffs:

Continue reading story here

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August 31st

Big Picture

— Colorado is 695-494-36 all-time (.582). The Buffs are 25th in all-time victories; 29th in all-time winning percentage (for schools with at least 1,000 games);

— Colorado is 78-44-5 all-time in season openers. In the 78 seasons CU opened with a victory, the Buffs has gone on to a winning season 61 times (78.2%). In the 44 seasons CU has opened with a loss, the Buffs have only gone on to a winning season 19 times (43.2%) … CU is 2-4 in season openers since joining the Pac-12;

— As of the end of the business day Wednesday, CU had sold 35,011 tickets to the Rocky Mountain Showdown, including 9,814 student tickets (compare to the same date in 2016: 31,789 tickets, including 7,590 student tickets. The numbers for 2015: 31,796 overall; 7,145 student tickets). Consistent with the past few seasons, about 25-30% of CU’s season ticket holders have opted out of buying tickets for the game;

— CU has already sold 20,424 season tickets for 2017. In 2016, the season ticket total was 18,011;

— The game will be telecast on the Pac-12 networks, with kickoff at 6:07 p.m., MT. The radio broadcast will be handled by KOA 850 in Denver. KOA radio will have Mark Johnson starting his 14th year with the play-by-play, and former CU head coach Gary Barnett beginning his second year as the full-time analyst.

 

Buffs v. Rams

— The Buffs lead the all-time series against Colorado State 64-22-2, with a 10-6 advantage in games played in Denver;

— In all sports (including now defunct match-ups such as wrestling and gymnastics), Colorado has a significant advantage, 517-223-10 (.696), over Colorado State;

— Since the series resumed in 1983, Colorado has a 21-8 advantage. The Buffs are 7-0 when rushing for more than 250 yards; 12-2 when holding the Rams to under 100 yards rushing;

— Colorado is 128-42-4 all-time vs. current members of the Mountain West Conference; Colorado State is 53-162-5 against current members of the Pac-12. CU has a winning record against every Mountain West team it has played except Hawai’i (2-3). Other than a 1-0 all-time record against Washington State, Colorado State has a losing record against every other Pac-12 team it has played (no games against Stanford or Washington);

— Neither team has come into the Rocky Mountain Showdown with a national ranking since 2003 (when an unranked CU squad defeated No. 23 CSU, 42-35, in a lighting-delayed game);

— Last season, Colorado finished 100th or worse in the nation in four statistical categories: Fourth down conversion offense (103rd); Net punting (118th); Punt return yardage defense (118th); and kickoff return yardage defense (123rd). Meanwhile, Colorado State finished 100th or worse in four different categories, including: Pass efficiency defense (107th); third down conversion defense (123rd); turnovers gained (104th); and red zone scoring defense (125th);

— So, yes, CSU was one of the worst teams in the nation in generating turnovers in 2016, with only 14 all of last season. Against Oregon State, in CSU’s first game of the season, the Rams produced five turnovers.

 

2016 Rocky Mountain Showdown … Colorado 44, Colorado State 7

— The announced attendance for the game was 69,850, the most in the series since 2003 (76,219);

— CU’s 31-0 halftime lead was the largest at the break for the Buffs since November 15, 2003, when the Buffs led Iowa State, 37-0, at halftime (44-10 final);

— The 44 points were the most in the series for either team since a 48-34 CU win in Ft. Collins in 1996. The 37-point margin of victory was the largest since a 47-7 CU win in 1956;

— Senior center Alex Kelley scored the first points of the game on a fumble recovery in the end zone. It was the first points scored by an offensive lineman for CU since 1995, when offensive guard Heath Irwin scored a touchdown with a fumble recovery in the end zone against Nebraska;

— In the decisive first half, the Buffs out-gained the Rams, 253 yards to 10. CSU opened the game with six three-and-outs on offense, with 14 of the Rams’ first 18 plays going for three yards or less.

 

Statistically speaking

— The Colorado roster has played a collective 1,019 games. While much has been made of the loss of talent from last season, the 1,019 collective games is the third-most in school history (1,072 last year). The Buffs’ roster also has players with a combined 320 starts … the fourth-most in school history;

— Colorado State is 2-9 against Colorado when the Buffs are not the Rams’ first game of the season;

— Colorado is 3-1 all-time on September 1st, with all four games against CSU (2001; 2007; 2012; 2013);

— Colorado’s opponents in 2017 went a combined 75-74 a year ago, with only five of the 12 making the post-season (entering the 2016 season, the numbers were 90-65, with ten of the 12 teams going bowling the previous year, with Idaho State and Oregon State being the only exceptions.

 

Player Notes

Steven Montez has had a way of bringing out the best in his wide receivers. In his first start, against Oregon, Devin Ross caught seven passes for a personal best 153 yards and a touchdown. In his second start, against Oregon State, Shay Fields went for a career-high 169 yards and three touchdowns. In his third start, against USC, Bryce Bobo caught a career-high ten passes;

— In his three starts last season, Montez completed 67.7% of his passes (67 of 99) for an average of 274.3 yards per game. Montez threw seven touchdown passes and three interceptions in those games;

— Running back Phillip Lindsay enters the 2017 season ranked ninth in the nation among returning FBS starters in career all-purpose yardage (4,029). In CU’s record books, Lindsay is already third all-time in all-purpose yardage (rushing, receiving, returns). He needs 800 yards to best the record of 4,828 set by Rodney Stewart (2008-11). Lindsay is also seeking to become the first Buff to ever post back-to-back 1,000-yard rushing seasons;

— Wide receiver Shay Fields, a/k/a “Big Play Shay”, is the most experienced and productive returning receiver in the Pac-12. Fields has more career receptions (144), career receiving yards (1,929), career touchdown receptions (17 – tied) and career starts (34 – tied) than any other returning receiver in the conference;

— If Australian James Stefanou steps onto the field for the opening kickoff, it will mark the first time since 2003 in which a true freshman has been on the field for a season starter since Kevin Eberhart handled kickoff duties for the Buffs against CSU in that season’s first game. At 30 years old, Stefanou is only the second-oldest player in the FBS this season (Western Michigan has a punter who is three months older);

— Other “old” Buffs … defensive end Chris Mulumba (remember, Mulumba comes to CU by way of Finland) will turn 25 this fall … sixth-year senior offensive lineman Jeromy Irwin is 24;

— It isn’t likely that a true freshman will be on the field for the first play from scrimmage. Cornerback Trey Udoffia is the only red-shirt freshman listed atop the CU depth chart (the last true freshmen to start for the Buffs: wide receiver Shay Fields and defensive end Christian Shaver, in 2014;

 

Pac-12 Notes

Preseason All-American honors … Seven Pac-12 players picked up AP pre-season All-American honors. First team: USC quarterback Sam Darnold; Washington State guard Cody O’Connell; Washington linebacker Azeem Victor; and Utah junior punter Mitch Wishnowsky. Second team: Washington defensive tackle Vita Vea; USC linebacker Cameron Smith; and USC cornerback Iman Marshall;

Preseason polls … USC (No. 4 in both polls); Washington (No. 8 AP; No. 7 USA Today); Stanford (No. 14 in both polls); Washington State (No. 24 AP); Utah (No. 25 USA) … Colorado: No. 35 AP; No. 27 USA Today … USC made its 20th appearance all-time in the Top 5 AP preseason poll … Washington’s No. 8 preseason ranking is its highest since starting No. 4 in 1997 … Stanford and USC are two of eight teams (Alabama, Ohio State, Florida State, Oklahoma, LSU and Georgia) to appear in preseason Top 25 over the past seven seasons … Washington is ranked in the AP preseason poll for only the third time in school history (1952 and 2002);

Pac-12 preseason media poll … Eight teams received at least one vote for division champions … North: Washington (49); Stanford (1); Washington State (1); Oregon (1); Oregon State and California … South: USC (49); Utah (1); UCLA (1); Colorado (1); Arizona State and Arizona … USC picked up 28 votes to be Pac-12 champion, with 22 for Washington, one for Oregon and one for Utah.

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2 Replies to “Friday Fast Facts”

  1. thanks for the numbers – Typo in your post, listing Lindsay twice:

    Running back Phillip Lindsay enters the 2017 season ranked ninth in the nation among returning FBS starters in career all-purpose yardage (4,029). In CU’s record books, Lindsay is already third all-time in all-purpose yardage (rushing, receiving, returns). He needs 800 yards to best the record of 4,828 set by Phillip Lindsay (2008-11). Lindsay is also seeking to become the first Buff to ever post back-to-back 1,000-yard rushing seasons;

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