“Friday” Fast Facts – Colorado at Utah

 

Getting to Know … Utah

— Utah was one of five schools in the nation (Alabama, Clemson, Florida State and Ohio State being the others) which had appeared in every one of the College Football Rankings in the first three years of its existence. The Utes, though, have not appeared in any of the rankings in 2017;

— At 63 games, the CU series is the longest for Utah against Pac-12 foes, and the fifth-longest for the Utes against any opponent. Utah trails the series with Colorado, 28-32-3, and trails the series against nine other Pac-12 schools. The only team in the Pac-12 over which Utah holds an advantage is Arizona (22-19-2), with a 4-4 series tie with Stanford;

— In 13 seasons under head coach Kyle Whittingham, Utah has only two losing seasons, going 5-7 in both 2012 and 2013. Since then, Utah went 9-4, 10-3, and 9-4 before going 5-6 this fall. Whittingham is the longest tenured Pac-12 coach, guiding the Utes to a 109-56 record during his time there (51-36 since joining the Pac-12);

— Utah has played to 50-straight sell-out crowds at Rice-Eccles Stadium, a streak which dates back to the 2010 season opener;

— Utah’s roster contains 32 players of Polynesian descent.

 

Utah players to watch:

— Tyler Huntley (No. 1), quarterback. The sophomore ranks 15th in the nation in total offense, with 302.9 yards per game. Huntley is very accurate, with his 65.4% completion rate ranking him 13th in the country (Huntley has completed over 70% of his passes in four games this season, including last week against Washington);

Darren Carrington (No. 9), wide receiver. The former Oregon wide out is Utah’s leading receiver – 60 catches for 854 yards and six touchdowns – even though Carrington has missed most of the past two games. Carrington sat out the Washington State game, and had only two catches for 24 yards in limited time against Washington.

— Lowell Lotuleiei (No. 93), defensive tackle. The senior and three-time All-Pac-12 selection has 41 starts in his career, and is a disruptive force in the middle of the line.

— Matt Gay, (No. 97) kicker. A mid-season All-American, Gay leads the nation in field goals made (25) and in field goals made of 50+ yards (5). Gay made the cut as a finalist for the Lou Groza award (CU kicker James Stefanou was a semi-finalist).

Mitch Wishnowsky, (No. 33) punter. Wishnowsky is the defending Ray Guy award winner, and was a consensus All-American in 2016. This year, Wishnowsky is second in the nation in net punting (43.21 yards per kick), and ranks second in the nation in punts inside the ten yard line. Oh … and last weekend against Washington, Wishnowsky ran for 19 yards and a first down on a fourth-and-17 fake punt from Utah’s 29-yard line.

 

Colorado and Utah – head-to-head

This will be the 64th meeting between the two schools, in a series which dates back to 1903. Colorado leads the all-time tally, 32-28-3.

Utah won four of the first five meetings after the pair joined the Pac-12, with the Buffs breaking a four game losing streak with a 27-22 win last November. Before joining the Pac-12, the two teams hadn’t met on the gridiron since 1962.

Colorado won the first three games in the series, winning the games played between 1903-05 by a combined score of 101-11. Utah’s best run in the series came between 1925-33, when the Utes ran off nine straight wins. CU had a nice run of its own, winning eight of the ten games between 1951 and 1962 before the rivalry went dormant.

The Buffs lead the series in games played in Boulder, 17-12-1, but trail the Utes in games played in Salt Lake City, 14-16-2. 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 then won the next four games between the two teams, with every Utah win being close … 42-35 (2012); 24-17 (2013); 38-34 (2014); and 20-14 (2015).

In the only game between the two teams in the series with both teams being ranked was played last November, with the Buffs winning, 27-22, to claim their first Pac-12 South title.

 

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 snuck past the Buffs in the past few years. Utah has a .590 winning percentage (666-459-31), which is 33rd on the all-time list. With the decade long drought in Boulder, Colorado slipped to a .583 wining percentage (700-500-36), good enough for 42nd 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 (16-4, 2nd-best in the country).

Otherwise, however, Colorado has significant advantages, including:

— Weeks in the Associated Press poll: CU, 302 … Utah, 115;

— Consensus All-Americans: CU, 31 … Utah, 7;

— NFL draft picks: CU, 270 … Utah, 155; and

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

 

Colorado and Utah … Notes and Numbers

— The winner of the matchup between 5-6 teams will become bowl-eligible. Utah is looking for its fourth straight bowl appearance, and 11th in 13 years under Kyle Whittingham. The Buffs are looking for their first back-to-back bowl appearances since 2004-05;

— Taking the field against Utah, Colorado is sitting on 700 all-time wins, with 500 all-time losses (with 36 ties). The game will also represent Mike MacIntyre’s 100th game as a head coach (25-37 at Colorado; 16-21 at San Jose State);

— Not enough round numbers? The game will also be Darian Hagan’s 100th game as an assistant coach (43-56);

— Colorado has a 2,000-yard passer and a 1000-yard rusher in the same season this year for only the fourth time in school history, but the second year in a row. Steven Montez has passed for 2,708 yards in 2017, with Phillip Lindsay rushing for 1,402 yards. The other three combos: Sefo Liufau (2,171) and Lindsay (1,189) in 2016; Kordell Stewart (2,071) and Rashaan Salaam (2,055) in 1994; and Joel Klatt (2,065) and Bobby Purify (1,017) in 2004. If Montez passes for 220 yards against Utah, and Lindsay rushes for 98 or more, they will become CU’s first combo to post 3,000 yards passing and 1,500 yards rushing;

— Linebackers Rick Gamboa (110) and Drew Lewis (106) lead the team in tackles. The 2017 season represents the first time since 2006 in which the CU defense has produced two 100+ tacklers in the same season, and only the second time since 1994 in which two linebackers have pulled off the feat;

— Utah ranks 100th or worse nationally in at least six statistical categories, including: quarterback sacks allowed, 107th (2.73 per game); penalties per game, 110th (7.36 per game); and turnovers lost, 123rd (24);

— Colorado ranks 100th or worse nationally in at least four categories, including: rushing defense, 102nd (198.7 ypg.); total defense, 109th (446.9 ypg.); quarterback sacks by, 100th (1.55 per game); and quarterback sacks allowed, 119th (3.09 per game);

— CU saw an increase in home attendance in 2017, the fourth-straight year of improvement. The Buffs averaged 47,056 for six home games (up from 46,609 in 2016 … 39,389 in 2015; 36,578 in 2014). The last time CU witnessed four straight years of increased attendance was 1988-91;

— Records within reach for Buffs against Utah … Most rushing attempts, season (Phillip Lindsay has 283; the record is 289, held by Rashaan Salaam, 1994) … Most receiving yards by a running back, career (Phillip Lindsay has 963; the record is 969, held by Rodney Stewart) … Most yards gained, total offense, season (Steven Montez has 3,087; the record is 3,336, held by Sefo Liufau, 2014).

 

Pac-12 Notes … 

— UCLA leads its series against Cal, 53-33-1 (Fri., 8:30 p.m., FS1). This will be the first game for the Bruins without head coach Jim Mora, who was fired last Sunday. UCLA’s Josh Rosen needs 226 yards passing to set the new record for the Bruins. Both teams are 5-6, with the winner gaining bowl eligibility;

— Washington and Washington State will be playing for the 110th time, though this will be the first time the Apple Cup will witness a game with both teams ranked in the top 15 in the nation (Sat., 6:00 p.m., MT, Fox). The Huskies lead the Apple Cup series, 71-32-6, with four wins in a row, and seven of the last eight;

— The 91st Territorial Cup pits the Arizona schools against one another (Sat., 2:30 p.m., MT, Pac-12 Networks). Arizona leads the all-time series, 49-40-1. This year, Arizona State is the host, with the home team winning the last four games. Over those four games, the teams have combined for an average of 84 total points;

— Stanford and Notre Dame will face off in Palo Alto this weekend (Sat., 6:00 p.m., MT, ABC). The Irish lead the all-time series, 19-12-2, but Stanford has won six of the last eight contests, including four straight at home;

— Oregon has a 63-47-10 lead over Oregon State in the Civil War (Sat., 5:00 p.m., MT, ESPN2). The Ducks won eight straight in the series, averaging 46.4 points per game in that span, before the Beavers broke through with a 34-24 win last season. The rivalry is tied for the eighth-most played in NCAA history.

 

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One Reply to “Friday Fast Facts”

  1. Front 7 needs to come to play. Hopefully the additional time to prepare will help. If the defense can hold Utah to 3 scores we should be ok….Go Buffs

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