Friday Fast Facts


Neill Woelk’s Fast Five Keys for Rocky Mountain Showdown

From …  If you are looking for Friday night’s Colorado-Colorado State game to serve as a major barometer for the winning team, you might want to reconsider.

A win in the Rocky Mountain Showdown doesn’t always portend good things for the victors.  Only twice in the last 12 years has the winning team gone on to post a winning record that season.  The Buffs accomplished the feat in 2016, when a 44-7 win set the foundation for a 10-4 record; the Rams had similar success in 2014 when a 31-17 win kicked off a 10-3 campaign.

Still, there’s no question both teams would rather walk away from Friday’s 7:30 p.m.  game (CBS Sports Network) holding the Centennial Cup than not. Mike MacIntyre‘s Buffs would love to kick off the 2018 season with a win; Mike Bobo’s Rams are already in semi-desperation mode after a shocking loss to Hawaii in the season opener.

What do MacIntyre’s Buffs need to do in order to get their wish and collect their fourth straight victory in the rivalry?

1.  Establish control early.

2.  Put pressure on K.J.  Carta-Samuels.

3.  Get the ball to receivers in space.

4.  Produce defensive takeaways.

5.  Convert in the red zone and run the ball.

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Big Picture

— GameDay information, including parking maps, Mile High stadium entry information, public transportation and ticket availability can be found here;

— Colorado is 700-501-36 all-time (.580). The Buffs are 25th in all-time victories; 36th in all-time winning percentage;

— Colorado is 79-44-5 all-time in 128 season openers. In the 79 seasons CU opened with a victory, the Buffs went on to a winning season 61 times (77.2%). 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 3-4 in season openers since joining the Pac-12;

— Attendance for the 2017 Rocky Mountain Showdown was 73,962, the most in the series since 2003, and the fifth-highest in the 17 games played in Denver (ticket sales are generally about 60/40 CU/CSU);

— As of Thursday morning, CU had sold 35.105 tickets for Friday’s Rocky Mountain Showdown (10,037 students). Colorado State, meanwhile, was at 28,027 (8,672), putting the total sales for the schools at over 63,000 (this does not count what the Broncos and other outlets have sold). As of the Wednesday before Friday night game last year, CU had sold 31,789 tickets, including 7,590 student tickets (In 2016, the numbers for the game were 31,796, with the student ticket total finishing at 7,145;

— The game will be telecast nationally by the CBS Sports Netwokr, with Carter Blackburn on the play-by-play, Aaron Taylor on color; and John Schriffen on the sidelines. KOA radio will have Mark Johnson starting his 15th year with the play-by-play, and former CU head coach Gary Barnett beginning his third year as the full-time analyst.

— CU fans can kick off game day early on Friday. “Born to Lead: The Sal Aunese Story,” will be broadcast on CBS Sports Network at 8 a.m., Mountain time.

— CU goes into this week riding a nine-game winning streak in non-conference games played in-state.


Buffs v. Rams

— The Buffs lead the all-time series against Colorado State 65-22-2, with a 11-6 advantage in games played in Denver;

— In all sports (including now defunct match-ups such as wrestling and gymnastics), Colorado has a significant advantage, 521-224-11 (.696), over Colorado State;

— Since the series resumed in 1983, Colorado has a 22-8 advantage. The Buffs are 7-0 when rushing for more than 250 yards; 13-2 when holding the Rams to under 100 yards rushing;

— Colorado is 129-42-4 all-time vs. current members of the Mountain West Conference; Colorado State is 52-163-5 against current members of the Pac-12;

— Since the series was resumed in 1983, Colorado State is 2-10 against Colorado when the Buffs are not the Rams first opponent of the season (including last season, when CSU fell to the Buffs, 17-3, a week after defeating Oregon State);

— Colorado has 33 players from the state of Colorado on its roster; CSU has 36;

— 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).


2017 Rocky Mountain Showdown … Colorado 17, Colorado State 3

— Game Story and essays for the game, ““We’ll Correct it. We’ll Move on” and “No Apologies”, can be found here;

— In last season’s Rocky Mountain Showdown, the Buffs scored the first 17 points of the game, but the last points came on a 31-yard touchdown pass from Sefo Liufau to Shay Fields on a broken play early in the second quarter. The Buffs were shut out the final 43:35 of the contest;

— CSU’s field came with 9:56 left in the second quarter … meaning that neither team scored the final two-thirds of the game;

 The 17 points were the fewest scored by the Buffs in a season-opening win since 1970 (16-9 over Indiana). The three points allowed were the fewest in a season-opener since 2010 (a 24-3 win over Colorado State);


Statistically speaking

— Colorado has won 26 of its last 28 season openers when scoring first (the exceptions coming in 2006 v. Montana State and in 2014 v. Colorado State);

— Conversely, in the last 23 openers when the opponent scored first, the Buffs are 4-18-1;

— CU is 2-1 in games played on August 31st, defeating Washington State (and Ryan Leaf), 37-19, in 1996, falling to to CSU, 19-14, in 2002, and defeating the Rams, 38-17, in 2008;

— The Buffs are 18-8 under head coach Mike MacIntyre in games when CU scores over 30 points;

New rule changes for 2018 … The kickoff return team now has the option of a fair catch inside the 24, with the ball spotted at the 25-yard line … The play clock will be set at 40 seconds after a touchdown in order to expedite play (Hawai’i was called for a delay of game penalty on the first play of the game last week for failing to get off a play in time) … Players can play up to four games in a season without losing a season of eligibility.


Player Notes

— For the fourth time in his six seasons in Boulder, the Buffs under Mike MacIntyre have more underclassmen than upperclassmen. Of the 57 players likely to see immediate action, 27 are underclassmen (including 11 red-shirt freshmen);

— All together, 75 of the 119 players on the roster (64.1%) are underclassmen. That percentage ranks 20th nationally, and second (behind only UCLA) in the Pac-12;

— In the past 17 seasons, Colorado has graduated 310 of 341 seniors (90.9%). Last season, 21 of 24 seniors graduated;

— If defensive end Israel Antwine starts (and he is atop the depth chart, he will be the first true freshman to start a game in two years. CU went all of 2016 and all of 2017 without starting a true freshman in any games;

— Seven players have been selected as captains for this season: linebacker Rick Gamboa (who was also a captain last year); receivers Kabion Ento, Jay MacIntyre and Juwann Winfree; safety Nick Fisher; offensive tackle Aaron Haigler; and punter Alex Kinney. Haigler is a junior – the other six are seniors;

— Rick Gamboa has started 37 consecutive games … but no other Buff has a consecutive start streak longer than 12 games;

— At 31 years of age, kicker James Stefanou is the oldest player in college football … and is only a sophomore;

— The Buffs have 20 seniors on the roster, including 14 fifth-year seniors. On CU’s post Fall Camp depth chart (which includes 12 offensive and 12 defensive positions), there are 10 seniors.


Pac-12 Notes

— Four teams from the Pac-12 were ranked in the Associated Press preseason poll … No. 6 Washington … No. 13 Stanford … No. 15 USC … No. 24 Oregon;

— Washington’s No. 6 ranking is the highest preseason ranking for the Huskies since 1997, when Washington opened the season at No. 4;

— USC has appeared in 17 consecutive preseason polls, and 58 overall. Only Ohio State (65) and Oklahoma (60) have appeared in more preseason polls;

— Among the Power-Five conferences, no other conference has more returning quarterbacks that averaged better than 200 yards passing per game than the Pac-12 (5): Ross Bowers, Cal (253.2 ypg.); Manny Wilkins, ASU (251.5 ypg.); Steven Montez, CU (247.9 ypg.); Tyler Huntley, Utah (241.1 ypg.); Jake Browning, UW (209.2 ypg.);


2 Replies to “Friday Fast Facts”

  1. The Buffs pound the Rams with a solid running game. We keep the ball away from the Rams offense and pull out a close 38 to 28 victory.

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