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Friday Fast Facts – Colorado v. Washington State edition

Trivia question of the week I: Last weekend against Arizona, Ronnie Blackmon had a 59-yard punt return. It was the longest punt return by a Buff away from Folsom Field since 2002. What “famous” Buff had a 80-yard punt return against Oklahoma that season?

Trivia question of the week II: What milestone was set when Colorado defeated Washington State for the first time?

Pac-12 lines and television schedule … 

From 5 DimesPac-12 games:

— Colorado … a 6.0-point underdog at home against No. 10 Washington State … 1:30 p.m., MT, ESPN … Colorado leads the series, 6-5 …

— Utah … a 4.0-point favorite at home against Oregon … 3:30 p.m., MT, Pac-12 Networks … Oregon leads the series, 22-9 …

— Stanford … a 24.0-point favorite at home against Oregon State … 7:00 p.m., MT, Pac-12 Networks … Stanford leads the series, 48-32-1 …

— USC … a 5.5-point favorite at home against Cal … 8:30 p.m., MT, ESPN … USC leads the series, 69-30-5 …

— Arizona State … a 13.5-point favorite at home against UCLA … 12:00 p.m., MT, Pac-12 Networks … UCLA leads the series, 20-13-1 …

— Idle … Arizona and Washington …

Big Picture

— This Saturday is Military Appreciation Day. There will be a flyover of RV-8 aircraft before the game, with 25 Coloradoans taking the oath of enrollment on the field during the game;

— The Buffs lead the all-time series with the Cougars, 6-5. The series is tied 3-3 in games played in Boulder;

— Three Buffs had their first career starts last weekend against Arizona … tight end Brady Russell; cornerback Mekhi Blackmon; and safety Derrion Rakestraw;

— No fewer than six Buffs are listed on the CU injury report as “day-to-day”: tailback Beau Bisharat; wide receiver Jay MacIntyre; wide receiver K.D. Nixon; wide receiver Laviska Shenault; kicker James Stefanou; and safety Evan Worthington;

— Colorado is 705-505-36 all-time (.580). The Buffs are 25th in all-time victories;

Statistically speaking

— Washington State is ranked 100th or worse nationally in a number of statistical categories … rushing offense (128th); fourth down conversion offense (123rd); penalties (107th) and penalty yards per game (124th); turnovers gained (102nd); and red zone scoring defense (103rd);

— Colorado, meanwhile, is ranked 100th or worse nationally in only two categories: fourth down conversion offense (106th) and tackles for loss allowed (125th);

— Defensive end Mustafa Johnson is tied for 31st in the nation in sacks per game (.72);

— Running back Travon McMillian is 7th in the Pac-12 (33rd in the nation) in rushing yards per game (93.0 yards/game);

— Defensive back Ronnie Blackmon is 2nd in the Pac-12 (23rd in the nation) in punt return average (10.3 yards/return).

Colorado and Washington State … historical

In historical terms, Colorado is one of the top 25 teams in college football history.

In historical terms, Washington State is, well, not.

Washington State is one of only two schools in the Pac-12 (Oregon State being the other) with an all-time record below .500. The Cougars are 547-552-45 (.498) all-time, with the 547 wins 78th on the all-time list (Colorado, meanwhile, has 705 all-time wins, 25th nationally);

Washington State is back in the polls for the fourth year in a row. The Cougars, though, have not spent much time being ranked in their history. This week marks the 152nd week in the rankings, 56th on the all-time list. Colorado, by comparison, is 26th on the list, with 304 weeks in the polls.

According to Winsipedia, there are other significant gaps between the schools:

— CU has produced 31 consensus All-Americans (21st); Washington State has eight (54th);

— Colorado has been invited to 29 bowl games; Washington State has played in 14;

— CU has posted 26 conference championships (10th on the all-time list). Washington State is in contention for conference championship … number 5 (the four former titles ranking the Cougars 97th all-time. Washington State last won a conference title in 2002).

Colorado and Washington State – head-to-head

This will be the 12th all-time meeting between the two teams, in a series dating back to 1981. Colorado holds a 6-5 advantage overall, with the series tied 3-3 in games played in Boulder;

For those old enough to remember, the first meeting between the two schools was a painful one for Buff fans. In the 1981 matchup, Colorado led Washington State, 10-0, at home, with four minutes to play. The Cougars then rallied with the aid of not one, but two, blocked punts, to win, 14-10 (still hurts to think about).

The Buffs did get some redemption the next year in a game played in Spokane. Colorado head coach Bill McCartney picked up career win No. 1 with a 12-0 shutout of the Cougars.

A blocked punt – and a goal-line stand in the final minute – propelled the Buffs to a 20-12 win over the Cougars in 2004 (with the game played in Seattle).

In 2012, the teams played for the first time as members of the Pac-12. Oddly enough, the 8th game in the series was the first played between the two teams in Pullman. The Buffs prevailed, 35-34, on a last minute score in what proved to be the only win in CU’s dreadful 1-11 campaign.

In 2015, the Buffs returned to Pullman to face the 24th-ranked Cougars. Washington State won, 27-3, as the Buffs struggled without Sefo Liufau, who missed the game due to injury.

In 2016, in the only game in the series with both teams coming in with a national ranking. No. 12 Colorado, behind Sefo Liufau’s 345 yards passing and 108 yards rushing, held off No. 20 Washington State, 38-24.

Last season, the Cougar defense the story, with No. 15 Washington State posting the first shut out of the Buffs in 60 games, taking out the Buffs, 28-0.

Player Notes

— Quarterback Steven Montez remains ranked nationally in a number of categories: completion percentage (15th – .676); passing efficiency (31st – 147.7); and total offense (20th – 288.0 yards/game);

— Defensive lineman Israel Antwine has been on the field for 352 snaps this season, already a freshman record for defensive linemen/outside linebackers, passing Josh Tupou’s 343 plays in 2012. Antwine’s total is currently 10th on the all-time list for all freshmen at Colorado;

— Travon McMillian has gained over 50 yards on both rushing (75 yards – twice) and receiving (57 yards v. Arizona), becoming just the 12th Buff to have both a run and a reception of over 50 yards in the same season;

— When freshman Tyler Francis took the field against Arizona (2-for-2 on field goals; 4-for-4 on PAT’s), he became the fourth kicker for the Buffs this season. That’s happened only twice before – in 1976 and 2016;

Pac-12 Notes

— The Pac-12 boasts four of the top 10 running backs in the nation – Eno Benjamin, ASU (5th); J.J. Taylor, Arizona (6th); Jermar Jefferson, OSU (t-7th); and Zack Moss, Utah (t-7th);

— Only two teams from the Pac-12 were ranked in the latest Associated Press poll … No. 10 Washington State and No. 20 Washington. “Others receiving votes” include No. 26 Utah and No. 36 Oregon.

— Nine Pac-12 teams have been ranked at one time or another this season.  Arizona, UCLA, and Oregon State are the three teams who have not cracked the polls so far this season;

— Washington has a home-game winning streak of 13 games, tied for second-longest in the nation (Alabama is No. 1 at 23 straight). Washington State it tied for fourth, with 12 straight home wins;

— Pac-12 teams are just 22-16 at home in conference games, after going 18-3 at home in non-conference games;

Trivia question answer I: In the 2002 Big 12 championship game against Oklahoma, Jeremy Bloom had an 80-yard punt return for a touchdown. Ronnie Blackmon’s 59-yard return was the longest for a Buff in a true road game since Roman Hollowell returned a punt 66 yards for a score against Kansas in 2001;

Trivia question answer II: On September 18, 1982, the Buffs defeated the Cougars, 12-0, in a game played in Spokane. The victory, in the second game of the season, was the first for new head coach Bill McCartney. The win gave McCartney a 1-1 record as a head coach … he would not reach the .500 mark again until midway through the 1989 season.

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4 Replies to “Friday Fast Facts”

  1. I’m being repetitive but I think this sets up well for Mac to prove that he can win any one of these different flavors of games to become bowl eligible. The team’s motto is “nothing to say, lots to prove”. Mac always has a lot to say but here is his chance to prove it, one of three ways: against a top 10 higher ranked team OR against a quality team who has lost its star QB and RB on a senior day, home game with bowl eligibility on the line OR if two losses against WSU and UT, then a chance to close the deal on the road against an unranked Cal team in a last gasp. A true competitor at the top with a killer instinct would relish the chance to prove it. Mac, show that you can prove it with even ONE of these wins in three tries. Surely a former national coach of the year in his 6th year in the program should be able to do this? I am actually content with how this sets up, either it gets done or it does not. If it does, Mac will show that he can do something different and be clutch when it counts. If it does not, then Mac shows that he is unable to break his apparent ceiling and it is time for him to move on. Either way, we will know something soon. I have seen many coaches come and go with CU. The university, program, traditions are paramount. If Mac can’t get it done, he will soon be in the rear view mirror and the Flatirons will still be there in the background as Ralphie runs onto the field with a new coach in charge.

    1. Stefanou has a hip injury which was a problem all through September, and was “aggravated” in the USC game.
      While the placekicking has been a revolving door since, the production hasn’t fallen off significantly, so my guess would be there is no sense in rushing him back.

      As to Shenault, who knows? I’ve heard everything from “he’ll be back this weekend” to “he’s lost for the season”. Mac & Co. have been very tight-lipped, which doesn’t give any clues. Either they are tight-lipped because Shenault it coming back, and they don’t want the WSU coaches to know, or they are being tight-lipped because they know he’s not returning, and want opposing coaches to keep spending time preparing for Shenault to be in the lineup.

  2. Good morning and Go Buffs.

    Important game. Need the Folsom-Fast Offense to emerge once again. (Mac 1/2 please don’t mess this up with your slow the game down crap) The Buffs need to combat speed with speed. Mac 1/2’s way DOES NOT WORK hence the last 4 games. Buffs defense needs to be aggressive, real aggressive the whole game. None of this bend but don’t break crap. Sheesh.

    They can win this dang nab it.

    Buffs.

    Note: So the Utes QB and RB are out. Take down Utah next week. Buff em Up Buff em Up Go CU……………..in other words..

    F**k em Up F**k em up Go CU…………as the students would say………….and you also heard in the locker room after a win from the Mighty Buff Players.

    Note 2: The Rare White Buffalo God works in mysterious ways.

    Note 3: Who is John Galt?

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