Friday Fast Facts

Ticket sales update … Brian Howell from the Daily Camera tweeted out that the CU ticket sales for the Rocky Mountain Showdown was approaching 36,000 … 35,880, which includes 11,100 student tickets. As of Wednesday, CSU had sold 23,758 tickets for the game, including 7,391 student tickets. (Traditionally, the Denver Broncos/Ticketmaster sell about 3,000 tickets to the game). Last year, there were 70,158 in attendance …

Neill Woelk’s Fast Five Keys for Rocky Mountain Showdown

From … Colorado’s recent stretch of success against rival Colorado State — four straight wins and five of the last six — is of absolutely no comfort to the Buffs’ new head coach, Mel Tucker.

Tucker knows a thing or two about rivalries, having coached in some of college and pro football’s most storied matchups. He knows funny things happen in such games and he knows emotions and adrenaline — particularly in season openers — can swing momentum at a moment’s notice.

But Tucker also knows that in the end, the formula for rivalry games is no different than any other game: play physical, disciplined football, keep mistakes to a minimum and finish strong.

In our first installment this year of the weekly Fast Five, here’s what Tucker’s first Buffs team will try to do Friday in their 8 p.m. season opener against Colorado State in Denver (ESPN):

  1. Stay fundamentally sound from beginning to end
  2. Adhere to Colorado’s principles
  3. Get pressure on CSU quarterback Collin Hill early and often
  4. Produce manageable third-down situations for the offense
  5. Be the more physical team

Read the full breakdown of Neill Woelk’s Fast Five here

Big Picture

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

— Colorado is 705-508-36 all-time (.579). The Buffs are 25th in all-time victories; 36th in all-time winning percentage;

— Colorado is 80-44-5 all-time in 129 season openers. In the 80 seasons CU opened with a victory, the Buffs went on to a winning season 61 times (76.3%). 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 4-4 in season openers since joining the Pac-12;

— Attendance for the 2018 Rocky Mountain Showdown was 70,158, down from the 2017 attendance of 73,962 (which was the most in the series since 2003);

— The game will be telecast nationally by the ESPN, with Roy Philpott on the play-by-play, former CSU quarterback Kelly Stouffer on color; and Lauren Sisler on the sidelines. KOA radio will have Mark Johnson starting his 16th year with the play-by-play, and former CU head coach Gary Barnett beginning his fourth year as the full-time analyst;

— CU goes into this week riding an 11-game winning streak in non-conference games played in-state.

Buffs v. Rams

— Colorado leads the all-time series against Colorado State 66-22-2 (74.4%). The Buffs hold a 12-6 (66.7%) advantage in games played in Denver;

— In all sports (including now defunct match-ups such as wrestling and gymnastics), Colorado has a significant advantage, 526-224-11 (.698), over Colorado State;

— Since the series resumed in 1983, Colorado has a 23-8 advantage. The Buffs are 8-0 since 1983 when rushing for more than 250 yards against the Rams, and 13-2 when holding the Rams to under 100 yards rushing;

— Colorado is 130-42-4 all-time vs. current members of the Mountain West Conference; Colorado State is 52-164-5 against current members of the Pac-12;

— Since the series was resumed in 1983, Colorado State is 2-11 against Colorado when the Buffs are not the Rams’ first opponent of the season (including last two seasons, when CSU fell to the Buffs after defeating Oregon State in 2017, and last year after falling to Hawai’i in the opener);

— CU has 29 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).

2018 Rocky Mountain Showdown … Colorado 45, Colorado State 13

— Game Story and essay for the game, “Coming Out Party“, can be found here;

— The 45 points scored by CU were the most in the series since 1996 (a 48-34 Buff win in Ft. Collins);

Steven Montez went 22-for-25 for 338 yards and four touchdowns (one interception). The 88% completion rate was the highest ever for any CU quarterback in a game with a minimum of 20 and 25 attempts, and his 12 straight completions to open a game matched a school record set by Joel Klatt (v. Missouri, 2005);

— In last year’s game, CU had a 300-yard passer (Montez); a 200-yard receiver (Laviska Shenault – 11 catches for 211 yards and a touchdown); and a 100-yard rusher (Travon McMillian – 10 carries for 103 yards and a touchdown) in the same game for the first time in school history;

— The 70,158 in attendance for the 2018 game was broken down as follows: CU sold 38,399 tickets (11,440 students); CSU sold 28,920; with the Broncos/Ticketmaster selling 2,839.

Statistically speaking

— Colorado has won 27 of its last 29 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 1-0 in games played on August 30th, a wild 42-35 win over Colorado State in 2003, a game which included a 28-minute delay due to lightning. Joel Klatt made his starting debut in the game, passing for 402 yards and four touchdowns;

— The Buffs have a 4-3-1 all-time in games played in August, including last season’s 45-13 win, a game played on August 31st;

Rule changes for 2019 … If a game is still tied after four overtimes, teams will thereafter be given the ball at the three-yard line, with one play apiece (in other words, overtime will thereafter become a two-point conversion contest) … For a targeting call to stand, it must be confirmed by the instant replay official (no call will be determined as “stands”).

Coaches/Player Notes

Mel Tucker was named as CU’s 26th full-time head coach on December 5, 2018; the 16th since 1935. After the first 10 CU coaches opened 8-1-1, the last 15 have gone 2-13. Rick Neuheisel won his first game at the helm, when No. 14 Colorado defeated No. 21 Wisconsin on the road, 43-7. The only other coach since 1935 to win their opener was Mike MacIntyre, who led the Buffs to a 41-27 win over Colorado State in Denver in 2013;

— In case you missed it, the Stat of the Week is the note that the players on the CU roster have made just 179 career starts. That number represents the lowest in program history, at least since the advent of the 11-game schedule in 1971. There are no players on the roster who have ever started a game at either defensive tackle or running back, with the most starts (56) coming from four players along the offensive line;

Steven Montez has started 24 consecutive games … but no other Buff has a consecutive start streak longer than 12 games;

— Over the course of the last three seasons, CU kickers have converted 95 consecutive PAT’s, currently the tenth-longest such streak in the nation;

— In the past 18 seasons, Colorado has graduated 330 of 364 seniors (90.7%). Last season, 20 of 23 seniors graduated;

— Three players have been selected as captains for the CSU game: junior wide receiver K.D. Nixon; senior offensive lineman Tim Lynott, Jr.; and junior linebacker Nate Landman. The coaches will select different captains for each game during the season;

— At 32 years of age, kicker James Stefanou is … no longer the oldest player in college football. Believe it or not, Stefanou won’t even be the oldest player on the field Friday night. Joshua Griffin, a CSU defensive back who had extensive military service, is 33 years old (and also only a junior);

— The Buffs have 18 seniors on the roster (there were 20 seniors on the roster last fall). Of the 18, there are 10 fifth-year seniors or graduate transfers. On CU’s post Fall Camp depth chart (which includes 12 offensive and 12 defensive positions), there are seven seniors.

Pac-12 Notes

— Five teams from the Pac-12 were ranked in the Associated Press preseason poll … No. 11 Oregon … No. 13 Washington … No. 14 Utah … No. 23 Washington State … No. 25 Stanford. It’s the first time since 2016 in which five Pac-12 teams were listed in the AP preseason poll;

— USC had appeared in 17 consecutive preseason polls, but that string was broken this year. Overall, USC has appeared in 58 preseason polls. Only Ohio State (66) and Oklahoma (61) have appeared in more. The longest streak of consecutive preseason poll appearances from the Pac-12 now belongs to Stanford, with nine consecutive seasons;

— Utah made its first AP preseason poll appearance since 2009. Washington State made its fourth-ever appearance in a preseason poll, but the second in the past three seasons (CU has appeared in the Associated Press preseason poll 16 times, most recently in 2002);

— Arizona lost its Week Zero game to Hawai’i, 45-38. Losing the first game of the season doesn’t bode well for the Wildcats. It’s been 20 years since the Wildcats began the season with a loss and still managed to finish with a .500 record. Since Arizona joined the Pac-10/12 in 1978, it has started 0-1 on 12 occasions. Only four of those teams have been bowl-eligible at the end of the season.


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