Friday Fast Facts – CU at No. 24 Arizona State

Neill Woelk’s Fast Five Keys for the CU at No. 24 Arizona State

From CUBuffs.com … All Colorado coach Mel Tucker wants to see Saturday night at Sun Devil Stadium is consistency from his Buffaloes — from the opening kick to the final whistle.

If the 2-1 Buffs can manage that, Tucker likes their chances against 3-0 and 24th-ranked Arizona State in their 8 p.m. matchup (Pac-12 Network).

What the Buffs have shown so far is that they are capable of some very good moments on both sides of the ball. The offense has put up points in bunches in stretches; the defense has been stifling at times. It has been enough to collect two wins in three outings, including an overtime victory over then-No. 24 Nebraska.

But they haven’t yet put together a complete game — on either side of the ball — and there would be no better time to make that happen than in their Pac-12 opener in a stadium where Colorado is 0-5 all time.

Thus, with an eye on CU getting its conference season off on the right foot, our weekly Fast Five:

1. Don’t dig a first-half hole.

2. Harass Sun Devils QB Jayden Daniels early and often.

3. Play perfectly on special teams.

4. Continue to win the turnover battle.

5. Continue to win the fourth quarter.

Read full story here

Big Picture

— This is only the 11th all-time meeting between Colorado and Arizona State (separated by 589 miles). The Sun Devils won the only two games played between the two teams before CU joined the Pac-12 (in 2006-07), and then won the first five games as Pac-12 rivals;

— The Buffs, however, have won two of the last three games, defeating the Sun Devils 40-16 in 2016, then 28-21 (with Laviska Shenault scoring all of CU’s touchdowns) last season. So, if you are doing the math, ASU holds an 8-2 all-time lead, with a 5-0 record in games played in Tempe;

— Colorado is 707-509-36 all-time (.579). The Buffs are 25th in all-time victories; 36th in all-time winning percentage;

— CU is 81-42-2 all-time in conference openers, but only 4-15-1 when the opponents is a ranked team;

— Colorado is 4-2-1 all-time in games played on September 21st, with a few notable contests … In 1985, Ohio State made its first and to date only trip to Boulder, with the No. 7 Buckeyes beating the Buffs, 36-13 … In 1991, the Buffs thumped Minnesota, 58-0, as the Golden Gophers made their first and to date only trip to Boulder (Minnesota is slated to return to Boulder – as part of a home-and-home series – in 2021, with CU traveling to Minneapolis in 2022) … In 2002, Colorado defeated No. 20 UCLA, 31-20, in Pasadena, in 99-degree heat, to that date the hottest game CU had ever played;

— So, for those of you scoring at home, there is some good symmetry here … The last time CU defeated a ranked team on the road (29 straight losses since) came on a September 21st in 2002 … in a game played in ridiculously warm weather. The Buff Nation can’t ask for better karma than that, right??;

— The CU/Arizona State game will be telecast nationally by the Pac-12 Networks, with Ted Robinson on the play-by-play; Yogi Roth on color; and Lewis Johnson on the sidelines. KOA radio will have Mark Johnson with the play-by-play, and former CU head coach Gary Barnett handling the commentary.

Mel Tucker’s Podcast

Coach Mel Tucker has a weekly podcast, hosted by KOA’s Mark Johnson. So far, Coach Tucker has interviewed Rick George, Kordell Stewart, Matt Russell, and Alfred Williams.

The most recent interview was with Jeremy Bloom, and can be found here

Buffs v. Sun Devils

— The Buffs played a significant game against UCLA in 99-degree heat in 2002 (see, above), a record which was surpassed in the 2007 game in Tempe. Despite a 7:15 p.m. local time kickoff, the temperature at kickoff was 102-degrees (a CU record matched in the 2012 game against Fresno State);

— In that 2007 game against Arizona State, CU jumped out to a 14-0 lead, thanks to a Terrance Wheatley pick-six and a touchdown pass from Cody Hawkins to Scotty McKnight. The Buffs wilted in the heat thereafter, though, as the Sun Devils built a 19-14 halftime lead on their way to a 33-14 win.

— The this will be the fourth time CU has played a ranked Arizona State team, with the Sun Devils winning the previous three games. CU has never played Arizona State as a ranked team;

— In last season’s game, Laviska Shenault set a record for the most receptions by a CU receiver in the series, with 13. Shenault’s 127 receiving yards, though, were just shy of the record set by Shay Fields the year before, with 128 receiving yards (on only six receptions) in the 2017 game;

Something has to give department … National rankings: ASU first downs (108th), CU first downs allowed (109th) … ASU rushing offense (109th), CU rushing defense (112th) … ASU scoring offense (111th), CU scoring defense (98th) …

Colorado and Arizona State … historical

While Colorado trails Arizona State in the head-to-head series (8-2 … though the Buffs have won two of the last three), the Buffs have significant advantages over the Sun Devils when it comes to historical records.

Arizona State has a better winning percentage all-time (.608, 24th in history, to CU’s .579, 39th). Otherwise, the advantages are almost all Colorado.

According to Winsipedia, the Buffs lead the Sun Devils in a number of all-time categories:

— All-time wins – 707 (25th) to 617 (51st);

— Conference championships – 26 (10th) to 17 (25th);

— All-time NFL draft picks – 272 (23rd) to 247 (30th);

There are several categories which are close enough to bear watching, including:

— Weeks in the AP poll – Colorado: 304 (27th); Arizona State: 282 (33rd) – with Arizona State back in the polls this week;

— All-time first round NFL draft picks: with N’Keal Harry going to the New England Patriots this spring, Arizona State now has 25 all-time first round picks (tied for 28th), while CU has 24 (tied for 24th), though the Buffs, if CBS Sports is correct, could change that status next April. Both Mustafa Johnson and Laviska Shenault could go in the first round of next year’s NFL draft, which could help Colorado leap-frog back ahead of Arizona State;

Injury Report

— The CU injury report remains fairly short, but added a starter this week.

  • Out for the season … Offensive lineman Jacob Moretti – medically retired; running back Jarek Brousard – knee surgery August 6th;
  • Out … defensive back Lucas Cooper – hamstring; defensive back Dustin Johnson – back surgery on August 6th; and linebacker Chase Newman – lower leg;
  • Out 4/5 weeks … safety Aaron Maddox – severe leg laceration (suffered during Air Force game, 9/14);
  • Day-to-Day … linebacker Carson Wells – concussion (suffered during practice, 9/4);
  • And … junior safety Trey Udoffia, who has been out since Fall Camp what are described as personal reasons, remains out.

Statistically speaking

— Colorado has been out-scored in each of the first two quarters (20-17 in the first; 38-17 in the second), but has rebounded in the second half (21-3 in the third quarter; 51-24 in the fourth);

—  Colorado is being out-gained by an average of almost 50 yards per game (471.0 – 421.3), but is out-scoring its opponents by almost a touchdown per game (36.3 – 30.7);

— Individually, Buff linebacker Nu’umato Falo leads the nation in fumbles  recovered, with three, while safety Mikial Onu leads the nation in interceptions, also with three (Onu has already bested the Buff interception leader from 2018, Nate Landman, who had two, and matched the three that Evan Worthington had in 2017);

— Battle of the punters … Michael Turk from Arizona State is 6th in the nation in punting (49.5 yards/punt), while Alex Kinney from CU is 9th in the nation in punting (47.6 yards/punt)

Player Notes

— Quarterback Steven Montez is second on the all-time passing charts in yards (7,668). Montez has a ways to go to get to No. 1 Sefo Liufau (9,568);

— Wide receiver Laviska Shenault is 15th in receptions (109) and 15th in receiving yards (1,382). Shenault is 649 receiving yards short of cracking the top ten (10. Javon Green, 2,031 yards);

— Captains for the Arizona State game: quarterback Steven Montez; linebacker Davion Taylor; and tight end/special teams standout Beau Bisharat;

— Tight end Beau Bisharat is tied for eighth on the all-time list for special team tackles (31), and sixth in special team points (74);

— Kicker James Stefanou (4-for-4) is one 32 kickers nationally (five from the Pac-12) who remains perfect in field goal attempts;

— The uniform combination for this weekend: gold helmets; white jerseys; and white pants;

— CU’s roster settled in at 83 scholarship players (out of 85 allowed by the NCAA), with another 29 walk-ons. By Class: 3 graduate transfers … 15 seniors (8 fifth-year); 20 juniors; 30 sophomores; 45 freshmen (16 red-shirt/3 2nd-year/26 true).  So, CU will have at minimum 20 scholarships to work with for the Recruiting Class of 2020, with likely five or more coming by natural attrition before next fall;

Pac-12 Notes

— Six teams from the Pac-12 were ranked in the fourth week of the Associated Press poll … No. 10 Utah; No. 16 Oregon; No. 19 Washington State; No. 22 Washington; No. 23 Cal; and No. 24 Arizona State … It’s the first time the Pac-12 has had six teams ranked in both polls since September 20, 2015. It is also the first time the Pac-12 has had at least five teams in the poll in four consecutive weeks since the first six weeks of the 2015 season;

— In Pac-12 rankings, CU is fifth in scoring offense (36.3 points) but 9th in scoring defense (30.7 points). After the Air Force game, the Buffs slipped from fourth to 8th in total offense (469.5 yards/game to 421.3 yards/game), and is now 11th in total defense (471.0 yards/game);

— Four quarterbacks in the Pac-12 have yet to throw an interception, including Arizona State’s Jayden Daniels (77 attempts);

— Pac-12 National Leaders after Week Three: Arizona, interceptions (8); Washington State, passing offense (476.0 yards/game); Anthony Gordon, Washington State, passing yards/game (441.3) and total offense/game (447.7); Jevon Holland, Oregon, punt returns (29.4/attempt).

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