Friday Fast Facts – Colorado at No. 13 Oregon

Trivia Question of the Week … In what statistical category does Colorado currently lead the nation? (and yes, it is a positive category) …

Neill Woelk’s Fast Five Keys for the CU at No. 13 Oregon 

From … While the Colorado Buffaloes have faced two ranked teams this season — and beaten them both — Friday night’s test against the Oregon Ducks will almost certainly be their most difficult yet.

The 13th ranked Ducks (4-1 overall, 2-0 Pac-12) have a new look under second-year head coach Mario Cristobal. They boast a formidable defense and a punishing, ball-control offense that wears opponents down. Their lineup includes a potential first-round draft pick at quarterback, Justin Herbert, and one of the nation’s best linebackers, four-year starter Troy Dye.

It is no doubt a formidable challenge for Mel Tucker‘s Buffs (3-2, 1-1), and it will only be made tougher by what is expected to be a raucous, sold-out Autzen Stadium crowd.

What the Buffs need to do to meet the challenge in the 8 p.m. contest (FS1):

1. Protect quarterback Steven Montez

2. Establish a run game early

3. Win the turnover battle

4. Limit explosive plays by the Ducks, especially on third down

5. Eliminate the self-inflicted wounds

Read full story here

Big Picture

— Oregon holds a 12-9 advantage in the all-time series. In games played in Eugene, the Ducks have a 5-3 lead;

— Hard to believe, but this is only the second night game in the series, with the 2015 game in Boulder the only other time the teams have played under the lights. The 2015 game not only represents the first night game between the teams, it also represents the latest a game has ever kicked off in Boulder (9:08 p.m., after a 61 minute weather delay), and the latest a game has ever ended in Boulder (12:31 a.m.);

— This is the first game of back-to-back road trips for the Buffs (playing at Washington State next weekend). Such occasions have not treated Colorado well, with the Buffs going 0-6-2 (six sweeps; two splits);

— Colorado is 708-510-36 all-time (.579). The Buffs are 26th in all-time victories; 36th in all-time winning percentage;

— The Buffs have won four of their last five games played on a Friday, with three straight wins over CSU, and last season’s 38-16 win over UCLA;

— Colorado is 9-5-1 all-time in games played on October 11th. Some memorable games:

— The CU/Oregon game will be telecast nationally by the FS1, with Joe Davis on the play-by-play; Brock Huard on color; and Bruce Feldman 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, Alfred Williams, Jeremy Bloom, Marwan Hage, and Jim Hansen.

The most recent interview can be found here

Buffs v. Ducks

— In 1985, Colorado played Oregon in a game of which Bill McCartney said, “I thing that could be a turning point for our program”. The Buffs, coming off of a 1-10 season in 1984, and six straight losing seasons, defeating the Ducks, 21-17. The game came down to the final play, with Oregon facing a fourth-and-goal at the CU three yard line with nine seconds remaining.

You can watch how the final play unfolded below …

— Then there was the game with the unintended consequences. In the 1996 Cotton Bowl, the No. 7 Colorado dominated No. 12 Oregon, 38-6 (including a controversial fourth quarter fake punt called by Buff head coach Rick Neuheisel). The unintended consequence? One Phil Knight attended the game, and, after the big CU victory, Knight decided he wanted to raise the Ducks to that level of play. Over $100 million later, the once after-thought of a program nationally (not a single 10-win season in the 20th century) became a national brand;

Bar bet winner … Hard as it may be to believe, Oregon is the furthest west any school can play a Division 1-A/FBS game on the mainland;

Something has to give Department … The Colorado offense has gone three-and-out only nine times this season (in 58 possessions). The Oregon defense, meanwhile, has forced opponents into three-and-outs 17 times in 51 drives (or one out of every three drives)

Injury Report

— The CU injury report …

  • Out for the season … running back Jarek Brousard – knee surgery September 6th; cornerback Chris Miller – torn ACL, season-ending surgery on October 4th;
  • Out … defensive back Dustin Johnson – back surgery on August 6th;
  • Out indefinitely … offensive guard Colby Pursell – gall bladder surgery pending;
  • Out 2/3 weeks … safety Aaron Maddox – severe leg laceration (suffered during Air Force game, 9/14);
  • Day-to-Day … defensive end Mustafa Johnson – ankle sprain; wide receiver Laviska Shenault – core muscle strain (has undergone an MRI, being evaluated by experts nationally):
  • And … junior safety Trey Udoffia, who has been out since Fall Camp what are described as personal reasons, remains out.

Player Notes … 

— Captains for the Oregon game … Senior quarterback Steven Montez; senior cornerback Delrick Abrams, Jr.; and senior punter Alex Kinney;

— Senior quarterback Steven Montez is second on the all-time passing charts in yards (8,304). Montez still has a ways to go to get to No. 1 Sefo Liufau (9,568);

— Junior linebacker Nate Landman leads the Buffs with 60 tackles on the season. With 11 tackles against Arizona, Landman became the 73rd Buff to reach the 200 career tackle mark;

— Sophomore running back Alex Fontenot is up to 435 career rushing yards (106th all-time), needing 64 yards to break into the top 100 on the all-time list;

— Junior kicker James Stefanou (9-for-9) is one 13 kickers nationally (three from the Pac-12) who remains perfect in field goal attempts;

— The uniform combination for this weekend is classic road CU: gold helmets; white uniforms; black pants.

Colorado and Oregon – historical

When the Oregon sports information office cites statistics, they often preface it with “1997-present” for its posting of records … and with good reason. Why? Because for most of the century of football played before 1997, the Ducks were not that good. As a result, in eight of the 12 historical categories tracked by Winsipedia, Colorado leads Oregon, with one tie (Heisman trophy winners: 1). Some numbers:

— Colorado is 26th in all-time wins (708); Oregon is 37th (660);

— Colorado is 39th in all-time winning percentage (.579); Oregon is 53rd (.567);

— Colorado is 10th in conference championships (26); Oregon is 61st (11);

— Colorado is 21st in consensus All-Americans (31); Oregon is 60th (7);

— Colorado is 23rd in all-time NFL draft picks (272); Oregon is 36th (220).

In fact, the only categories Oregon leads Colorado is in bowl games (32-to-29); weeks as the No. 1 team in the AP poll (Oregon has eight weeks; CU seven); and bowl winning percentage (Oregon is 64th all-time – 14-18, .438; CU is 74th – 12-17, .414).

Colorado and Oregon …  head-to-head

— Oregon leads the all-time series with Colorado, 12-9, winning the first six games in Pac-12 play … but with CU winning the most recent game. The 2016 game, a 41-38 Buff victory, is one of the most celebrated in recent CU history;

Before the 2016 game, the most recent Buff wins in the series were the 1996 Cotton Bowl (a 38-6 Buff victory) and in the 1998 Aloha Bowl (a 51-43 shootout in what proved to be Rick Neuheisel’s last game as the Buffs’ head coach);

— The two teams share a bit of ESPN historical trivia. The 1979 game between the two teams, played in Boulder, was the first college football game televised by the nascent network. The Ducks won, 33-19, in a game played before 44,274;

The 1984 game in Eugene is most remembered as the game when CU tight end Ed Reinhardt went down at the end of the contest, suffering a life-threatening brain injury. Reinhardt was honored before the 2012 game in Eugene, when the Buffs returned for the first time since the ’84 game;

The September 12, 1987, game between the two teams in Boulder marked the first career contest for several future Colorado notables, including: Alfred Williams; Eric Bieniemy; Kanavis McGhee; and Joe Garten.

Pac-12 Notes … 

— Three teams from the Pac-12 were ranked in the seventh week of the Associated Press poll … No. 13 Oregon; No. 15 Utah; and No. 18 Arizona State … It’s the fewest teams the Pac-12 has had ranked this season. Previously, the Pac-12 had at least five teams in the poll in each of the first five polls, falling to four in the poll last week;

— In Pac-12 rankings, CU is fourth in scoring offense (34.6 points) but 11th in scoring defense (31.6 points). After the Arizona game, the Buffs jumped up one spot, to 6th, in total offense (447.0 yards/game), but held at 10th in total defense (470.6 yards/game);

— Two quarterbacks in the Pac-12 are among the six in FBS who have yet to throw an interception, Oregon State’s Jake Luton (161 attempts) and Utah’s Tyler Huntley (114 attempts). The list was three before Oregon’s Justin Herbert was picked off by Cal’s Ashtyn Davis in the first quarter of last weekend’s 17-7 Duck victory;

— Pac-12 National Leaders after Week Six: Washington State, passing offense (450.0 yards/game); Nu’umato Falo, Colorado, fumbles recovered (3); Anthony Gordon, Washington State, passing yards/game (429.2) and total offense/game (437.4);


Trivia Question of the Week … In what statistical category does Colorado currently lead the nation? (and yes, it is a positive category) …

Answer … Colorado leads the nation in kickoff returns, with a 33.5 yard per return average. Of course, two of those returns resulted in fumbles (one by Laviska Shenault, one by K.D. Nixon … CU’s only two fumbles of the season to date) …


4 Replies to “Friday Fast Facts”

  1. 1985 was my freshman year at CU. At halftime of the Oregon game, CU tight end Ed Reinhardt (whose life was saved by medical personnel at Oregon one year earlier following an in-game injury) and his family rode around the field in a convertible, waving to the crowd, showing just how much progress he’d made in one year. I don’t know if there was a dry eye in the place – I had a hard time seeing through the tears in both of mine.

    Play at the end of the game was just extraordinary. Oregon knocking on the door, down at the open (non-horseshoe) end of Folsom. Chris Miller moving to his right and here came Mickey Pruitt, flying around from the left side of the Oregon formation with the sack that ended the game and won it for the Buffs. I agree with Coach Mac 100% about the significance of that win for his program.

    An extraordinary day from start to finish.

  2. Facts is facts and that is fact.

    Fact: 1 sack per game given up by the Oline
    Fact: 1.8 sacks per game by the Mighty Buffs
    Fact: Buffs 6 penalties per game for 51.6 yards (middle of the pac)
    Fact: Teams against the Buffs penalties 4.2 for 40.6 yards (lowest in the pac….Why?)
    Fact: Buffs turnover margin of 1.6 per game is best in pac
    Fact: Buffs TFL/G is lowest in Pac at 1.8. Oregon is highest at 8
    Fact: TFL/G allowed is 4.6. (middle of pac)
    Fact: Buff 3rd down conversion % is 46.15 (3rd in pac)
    Fact: Buff opponent 3rd down conversion rate is 50%
    Fact: Buffs are 3rd in pac for red zone scores with 60% td’s
    Fact: Opponents score 67% of the time in the red zone against the Mighty Buffs
    Fact: Buffs have given up a lot of long plays from scrimmage. Look it up
    Fact: Buffs in the pac are at the bottom of pass break up and passes defended

    Lotta frigging facts out there. Most of them are “opinions”
    Nothing happening this early am execpt sports center reruns……

    GAME DAY………………………..GO BUFFS.

    Note: NBA are hypocrites

  3. I remember that 4th down play against Oregon. Down at the North end. After the game Mac said that they decided it was all or nothing and they rushed darn near the whole Defense front 7.

    Even though I really didn’t like Oregon particularly during the Chip Kelly era……..I think he ran up the scores on a lot of teams including the Buffs, I will always have a soft spot in my heart for the way they reacted and were just great and more then very helpful regarding the terrible injury to Ed Reinhardt. They couldn’t do enough for CU and the Reinhardt family.

    1. Agree with you 100% regarding all they did for Ed Reinhardt and his family. I’ve often wondered whether the seeds for the Chip Kelly run-up-the-score games were sown in the ’96 Cotton Bowl by Tricky Ricky and his ridiculous fake punt call.

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