Friday Fast Facts – Colorado at UCLA

Trivia Question of the Week … What do the numbers 0-for-418 and 0-for-260 have to do with your Buffs?

Neill Woelk’s Fast Five Keys for Colorado at UCLA

From … Just in time for the Colorado Buffaloes, the UCLA Bruins are playing their best football of the year.

After losing their first three games, and five of their first six, the Bruins (3-5 overall, 3-2 Pac-12) have turned things around with two straight victories (Stanford and Arizona State).

The Buffs (3-5, 1-4), meanwhile, have traveled almost the opposite path. Winners of three of their first four, they have since lost four in a row and need a win to get themselves back on the right track and remain in contention for a bowl bid.

The Buffs’ October woes were the result of a variety of issues. The offense struggled in a pair of lopsided road losses; the defense has played well in stretches but has yet to hold an opponent under 30 points; and penalties have been a problem throughout.

Chip Kelly’s Bruins, meanwhile, have turned to the run game to get back on track while also playing improved defense. UCLA has rushed for over 200 yards in each of its last four games while the defense held Stanford to 16 points and Arizona to 20.

So what must the Buffs do in order to end their losing streak and start November off on a good note?

1.  Stop the UCLA run game

2. Force UCLA offensive mistakes

3. Continue to run the ball with authority

4. Stop the penalties

5. Finish

Read full story here

Big Picture

— Colorado and UCLA have played 14 times, with the Bruins holding a 10-4 advantage. UCLA is 6-1 in games played in Los Angeles/Pasadena, though the last two games played in the Rose Bowl were four point games (35-31 in 2015; 27-23 in 2017);

— The only win for the Buffs over the Bruins in Los Angeles came in 2002, when CU took down a ranked UCLA team in 99-degree heat (a 31-17 win over the 20th-ranked Bruins);

— The Buffs and Bruins share the worst overall record in the Pac-12, with both teams coming into the game with 3-5 records (Oregon State is 3-4; four Pac-12 teams have 4-4 records);

— The uniform combination for the Buff players this weekend is the Storm trooper look, with the Buffs playing in all white: white uniforms, white helmets, and white pants;

— Injuries have forced Colorado to start 36 different players this season (16 on offense; 20 on defense). In the Pac-12, only Oregon State (37) has had more different players earn starts;

— Colorado is 708-513-36 all-time (.577). The Buffs are 26th in all-time victories; 36th in all-time winning percentage;

— Colorado is 4-10-2 all-time in games played on November 2nd.

  • 1991 – In a game which at the time was the coldest in CU history (12-degrees; minus-eight wind chill), the Buffs scored the only defensive two-point conversion in school history to help No. 15 earn a 19-19 tie with No. 9 Nebraska (the teams would go on to share the Big Eight title, CU’s third-consecutive) … Game Story: “We Don’t Go Out in That Kind of Weather to Play for a Tie“;
  • 1996 – Koy Detmer set a then school-record with 457 yards passing as No. 7 CU smoked Missouri, 41-13 … Game Story: “Detmer and Carruth Set Records in Rout“;
  • 2018 (yes, last season. The game was played on Friday) – The Buffs build a 10-0 lead on the road, but can’t hold it as Arizona runs past CU for a 42-34 win … Game Story: “The Definition of Insanity“.

— The CU/USC 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, Alfred Williams, Jeremy Bloom, Marwan Hage, Jim Hansen, Bobby Anderson and Daniel Graham.

The most recent interview, with Yogi Roth from the Pac-12 Networks, can be found here

Buffs v. Bruins

— Mel Tucker does have a game against UCLA on his resume. Tucker was an assistant coach at Ohio State in 2001 when the Buckeyes lost to No. 14 UCLA, 13-6. Chip Kelly is 2-1 all-time against the Buffs, with both wins coming as the head coach at Oregon. Kelly is 0-1 against Colorado at UCLA;

Bar bet winner … Which CU team has a better wining percentage against UCLA – the football team or the men’s basketball team? Neither has fared well, but the basketball team (6-12, .333) has a better winning percentage against the Bruins than does the football teams (4-10, .285);

Something has to give Department … Colorado has had trouble getting tackles behind the line of scrimmage (126th in the nation in tackles for loss; 97th in quarterback sacks), while UCLA has had trouble stopping the opposition from doing just that (106th in tackles for loss allowed; 100th in quarterback sacks allowed). One team will improve their national status this weekend;

Something has to give Department II … Neither team is averaging over 30 points a game (CU – 27.1 points per game; UCLA – 29.1 points per game), but both teams are giving up an average of more than 30 points a game (CU – 34.9 points per game; UCLA – 34.3 points per game).

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; cornerback Mehki Blackmon – shoulder surgery October 8th;
  • Out indefinitely … offensive guard Colby Pursell – has had his gall bladder removed 10/2 – returned to limited practice this week;
  • Day-to-Day … quarterback Tyler Lytle – shoulder … (nose tackle Jalen Sami no longer on the list)

Player Notes … 

— Captains for the UCLA game: senior linebacker Davion Taylor: senior punter Alex Kinney; junior wide receiver K.D. Nixon;

Laviska Shenault has had seven carries this season on third or fourth down, earning a first down on all seven carries. All in favor of seeing Shenault with more rushes in November, say “aye”;

— Shenault needs eight receptions (he has 127 for his career) and 338 yards receiving (he has 1,693) to break into the top ten on the CU all-time lists;

— Senior quarterback Steven Montez remains second on the all-time passing charts in yards (8,888). Montez still has a ways to go to get to No. 1 Sefo Liufau (9,568). Montez already has 38 school records, including the most games (16) with over 300 yards of total offense. With the start against USC last wekend, Montez set the record for the most consecutive starts by a quarterback (32), passing the record set by Gale Weidner (31, 1959-61);

— Junior linebacker Nate Landman leads the Buffs with 94 tackles, almost twice as many as No. 2 on the list (Mikial Onu, with 49);

— Sophomore running back Alex Fontenot has 625 rushing yards this season. His career total (now 668) keeps creeping up the all-time charts, now up to 78th;

— Junior kicker James Stefanou needs seven points (193) to become the 8th player (and 4th kicker) in Colorado history to score over 200 career points. Barring injury, next fall Stefanou can make a run at becoming CU’s all-time leading scorer (Mason Crosby – 307 points);

— Colorado had 17 scholarship defensive backs on the roster at the end of the spring. With attrition and injuries … the Buffs are now down to six, including three true freshmen (injured and out for the season: Mekhi Blackmon; Chris Miller; transfers: Dante Wigley; Ronnie Blackmon; Kevin George; LJ Wallace; Aaron Maddox; has not played: Trey Udoffia; dismissed: Hassan Hypolite; failed to qualify: Trustin Oliver; moved to linebacker: Ray Robinson)

— CU tight ends have 23 catches so far this season. Buff tight ends had 17 catches in the last three seasons combined.

Colorado and UCLA … historical

In historical terms, Colorado wins out over UCLA, with the CU football legacy dating back to 1890, while the Bruins didn’t field their first team until 1919. As a result, Colorado has a significant lead in all-time wins, with 708 (26th all-time) compared to UCLA’s 601 (60th).

That being said, when we compare apples to apples – all-time winning percentage – CU and UCLA are very close. The Bruins are 38th on the all-time list (.578 – 601-433-37), while the Buffs are 39th (.578 – 708-511-36).

Both teams have one national championship, one Heisman trophy winner, and, ironically enough, have both spent seven weeks as the No. 1 team in the Associated Press poll (tied for 25th on that list).

UCLA leads Colorado in most other categories tracked by Winsipedia, including NFL draft picks (322 to 272), consensus All-Americans (41 to 31) and bowl appearances (36 to 29). The Buffs do, however, hold a lead in one category which will last for some time to come … conference championships. Colorado is 10th on the all-time list, with 26, while UCLA is 25th on the list, with 17.

Colorado and UCLA – head-to-head

This will be the 15th all-time meeting between the two teams, in a series dating back to 1980. UCLA holds a 10-4 advantage in the rivalry, including a 6-1 advantage over the Buffs in games played in the Rose Bowl in Pasadena.

The first game ever played between the two teams is also the first game in the CU at the Game Archives, as it was my first game as a Buff. The game was a blowout, with the Bruins racing out to a 56-0 lead at halftime, coasting to a 56-14 win.

The Bruins then ran off three more wins in the series during the early ’80’s. The Buffs, wearing their own version of blue-and-goal uniforms, looked like UCLA, but didn’t play like UCLA. The 1982 game is perhaps the most noteworthy of the three UCLA victories, as future Colorado coach Rick Neuheisel got into the game in garbage time in a 34-6 UCLA victory.

The Buffs’ first two victories in the series came in a home-and-home in 2002 and 2003. The 2002 game, a 31-17 win over the No. 20 Bruins, for 17 years stood as CU’s  most recent road victory over a ranked team (until the Buffs defeated No. 24 Arizona State, 34-31, in Tempe this fall). The 2003 win, a 16-14 decision in Boulder, is also noteworthy as it represented a homecoming for head coach Karl Dorrell and assistants Jon Embree and Eric Bieniemy, all former Buffs.

Since Colorado has joined the Pac-12, it has been almost all UCLA. After absorbing 45-6, 42-14, and 45-23 maulings from 2011-13, the Buffs played on par with the Bruins. In 2014, the game went into double overtime, with UCLA prevailing, 40-37. Then, in 2015, the Buffs had a lead late, but ultimately fell, 35-31.

In 2016, the Buffs broke through in Boulder. In a defensive battle, the Buffs prevailed, 20-10, in “Even ugly wins count“. Two punt returns by Isaiah Oliver, including a 68-yard touchdown return in the fourth quarter to seal the deal, gave the Buffs a hard-fought victory.

In 2017, it was another tough-to-take loss. The final was 27-23, UCLA, with the comment from quarterback Steven Montez, “It’s Real Frustrating“, summing up the sentiments of the Buff Nation.

Last fall, the Buffs broke open a close game with a dominating second half, pulling away for a 38-16 victory. Steven Montez accounted for three scores, with Laviska Shenault going for over 100 yards receiving, and Travon McMillian going for over 100 yards rushing.

Pac-12 Notes … 

— Only two teams from the Pac-12 were ranked in the tenth week of the Associated Press poll, the first week in 2019 that there hasn’t been at least three conference teams ranked. Oregon is in at No. 7; Utah at No. 9. Oregon’s ranking is the highest for Ducks since coming in at No. 7 on September 8, 2015, while the Utes are at their highest ranking since coming in at No. 3 on October 18, 2015;

— Pac-12 home teams are only 16-14 in conference play. Only Utah, USC, and Oregon remain undefeated at home against Pac-12 opposition;

— There are 13 players in the FBS who are averaging over ten tackles per game, and three of them play in the Pac-12. Cal’s Evan Weaver leads the FBS at 15.9 tackles per game, while CU’s Nate Landman is tied for 12th with Cal linebacker Kuony Deng, at 10.1 tackles/game;

— Pac-12 National Leaders after Week Six: Washington State, passing offense (436.4 yards/game); Oregon, interceptions (14); Nu’umato Falo, Colorado, fumbles recovered (3); Anthony Gordon, Washington State, passing yards/game (423.4), completions per game (34.75); and total offense/game (428.1); Hamilcar Rashed Jr., Oregon State, tackles for loss/game (2.1)

Trivia Question of the Week … What do the numbers 0-for-418 and 0-for-260 have to do with your Buffs?

Answer … Colorado is currently on a roll when it comes to fumbles, as in the Buffs have been good at hanging onto the football (hope this is not a jinx). The Buffs set a school record last weekend with their fourth straight game without a fumble (418 touches in all). Colorado tailbacks have gone the entire season without a fumble (260 rushes and receptions). The only two fumbles lost all season were on kickoff returns (one by K.D. Nixon; the other by Laviska Shenault).


2 Replies to “Friday Fast Facts”

  1. Hey Stu did you see that USC is about to hire Bohn as their AD? Did they not look at his track record hiring coaches? He ruined CU football with him Bohn-headed hirings. Here’s hoping they don’t come to their senses

    1. Still waiting for it to be posted somewhere other than Twitter, but yes, I’ve seen it.
      Can’t believe that will be well received by the USC faithful … but a good day for CU, if it means that Rick George is staying in Boulder

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