Friday Fast Facts – Colorado v. Washington

Trivia Question of the Week … Who has the better winning percentage: Senior quarterback Steven Montez in games played at Folsom Field, Ralphie V (a/k/a “Blackout”) in games in which she has run? (Answer below)

Neill Woelk’s Fast Five Keys for Colorado v. Washington

From … With two games remaining and needing two wins to become bowl eligible, the Colorado Buffaloes’ path to the postseason has no room for another detour.

The math is simple: Mel Tucker‘s Buffs (4-6 overall, 2-5 Pac-12) need a win Saturday against Washington (6-4, 3-4) at Folsom Field to keep those hopes alive.

History isn’t on Colorado’s side. The Buffs have lost nine in a row to the Huskies, including seven straight since becoming a member of the Pac-12 in 2011.

But Saturday presents a solid opportunity for CU to end that skid. The Buffs are coming off one of their better all-around performances of the season, a 16-13 win over Stanford, as well as a much-needed bye week that provided a little extra rest and recovery.

Washington, meanwhile, has had its share of struggles this season, with just two wins in its last five games.

What must the Buffs do in their evening matchup to keep their postseason hopes alive?

1.  Force the Huskies to the air.

2. Establish the run game early.

3. Win the turnover battle.

4. Control the clock and win third downs.

5. Limit explosive plays and win field position.

Read full story here

Big Picture

— Colorado and Washington have played 18 times, with the Huskies enjoying a 12-5-1 advantage (5-1 in Boulder);

— Colorado is a 14.5-point underdog for Saturday’s game vs. Washington. CU’s last win when going in as at least a two-touchdown underdog was in 2012 on the road against Washington State. Since then, the Buffs are 0-29 when spread is 14-plus and 1-36 when it’s 10-plus (only win: 2016 at Oregon);

— The uniforms for the Buff players for Senior Day … traditional. The Buffs will don gold helmets, black jerseys, and gold pants;

— A total of 252,817 warm bodies have attended CU’s first five home games, an average of 50,563 per game (representing 100.8% of CU’s 50,183 capacity). If a crowd of 48,281 or higher comes to regular season home finale, the Buffs will average more than a sellout for Mel Tucker’s first season at Colorado;

— Kordell Stewart and several other players from the 1994 team will be on hand to celebrate the 25th anniversary season of “The Catch”;

— Colorado is 8-7 all-time in games played on November 23rd. Some of the most memorable:

  • 1985 – Mark Hatcher rushes for 112 yards and a score in a 30-0 win over Kansas State (“Bowled Over – CU win gives Buffs Freedom Bowl berth“);
  • 1991 – In below-zero wind chill conditions, Buffs, behind Lamont Warren’s 168 yards, defeat Iowa State, 17-14, to clinch third-straight Big Eight title (“Three-peat before a crowd of 2,500“);
  • 2001 – No. 14 Colorado 62, No. 2 Nebraska 36 (“The score says it all!!“) … and it does. In addition to the game story, your CU at the Game Archives has this 15-minute highlight reel from the game … Enjoy! …

— The CU/Washington game will be telecast nationally by ESPN (The lead-in game will be Arkansas at LSU. Hopefully, it will be a big enough blowout that the game will end close to on time). Jason Benetti will handle the play-by-play; with Rod Gilmore (who played at Stanford) on color; and Quint Kessenich on the sidelines. KOA radio will also carry the game. Mark Johnson will handle the play-by-play, with 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, Daniel Graham and Phillip Lindsay.

The most recent interview is with former Buff receiver Nelson Spruce, and can be found here

Buffs v. Huskies

— Mel Tucker will be making his debut as a head coach against Washington, but he is 1-1 as an assistant coach against the Huskies. As a graduate assistant for Michigan State, Tucker was on the Spartans’ side of the field when Washington defeated Michigan State, 51-23, in the 1997 Aloha Bowl. Tucker was an assistant coach at Ohio State in 2003, where he witnessed the Buckeyes’ 28-9 win over the Huskies;

— The two teams have played three neutral site games. In 1985, Washington won the Freedom Bowl in Anaheim, 20-17. The Buffs returned the favor in the 1996 Holiday Bowl, winning 33-21. The last neutral site game was the 2016 Pac-12 championship game, which No. 4 Washington defeated No. 9 Colorado, 41-10, in Santa Clara, California;

— Washington’s four losses have been by a combined 20 points (1, 10, 4 and 5), while the six wins have been by a margin of 141 points. Washington is the only Power-Five program that has not suffered a defeat of more than ten points since the start of the 2017 season;

— It ten games this season, ten different Washington players have led the team in tackles;

— Washington has led the Pac-12 conference in both scoring defense and total defense each of the last four seasons, but is currently third in the conference in both categories;

Bar bet winner … Who has a higher winning percentage – Washington’s Chris Petersen or Alabama’s Nick Saban? Petersen’s record is 145-37 (.797), while Nick Saban is 241-64-1 (.789). Both trail Dabo Swinney on the active list. Swinney is 127-30 (.809);

Something has to give Department … Colorado has been terrible at stopping the opposition on third down (47.6%; 124th in the nation) while Washington has struggled in converting on third downs (34.8%; 108th in the nation);

Bar bet winner II … Which team has a better record against ranked opponents this fall? CU is 2-1 against ranked opponents in the first year under Mel Tucker (wins over Nebraska and ASU; loss to Oregon), while Washington is 1-2 (win over USC; losses to Utah and Oregon).

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;
  • Day-to-Day … kicker James Stefanou – hip
  • “Full go” … (Listed on previous injury report, but not the current one) … quarterback Tyler Lytle – shoulder; offensive lineman Colby Pursell – gall bladder surgery; running back Alex Fontenot – concussion

Player Notes … 

— Senior wide receiver Tony Brown is 11 yards short of becoming the 32nd Buff to post 1,000 career receiving yards;

— Junior wide receiver Laviska Shenault is ninth in receptions (138), 11th in receiving yards (1,800), and 30th in yards from scrimmage (2,038);

— Senior quarterback Steven Montez remains second on the all-time passing charts in yards (9,269). Montez is a great game away from topping the current No. 1, Sefo Liufau (9,568). Montez already has 42 school records, and could set the record for most career touchdown passes this weekend (currently tied with Sefo Liufau and Cody Hawkins, at 60);

— Junior linebacker Nate Landman leads the Buffs with 117 tackles, almost twice as many as No. 2 on the list (Mikial Onu, with 62);

— CU tight ends have 27 catches so far this season. Buff tight ends had 17 catches in the last three seasons combined.

Colorado and Washington … historical

Colorado and Washington are two western programs who have enjoyed national recognition and success, with the Huskies have a slight edge over the Buffs in several all-time categories.

According to Winsipedia …

— Washington has 740 all-time wins (18th all-time); Colorado has 709 all-time wins (26th all-time);

— Washington has 305 all-time NFL draft picks (17th all-time); Colorado has 272 all-time NFL draft picks (23rd all-time); and

— Washington has 26 all-time first-round NFL draft picks (23rd all-time); Colorado has 24 all-time first round NFL draft picks (28th all-time);

Meanwhile …

— Colorado has 31 consensus All-Americans (21st all-time); Washington has 23 consensus All-Americans (32nd all-time);

— Colorado has 26 conference championships (10th all-time); Washington has 17 conference championships (25th all-time); and

— Colorado has a Heisman trophy winner, while Washington, surprisingly enough, has never had a player so honored.

Colorado and Washington – head-to-head

— Washington holds a 12-5-1 lead in the series with Colorado, including nine straight wins (5-1 all-time in Boulder);

— The teams played for the first time in 1915, with the Huskies winning, 46-0. The teams didn’t play again until the 1950’s, with the Buffs picking up their first win, 21-20, in 1953;

— Colorado won three straight games in the series between 1989 and 1996, with both teams being ranked …

— In 1989, in an emotional first game after the death of Sal Aunese, No. 5 Colorado rolled No. 21 Washington, 45-28 (“Road Trip to Seattle; Buffs Dominate“);

— In 1990, No. 20 Colorado played its fourth ranked team in five weeks, holding on to defeat No. 12 Washington, 20-14, with an interception in the end zone with 59 seconds to play (“Deon Figures pick preserves victory“);

— In 1996, No. 8 Colorado defeated No. 13 Washington in the Holiday Bowl, 33-21 (“Good Bowl, Good Result“)

— The only other game between the two teams in which both schools were ranked was the 2016 Pac-12 title game, when No. 4 Washington manhandled No. 8 Colorado, 41-10 (“Dawg Pounded“);

— Rick Neuheisel is not the only former CU coach to land in Seattle as the head coach at Washington. Legendary Washington coach Don James was the defensive coordinator for CU head coach Eddie Crowder (1968-70) before he headed off to the northwest part of the country to coach the Huskies.

Pac-12 Notes … 

— Only two teams from the Pac-12 were ranked in the most recent Associated Press poll. Oregon is in at No. 6; Utah at No. 7. The Pac-12 has had two teams ranked in the top eight for three consecutive weeks for the first time since 2017 (USC and Washington);

— Every team in the Pac-12 has at least four victories, the only FBS conference which can make this claim. How rare? The only other time it’s occurred out west since the Pac-8 pulled it off … in 1965;

— Pac-12 National Leaders after Week Six: Washington State, passing offense (441.8 yards/game); Oregon, interceptions (17); Anthony Gordon, Washington State, passing yards/game (431.4), completions per game (36.7); and total offense/game (438.8); Hamilcar Rashed Jr., Oregon State, tackles for loss/game (2.3); Evan Weaver, Cal, tackles/game (15.1)

Trivia Question of the Week … Who has the better winning percentage: Senior quarterback Steven Montez in games played at Folsom Field, Ralphie V (a/k/a “Blackout”) in games in which she has run? (Answer below)

It’s close, but Steven Montez, with one home game to play, has a slightly better winning percentage. Montez is 10-9 in games in which he has appeared in Folsom, 52.6 winning percentage. In her career, Ralphie V has a 39-37 winning percentage in games in which she has run (51.3%). If Steven Montez wishes to finish his CU career ahead of Ralphie V … he’ll have to defeat Washington this Saturday.


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