Friday Fast Facts – Arizona State Week

Big Picture … 

— Colorado is 5-5 in Pac-12 openers, and has won three in a row (wins at home v. UCLA in 2018 and 2020, plus a road win over Arizona State in 2019). The Buffs are 83-42-2 all-time in conference openers (in eight different conferences);

— The Buffs are 12-10 all-time in games played in the state of Arizona (including a 1-2 record in the Fiesta Bowl). The last two times the Buffs have traveled to the desert, however, they have come away with victories, defeating Arizona State in 2019, and then Arizona last year);

Grasping at straws department … The Buffs were held to 63 yards of total offense last week against Minnesota (34 yards until the final drive led by Drew Carter in garbage time). The last time the CU offense was so inept was in 2002, when USC held the Buffs to 61 yards of total offense. That year, however, the CU offense rebounded the following week, going for 471 yards of total offense in a 31-17 road win over No. 20 UCLA;

Fall? What fall? … The temperature at kickoff for the Texas A&M game was 92-degrees, sixth-warmest start in school history. The official temperature at kickoff for the Minnesota game was 70-degrees, but got much warmer during the game. After reaching near 100-degree temperatures for the past week, the forecast high for Tempe for Saturday is a brisk 93-degrees, with the thermometer falling to around 90-degrees for kickoff at 7:32 p.m., local time. The 2007 game in Tempe, despite a 7:15 p.m. start, was 102-degrees at kickoff, which still ranks as the warmest game in CU history (though that temperature was matched against Fresno State in 2012);

— The game will be telecast nationally on ESPNU (Saturday, 8:32 p.m., MT), with Mike Corey on the play-by-play, and former UCLA quarterback Tom Ramsey on color. KOA radio will have Mark Johnson, in his 18th year with the play-by-play, and former CU head coach Gary Barnett in his sixth year as the full-time analyst. More on Ramsey … In 1982, Ramsey was a senior quarterback for UCLA, with one of his freshmen receivers being CU head coach Karl Dorrell. The Bruins that fall went 10-1-1, finishing fifth in the polls after a 24-14 win over Michigan in the Rose Bowl.

 

CU & Arizona State … 

— Arizona State has an 8-3 advantage in the all-time series, but the Buffs have been leveling the field of late. After opening the series with seven straight losses (dating back to the first game between the two schools, in 1996, the Buffs have won three of the last four games between the two schools, including the last two;

— Despite the Sun Devils’ overall lead in the series, the best performances have all come from Buffs. The most yards passing in a game: 389, by Sefo Liufau (2015); most rushing yards: 219, by Phillip Lindsay (2016); most receiving yards: 150, by Tony Brown (2019); total tackles: 15, by Jordon Dizon (2007);

— The Arizona State secondary has a combined 135 career starts, a total which is second nationally only to Indiana. The CU secondary of Christian Gonzalez, Isaiah Lewis, Mark Perry, and Mekhi Blackmon have a combined 29 career starts (and that includes the 12 combined starts for the first three games of the 2021 season);

— Herm Edwards is 0-2 against Colorado as the head coach at Arizona State. Karl Dorrell, meanwhile, had a 3-2 record against Arizona State while the head coach at UCLA;

— Inglorious record … For Buff fans worried about another suboptimal offensive output, the record for the lowest number of total yards in the series is 199, gained by Arizona State in the 2016 game. In CU’s three wins in the series, the Buffs averaged 503 yards of total offense.

 

The Last time …

September 21, 2019 … Colorado 34, No. 24 Arizona State 31 … 

Game Story Colorado snapped a 29-game road losing streak against ranked teams, taking down No. 24 Arizona State in Tempe, 34-31.

Steven Montez went 23-for-30 for 337 yards and three touchdowns, with all three scoring passes going to Tony Brown. The senior wide receiver collected nine passes in all, going for a career-high for 150 yards, with Alex Fontenot gaining 89 yards on 25 carries to lead the rushing attack.

The Buffs posted 447 yards of total offense, surrendering 453 to the Sun Devils. The CU defense remained consistent, giving up 31 points for the third time in four games (giving up, oddly enough, 30 points in the lone loss of the season).

The victory not only gave CU its first win over a ranked team since defeating UCLA 31-20 in the Rose Bowl in 2002, it also gave the Buffs their first win in six attempts against the Sun Devils in Tempe, and a 2-0 record against ranked teams in the fourth game of the Mel Tucker era.

Continue reading game story here

Game Essay … “Everyone Chipped In, Everyone Did Their Job” … In order to accomplish what had eluded the program for exactly 17 years, the Buffs needed a full team effort. Colorado came into the contest with two players who were considered to be first-round NFL Draft picks – wide receiver Laviska Shenault and defensive lineman Mustafa Johnson – and lost both to injury in the first quarter of the game against Arizona State.

Quarterbacks tend to get too much credit for wins and too much blame for losses. Steven Montez, who had a sub-par game in an overtime loss to Air Force the week before, was stellar in his performance against the Sun Devils, completing 23-of-30 passes for 337 yards and three touchdowns, with no interceptions and no sacks.

“I think my teammates around me made my job a lot easier tonight,” Montez said. ” No sacks. That has nothing to do with me, it has everything to do with our offensive linemen up front. They played a great game and so I’m super proud of them. They played phenomenal, and some of the catches that were also made today — the receivers just make things happen. And that’s also not me. So I can’t take the credit for this game. I’m just so proud of our team as a whole and our offense as a whole. It was just an overall team win. Everybody chipped in, everybody did their job, everybody executed. And that’s why we got positive results.”

Read full story here

The Second-to-Last Time … 

October 6, 2018 … No. 21 Colorado 28, Arizona State 21

Game story … Laviska Shenault scored four touchdowns, with two scoring receptions and two scoring runs, leading No. 21 Colorado to a 28-21 win over Arizona State. For the game, Shenault had 13 receptions for 127 yards, to go with five carries for 13 yards.

Quarterback Steven Montez went 24-for-33 for 328 yards and two touchdowns, while Travon McMillian had 30 carries for 136 yards, becoming the first CU running back since Rashaan Salaam to post four 100-yard rushing games in the first five games of the season.

The game was tight throughout, with Arizona State taking 7-0, 14-7, and 21-14 leads, with the CU offense responding each time. Late i the third quarter, the Buffs took their first lead of the game on a Montez-to-Shenault three yard score. The Sun Devils appeared ready to respond, but cornerback Delrick Abrams, Jr., knocked away a Manny Wilkins pass on fourth-and-goal from the CU three yard line to preserve the lead.

“When you are the underdog you have to try and steal a possession and go for it even more”, said first-year head coach Herm Edwards of his decision to go for it on fourth-and-goal in the fourth quarter. “That is the logic behind it … If you do not you feel like you have nine minutes left—you hold them they punt, you can hopefully get the ball on the fifty and you get another shot. So it just didn’t work out.”

Continue reading game story here

Game Essay … “Nothing to Say … A Lot to Prove” … For the unbeaten Colorado Buffaloes, it was kind of a rough week.

Instead of being celebrated as being the only team in the Pac-12 to emerge from the month of September without a loss, it was a week of Buff-bashing for the No. 21 team in the nation.

Brad Crawford at 247Sports had this to say … College football’s worst unbeaten Power 5 team is Colorado, per ESPN’s analytics model. Ranked No. 53 this week in the FPI, there’s still a good chance the Buffaloes (4-0) fail to reach bowl season believe it or not. Colorado isn’t expected to win against Arizona State, USC, Washington, Arizona, Washington State, Utah or California the rest of the way. That would be a cataclysmic collapse for Mike MacIntyre and Co. This week’s game vs. Arizona State is the first loss.

Continue reading Essay here

 

Statistically speaking … 

A number you are bound to hear Saturday night: 5,000 … ASU quarterback Jayden Daniels has 4,967 combined passing and rushing yards, and will hit the 5,000-yard mark this weekend. Brendon Lewis, meanwhile, has 399 combined yards passing and rushing in the first three games of his career (CU doesn’t count bowl statistics);

Watch the clock … You can’t score without the ball, and CU has been terrible at time of possession (26:21/game – 115th nationally). Arizona State, meanwhile, has been good at playing keep away, holding the ball for an average of 32:20 of game clock (30th in the country). If the Buffs are to keep up with the Sun Devils, this is a stat which has to flip;

Paging Jarek Broussard … The reigning Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Year had only five carries for eight yards against Minnesota. Banged up in the third quarter against Texas A&M, Broussard has been ineffective since. If healthy, Broussard needs another night like he had the last time CU played in the state of Arizona, going for 301 yards on 25 carries in CU’s 24-13 win over the Arizona Wildcats.

—  How bad is the Colorado offense? … In 2012, the unfortunately unforgettable 1-11 season under Jon Embree, the CU offense averaged 302.8 yards of total offense/game. That seems like a dream right now for the Buffs, who are averaging 235.3 yards of total offense/game. The only statistic in which the Colorado offense does not rank between 125th and 129th nationally (there are 130 FBS teams) is rushing offense, where the Buffs are coming in at 81st in the country (144.3 yards/game);

Betcha’ didn’t know … Colorado isn’t exactly tearing it up in the professional ranks right now, with a total of 17 former Buffs on NFL rosters. It might surprise you to know, then, that there are almost twice as many Buffs in the NFL as their are Sun Devils. Currently, there are only nine former ASU players playing on Sundays.

 

Player Notes … 

The race to 1,000 has an anti-climatic finish … 55 players in CU history have now rushed for over 1,000 yards their careers, with Alex Fontenot joining the ranks with his four yards against Minnesota, giving him exactly 1,000 career rushing yards. Jarek Broussard has 966, and could join the 1,000-yard club against Arizona State. If he does so, he will set a school record by getting to 1,000 in only nine career games (the current record is ten games, set by Charlie Davis in 1971);

Hold that Line … Colorado will start its fourth combination of offensive linemen in as many games this weekend. At left tackle will be Jake Wiley (who started at left tackle in the opener, then moved to right tackle the past two games, but Max Wray, who started the last two games at left tackle, is injured and may not play). Left guard will be Kary Kutsch (for the fourth straight game), with Colby Pursell back at center (Pursell missed the Minnesota game with an illness, replaced by Noah Fenske). At right guard it will be either Casey Roddick or Kanan Ray, who have split time at that position, with Frank Fillip returning to the lineup to start at right tackle … CU used a total of 11 offensive linemen against Minnesota (and it showed);

— With the NCAA granting all student-athletes an extra year of eligibility due to the COVID-19 pandemic, along with the 2018 rule where if you played four games or less, you don’t lose a year, the number of underclassmen nationally have skyrocketed—and it’s no exception at Colorado. Of the 119 players on the roster, 69 are freshmen (43 first-year, 16 second-year, 10 third-year); when adding in 21 sophomores (three first-time, 15 second-time and three third-time), that’s 90 underclassmen. There are 23 juniors (20 classified as Jr.-2, or super juniors, with three Jr.-3), and just 3 seniors in their final year of eligibility. The other 3 are graduate transfers (two of whom have two years of eligibility remaining)

 

Pac-12 Notes … 

The Pac-12 is currently 16-16 in non-conference games. The last time the Pac-12 had a sub .500 overall record in non-conference games? Well, never. The only remaining non-conference games will be games USC and Stanford have scheduled against Notre Dame, as well as BYU v. Washington State and USC.

— From vegasinsider.comThe CU line has gone from 13.0 to 14.5 since Monday

  • Colorado (+14.5) at Arizona State … 8:30 p.m., MT, ESPNU
  • No. 24 UCLA (-4.5) at Stanford … 4:00 p.m., MT, Pac-12 Networks
  • Oregon State (+11) at USC … 8:30 p.m., MT, FS1
  • California (+7.5) at Washington … 7:30 p.m., MT, Pac-12 Networks
  • Arizona (+28.5) at No. 3 Oregon … 8:30 p.m., MT, ESPN
  • Washington State (+12) at Utah … 12:30 p.m., MT, Pac-12 Networks

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3 Replies to “Friday Fast Facts”

  1. ASU is a trash program. The recruiting scandal during COVID lockdowns is truly despicable. An all time low in cheating in my opinion. Sadly my cynical nature tells me that disciplinary actions will amount to nothing of any substance.

  2. Yo Stuart,
    The Buffs have played in three Fiesta Bowls. They are 1-2. Their only win was in Bill McCartney’s last game following the 1994 season. The manhandled Notre Dame 41-24, and the game was not really that close. I had a great time in Tempe that day.

    That team was, arguably, the best Colorado team ever. As far as the NFL was concerned, that team had more future NFL players than any other CU team.

    Mark / Boulderdevil

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