Friday Fast Facts – Utah Week

… “T.I.P.S” – Our weekly preview postings, are available for your review and comment. The written preview and predictions for the CU/Utah game can be found here, while the CU at the Game Podcast Preview for the game can be found here


Big Picture … 

Stat you are guaranteed to hear on Friday … Utah, with 699 all-time wins, is looking to become the 32nd FBS program to reach the 700-win milestone. Colorado is already there, having hit 700 in 2017. The Buffs currently have 718 wins, 27th on the all-time list;

Bowl-bound opposition … Utah represents the seventh bowl-eligible team CU will face in 2021. The only other Pac-12 team which will face more bowl-eligible teams this fall is Stanford, with eight;

Go Figure … Through 11 games, CU has run 652 plays and has 652 penalty yards; the opponent has 766 plays and 767 penalty yards – what are the odds?;

— The ESPN Power Index gives Utah a 93.5% chance of winning. Last weekend, it was Washington with a 68.1% chance of winning; CU a 31.9% chance (in case you were wondering, two weeks before that it was 66.7% for Oregon State; 33.3% for CU);

Can the Buffs get to 35?  … CU has only scored 35 or more points twice this season (35 v. Northern Colorado; 37 v. Oregon State). Considering that Utah is averaging 34.9 points per game, keeping up with the Utes will be a tall task for the CU offense;

— The game will be telecast nationally on the Fox (Friday, 2:05 p.m., MT), with Joe Davis on the play-by-play, and former Washington quarterback Brock Huard with the commentary (since CU just beat the team he played for – and his son currently plays for – don’t look for gushing tributes to the Buffs).  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.


Statistically speaking … 

If the Buffs can just get there … Colorado’s offense has struggled this season (not a revelation), but, if and when the Buffs do get to the red zone, they have been successful. CU has scored on 30-of-32 red zone possessions (20 touchdowns; 10 field goals). The 93.8% success rate, if it holds through the Utah game, will be the highest in school history, breaking the old record of 90.6%, set in 1985 and tied in 1994;

Not that it’s an excuse, but … Through 11 games, CU has lost 112 games by players projected to be or in the two-deep along with a handful that would rotate in; out of 428 possible games, that works to 21.2 percent of games lost, which is the highest percentage since being tracked back to 1987;

It really hasn’t been of much help so far … but Colorado is doing well in hanging onto the ball this season. The Buffs have lost only seven turnovers all season, tied for the second-lowest total in the nation;


CU Player Notes … 

So, you wanted more from CU’s tight ends … Tight end Brady Russell leads the team in receptions with (23) and is second in yards (295), with wide receiver Brenden Rice second in catches (21) and first in yards (299). A tight end has led the team in catches 13 times, but just twice in the last 30 seasons (Daniel Graham in 2001, Riar Geer in 2006);

— How many Buffs have started every game this season? … Due to injuries, there have been only four players on offense who have been on the field for the first snap of every game: Brendon Lewis at quarterback; Brenden Rice at wide receiver (likely to end against Utah); Kary Kutsch at left guard; and Brady Russell at tight end. On defense, there have been only three: defensive lineman Carson Wells; cornerback Christian Gonzalez; and safety Mark Perry;

— Punter Josh Watts is making a push for first-team All-Pac-12 honors. Watts is leading the Pac-12, and is fourth in the nation, averaging 47.9 yards per punt. Currently, Watts career average of 45.74 yards per punt second only in school history to Mark Mariscal (46.79 yards/punt). Watts will have plenty of time to take over the No. 1 spot, as he has indicated that he will return for the 2022 season, despite being on pace to graduate in May;

— Unless Alex Fontenot scores five touchdowns against Utah, kicker Cole Becker will become the seventh freshman in CU history – and only the second since 1987 – to lead the team in scoring (Will Oliver led the team in 2011; Eric Bieniemy in 1987). Becker will also, with three points against Utah, become the second-highest scoring freshman (currently at 60 points; Will Oliver had 62 in 2011; James Stefanou had 86 in 2017);

Injury list … Otherwise known as the CU linebacker room … In addition to Nate Landman, linebackers who are listed as injured are Guy Thomas, Jack Lamb, and Jamar Montgomery;

— The list of players who have been lost for the season … Marcus Bell, WR; Jeremiah Doss, DT; Chris Miller, S/OLB; J.T. Shrout, QB; Jaylen Striker, CB; Nigel Bethel, CB; Montana Lemonious-Craig, WR; Joshka Gustav, LB.


Colorado and Utah … historical

— In the 12 statistical categories tracked by Winsipedia, Utah leads Colorado in only two of 12 categories … though they are significant.

— In all-time winning percentage, the Utes inched past the Buffs in the past few years. Utah has a .594 winning percentage (699-472-31), which is 29th on the all-time list. With the decade-plus long drought in Boulder, Colorado has slipped to a .576 wining percentage (718-524-36), good enough for 39th on the all-time list;

— The other category in which Utah has a lead is in bowl winning percentage. Colorado has a losing record in bowl games (12-18), while Utah has one of the best bowl winning percentages in the nation (17-6, 2nd-best in the country);

Otherwise, however, Colorado has significant advantages, including:

— Weeks in the Associated Press poll: CU, 305 … Utah, 143;

— Consensus All-Americans: CU, 31 … Utah, 9;

— NFL draft picks: CU, 276 … Utah, 168; and

— National championships and Heisman trophy winners: CU, 1 each … Utah, 0 for each.


CU & Utah … 

— This will be the 68th meeting between the two schools, in a series which dates back to 1903. The series is tied, 32-32-3. Utah leads the series in games played in Salt Lake City, 18-14-2, with four straight wins;

— The 66 games in the series is the fifth-most games for any CU opponent, behind only CSU (91); Missouri (75); Nebraska (71); and Kansas (70). Friday’s game will break a tie for fifth with Kansas State, who have also played CU 66 times;

— Colorado won the first three games in the series, winning the games played between 1903-05 by a combined score of 101-11. Utah’s best run in the series came between 1925-33, when the Utes ran off nine straight wins. CU had a nice run of its own, winning eight of the ten games between 1951 and 1962 before the rivalry went dormant.

— Utah won four of the first five meetings after the pair joined the Pac-12, with the Buffs breaking a four-game losing streak with a 27-22 win in 2016;


The Last time …

December 11, 2020 … Utah 38, No. 21 Colorado 21 … 

Game StoryUtah went on a 28-0 run in the second half to turn a 21-10 deficit into a 38-21 victory over No. 21 Colorado. Utah freshman running back Ty Jordan, held in check most of the snowy afternoon in Boulder, broke free for a 66-yard touchdown to put the game out of reach after Colorado failed to convert a fourth-and-five in Utah territory down 27-21 with five minutes remaining.

Colorado quarterback Sam Noyer went 16-for-34 for 258 yards and two touchdowns, but also had an interception and a fumble. Jarek Broussard had his career-opening string of 100-yard games come to an end, collecting 80 yards on 14 carries. The lone breakout player for the Buffs on the day was freshman wide receiver Brenden Rice, who had an 81-yard punt return for a touchdown in the first half, and a 61-yard touchdown reception early in the third quarter

The game, the earliest kickoff in Folsom Field history (10:05 a.m.), was played in frosty conditions (23-degrees at kickoff, after several inches of snow had blanketed the field overnight). In addition to losing their first game of the season, the Buffs lost their leading tackler, Butkus Award semi-finalist Nate Landman, to a season-ending injury in the first half.

“It’s unfortunate, our guys are disappointed and most of our disappointment is because of our own shooting ourselves in the foot, more so than anything”, Karl Dorrell said. “The turnovers—we had a few dropped passes that were some conversions on third down, that could have happened. We just didn’t play our normal selves”.

Continue reading game story here

The Last Time CU won … 

November 26, 2016 … No. 9 Colorado 27, No. 21 Utah 22

Game StoryColorado relied upon its defense to bring home the school’s first ten win season since 2001, downing No. 21 Utah, 27-22. With the victory, the “worst-to-first” dream season was completed, with the Buffs going from 1-8 in Pac-12 play in 2015 to 8-1 in 2016, claiming CU’s first Pac-12 South title, and first division title since winning the Big 12 North in 2005.

The Buffs were held to 378 yards of total offense, but the CU defense held the Utes to 339 yards of total offense, forcing four turnovers along the way. A forced fumble from Utah running back Joe Williams was returned by Buff linebacker Kenneth Olugbode ten yards for a game-clinching score early in the fourth quarter. Olugbode’s score made it 27-16, and the Buff defense made it hold up.

Special teams almost cost the Buffs the game, with Utah scoring on a punt return for a touchdown early in the game, and almost scoring on a kickoff return early in the fourth quarter.

“I’m very excited to grind one out,” said Colorado quarterback Sefo Liufau, who had 270 yards passing and a team-leading 59 yards rushing, but fumbled twice. “The defense got my back.”

Continue reading story here


Pac-12 Notes … 

— The Pac-12 North remains up for grabs heading into the final weekend … Scenarios: Oregon – defeat Oregon State … Oregon State – defeat Oregon, hope Washington beats Washington State … Washington State – defeat Washington, hope Oregon State defeats Oregon;

Buffs a 24.0-point underdog to Utah


Pac-12 lines …

  • Colorado at No. 23 Utah … Utah is a 24.0-point favorite … Friday, 2:00 p.m., MT, Fox
  • Washington State at Washington … Washington is a 3.0-point favorite … Friday, 6:00 p.m., MT, FS1
  • Oregon State at Oregon … Oregon is a 7.0-point favorite … Saturday, 1:30 p.m., MT, ESPN
  • Arizona at Arizona State … Arizona State is a 21.0-point favorite … Saturday, 2:00 p.m., MT, Pac-12 Networks
  • Notre Dame at Stanford … Notre Dame is a 16.0-point road favorite … Saturday, 6:00 p.m., MT,
  • BYU at USC … BYU is a 6.0-point road favorite … Saturday, 8:30 p.m., MT, ESPN
  • California at UCLA … UCLA is a 7.0-point favorite … Saturday, 8:30 p.m., MT, FS1


4 Replies to “Friday Fast Facts”

  1. “leading the team in scoring”
    why bother wit that one?
    Add to that
    why would I be surprised if Darrin Chiaverini was selected as PAC 12 defensive player of the year?

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