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Friday Fast Facts – Texas A&M Week

Big Picture … 

— This is the 132nd year of collegiate football at the University of Colorado. The Buffs are 715-517-36 all-time (.578). CU is 26th in all-time victories (CU dropped out of the Top 25 two years ago, being passed by Wisconsin); the Buffs are 36th in all-time winning percentage;

— Colorado has played 25 games in seven current NFL venues, with a 16-9 overall record (12-4 in Denver);

— In all-time games played in Denver, CU has a 55-35-3 record. The last 19 of those were against Colorado State (1998-2019). The last time CU played a game in Denver against a team other than CSU? In 1947, the Buffs lost to Denver University, 26-20. It was the last game CU played against the Pioneers, with DU giving up football in 1961;

— The game against Denver was CU’s last game as a member of the Mountain States Conference, as the Buffs left the Mountain States Conference to join the Big Seven … which became the Big Eight when Oklahoma State joined in 1958, and then the Big 12 Conference when Texas, Texas Tech, Baylor and Texas A&M joined in 1995;

— Texas A&M comes into the game on a nine-game winning streak, second-longest current streak in the nation (Alabama: 15);

— In the 41-10 win over Kent State, the Aggies produced two 100-yard rushers (Devon Achane and Isaiah Spiller) and a 100-yard receiver (Ainias Smith) for the first time in a game since 2017. The 595 yards of total offense against the Golden Flashes was the fifth-highest output in the nation in Week One;

— The game will be telecast nationally by Fox (Saturday, 1:30 p.m., MT), with Joe Davis on the play-by-play, former Washington quarterback Brock Huard 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.

CU & Texas A&M … 

— Colorado has a 6-3 overall advantage in the series against Texas A&M, including a 4-1 advantage in games played in Boulder (this will be the first game played between the two teams at a neutral site);

— CU is 2-2 against A&M in games played in College Station. Between 1990 and 2001, the Aggies went 63-6-1 at home … but 0-2 against the Buffs;

— Closer than expected? Six of the nine games between the two teams have been decided by a touchdown or less;

— In three of the nine games between the Buffs and Aggies, both teams were ranked (CU holding a 2-1 advantage). In two of the nine games, only one of the teams was ranked, with the ranked team winning both of those games (a 1-1 split, with CU winning as the No. 12 team in 1996; A&M winning as the No. 17 team in 2004).  (Which doesn’t bode well for this weekend’s games, seeing as Texas A&M is ranked 5th in the nation, while Colorado is unranked);

— Texas A&M will be just the third team from the SEC to visit the state of Colorado to play the Buffs, joining LSU in 1979 (the Tigers won, 44-0) and Georgia  in 2010 (the Buffs won, 29-27);

— In eight of the nine games between CU and A&M, the team with the most rushing yards won the game (which will probably hold true for this game);

The Last time …

November 7, 2009 … Colorado 35, Texas A&M 34

Game Story CU quarterback Tyler Hansen hit tight end Patrick Devenny from 22 yards out with 2:04 to play to put the Buffs up 35-34, with Texas A&M giving up two turnovers late as Colorado prevailed, 35-34.

Hansen was sacked eight times for the second consecutive week, but did pass for 271 yards and a touchdown as the Buffs raised their record to 3-6, 2-3. Rodney Stewart had 118 yards rushing and two touchdowns, and Markques Simas finally showed some of the spark that endeared him during practices the past two seasons, catching seven passes for 135 yards (Simas had 122 yards receiving for the season coming into the game).

The game, as had become the pattern for Colorado in 2009, began ominously …

The stat line for the Buffs’ first two drives: net one yard, punt; net three yards; punt. Meanwhile, Texas A&M’s first drive covered 58 yards in 11 plays. For a CU team which had been out-scored 64-27 in the first quarter of the first eight games of the season, these were not good numbers. Still, thanks to a goal line stand, the game remained scoreless. Texas A&M drove to the Colorado one yard line on its first drive, but two keepers by Aggie quarterback Jerrod Johnson failed to produce points.

Continue reading game story here

Game Essay, “Colorado Sky Blue (Or: The Article which got me an email from Dave Plati” …

I’m a pack rat.

I have a habit of not throwing things away. Every fall, as another Montana winter approaches, it becomes a more and more difficult task to make room in our garage for our two cars.

In one sense, it has been a benefit in my work on CU at the Game. When the idea was first conceived (in 1996), I relied upon my piles of old game programs, newspaper clippings, and football preview magazines to help me reconstruct games for the Archives. If you were with the website in 2008, you may recall that there were a number of old Denver Post, Rocky Mountain News, and Boulder Daily Camera headlines featured along the sides of the site.

There is also my odd assortment of Colorado wearing apparel. There are a number of specific baseball caps (Big Eight champions; National Champions; bowl games, etc.), as well as every type of clothing going from t-shirts to polo shirts to sweatshirts to heavy winter coats.

Speaking of coats …

Continue reading Essay here

Statistically speaking … 

— Under Jimbo Fisher, Texas A&M is 20-4 when scoring first, and 19-0 when leading after the first quarter;

Watch the clock … A&M tends to dominate the time of possession. The Aggies held the ball for 35:10 of clock against Kent State (good enough for 11th nationally). Under Jimbo Fisher, Texas A&M has ranked No. 3 in the nation in time of possession (2018); No. 11 (2019); and No. 3 (2020);

Turnovers will be key … The Aggies turned the ball over four times against Kent State, including three interceptions by Haynes King. Only three FBS teams had more turnovers in Week One. The Buffs, meanwhile, didn’t have any turnovers against Northern Colorado. This was the 10th time in school history that CU has opened the season without a turnover. The Buffs, however, have never opened the season with two consecutive games without a turnover. The Buffs, in fact, haven’t even made it more than a few minutes into the second half without a turnover. Setting a new school record for opening a season without a turnover would help a great deal this weekend …

—  Third down efficiency … Another duh! statistic, but relevant … Texas A&M went 9-for-13 on third downs against Kent State, the best conversion percentage in the nation (69.2%). The Buffs, meanwhile, held the UNC Bears to 3-of-14 on third downs (21.4%), 15th in the nation. Last year, the Buffs’ defensive conversion rate was 31.8%, 13th-best nationally;

— The Buffs are 20-3 in non-conference games since 2013 (20-5 including bowls). The only non-conference regular season game last season was a 20-10 win over San Diego State. Most of the games since 2013 have been against Colorado State (6-1), with a 7-0 record against FCS schools.

CU v. Texas A&M – last 60 years:  (Credit to Kyle Umlang for assembling this list)

  • National Championships … Colorado 1; Texas A&M 0
  • Weeks ranked No. 1 … Colorado 7; Texas A&M 0
  • Top 5 Finishes … Colorado 5; Texas A&M 2
  • Division Championships … Colorado 5; Texas A&M 3
  • Consensus All-Americans … Colorado 30; Texas A&M 26
  • Heisman runners-ups … Colorado 2; Texas A&M

Coaches/Player Notes … 

— Against Northern Colorado, Brendon Lewis became the second freshman to start the first game of the season, joining Cody Hawkins (2007). Both freshmen won their games, with Hawkins leading the Buffs to a 31-28 overtime win over Colorado State in Denver;

— A chip on their shoulder? A total of 23 players on the CU roster hail from the state of Texas, including quarterback Brendon Lewis, running back Jarek Broussard, safety Chris Miller, cornerback Christian Gonzalez, wide receiver La’Vontae Shenault, running back Alex Fontenot, offensive lineman Chance Lytle, and linebacker Robert Barnes. Any number of these Texans could have hoped to play in College Station, but were not recruited. Perhaps there will be a little more incentive to beat the team which didn’t want them?;

— 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 opened its season with five ranked teams in the Associated Press poll: No. 11 Oregon; No. 15 USC; No. 20 Washington; No. 24 Utah; and No. 25 Arizona State … after having only two teams ranked in the initial poll Pac-12 teams were ranked last season (Oregon at No. 12; USC at No. 20);

— The Pac-12 hasn’t recorded a non-conference, regular-season victory over an AP top-10 opponent since Stanford beat No. 9 Notre Dame in 2017. It has two opportunities this weekend with Oregon facing No. 3 Ohio State and Colorado taking on No. 5 Texas A&M. (Michigan and TCU are unranked.) … And per the conference office: The last time the Pac-12 defeated an AP top-10 opponent in the regular season other than Notre Dame was in 2014, when the Ducks beat No. 7 Michigan State on their way to an appearance in the playoff;

Pac-12 betting lines

  • No. 12 Oregon at No. 3 Ohio State – 10:00 a.m., MT – Fox … Ducks are a 14.5-point underdog
  • California at TCU – 1:30 p.m., MT – ESPNU … Bears are an 11.5-point underdog
  • Colorado vs No. 5 Texas A&M (Denver, CO) – 1:30 p.m., MT – FOX … Buffs are a 17.0-point underdog
  • Portland State at Washington State – 4:00 p.m., MT – Pac-12 Networks … no line …
  • Washington at Michigan – 6:00 p.m., MT – ABC … Huskies are a 7.0-point underdog
  • San Diego State at Arizona – 8:00 p.m., MT, – Pac-12 Networks … Wildcats are a 2.0-point favorite …
  • No. 21 Utah at BYU – 8:15 p.m., MT – ESPN … Utes are a 7.0-point favorite …
  • UNLV at No. 23 Arizona State – 8:30 p.m., MT – ESPN2 … Sun Devils are a 33.5-point favorite …
  • Stanford at No. 14 USC – 8:30 p.m., MT – Fox … Trojans are a 17.0-point favorite …
  • Hawaii at Oregon State – 9:00 p.m., MT – FS1 … Beavers are a 11.0-point favorite …

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