Friday Fast Facts – Utah Week

… Your weekly “T.I.P.S”, previews for this weekend’s games, discussing Talent, Intangibles, Preparation and Statistics, have been posted. 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 (which includes notes on ESPN Game Day experience in Bozeman) can be found here …


Big Picture … 

Getting Ready for the Centennial … The 2022 finale against Utah will mark the end of the 99th season of football at Folsom Field. Named for legendary CU head coach Fred Folsom after the 1946 season, the Buffs will open season No. 100 against Nebraska next September;

Four in a row, just what the Buffs needed … This is the second time the Buffaloes are playing four ranked teams in succession during the regular season; in 1973, CU faced No. 3 Oklahoma, No. 8 Missouri, No. 13 Nebraska and No. 18 Kansas (going 1-3, beating Mizzou, the only home game of the four). CU also played four straight at the end of the 2016 season (Washington State and Utah in the regular season, Washington in the Pac-12 title game and Oklahoma State in the Alamo Bowl, going 2-2);

Finale record going south … CU has a 74-56-2 all-time record in regular season finales, but the Buffs are only 2-9 in season enders since joining the Pac-12 (2-8 vs. Utah);

Tough schedule … Not that there will be sympathy for the program, but this has been an historically tough schedule. CU has easily played one of the nation’s toughest schedules to date – the 11 previous opponents are a combined 81-40 with 8-3 Utah remaining … By the NCAA calculation method, it’s at present the second toughest in school history (71-39, 64.5 percent), behind only the 1997 team (81-40, 66.9 – CU played both co-national champions that
season – Michigan and Nebraska);

Leave the parka at home … The average temperature for CU’s 11 games dropped to 62.5 after a cool 42 at kickoff in Seattle last week; CU’s only had three games warmer than 72 at kickoff (84, 81, 78); the Buffs did have six night games (5:00 p.m. or later kicks). The forecast for Saturday’s Utah game is sunny, high of 53;

The ESPN Power Index gives Utah a 98.0% chance of winning, leaving CU with 2.0% chance at an upset. In CU’s last game, Washington was given a 96.6% chance of winning;

— The game will be telecast nationally on the Pac-12 Networks (Saturday, 2:00 p.m., MT), with Ted Robinson on the play-by-play and Yogi Roth with the commentary.  KOA radio will have Mark Johnson, in his 19th year, with the play-by-play, and former CU head coach Gary Barnett in his seventh year as the full-time analyst.


Statistically speaking … 

Any Good News for Buff fans? … Stats in which Utah is ranked 100th or worse nationally;

  • Umm … kickoff returns. The Utes are averaging only 16.3 yards per kickoff return, 123rd in the nation. Now, if CU could only get into position of having a number of kickoffs …
  • Utah is 99th in the nation in red zone percentage defense, but, again, the CU offense has to get to the red zone for this to be an issue;

—  How bad is the CU offense? … Colorado is ranked 111th or worse in every major category on offense (out of 131 teams nationally). The Buffs are 111th in rushing offense; 116th in passing offense; 125th in total offense; and 127th in scoring offense. For the Buff offense to climb even as high as 100th nationally in scoring at the end of the season, the Buffs would have to score 87 points against Utah;

How bad is the CU defense? … The Buff defense has a long road back to respectability. The Buffs are back to being dead last in the nation in rushing defense (131st this week), and still remain in the bottom five in total defense (130th) and scoring defense (131st – dead last) … and the Buffs are going against a Washington team which is 25th nationally in total offense (450.0 yards/game) and 16th in the nation in scoring offense (37.3 points/game);

— Bar bet winner When was the last time Colorado played a game as a ranked team?

Hard as it is to believe, the last time Colorado played Utah in Boulder, the Buffs came into the game as the ranked team. In the COVID season of 2020, the 4-0 Buffs were ranked No. 21 in the nation, while the Utes came to Boulder with a 2-2 record. Utah left town with a 38-21 victory, ending CU’s brief stay in the polls during the 2020 campaign.


CU Player Notes … 

Running backs coach Darian Hagan joins an elite group … The Utah game will mark the 300th game for Darian Hagan at Colorado. At present, he’s been a part of 299 Colorado football games: between his time as a player from 1988-91 (49 games), two stints an assistant coach from 2005-10 and 2016-present (153 games), as the Alumni C Club director (35 games) and as a football staff member (62 games), he’s one shy of becoming the ninth known person to play and/or work in some capacity for 300 or more CU games. He will join former players/coaches/admins Kayo Lam (player, 1933-35, business manager 1936-70) and Brian Cabral (player, 1975-77, assistant coach, 1990-2012) and staffers Lee Akins (equipment manager, 1936-70), Fred Casotti (SID/associate AD, 1952-94), Jon Burianek (ticket/business manager, associate AD 1968-2006), John Krueger (facilities, 1982-2013) and Dave Plati (statistician, SID, 1978-present) along with the long-time voice of the Buffaloes, Larry Zimmer (1971-81, 1984-2014);

Daniel Arias to make history …Daniel Arias has tied the school mark for most games played by an offensive player with 52 (he caught TE Quinn Sypniewski, who played in 52 games over the 2000 through 2005 seasons). He’d already passed the most by any defensive player (50 by OLB Jimmie Gilbert and ILB Rick Gamboa). Arias has missed just one game in his CU career due to injury (against San Diego State in 2020). P Alex Kinney appeared in 54 games during his career that spanned the 2015-19 seasons as he holds the record for all positions;

Gaining Experience … During the first half of the season, CU has had 42 different players start at least one game (23 on offense; 19 on defense), good enough for tenth in the nation. The Buffs had been in the top three nationally for much of the season, but in the last four games, only two players have earned their first career starters, defensive lineman Justin Jackson and nickel back Simeon Harris;

Spreading it Around … A total of 19 CU players have caught a pass this fall, tying a school record, set in 1999, then matched in 2004.


CU & Utah … 

— This will be the 69th meeting between the two schools, in a series which dates back to 1903. With last year’s victory in Salt Lake City, Utah took a lead in the series, 33-32-3. It’s the first time the Utes have had a lead in the series since the Great Depression;

— The 67 games in the series is the fifth-most games for any CU opponent, behind only CSU (91); Missouri (75); Nebraska (71); and Kansas (70);

— 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. Since then, it’s been five more victories for the Utes.


The Last Time … 

November 26, 2021 … at Utah            No. 16 Utah 28, Colorado 13

Game Story … Quarterback Cameron Rising threw for three touchdown passes, and two Ute running backs had over 100 yards rushing apiece as No. 16 slowly pulled away from Colorado, defeating the Buffs, 28-13. The Buff offense, which ended the season with its lowest total yard average since 1964, had only 148 total yards, with an interception return to the Utah 15 by safety Mark Perry and a 100-yard kickoff return by Nikko Reed supplying 10 of CU’s 13 points.

Buff quarterback Brendon Lewis finished the season with the CU freshman record for consecutive passes without an interception, but completed only 9-of-23 passes for 84 yards. With Jarek Broussard out with an illness, Alex Fontenot was the Buffs’ leading rusher … with 28 yards on ten carries.

The Buffs played short-handed on both sides of the ball. Linebacker Nate Landman missed his sixth game, along with fellow linebackers Jack Lamb, Guy Thomas and Joshka Gustav. Defensive backs Mekhi Blackmon and Kaylin Moore were also out. On offense, receivers Brenden Rice and Montana Lemonious-Craig, along with Broussard, didn’t see the field in CU’s final game of the 2021 season.

“Everybody feels that we have that foundation to build from moving forward,” Dorrell said. “It’s unfortunate — I would love to have started the offseason with a win, winning this game and using that as juice to get some things going for us in a positive way into the offseason, but there’s enough of a good feel on this team. We feel like we’re close.”

Continue reading story here

Essay for the Game“Black Friday (Again)”can be found here


The Last Time in Boulder …

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

— Game Story … Utah 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 …

Essay for the Game … “Breakfast With Champions ” … can be read here


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 .596 winning percentage (709-476-31), which is 27th on the all-time list. With the decade-plus long drought in Boulder, Colorado has slipped to a .571 wining percentage (719-535-36), good enough for 44th on the all-time list (The Buffs have dropped five spots on the list in just the past year);

— 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 the best bowl winning percentages in the nation (17-7);

Otherwise, however, Colorado has significant advantages, including:

— Weeks in the Associated Press poll: CU, 305 … Utah, 159;

— Consensus All-Americans: CU, 31 … Utah, 10;

— NFL draft picks: CU, 276 … Utah, 169; and

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


Pac-12 Notes … 

— A total of six Pac-12 teams made the Top 25 in the fourth College Football Playoff standings, more than any other conference: No. 6 USC; No. 9 Oregon; No. 13 Washington; No. 14 Utah; No. 18 UCLA; and No. 21 Oregon State;

— The Pac-12 has seven bowl-eligible teams: Oregon, Oregon State, UCLA, USC, Utah, Washington, and Washington State. Meanwhile Colorado, Arizona State, Arizona; Cal and Stanford have all been eliminated from bowl possibilities;


The Pac-12 … 

Friday, November 25th 

  • Arizona State at Arizona … 1:00 p.m., MT, FS1 … Arizona is a 3.5-point home favorite …
  • No. 17 UCLA at Cal … 2:30 p.m., MT, Fox … Cal is a 10.5-point home underdog … (up from 9.5-points on Sunday)

Saturday, November 26th

  • No. 10 Oregon at No. 22 Oregon State … 1:30 p.m., MT, ABC … Oregon State is a 7.0-point home underdog … (up from 3.5-points on Sunday)
  • No. 14 Utah at Colorado … 2:00 p.m., MT, Pac-12 Networks … Colorado is a 29.5-point home underdog …
  • No. 13 Notre Dame at No. 5 USC … 5:30 p.m., MT, ABC … USC is a 6.5-point home favorite … (up from 5.5-points on Sunday) …
  • No. 12 Washington at Washington State … 8:30 p.m., MT, ESPN … Washington State is a 1.5-point home underdog … (down from 2.5-points on Sunday) … 
  • BYU at Stanford … 9:00 p.m., MT, FS1 … Stanford is a 6.5-point home underdog


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