Friday Fast Facts – Arizona Week

… “T.I.P.S” – Our weekly preview postings, are available for your review and comment. The written preview and predictions for the CU/Arizona game can be found here, while the CU at the Game Podcast preview for the game (which includes a discussion of Owen McCown’s debut and the Karl Dorrell hot seat watch) can be found here …


Big Picture … 

Road Warriors? … Colorado has lost five straight Pac-12 conference road games. The last victory for the Buffs was in Tucson, with CU defeating Arizona 24-13 in 2020 (Game Story below);

You’re Allowed to Game Plan … In compiling an historically bad 0-4 start to the 2022 season, the Buffs have been out-scored 41-3 in the first quarter. In fact, since taking a 3-0 lead against TCU in the first quarter of the opener, the Buffs have not only been out-scored by their opponents, 41-0, in the first quarter, but the Buffs have never recovered to take a lead in any of its games;

You’re Also Allowed to Make Halftime Adjustments … Perhaps the most damning statistic for the CU coaching staff – the Buffs have been out-scored in the third quarter this season by an absurd 41-0. The Buffs were in three of their four games at the break (7-6 v. TCU; 20-10 v. Air Force; 21-10 v. UCLA), but then have been boat raced by the opposition in the third quarter, ending any chance at a victory before the fourth quarters of every game;

Lefty starters … Freshman Owen McCown is the first left-handed quarterback to start a game for Colorado since Sal Aunese in 1988. The last Buff to throw a pass left-handed, though, was the ambidextrous Darian Hagan, who threw a few lefty passes during his career (1988-91);

More on McCown … McCown threw for 258 yards against UCLA. That total represents the second-highest total by a true freshman quarterback at Colorado in their first career start (Koy Detmer threw for 418 yards in a 24-24 tie with Oklahoma in 1992). Overall, the 258 yard effort ranks as the 7th-most passing yards by any quarterback in their first career start at CU;

The ESPN Power Index gives Arizona an 84.4% chance of winning; CU a 15.6% chance. The only game remaining on CU’s schedule in which the Power Index gives the Buffs more of a chance? The Arizona State game … and the Buffs are only given a 26.8% chance of winning that one;

— The game will be telecast nationally on the Pac-12 Networks (Saturday, 7:30 p.m., MT), with J.B. Long on the play-by-play, and Max Browne with the commentary (No sideline reporter).  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 … 

Night Lights … Colorado is 68-79-2 all-time in night games, with a 25-42 record on the road;

Lovin’ the Desert … The Buffs are 12-11 all-time in games played in the state of Arizona, including a 10-3 record in Tucson (which includes a 62-28 rout over Boston College in the 1999 Bowl);

Drive Charting … CU’s offense has fewer drives to the red zone (7) than the CU defense has forced punts (9). Want more? The Buff offense has had 19 possessions in enemy territory, but have come away with only five touchdowns. The opposition has had over twice as many possessions in CU territory (37), and has scored more touchdowns (22) than CU has had possessions (19);

—  How bad is the CU offense? … Colorado is ranked 114th or worse in every major category on offense (out of 131 teams nationally). The Buffs are 114th in rushing offense; 116th in passing offense; 126th in total offense; and 129th in scoring offense. For the Buff offense to climb as high as 100th nationally in scoring next week, the Buffs would have to score 73 points against Arizona;

How bad is the CU defense? … The Air Force game (when the Falcons had only eight yards passing) keeps on giving, as the Buffs remain in the top ten nationally in pass defense (7th). This is more than offset by CU being ranked dead last in rushing defense (323.2 yards/game). The Buffs are so bad that the No. 130 team in rushing defense, Hawai’i, is giving up 260.8 yards/game … over 60 yards per game less than Colorado;

— Bar bet winner … What is Karl Dorrell’s record against Arizona? Dorrell is actually 5-2 v. the Wildcats, being 2-0 as CU’s head coach (25% of his eight total wins at Boulder), with a 3-2 record against Arizona while the head coach of UCLA.


CU Player Notes … 

Juggling the Lineup … Against UCLA, six Buffs had their first career starts – QB Owen McCown; RB Charlie Offerdahl; WR Chase Sowell; WR R.J. Sneed; DE Chance Main; and LB Mister Williams.  In the first four games, 15 Buffs have made their first career starts, including four wide receivers;

Charlie Offerdahl will likely set a school record v. Arizona … Redshirt freshman running back Charlie Offerdahl not only posted his first career start v. UCLA, he continued his climb into the CU record book. Offerdahl has 24 carries for 113 yards so far this season. The single season rushing record for a walk-on at Colorado is held by Josh Ford, who had 22 carries for 128 yards in 2011;

CU’s offensive offensive line … A hoped for strength heading into the season, the Buff offensive line has again been a disappointment. Three Buffs have started their first games this fall, and the Buffs are presently starting a true freshman at left guard (Van Wells), with the former starter at left guard, Casey Roddick, currently starting … at right tackle. Jake Wiley, counted on to be a stalwart at right tackle, started the first two games, but was down to five plays against UCLA;

Carrizosa’s debut … With regular punter Ashton Logan out with an undisclosed illness (Logan will miss the Arizona game as well), freshman walk-on Trent Carrizosa made his debut against UCLA. By almost every measure, Carrizosa’s debut went well. He punted five times for a 46.2 yard average (44.8 net), with three punts inside the 20-yard line. His first career punt of 51 yards was the second-longest first career punt by a walk-on in CU history (bested only by a 63-yard punt by John Torp in 2002).


Colorado and Arizona … historical

In historical terms, Colorado has it all over Arizona.

It’s not that Colorado had much of a head start (CU started playing football in 1890; Arizona 1899), but that the Buffs have had much more consistent success over the decades.

In the 12 categories tracked by Winsipedia, Colorado leads Arizona in 11 … with the only category the Wildcats hold an edge over the Buffs is in bowl record percentage (Arizona: .452; 9-11-1; Colorado: .400, 12-18)

Otherwise …

— CU has a sizable lead in all-time wins, with 718 (28th all-time), while Arizona is at 620 (59th all-time);

— CU has a similar lead in time spent in the Associated Press poll, with 305 weeks (31st), compared to Arizona’s 169 weeks (55th);

— When it comes to producing NFL talent, the Buffs are also comfortably ahead of the Wildcats. CU has had 276 NFL picks (25th) and 24 first round picks (28th), compared to Arizona’s 184 (48th) and 10 (55th);

— Perhaps the widest gap is in conference championships. Colorado has 26 in its history (11th nationally), while Arizona has six titles in its 119-year history (89th nationally).


CU & Arizona … 

— Colorado holds a 16-8 advantage in the all-time series against Arizona … but … the Wildcats hold a 7-4 advantage since the Buffs joined the Pac-12 in 2011. How bad has it been for the Buffs? The most wins the Wildcats have against any other team in the conference over that same span is four (with Arizona going 4-6 against Utah since the Utes joined the conference);

— Colorado won the first 12 games of the series, one of the longest runs for the Buffs against any opponent. The first game was a 27-7 win in Tucson in 1931. The teams then played ten games in 11 years between 1949 and 1960, with the Buffs winning them all. The teams split a pair in 1984-85 before not playing until the Buffs joined the Pac-12 in 2011;

Maybe 14 would be enough … In the 24-game series against Arizona, the Buffs have been held to 14 points only twice … but won both games (14-0 in 1955; 14-13 in 1985);

In an otherwise forgettable (and regrettable) game against Arizona in 2017Kahlil Tate introduced himself to the Buff Nation with 327 rushing yards in a 45-42 Wildcat victory. In a losing effort, Phillip Lindsay had 281 rushing yards. The 608 combined rushing yards remains an NCAA record for two players in a single game.


Last season …

October 16, 2021 … Colorado 34, Arizona 0 … 

— Game Story … The Buffs broke open a close game in the third quarter, with a blocked punt for a touchdown and an interception for a touchdown turning a 6-0 game into a 20-0 advantage, with the Buffs coasting thereafter to a 34-0 win over Arizona. In snapping a four-game losing streak, the Buffs had 365 yards of total offense, with quarterback Brendon Lewis posting his first career 200-yard passing game, going 12-for-19 for 248 yards and two touchdowns. Brenden Rice had his first career 100-yard receiving game, with 111 yards on only three catches, including a 62-yard score in the third quarter.

The Colorado defense posted a shutout, its first since a 48-0 win over Nicholls State in in 2015. The loss was the 18th straight for Arizona, dating back to a win over the Buffs in Boulder in October, 2019. “As soon as the offense scored in the first quarter we said if they don’t score again they don’t win,” Carson Wells, who had a 50-yard interception for a touchdown, said. “So that was our philosophy for the whole game.”

“That was a really good win for us as a program,” head coach Karl Dorrell, who leveled his overall record at CU at 6-6, said. “All three phases scored touchdowns … We had two weeks of really doing some things in detail. I just felt like the dam was going to break at some point and it did today.”

Read full game story here

My Essay for the 2021 Arizona game, “Battle for the Basement“, can be found here


The Last time in Tucson …

December 5, 2020 … Colorado 24, Arizona 13 … 

— Game Story … Sophomore running back Jarek Broussard had 301 yards rushing, the fourth-highest single game effort in CU history, leading the Buffs to a 24-13 come-from-behind win over Arizona. Broussard had carries going for 75, 72, and 59 yards … but didn’t score. Broussard did, however, become the first Colorado player to open up his career in Boulder with four consecutive 100-yard games (see multiple records set by Broussard in the Game Notes).

Arizona, which jumped out to a 13-0 lead early in the second quarter, had two second half drives covering in excess of 80 yards in the second half … but didn’t score on either of them. The Wildcats, who lost for a school-record 11th-straight game, had two 100-yard rushers of their own (Michael Wiley – nine carries for 126 yards; Gary Brightwell: 20 carries for 113 yards and a touchdown). The Buffs went for 499 total yards (dipping below 500 on the game’s final kneel downs), but gave up 422.

The Buffs ran their season record to 4-0, making first-year head coach Karl Dorrell only the second Buff coach since 1905 to open his career at Colorado with four wins (Rick Neuheisel opened with a 5-0 record in 2005 … but he was taking over a team which had gone 11-1 the year before). Dorrell became the sixth CU head coach to open with a 3-0 record in conference play, but the first since Jim Yeager in 1941.

“It just tells me a lot about this team”, Dorrell said about his team rebounding from a two-score deficit. “There wasn’t any panic, there wasn’t any concern that we were in trouble or that look that you get on players faces when they seem to lose confidence or something like that. I didn’t sense that at all. There was more problem solving. Trying to find answers and solutions as we’re on the sidelines making adjustments.”

Read full game story here …

… My Essay for the 2020 Arizona game, “Watershed Moments“, can be found here


Pac-12 Notes … 

Colorado a 17.5-point underdog (Arizona a Pac-12 favorite for first time since 2019)

From …

Pac-12 games … 

Friday, September 30th

  • Washington at UCLA … 8:30 p.m., MT, ESPN … UCLA is a 2.5-point home underdog

Saturday, October 1st

  • Oregon State at Utah … 12:00 noon, MT, Pac-12 Networks … Utah is an 10.0-point home favorite (down from an 11.5-point opening)
  • Cal at Washington State … 3:30 p.m., MT, Pac-12 Networks … Washington State is a 4.5-point home favorite
  • Colorado at Arizona … 7:30 p.m., MT, Pac-12 Networks … Arizona is a 17.5-point home favorite … (How absurd is that number? For a little perspective, Arizona wasn’t favored against anyone in its previous 13 games and had been the underdog in its previous 18 Pac-12 games, dating back to 2019. Wildcats hasn’t been this big of a favorite in a Pac-12 game since 2017 vs. Oregon State). 
  • Arizona State at USC … 8:30 p.m., MT, ESPN … USC is a 24.5-point home favorite (up from 17.5-point opening)
  • Stanford at Oregon … 9:00 p.m., MT, FS1 … Oregon is a 17.0-point home favorite (up from 13.0-point opening)


2 Replies to “Friday Fast Facts – Arizona Week”

    1. And unfortunately… A win might prevent HCKD from being fired, thus being a pyrrhic victory that damages the program more in the long run?

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