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 can be found at most of the popular podcast sites, and can also be listened to here …


Big Picture … 

Finale record going south … CU has a 74-57-2 all-time record in regular season finales, but the Buffs are only 2-10 in season enders since joining the Pac-12 (2-9 vs. Utah);

Turn the turnovers back in CU’s favor … A weekend after the Buffs watched two scoop-and-scores by Washington State, the Buffs will need some turnovers if they are going to beat the Utes. Overall, it’s been a better season than what we’ve seen in recent years. Colorado has double figures in interceptions (10) and fumble recoveries (10) for the first time since the 2016 season and just the fourth time since the 2006 season;

— The ESPN Power Index gives the Utes an 87.2% chance of winning; the Buffs a 12.8% chance. Last weekend, Washington State was given a 59.2% chance of beating the Buffs. For last season’s finale, Utah was given a 98.0% chance of winning, leaving CU with 2.0% chance at an upset (final score: Utah 63, Colorado 21);

— The game will be telecast nationally on the Pac-12 Networks (Saturday, 1:00 p.m., MT), with Roxy Bernstein on the play-by-play and Lincoln Kennedy with the commentary.  KOA radio will have Mark Johnson, in his 20th year, with the play-by-play, and former CU head coach Gary Barnett in his eighth year as the full-time analyst.


Statistically speaking … 

How bad is the CU rushing offense? … The Buffs are last in the nation in rushing, at 71.8 yards per game. In terms of yards per carry, CU is also last in the country, at 2.32 … In the record books, the Buffs have had just one season worse than this one in terms of average rushing yards per game: 59.7 in 1984 (a very tough 1-10 season);

How bad is the CU defense? … Most yards allowed per game in Colorado history …

  • 509.8 – 2022 … a 1-11 team, considered by many Buff fans as the worst CU team ever;
  • 488.5 – 2012 … a 1-11 team, the worst team ever … before 2022;
  • 464.6 – 2023 … (through 11 games) … 128th in the nation;
  • 464.4 – 1980 … a 1-10 which lost to Drake, and was run over by Oklahoma, 82-42, with the Sooners going for an NCAA record 758 yards rushing;

Who will lead the team in tackles? … Current leaders:

  • LaVonta Bentley … 60 tackles, 35 unassisted …
  • Shilo Sanders … 59 tackles, 48 unassisted …
  • Trevor Woods … 56 tackles, 42 unassisted … (didn’t play v. Washington State)
  • Rodrick Ward … 48 tackles, 36 unassisted …
  • Jordan Domineck … 45 tackles, 31 unassisted …

Please get some more turnovers … Colorado has the seventh-best turnover margin in the FBS at +.91 with 20 total turnovers (14th nationally), 10 interceptions (20th) and ten fumbles recovered (10th). The margin, total turnovers and interceptions lead the Pac-12.


CU Player Notes … 

— Shedeur Sanders records watch … Shedeur Sanders is on pace to reset most of the single season passing in CU history, and is among the national leaders in many categories. As the season is drawing to a close it’s time to track how Sanders is progressing:

  • Passing yards: 3,230 … CU single season record: 3,200 … Sefo Liufau, 2014 (Sanders’ total is currently 1st on the list)
  • Passing touchdowns: 27 … CU single season record: 28 … Sefo Liufau, 2014 (Sanders’ total currently 2nd)
  • Passing attempts: 430 … CU single season record: 498 … Sefo Liufau, 2014 (Sanders’ total currently 2nd)
  • Completions: 298 … CU single season record: 325 … Sefo Liufau, 2014 (Sanders’ total currently 2nd)
  • Completion percentage: 69.3 … CU single season record: 68.4 … Koy Detmer, 1995 (If maintained, Sanders will set a new school record)
  • Total offense (plays): 541 … CU single season record: 567 … Sefo Liufau, 2014 (Sanders’ total is currently 2nd)
  • Total offense (yards): 3,153 … CU single season record: 3,336 … Sefo Liufau, 2014 (Sanders’ total is currently 3rd)

— Shilo Sanders also in the books … Shilo Sanders four forced fumbles leads the Pac-12 and Power Five conferences and is second in the FBS. He  is the first Buff since 2013 with four-plus forced fumbles;

Yes, punter Mark Vassett is very good … In his first season at CU, former Purdue punter Mark Vassett has set CU records for most punts inside the 10 (12) and inside the 5 (6);


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 Boulder, Utah took a 34-32-3 lead in the series;

— The 69 games in the series is the fifth-most games for any CU opponent, behind only CSU (92); Missouri (75); Nebraska (72); and Kansas (70).  Despite not playing for a half-century, the 32 wins by the Buffs over the Utes are the fifth most over any Division I/FBS program, behind only Colorado State (68), Iowa State (49), Kansas State (45) and Kansas (42), and are sixth overall when including the defunct series with Colorado Mines (36);

— 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 six more victories for the Utes.


The Last Time in Salt Lake City … 

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 …


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 (718-481-31), which is 27th on the all-time list. With the decade-plus long drought in Boulder, Colorado has slipped to a .569 wining percentage (723-543-36), good enough for 45th on the all-time list (The Buffs have dropped six spots on the list in just the past two years);

— 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 third-best bowl winning percentages in the nation (17-8);

Otherwise, however, Colorado has significant advantages, including:

— Weeks in the Associated Press poll: CU, 308 … Utah, 174;

— Consensus All-Americans: CU, 31 … Utah, 11;

— NFL draft picks: CU, 276 … Utah, 172; and

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


Pac-12 Notes … 

Pac-12 schedule … Week 13 …

Buffs a three-touchdown underdog to 7-4 Utah

From DraftKings

Friday, November 24, 2023

6:30pm MT – Oregon State at Oregon (FOX) … Oregon is a 13.5-point home favorite … down from 14.0 points on Sunday

Saturday, November 25, 2023

1:00pm MT – Colorado at Utah (Pac-12 Network) … Utah is a 20.5-point home favorite … the same as on Sunday

1:30pm MT – Arizona at Arizona State (ESPN) … Arizona is a 11.5-point road favorite … down from 12.5 points on Sunday

2:00pm MT – Washington State at Washington (FOX) … Washington is a 16.5-point home favorite … up from 16.0 points on Sunday

5:00pm MT – Notre Dame at Stanford (Pac-12 Network) … Notre Dame is a 26.0-point road favorite … up from 24.5 points on Sunday

8:30pm MT – Cal at UCLA (ESPN) … UCLA is a 10.0-point home favorite … the same as on Sunday


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