The Colorado Buffaloes football team returns to Boulder to face the Arizona State Sun Devils. It’s homecoming weekend at CU and the stage is set for a Pac-12 Conference showdown. So how do the two teams stack up against each other?
In the 19th century, Charles Dickens would’ve written great prose about Colorado’s offense. They have had the best of times, they have had the worst of times. The Colorado State and Oregon State games showed countless times that the offense could do whatever they wanted. Against USC, that was clearly not the case, as the Buffs mustered a season-low of 17 points.
The Buffaloes have yet to display a consistent ground game. Junior tailback Phillip Lindsay is the starter, and has gotten the most carries. However, the team seems reluctant to turn to him in the second half. The offense seems to stagnate, and a lot of the time games go up for grabs.
This was especially damning last week. The defense forced a quick succession of turnovers. If the offense had better capitalized, the game easily could’ve gone Colorado’s way.
There’s no clear indication on who the quarterback will be this week. Senior quarterback Sefo Liufau was able to return to action last week vs. Southern California and completed a few passes. Freshman quarterback Steven Montez was somewhat ineffective against USC. The player who starts at quarterback will likely be a gametime decision.
But, Arizona State also got some good news recently. Starting quarterback Manny Wilkins will probably play this week. Wilkins did not play last week, and the Sun Devils called on freshman quarterback Dillon Sterling-Cole to fill in. Sterling-Cole had one pass attempt last week, which was promptly picked off.
Wilkins will likely be playing on a limited basis, or the team will try to limit what Wilkins has to do with his legs. His mobility has been a big part of the Sun Devils’ offense.
This may be as simple as looking at the yards allowed per game. Colorado is the 23rd in the country with 333.3 per game. Arizona State, on average, gives up 493.7 yards, good for 120th out of 128 FBS teams.
However, it’s really not that simple. Colorado had games against CSU, Oregon State and Idaho State already. These games vs. lesser opponents have helped to lower the averages. It’s been a different story for the Buffaloes’ defense against Pac-12 teams. The defense gave up over 500 yards against Oregon and USC.
Arizona State sacked Liufau eight times last season. Its defensive line is mostly intact from last season. Colorado’s offensive line also had a bad week against USC. There may be more pressure than expected from the Sun Devils. Colorado’s offensive line needs to be able to give the quarterback time to throw the ball.
Colorado’s defense, though, has had a penchant to make big plays. Again, the Buffs surrendered more than 500 yards to USC last week, but there were only 21 points allowed, and the team forced four turnovers. Look for that to happen again on Saturday.
There is a sense of mentality playing into this game. Arizona State is rolling right now. The 5-1 Sun Devils won a fairly big game last week against UCLA with a third string quarterback. This team is on a roll. The Buffaloes will be a good test for them.
On the other hand, Colorado suffered a disappointing defeat last week. The Buffs couldn’t find a way to start the motor offensively. With a road game against Stanford looming in the distance, the Buffs will look to get back on the winning track Saturday vs. ASU.
Kickoff is scheduled for 6 p.m. MST.
Contact CU Independent Copy Editor Jake Mauff at firstname.lastname@example.org.